The Games of Atari Flashback Classics vol. 1, Part 2

ATARILOGO1So this time we’ll go over the rest of the 2600 games in Atari Flashback Classics vol. 1.  They did a pretty decent job with the presentation for these.  You can view the box art and original instructions for each game.  And when you start, you’ll see a replica of the Atari 2600 on the bottom area of the screen so you know what buttons to push if you want to change game modes and such.  But I wish they would’ve gone the extra mile like how Activision Anthology did on the PS2.  In that one, you had all those features listed above, plus you could view TV commercials, earn virtual patches, and even listen to 80’s music while you play.  I really liked that collection because of that, and the fact that Activision’s 2600 games were better overall.

When I go over each of these games, I’ll probably just talk about each one very briefly.  One reason is because there are so many games.  But also because I don’t have many memories playing these games as a kid.  I never had an Atari 2600 when I was little, but that’s OK.  I enjoyed going to arcades more anyway.  Plus, my first home gaming system was actually our first computer (an Apple ][+), which is strange since I’m such a staunch console gamer now.  And that had better arcade ports than the 2600 did.  Most of my memories of playing 2600 games are when I would go to friends’ houses who had one.  My first actual home game console was the Atari 5200, and I didn’t even ask for it, as it was a surprise Christmas gift.  I know that system gets a lot of bad press about how huge it was and how bad the controllers were, but as a kid I loved the 5200.  In fact, when Atari does these collections, I kind of wish they would put some 5200 games on there instead of them all being 2600 titles.  Even when the NES came out, I didn’t get it right away because I was perfectly happy playing Pengo on my 5200.  Super Mario Bros. was great and all, but it wouldn’t be until when Zelda came out that I wanted a NES.  Anyway, sorry to ramble there, let’s get started with the list.

3-D Tic Tac Toe

It kind of reminded me of that chess game they play on Star Trek for some reason.

Air-Sea Battle

It’s just a glorified shooting gallery, but there are lots of gameplay modes so that’s what makes it neat.  Kind of reminds me of Combat for some reason, even though it’s nothing like it.


I’ve never learned how to play Backgammon, and this game didn’t encourage me to.


Some of these old sports games look so bad, it’s almost comical.  It might’ve been fun if it weren’t so hard.


The setup was so cumbersome and confusing on this one that I didn’t play for long.


It’s the most basic bowling game you can imagine, but I think I would’ve really liked this game as a kid for some reason.  I like how you can put spin on the ball even after you’ve rolled it.

Canyon Bomber

It’s just a variation of Air-Sea Battle with Breakout elements.  I think these games are more fun with two players.

Circus Atari

This is a super hard Breakout game where you have to move a see-saw to make two acrobats jump up and hit their heads on blocks.  I’m horrible at this game.  Those poor acrobats.


I think this game came packaged with the Atari 2600 back in the day, didn’t it?  I remember playing this game the most at friends’ houses, along with Air Sea Battle. It’s basically just Atari’s old Tank arcade game with a TON of different modes here.  You can even be airplanes!

Combat Two

This is just a prototype game and never actually came out.  But it has some neat ideas like different terrain and breakable walls.  I bet it would’ve been a hit if it did come out.

Desert Falcon

It kind of reminds me of Zaxxon with an Egyptian theme, but the graphics are so bad that I can’t tell what’s going on.

Dodge ‘Em

I think this is an arcade port where you are a race car and must run over dots in four different lanes around a circle, while avoiding a car going the opposite direction.  It’s kind of fun but gets real hard.

Fatal Run

I think this must’ve been a later 2600 game, as it even has an option for you to continue where you left off via a password system.  It’s a racing game like Pole Position, but as far as these go, I prefer Activision’s Enduro game better.


I think this must’ve been an early 2600 game, as the graphics were so bad I couldn’t tell what was going on.

Home Run

And I sure hope this was an early baseball game, as it doesn’t even have outfielders!

Human Cannonball

You use the joystick to adjust a cannon’s trajectory, accounting for wind and the target you’re supposed to hit.  So it reminded me of Scorched Earth a little bit.

Miniature Golf

They just reused Adventure’s graphics and tried to make a golf game out of it.  It’s horrible.


I tried my best to learn how to play this game, but I still couldn’t figure it out.  I think you have to shoot these things and then warp to the other side of the screen and catch your projectile.  I imagine the thing most people would remember about this game is the voice sample that plays when you first start: “QuadrunQuadrunQuadrun.”

Radar Lock

This is an arcade style flight sim game that does some pretty neat graphical tricks I didn’t think the 2600 could do.  If SEGA made an After Burner port on the 2600, this would be it.  Only problem is after I shot down all the planes, I had no idea what to do next.

Realsports Boxing

I don’t care if this game looks better or more realistic than Activision’s Boxing game, Activision’s version had better gameplay.

Realsports Football

Well the field actually looks like a football field this time, but I still couldn’t figure out what to do.  I’m not a football video game fan anyway.

Realsports Soccer

It’s a soccer game on the 2600.  Not much else you can say about it.

Realsports Volleyball

I think this is the best of the “Realsports” series on here.  But it’s still hard (or I just suck at it).  There is a volleyball game I really like and that’s SEGA’s Beach Spikers on the GameCube.  But you can play as Ulala in that one so that’s why I like it, ha ha!

Save Mary

This is another prototype game where you use cranes to lower blocks to save Mary from a canyon filling up with water.  But I could never figure out how to lower the blocks.  Man, most of these prototype games were crap.  Why did they even put them on here?

Slot Machine

Yeah, slot machines aren’t that much fun to being with, so imagine how much fun they’d be on the 2600.

Slot Racers

So I thought this would be a game about slot car racing, but instead you’re a dot in a maze and can shoot things.  I left that game very confused.


It’s just a version of the old Atari game Sprint with better graphics, but just as bad controls.  It doesn’t look as good as Super Sprint, of course.

Star Raiders

This is a first-person spaceship flying shooting sim, but the radar graphics are so horrible that it’s hard to tell where to find enemies to shoot.


This is actually a port of a much older Atari game where you race horses and jump over hurdles.

Stunt Cycle

And another prototype game where you make a motorcycle jump over a ramp.  I could never get it to land right.  Excitebike this ain’t.

Super Baseball

Well it’s certainly improved over the Home Run baseball game, but it’s still not the 2600 baseball game I remember playing at my uncle’s house a long time ago.

Super Football

This collection has three different football games on it!  This one views the field from a 3-D perspective.

Swordquest Earthworld, Waterworld, and Fireworld

These are actually three different games, but I’m putting them all together because they’re all kind of the same at first glance.  You run around mazes like Adventure, but can sometimes do these single screen action sequences that remind me of shooter games or Frogger.  The unique thing about the history of these titles is that there was a contest to go along with them where you could win prizes like a crown or a sword, but nobody knows who, or if, anyone won these things.  And the fourth game in the series, Airworld, never came out.  It’s one of those weird urban legend things, or maybe I should do more research on it.

Yars Revenge

I know a lot of people love this game, but I never really ‘got it’ for whatever reason.  And I’ve tried many times to figure it out.  I do know why it’s called “Yars,” though.

And those are all the games on vol. 1.  Later on this week we’ll go over the games on vol. 2 in the same fashion!  –Cary

One Response to “The Games of Atari Flashback Classics vol. 1, Part 2”

  1. Ah, Yars Revenge.. my favorite game in the late 2600 era… sort of a scrolling robotron… I liked how it would go from side scrolling to upward scrolling and back…

    I remember reading about that swordquest series back in the day…

    I think I had Star Raiders, but I also think it had a weird custom peripheral with overlay buttons I think…

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