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.
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 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.
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!
I’ve eagerly awaited the publication of Art of Atari since I first read about author Tim Lapetino’s in-progress book project many years ago. Art of Atari is aesthetically striking in a number of ways. It’s big, heavy, colorful, and exudes the feeling of a quality, professional product. The Deluxe Edition with its cartridge-emulating leather-bound cover and heavy-duty cardboard slipcase is artwork in itself, if you ask me. These were clearly not produced by some fly-by-night publishing house — it’s professional quality through and through. The subject matter necessitated high-quality printing in order to show off color, texture, and other subtleties in the artwork, and the book certainly delivers on that front, using extra-white paper to really make the imagery “pop” off the page. As someone who grew up with Atari (but somehow never owned another console until a PS3), and as someone with an admittedly lacking fantastical imagination, the artwork that accompanied Atari products made an enormous impression on me as a kid. It’s the talented artists and designers under Atari’s employ who deserve the credit for allowing me to dream of ideas and worlds bigger than those generated by glowing phosphor lines on a CRT screen, and Art of Atari does a spectacular job in affording them the recognition and credit they well deserve.
Gamers who grew up with Atari will fondly remember the striking box, instruction manual, and label artwork as artifacts of a bygone time, when dressing up a game in proverbial fancy clothing wasn’t seen as an act of deception or otherwise underhanded. Art of Atari promises to be much more than a simple compendium of artistic sentimentality, however. Tim Lapetino, graphic design director and author of Art of Atari, has gone to great lengths to chronicle memories and stories from the artists and designers themselves. Since Atari artists’ handiwork comes from a time when even game programmers weren’t given credit for their work (let alone artists), Art of Atari will be a long-deserved recognition of their important contributions to video gaming history and lore. On behalf of Atari.IO, I spoke with the author earlier this year about his project-turned-book labor of love.
The premiere of 7800 Avenue, our brand new Atari-themed YouTube show! 7800 Avenue focuses on the classic 8-bit Atari 2600 and 7800 consoles with a look at different games and accessories in each episode. In the premiere episode of 7800 Avenue we celebrate Howard Scott Warshaw Day by playing a few rounds of Yars’ Revenge!
[easy-share buttons=”facebook,twitter,google,pinterest,digg,stumbleupon,tumblr,mail,reddit,buffer” counters=0 native=”no”] By Justin | Retroist | Instagram CELEBRATE HOWARD SCOTT WARSHAW DAY 2016 AT THE ATARI I/O OPEN HOUSE! Join your friends in the Atari.IO Forums on Saturday, July 30, 2016 for a day of Atari fun & festivities! HOWARD SCOTT WARSAW DAY July 30th is Howard Scott Warshaw Day […]
The Starpath Supercharger is an add-on for the Atari 2600 VCS. It plugs in like a cartridge and has built in memory (and maybe some other bits) to play more advanced games on Atari 2600 compatible systems. It increases the Atari 2600’s RAM by nearly fifty times, adding 6KB to the Atari 2600’s normal 128 Bytes of RAM. The result are larger games with higher resolution graphics.
Groundhog Day is here, and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to observe that revered occasion than to take a look at one of the many games involving hogs on the Atari 2600: Pigs in Space. To summarize, three pigs voyage through the stars aboard the spaceship Swinetrek, boldly doing nothing of particular importance. The game itself is somewhat unusual in that it’s effectively three very different games in one, and each game had a different programmer.