Forty years ago today, Atari became a legal business. When Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney started Syzygy Engineering a year earlier, they called the company “Syzygy Engineering.” The company went on to become the biggest player in home console games. Atari truly set the stage for today’s Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii game consoles, which are all still around.
At some point in 1976, Bushnell hired Cyan Engineering to work on a project that would let people play all of the Atari games that were available at the time. Because of this project, the Atari Video Computer System (VCS), then known as the Atari 2600, was born. For money, he sold Atari to Warner Communications. But it was worth it because he was able to get the console into stores and make money from it (at the time).
Atari became a huge hit because of the cartridges it and other developers sold to play games at home. So popular, in fact, that its logo was used a lot in the sci-fi movie Blade Runner (which is celebrating its own 30th anniversary this week). The movie said that Atari would still be going strong in the “far future” of 2019.
Replicants aren’t the only thing that the future doesn’t have. At some point in 1982, there was a big drop in revenue for video games. When many third-party junk consoles came out, they may have caused this. Atari lost half a billion dollars and two-thirds of the value of its stock. People tried to restart Atari many times, but each time it didn’t work out. Atari ended up being a part of Hasbro in 1998, and then part of IESA in 2001. (where it became Infogrames Interactive). In 2009, IESA changed its name to Atari, SA. Bushnell served on the board of the company again in 2010.
It could happen by the end of this decade, and Atari could become a big company. There’s a good chance. There’s a lot of competition, and Atari would never be cool again if it didn’t play our favourite old games. Even though they were only 8-bit and pixelated at the time, they were still very impressive for their age. Here are the top ten best Atari games of all time, in that order.
1. Space Invaders
Space Invaders was one of the first shooting games ever. Before it became the first arcade game to be licenced for a console, Space Invaders was played in arcades. When Atari 2600 first came out in 1980, it sold four times as many 2600 consoles thanks to this game. It was the first game ever to sell more than one million cartridges. Face it: if we didn’t have Space Invaders, we might not be able to play games at home. Thank you, creepy alien rulers.
Activision’s Kaboom! (1981) sold a million copies. With three buckets at the bottom of the screen, the player caught three bombs that a mad bomber dropped. Miss a bomb and you lose a bucket. Original owners of the game who scored more than 3,000 points could mail in a picture of their screen to get membership to the Activision club. Members don’t get any bombs or buckets.
Combat (1976) was one of the first games made by Atari, and it was made in 1976. It had 27 games in one, each representing a different kind of fight, but all of them used tanks, jets, or biplanes as vehicles with weapons. Today, the 8-bit graphics might make you think that a biplane should look like more than a sock with a stick stuck in the middle. But in the 70s, zipping along the jagged clouds or driving tanks through the field of carefully placed barriers felt like a real treat.
4. Demon Attack
Commodores, TRS-80s, and the Atari 2600 all had Demon Attack (1982), which was made by Imagic, a company that started with a “I” before starting with a “I” was cool. In part, it was based on the game Galaxian from the 1980s. In this game, you use a cannon on the planet’s surface to shoot at demons that are above you. I don’t know why there are demons on an alien planet, but I think the name is cool. People at Imagic were sued by Atari because Demon Attack looked like a game called Phoenix, which Atari owns and owns the rights to. There was time for DA to be a big hit.
It was also like Space Invaders, but in Atlantis (1982), players defended a city under the sea from space invaders. Game only ended when you quit or when all of your seven bases were destroyed. There was no way to win completely. Then, a submarine took off with the survivors, setting the stage for a second movie or TV show to happen. You didn’t do any targeting with Atlantis like you did with Missile Command, but you did with Missile Command. Rather, this game was all about when you hit the Gorgons just right as they came to destroy.
6. Gravitar (1982)
Gravitar is the 23rd game on our list of the best Atari 2600 games. It brings all the classic arcade action to your living room.
In this case, Gravitar is trying to mess up the universe, and it’s your job to bring him down to earth.
If you want to go back to your home (sorry, I watched the Hobbit). In other words, I mean take back the solar systems he has taken, but be careful of the explosive reactors he left behind when he killed planets.
Awful work, isn’t it?
Two ways to win this game: In the beginning, you can kill off the enemies on each planet, or you can do a “Death Star run” on an alien base at the centre of the problem and get out before you die in the blast.
Last but not least, that last one sounds the most epic.
It isn’t easy to fly through the gravitational pulls in this game as well. Flappy Bird is a game that makes people feel like they want to break their joystick into a million pieces.
Then, there are five different difficulties for you to try. There’s a lot to do!
7. Spider Fighter (1983)
Spider Fighter is a lot like Centipede, but there isn’t as much going on in front of the screen.
In this game, players use a bug blaster to protect pieces of fruit until the last one dies.
There is a war going on between them and…
You can read about them in the title.
They will try to both kill your gun and eat the fruit. It’s time to finish the game.
You should keep your wits about you as you go through the game. There’s an extra blaster if you protect all the fruit until the end of the round.
It’s time to squirt bugs!
8. Video Pinball (1980)
Keep in mind that this was a big deal back in 1980, right? Because it was 42 years ago, it might look old to some of our younger readers.
It was still a lot of fun, though, because the pinball game could be played by two people. If you want to play the game harder, you can turn the difficulty up. You don’t have to worry about getting sick from the kid who sneezes in front of you in line at the arcade.