Sunday, November 10, 2013

Asteroids Atari 2600/VCS

One of my favorite games on the 2600, Asteroids uses the hardware well to create an addicting game with a fun premise. Everyone like space shooters, and the idea of being a rogue fighter pilot is classic. It's almost as if the display could actually be a representation of a futuristic ship, something of a remote-control Ender's Game type situation. 

After a few practice runs, I managed to roll the score over twice and get 247,940 points tonight. My strategy is pretty basic: I never fly around, just spin and shoot the closest asteroid. Getting the angles right is key, but the game remains challenging. I never have more than 10 lives stored up, and when one life is lost, a few more tend to follow. 

Asteroids is reason enough to own an Atari, and it and Missile Command are available on most of the Atari reproduction consoles and collections.

In some ways, I like this version better than the arcade original. The arcade game tends to be about keeping 1 asteroid on the the screen and farming UFOs. That's not how you play the one on the Atari, and in that sense it's a much better game. Having to farm UFOs (or spiders in Centipede) can only hold one's attention for so long, and I think that's the reason game with progressive levels (Missile Command, Galaga, Galaxian, Pac-Man) continue to be more popular.

There is no reason to ever be bored if you own Asteroids for the Atari 2600. 

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