Atari Anniversary Edition
by Infogrames Reviewed by: Ben Piazza
We all remember the age-old classics we learned to love and enjoy during the times of our childhood. We’re in luck, for now we can enjoy all of our favorites from playing a space fighter in Asteroids, stomping out those disgusting insects in Centipede, attempting to survive in the deadly game of Crystal Castles or even sitting down with the grandfather of all games, Pong. If that isn’t enough you can even listen to an actual interview with the creator of all your favorites, Nolan Bushnell, who will reveal where he got some of his inspiration for creating some of his games. On top of that you can flip through a number of screenshots that were taken of the original memorabilia and even view some of the first press releases for a couple of your favorite games. As an added bonus, included in the box, you will receive a sticker with the original Atari logo on it. With all this included in one package there will be hours of fun for all ages.
One thing that makes me enjoy playing a game like this is being able to relate it to my past. It is actually not part of my history but something that happened to my father before I was born. He worked as a manager at Andy Capp’s Tavern the same year that Nolan Bushnell came in to give them the first game of Pong. He told me the story about how he was friends with Nolan and how popular those first video games were. If you watch the interview with Nolan, you will hear the entire story about what happened and the significance of the tavern to the history of video games. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
As I was playing the games I felt that there were a couple of features that made the game great for those players who grew up playing the games. One of the first features that made the games fun for me was that they stuck exactly to the way the games originally played when I was younger. Some people may not agree with me, but I think that it is important to replicate the feel of authentic games like Missile Command so that they remind the players of the original games. Since the games play just as they did in the arcade versions of them it made for loads of fun without having to pay a quarter for extended time.
Another one of the perks to the games is that you may use the mouse to simulate the feel to the original Atari controllers. This is probably the most comfortable way to play all the different games since I found that the controls for the keyboard make the game very difficult to control. If you can get hold of a joystick you may wish to use it for any game that have you pilot a spacecraft such as Asteroids or Asteroids Deluxe. I believe though that the game was more meant to be used with the mouse so that those of you who can remember the original games can feel that they’re using the original controllers from the Atari console.
On top of the loads of fun that you’ll have playing the twelve best selling Atari classics the game contains an interview with the Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell and images of familiar Atari memorabilia. Wow! What more could one person ask for, you got everything you could possibly want on one disc. Nolan does a great job getting his ideas across to his listeners and I guarantee that if you sit through the interview that you’ll learn things about the history of Atari that will give you a new found respect for it. Also you should browse through the images of newspaper cut outs and logos in the Atari memorabilia section you may be surprised at all the memories to behold. With all this at your disposal there really is no game that even compares to it.
I have always felt that you can only make a game more enjoyable by adding the element of competition to it. Without competition how can you separate the men from the boys? Luckily, each one of the games comes with a two-player mode that is based strictly on turns. It may not be as exciting as taunting your friend in a dual screen game but I promise you that it is still fun to harass the other player into a frenzy, just as in any of the games today. You can also challenge someone to attempt to beat your highest score so you’ll never have to gauge if one of you has more style or better form then the other.
You will immediately notice that each one of the games is set up to have the original frames and screenshots used back when the games first were released to the public. What a great idea! Who would want to play the original game of Gravitar or Super Breakout if all the screenshots were modernized for the times? There wouldn’t be a point to have the classics changed to look like a tacky rip off of the original games. Also as sort of an added bonus you can download some unique system icons, screen savers and even wallpaper to give your computer the Atari touch.
Yes, you can expect to hear your entire favorite sounds direct from the Atari archives. Thank god! Again what would be the point to have the sights but yet ignore the sounds? There are no worries in that department you’ll be able to play with the whole package intact. I’m sure for those players who grew up loving the Atari games, as they were that you wouldn’t be disappointed.
Required: Windows 95/98/Me, Pentium 133MHz or higher, 16MB RAM, None required. Game will play directly from game disc, 4X Speed, 2MB Windows 95/98/Me-compatible SVGA video card, Windows 95/98/Me-compatible sound card, DirectX version 5.0 or higher. (DirectX 7.0a included on game disc.)
Optional System Requirements: DirectX-compatible joystick
Recommended: 200 Pentium, 64 MEG RAM, 8X CD, Windows 98 2nd edition
Even though I had a blast browsing through all the game had to offer I found that it was basically a re-release of the Atari Hits Volume 1 and 2. Not to say that the game doesn’t have its sentimental value to those of us who understand that some games never go out of style. Besides, even if you already own the other two games this new one has the interview with Nolan Bushnell and extra images of Atari memorabilia that alone are worth the price of the game. For those of you who don’t own a copy and are interested in the classics I suggest that you give this game a try. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Review Posted On 7 August 2001.
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