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Back to Console Gen 2

On 02/02/2024 at 10:29 AM by KnightDriver

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It's February and I have begun reviewing Console Generation 2, or rather, the years '77-'83 and all games both arcade, PC and maybe even board games. Here goes:

I started by hooking up my Hyperkin Retron 77 and going through my current collection of cartridges. Here's a pic of my favorites. 


I'm currently looking to get Activision's Tennis, which I think is much better than the RealSports Tennis I tried. I was surprised at how decent Venture was on Atari. It's hard though. 

I was using Hyperkin's Ranger controller for the Retron 77 to play the paddle games Breakout and Super Breakout. It works better than the joystick or the Xbox controller on the versions in The Atari Flashback collections, but I was very keen to find the original paddle controllers and see if they were even better. Mad Krammer and I went out to Game Junkies and I got some. They work but your on-screen paddle flickers so you can't really tell where the edge is. So they don't work on the Retron 77. However, I like the feel of the original paddles with their bigger dials. I'll have to get an Atari Junior (my favorite Atari console at the moment) at some point to use them properly. 

Next was to check out Atari games on Xbox Series S. I have volume 1 and 2 of the 3 Atari Flashback collections. These have both arcade games and 2600 games and is a very well organized collection. I discovered a new favorite game on Vol. 2, Off the Wall, which was a very late (1989) 2600 release by Nolan Bushnell's company Axlon. It's a block breaker with an Asian theme and elements likely inspired by Taito's Arkanoid which hit arcades in '86. Take a look:

As you can see, there are Arkanoid-like pickups that give you powers. It does not use the paddle controllers though, which is a little weird. I'd love to get a hard copy but it goes for around $80 right now. 

I also reexperienced a favorite game Save Mary on Vol. 1 which was a prototype. I really like this simple game. Check it out. 

Apparently this was also made by Axlon. Too bad they didn't do more, that's two games of theirs I like. 

Why is Gravitar for the 2600 just as crazy difficult as the arcade version? I want to like that game so much but it's just a bear to control your ship when it enters a planet's atmosphere.  

I also played Scramble on Konami's Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection. I don't much like this game though and the rest on the collection all came out after '83. I noticed many of the arcade games I like best came out after '83. They'll have to wait until March. 

I played this free game Lunar Lander 2 on Xbox and didn't like it much. Way too simple and uninteresting. 

That's the first week reliving console gen 2. Much more to come. 



Cary Woodham

02/02/2024 at 09:49 PM

Looks like it might be a good time to 'break out' (so to speak) games like Activision Anthology, Atari 50, and maybe a Namco Museum.


02/03/2024 at 12:31 PM

I downloaded everything I could think of on Xbox: Namco, Konami, Midway, Capcom, SNK, and Atari collections. I have to figure out what to do about that Activision Collection and the Intellivision one since they are only on PS2 and OG Xbox. I want to stick to original hardware whenever I can and I don't want more than two systems hooked up at once. I may take down the Retron 77 at some point and bring up a PS2 or NES to try and get some of the ports that aren't playable anywhere else. 


02/03/2024 at 10:24 AM

I have a hard time getting into Atari games. They were a little before my time and so I have no nostalgia. I did have an Atari games collection for the PS1 (I think it was Activision games) back in the day, so I have some experience. I've been kicking around the idea for a while of getting Atari 50. I think the documentary style would serve those old games so well.


02/03/2024 at 12:41 PM

I frankly thought that I wouldn't be too interested in going back to Atari games, but after playing a bunch of them I found some are still pretty fun. Once you accept the simplicity of the graphics, it comes down to gameplay, and some of this stuff still holds up. I am also surprised to discover some new ones that are good. 

I loved the interviews in Atari 50, but I love the Atari Flashback Collections vol. 1-3 best for number of games and great UI (also achievements for certain games). Having said that, Atari 50 is the only place that has some Atari 5200/7800/Jaguar games. Oh, and they're adding more as time goes on, thankfully. 

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