Merry Christmas from 7800 Avenue. Today we relive the magic of Christmas morning 1982 with Howard Scott Warshaw’s ambitious take on the hit film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. E.T. gets a bad rep as “the worst video game ever made”. There’s been a lot of controversy around it. Atari Game Designer Howard Scott Warshaw was famously given just weeks to turn around an E.T. game in time for Christmas. The end result was rushed. Customer returns and a desert dump stained Atari’s reputation and lead to the lore of urban legends. We’re taking another look at E.T. with fresh eyes and shedding a new look at the trash-talk this game has had for years. Does this game deserve the title of “The Worst Game Ever”? Mason plays it for the first time and gives an honest review.
In this episode of Lynx Lounge we talk about the 1982 Williams arcade classic Joust, plus sleepovers, forts, and pizza. I’ve always loved Joust. It is a big favorite of mine. I am so pleased to be talking about it today, and how well it plays and how well it looks and sounds on the Atari Lynx. Isn’t that weird? Man, we have an awful lot of games that sound good and look good and play good on this amazing system. To me, it doesn’t get any better than Joust. I absolutely love this game. Any time you have a theme that involves something ‘medieval’ and ‘future’, and it’s combined, I am in 100%.
Namco’s side scrolling arcade adventure that got Pac-Man out of the maze and into the world. An excellent arcade port for the Atari Lynx and TurboGrafx-16. So you need to ask yourself.. did Pac-Man survive the change from maze games to side-scrolling adventures? Well I would say yes. I think this is a great game. This is sort of a forgotten game. Not a lot of people talk about Pac-Land when they talk about Pac-Man. Personally, I love this game. This is a game that brings a smile to my face every time I play it.
Who is the baddest monster of them all – you of course! Smash through 61 cities in this 4 player Atari Lynx Classic! Man, this game is absolutely fantastic. From the moment this game came out in 1986 to today, I’m still having fun with this game! What can I say? I’m a big monster at heart, and I love smashing things. I don’t really smash things at home or anything like that, but I like playing monsters. What a great, interesting port for the Atari Lynx! That’s right, we have another Atari Twist in this game! Are you ready to check out Rampage? I am. Let’s smash some buildings!
This isn’t your daddy’s NES game – this one is even harder. The 1988 arcade beat em up hits the portable 16-bit Atari Lynx… and boy does it hit hard. Ninja Gaiden came out in 1988, and here’s the interesting thing: I remember this coming out for the NES first. This was an amazing game for the Nintendo. Really, really fast paced. Awesome ninja action. Then one day, at the Deer Creek Lanes bowling alley, I saw an arcade machine for Ninja Gaiden. But here’s the thing: It was completely different from what we were playing on the NES. What the heck?? Ninja Gaiden the arcade game, and Ninja Gaiden the NES game came out at the same time. Two different games. Two different game styles. The one in the arcade was your beat-’em-up, your answer to your Double Dragons that were very popular at the time. We were just right at the very beginning of the side-scrolling beat-’em-up, and the NES game was like a fast-paced platformer, really really awesome, very fluid gameplay.
Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Chris Buongiorno plays Atari 2600 Spider-Man, Marvel and Spidey’s first video game released in 1982 by Parker Brothers. You saw Chris about two years ago here on The Jag Bar, if you saw the episode for Supercross 3-D. That was the episode where everybody was getting really nauseous because the game was that good. But Chris disappeared for 2 years… Why? Well that’s because he was working with Spidey himself – assisting Jon Watts, the Director of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Atari’s answer to the popular Police Academy films – on the go! Take Officer Bob with you on your Atari Lynx and catch some crooks while you’re at it. An excellent arcade translation that’s still fun to play. It’s actually better than the arcade. Every time we do these comparisons we’re always saying “Well, the arcade had a special joystick that just made it really awesome. It just kinda barely passes on the Atari Lynx because it’s portable, but I didn’t really get that same satisfaction.” Well this is the complete opposite. This plays great. The controls are very stripped down, and that makes for easy play. You could really pick this thing up and play, and it plays really good.
Atari’s Kangaroo hit the arcades in 1982 and hit your wallet even harder – say goodbye to your quarters. This game is extremely hard, if the flicker and glitching won’t get you those pesky monkeys will. In the early 80s Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were the kings of the arcade, so what naturally followed was a slew of games that tried to capitalize on their gameplay. Lots of maze type games where you ate dots or the new style of platforming games which Donkey Kong brought to the table. It was a craze to say the least, everything was about the arcade – cartoons, plush toys and cereal, you couldn’t get away from it.
Ballblazer, Lucasfilm’s first video game, was lightning fast and quite different than anything out there in 1984. It’s the battle of the joysticks – Video 61’s Grip-Stick vs the Wico BOSS! Who will be named the Ballblazer champion? You know, the thing about this game is that it moves SO WELL. It really screams on the system. It’s really shocking. When you put it in for the first time and you just think it’s just some Atari game, or you know, some older arcade-type title, it just blows you away. I mean, it’s got some pretty amazing 3-D effects, it’s doing some pseudo 3-D stuff. For the time, this really would have been impressive. I mean, I’m impressed now. Not just at that time period. And everybody that I show this game, they’re like “Whoa! This game is nuts!”
So today we are playing a very old Atari game, 1979-1980, Sears & Roebuck game. We’re playing Steeplechase, a very old 1980 4-Player horse racing game, but we are going to do something a little different… We’re actually going to place bets in between horse races, and make it a little more, you know, adult fun. We don’t have any real money because we are all artists, so we’re using Monopoly money. But we’re going to have fun none the less. Are you guys ready to play some Steeplechase? Sounds like a challenge! Here we go, Steeplechase for Atari 2600!