Atari video games were all the rage when I was a child. Though the video games that Atari put out are undeniably childish in comparison to today’s graphic laden options, they were all we had back then. Amazingly, that alone was enough to make the games fun and exciting. Having an Atari meant hours spent sitting in front of the television until Mom or Dad forced you to get up so the machine didn’t “ruin their television.” Though those years seem very far away, the memory of the games are clear in my head. Here are the top five Atari video games of yesteryear.
Pong – Pong was the first Atari game to come out and it was a revelation. Though it was the simplest concept on the planet, this game was insanely popular with people. Another great thing about pong was the fact that you could whip someone else while playing. The game of pong was the start of a video game revolution and addictive to boot.
Defender – Defender on the Atari was one of the first games that actually made us wonder about what could actually be done with video games. It hinted at bigger and better things to come, and made the Atari even more popular than it already was. I remember spending hours trying to beat this game.
Asteroids – Asteroids was the first game to actually make me want to pull my hair out. The game was maddeningly fun, and difficult for many. You had to alternately thrust, shoot and aim all at one time. Looking back, that is rather funny. Today’s games force you to use ten buttons at a time sometimes. Asteroids was the game that kept me up all hours of the night, and I never did get any good at it.
Missile Command — This was the game that I ignored for the better part of the first year I had my Atari. For some reason it did not appeal to me. Then I actually sat down with someone that understood how to play it and I was hooked. Though Missile Command had a delayed reaction on me, it is still among my all time favorite Atari games. Oddly, it is also the one Atari game that I actually got really good at.
Breakout – Now Breakout was a fun video game to be sure. You would bounce a ball (sound familiar) and try to break through a wall of dots. Sound pretty boring? Not at all. I wonder if I played Breakout today if it would be just as fun as it was back then. I guess maybe our memories make things better than they really were, but it sure is fun thinking back to those days of Breakout madness.
Atari is secure in it’s legacy as the forerunner to the modern video game, and will probably never be anything more than that. I doubt that Atari will make a comeback in that format. I wonder if Atari has ever considered releasing those old games in their original formats for nostalgia’s sake? I would surely buy one.