The Games of the Atari Flashback Classics vol. 3: Part 1: Arcade Games

For Christmas I got the Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 3 game for PS4.  I love classic game collections and writing about them, so for the next while we’ll going to take a look at the games on this compilation.  There are so many though that we’ll do it in three parts.  The first part we will take a look at the arcade games on here.

On the whole, the games on this volume 3 collection aren’t that good.  But I got it anyway because I have the other volumes on PS4 as well.  The neat thing about the Switch version is that it has ALL the games on vols. 1 to 3, so that would be a good one to pick up.  My one big criticism about the arcade games on these collections is that they focus more on the Atari titles from the 70’s and very early 80’s.  Which is fine and all, but I wish they had some from the late 80’s as well, such as Marble Madness, Roadblasters, or Blasteroids.  Since I was born in the mid 70’s, I don’t remember the arcade games on this collection as much.  I do like the artwork on the marquees and cabinets, though.  They have a neat 70’s funky look to them.  Anyway, so here are the arcade games found here:


This plays almost exactly like Activision’s Kaboom! game, except with more primitive graphics.  You must catch falling balls with five paddles before they hit the ground.  Miss too many and it’s Game Over.  This one is nearly impossible to play without a paddle controller.


Just a standard early black and white baseball game.  Nothing special.


This is one of the few games on here that I remember seeing in arcades.  Well, I only saw it once, but I remember it.  When I was little, for a time my mom would watch neighborhood kids while their parents went to work.  Sometimes she would take us to the roller rink.  I could never roller skate very well, so usually I would put on my skates and crash in front of the row of arcade games.  But on the other side of the roller rink, there was one lonely arcade game for a while, and it was Basketball.  I remember checking it out once and even though it had black and white graphics, the animations on the characters looks pretty fluid for the time.  And it still does.  Granted, the gameplay isn’t that good, but for a late 70’s black and white arcade game, it doesn’t look that bad.

Canyon Bomber

I didn’t realize so many Atari 2600 games were based on early Atari arcade games, but this is one of them.  You view a canyon filled with balls with numbers on them, and two blimps or airplanes fly from left to right on the top of the screen.  You only control when they drop bombs.  You must bomb the balls for points, and the numbers tell you what your score will be when you hit them.  Miss three times and it’s Game Over.  It’s just like the 2600 version except it has numbers on the balls while the 2600 one doesn’t.


This is a basic submarine game.  A boat moves back and forth at the top of the screen and you control when it drops bombs in the water.  You move a dotted line up and down to dictate when they explode, and you try to hit submarines with them.  It’s not bad, but the fake screen overlay makes it hard to see your score.


This is just the game Snake, or Snafu or whatever.  Also like the TRON light cycle game. You move a line of dominoes and try not to hit anything.  Block the other player so they don’t have room to move and are forced to hit something to win.  If you or the other player hits something, your dominoes will get knocked down and the other player gets a point.

Fire Truck

This is the only other game I remember seeing in arcades.  When I was really young, there was a proto-Chuck E Cheese restaurant called Crystal’s Pizza that we used to go to.  It was a sit down and eat pizza place (remember when those were a thing), and there was a pretty big arcade there, too.  That’s the only place I ever saw Fire Truck outside of arcade auctions.  I didn’t realize it was even supposed to be a game back then.  You drive a fire truck through a top down road and try not to crash.  But it’s nearly impossible because you have to worry about the front and back of the truck.  A second player can join in and help you steer the back.  It’s not a very good game, but as a kid I didn’t care.  I just liked pretending I was driving a fire truck.  That Crystal’s Pizza was also the only place I remember seeing games like Munch Mobile.  More than 20 years later, I went back to that Crystal’s Pizza and they still had that Fire Truck machine!  I wonder if Crystal’s Pizza is still there?  It’s been more than ten years since I last visited.


If I remember correctly, Atari Football was pretty popular in arcades and helped them stay relevant in 70’s arcades.  They released it during football season and it was a tabletop arcade game.  It’s all in black and white and the players are just X’s and O’s.  I don’t remember seeing it in arcades but I do remember seeing it in a travelling video game museum I went to when I was in college.

Maze Invaders

Oh man, this game is awesome!  Out of all the arcade games on this collection, this one is my favorite.  I never saw this in arcades, but if I did, I think I would’ve loved it as a kid.  It’s like a cross between Pac-Man and Berzerk.  You control a cute little blue dot with eyes (looks like Lolo from the Adventures of Lolo game series).  You move around mazes and gobble fruit like Pac-Man, and when you do, you can go through doors that open the next maze.  But you can also shoot at enemies like in Berzerk.  The neat thing about this game is that the mazes are ever changing, so each playthrough may be a little different every time.  There are also fun ways to boost your score, too.

Monte Carlo

I’m surprised that this game wasn’t more popular. It’s a top down racer with F-1 looking cars and it is in full color and controls great.  Not bad for a 70s game.

Pool Shark

It looks like a 70’s billiards game with black and white graphics, but it doesn’t play like any pool game I’ve ever played.  You just move the white cue ball around freely and have a time limit to knock all the other balls in the holes.  It’s pretty crazy and weird.

Sky Diver

This is another one of games where I didn’t realize it was an arcade game before it was a 2600 game.  It’s all in black and white while the 2600 version was in color.  You press a button to make a guy jump out of a plane, and press it again to open a parachute and steer him to land on a target for points.  You compete against a second player or CPU.  Unfortunately, I could never figure out how to open my parachute in time, so my guy would crash into the ground head first.  But a little blocky ambulance comes out and picks up your guy after that, so that cracked me up.


Just a top down black and white soccer game from the 70’s.  At least the players look somewhat like people.  If you added color it would look like a soccer game from the 80’s, so that’s not too bad.

Super Bug

I’m not sure if this game came out first or if Monte Carlo did.  Both games are the same, except in this one you are a VW Beetle looking car.  The graphics are black and white, but it controls better than Monte Carlo.  I think it must use the same engine as Fire Truck because a lot of the graphics are the same, like the ‘CRUNCH’ graphic when you crash.

And those are all the arcade games on vol. 3.  Next time we’ll look at all the Atari 5200 games on this collection!  –Cary

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