Atari Anthology

-Atari (2004)

-Also on Xbox


A collection of the simplest and most confusing games ever.

My Thoughts

“Is that supposed to be a car? Are those people? They call that a sword? What am I supposed to do in this game? What the heck is going on?” These and many other questions await you in Atari Anthology, a collection of 85 great and not so great games from the past.

If you were around in the early 80s you’ll remember many of these games and how much fun they were back then. You may also play games you never heard of, and for good reason. There are a lot of games on here that suck hardcore. If you weren’t around at that time, then this is a great opportunity to play the roots of some of today’s great games.

This disc is almost more of a historical documentation than a retro game disc as it includes everything you ever wanted to know (and everything you didn't think you cared about) for each game. Pictures of the arcade cabinets, boxes, release sheets, and all the information you ever need about every game is present. If you’re interested in gaming history then you’ll probably spend more time reading about the games than actually playing them.

When you are done playing the games, reading about them, and you’re all out of acid to drop, then you can play the games in Trippy Mode, one of the unlockable game modes. Trippy Mode makes everything in the games, well, trippy. The colors constantly change and moving objects leave trails. It could very well drive you insane. Another mode, Time Warp, varies the speed of the game as you’re playing. In Hot Seat you’ll get comfortable playing your chosen game and be violently jerked into one of two other games throughout play. Double Speed should be obvious.

The PS2 controller works fine with these games. I’d much rather play using that then an old stiff controller anyways.

As for the games, they’re all dispersed into game constellations containing similar games. Some of these games are still kind of fun, while a lot of these games are better off forgotten. All the good Atari games are over on Activision Anthology, but $20 for this disc is a pretty good deal for the history lesson and the nostalgia and its a much better deal than the Atari Flashback system.

And for those that want to know what games are on the disc, here you go:

Arcade Originals:

Asteroids: Destroy countless hollow asteroids before they slam into you.

Asteroids Deluxe: The same as before except in new revolutionary blue color!

Battle Zone: Use your tank to fight other primitive tanks. The PS2’s dual analog setup works very well with this game.

Black Widow: Defend your web as a spider hopped-up on speed.

Centipede: The game that showed us that those creepy gross centipedes can actually be used for a tasty mushroom substitute.

Crystal Castles: A touchy-feely bear must steal all the gems and honey while avoiding bees and nature.

Gravitar: The Asteroids ship constantly crashes into planets with mega-ultra gravity.

Liberator: “Liberate” planets of their defenses and life with four spaceships.

Lunar Lander: Constantly die trying to land your moon pod.

Major Havoc: Battle ships in space and deadly space birds inside bases.

Millipede: Just like Centipede but with extra creepy bugs.

Missile Command: The Cold War is over! Defend your cities against Commie missile attacks!

Pong: It’s Pong!

Red Baron: Take out squadrons of bi-planes as the dastardly Red Baron.

Space Duel: The Asteroids ship is back, now squaring off against pinwheels of doom.

Super Breakout: Break down a big wall with a bouncy ball.

Tempest: Shoot virtual creatures coming out of a virtual hole. It’s virtually fun!

Warlords: Warlords is one of my old favorites and the best multiplayer game on the disc. Defend your castle against three clones of Darth Vader or three friends.

Arcade at Home contains nine of the games from above, but in the home versions. In addition it also includes regular Breakout and Video Pinball, the single worst pinball game ever.

Adventure Games:

Adventure: Guide a small square through a confusing maze filled with ostrich people.

Haunted House: A pair of eyes tries to escape the scariest haunted house ever.

Sword Quest: Earthworld: Navigate through a series of rooms that look exactly the same.

Sword Quest Fireworld: The same thing but with different rooms.

Sword Quest Waterworld: This time you swim through rooms. Wow!

Action Games:

Air-Sea Battle: Destroy jets and boats with your fully erect missile cannon.

Canyon Bomber: Bomb regenerating blocks in a canyon as your plane inexplicably morphs from a plane to a helicopter and back.

Circus Atari: It’s Breakout but with acrobats that fall to their deaths.

Combat: Fight a duel with tanks, planes and jets.

Demons to Diamonds: You shoot monsters and diamonds while undead skulls shoot you.

Desert Falcon: Have your falcon gather Egyptian artifacts.

Dodge ‘em: Drive in a circle as you collect dots and avoid the other player.

Flag Capture: Die in a field of mines hiding a flag.

Human Cannonball: Shoot a guy into a basket.

Off the Wall: A little Chinese guy breaks down the Great Wall of China with a super-ball.

Outlaw: Two scrawny cowboys shoot each other.

Radar Lock: A pink triangle shoots fleshy things that explode.

Sky Diver: Sky Divers fall to their deaths.

Submarine Commander: Destroy boats as you command your sub, uh, Commander.

Racing Games:

Night Driver: Drive down a curvy road at night while avoiding Pacers.

Slot Racers: Drive a block through a slotted track and shoot the other player.

Sprint Master: Try to control your race car.

Steeple Chase: Annihilate your horse’s kneecaps by never quite making it over the obstacles.

Street Racer: Crash into “cars” that look just like yours.

Space Games:

Quadrun: I have absolutely no idea what is going on here.

Space War: Two Asteroids ships duel with bouncing bullets.

Star Raiders: Shoot down TIE Fighters and balls.

Star Ship: Shoot floating aliens and saucers before they run into you.

Stellar Track: Attempt to navigate through a series of confusing menus.

Yar’s Revenge: Help a space bug do something. Nobody actually knows what, though.

Mind Games:

3-D Tic-Tac-Toe: Play a screwed-up version of the X and O game.

Atari Video Cube: Solve an easier Rubik’s Cube.

Backgammon: Even if you know how to play Backgammon, you won’t figure out how to play it here.

Fun with Numbers: The TV teaches you how to add!

Hangman: Figure out words before you get strung up.

Math Grand Prix: Get your race car to the finish line by solving incredibly tough equations.

Maze Craze: Guide a ball through a series of simple mazes.

Surround: It’s just the game Snake, nothing more.

Video Checkers: Attempt to play checkers with its own set of rules.

Video Chess: It’s the most boring game of chess you’ve ever played.

Casino Games contains very primitive versions of Black Jack, Casino Black Jack, and a Slot Machine. Very, very primitive.

In Sports Games you’ll find sports games that are closer to the real thing than any other sports games to date. This includes Bowling, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and multiple versions of baseball, football, and golf.         

Score: 7.0