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November 2016 Retro Gaming Article


November 1, 2016 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Review: Atari Flashback Classic Collections offer arcade and 2600 games on PS4 & Xbox One

Atari Flashback Classic Collection
While most folks are debating the PS4 versus the Pro model and adding Virtual Reality to the mix, I'm stoked to play Tempest on mine!
If you want to dip into gaming history with your modern game console, AtGames has two releases to satisfy the most ardent Atari fans. If you loved Asteroids or Missile Command, AtGames is bringing them (and 98 other games) to both PS4 and Xbox One!

AtGames logo There are two volumes, each containing fifty games. At about $20 each, that's a quick way to get into retro gaming and they feature both arcade releases as well as those for the Atari 2600 home console. While not all the titles are gems, each release has a wealth of great games to enjoy. Some may get one or two curiosity plays, but I'll just say they have historic value. Many, like Basic Math, I've never played before and as a fan of Atari, that's pretty cool.

Each disc is sprinkled with arcade versions and primarily comprised of home console versions. One nice touch to the arcade titles they include are the corresponding home releases. You can compare the Atari 2600 version to the arcade original. Not all had home releases, but it makes for a fun comparison.

Tempest on the Atari Flashback Classic Collection

Great Control Via Modern Controllers

As for game play, I found all of the games played true to their original arcade and cartridge counterparts. While a trackball would be great for Missile Command, Centipede, and Millipede - and a rotary controller for Warlords - the play on the PS4 controllers is great. In fact, you can use either the d-pad or analog sticks in all the games.

It took me some time to adapt from a standard Atari-style joystick to analog sticks, but the transition works well. And the overall control on the PS4 is terrific. No lags, jitters, or oddities of any sort. Just a lot of fun.

While discussing original equipment, like joysticks, the console itself is digitally accessible for all the options you'd expect from the 2600's switches. You can select game options and the variables as you would on the actual hardware. You can even toggle the Color switch if you feel so inclined. Add some scan-lines - it's all in there!

You'll also find a wealth of artwork from box covers to manuals. You can actually browse the manuals for all the games. They may seem simple, but you'd be surprised at how much great info is in those little booklets. Some even include the comic book!

Almost all of the games have local 2-player options and all of them can be played online. You can host a game and join up with others.

Game Lists

Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 Game List:
  1. 3D Tic Tac Tow
  2. Air Sea Battle
  3. Backgammon
  4. Basketball
  5. Black Widow (arcade)
  6. Bowling
  7. Brain games
  8. Canyon bomber
  9. Centipede
  10. Centipede (arcade)
  11. Circus Atari
  12. Combat
  13. Combat 2
  14. Desert falcon
  15. Dodge-em
  16. Fatal run
  17. Football
  18. Homerun
  19. Human cannonball
  20. Liberator (arcade)
  21. Lunar lander (arcade)
  22. Millipede
  23. Millipede (arcade)
  24. Minigolf
  25. Pong (arcade)
  26. Quadrun
  27. Radar lock
  28. RS Volleyball
  29. RS Boxing
  30. RS Football
  31. RS Soccer
  32. Save Mary
  33. Slot machine
  34. Slot racers
  35. Space duel (arcade)
  36. Sprint master
  37. Star raiders
  38. Steeplechase
  39. Stunt cycle
  40. Super baseball
  41. Super football
  42. Sword quest EW
  43. Sword quest FW
  44. Sword quest WW
  45. Tempest
  46. Tempest (arcade)
  47. Video Olympics
  48. Warlords
  49. Warlords (arcade)
  50. Yars' revenge
Atari Flashback Classics Volume 2 Atari Flashback Classics Volume 2 Game List:
  1. Adventure
  2. Asgo Concentration
  3. Asteroids
  4. Asteroids (Arcade)
  5. Asteroids Deluxe (Arcade)
  6. Basic Math
  7. Blackjack
  8. Breakout
  9. Casino
  10. Championship Soccer
  11. Checkers
  12. Chess
  13. Code Breaker
  14. Crystal Castles
  15. Crystal Castles (arcade)
  16. Demons to Diamonds
  17. Double Dunk
  18. Flag Capture
  19. Golf
  20. Gravitar
  21. Gravitar (arcade)
  22. Hangman
  23. Haunted House
  24. Major Havoc (arcade)
  25. Maze craze
  26. Missile Command
  27. Missile Command (Arcade)
  28. Night Driver
  29. Off the Wall
  30. Outlaw
  31. Race
  32. Red Baron (arcade)
  33. Return to Haunted House
  34. RS Baseball
  35. RS Basketball
  36. RS Tennis
  37. Secret Quest
  38. Sentinel
  39. Sky Diver
  40. Spacewar
  41. Sprint (arcade)
  42. Starship
  43. Stellar Track
  44. Street Racer
  45. Sub Commander
  46. Super Breakout
  47. Super Breakout (Arcade)
  48. Surround
  49. V Pinball
  50. Video cube

A Diverse Mix Of Games?

I've heard a few comments about filler-games in reference to games that are not as "desirable" as others. We all love Asteroids and Breakout, but multiple football games and Basic Math won't necessarily get a lot of game play. Understandable. It's easy to view the list of games on each volume online, but the packaging lacks the full list. Each box only lists a handful of titles. Part of the appeal of such a compilation is getting stoked about the enclosed titles - that makes the sale for me. The crapshoot element is less desirable.

Some consumers will be expecting 50 amazing games on each volume. Discovering Video Chess and Hangman may be a let down. We like to think of such titles as part of gaming's history and fun to experience. Your attitude may differ. For what it's worth, all such licensing deals involve negotiation and compromise. I'm sure AtGames would like to release more of these titles, thus putting all the AAA titles on the first volume defeats the sales potential of future volumes. At the same time, 50 is a nice robust number of games. Therefore, one has to expect a few lesser titles. Each volume has 9 arcade classics and 41 2600 console games. It's a good deal :)

Retro Gaming In Modern Times

There once was a time when I vowed never to buy any gaming system that didn't have Namco Museum available. That requirement worked out well for a good long while. Other titles have entered the fray, offering various retro games, but the notion of compilation game releases has largely fallen by the wayside.

Canyon Bomber on the Atari Flashback Classic Collection I was excited to hear about the two Atari Flashback Classic Collections being released for the PS4 and Xbox One. Too often, retro collections are relegated to downloads and deemed unworthy of a packaged retail release. Seeing these two volumes on retail shelves is awesome!

Exposure of these timeless classics is important. When kids see these, they may not realize the history staring them in the face, but for those who grew up with Missile Command and Yar's Revenge... we know!

At first I was confused by the name. I associate "Flashback" with the mini consoles from AtGames with 60 to 90 built-in games. To my surprise, AtGames is branching out with this retail release for Generation 8 consoles and a new update to the traditional Atari FlashBack and SEGA Genesis Classic consoles. They even have handheld versions arriving soon for this holiday season!

Most reviewers would split out the two different volumes, but We highly recommend both. As Atari fanatics, we can't imagine buying one without the other. Naturally, not everyone will share our odd Atari devotion - we think both sets are very evenly matched. If you only buy one, simply look at the game lists and see which one contains your favorites.

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