Atari 50 review: An incredible walkthrough of video game history

One of the biggest challenges in preserving video games is figuring out how to actually render old games. In 2022, there are more ways than ever to play the classics, whether it’s mini consoles, updated hardware, subscription services, legacy collections, or modern releases. While these can make old games playable for new audiences, they can’t always put them in an appropriate context – which is especially important for truly Old games like, for example, conspiracy On the Atari 2600.

But a new extended edition, created by Digital Eclipse to celebrate Atari’s 50th anniversary, is the best attempt at a retro set I’ve ever had. It’s available on every console currently out there as well as PC, allowing me to use my PS5 for its intended purpose: to play asteroids. The collection is huge, detailed and does a great job of explaining why these games are so important.

The first thing to know Atari 50: Anniversary Celebration It is very huge. It has more than 90 games spanning a few decades of history. Most come from 2600 and arcades, but there are also PC games, 7800 updates, and a few titles from unlucky hardware like Jaguar and Lynx. Rounding out the package is a number of unreleased prototypes, such as a sequel Yaris’s revenge and updated or reimagined versions of games like haunted house And the go ahead. Outside of the games themselves, the collection is filled with things like short documentaries featuring the original developers; old photos, magazine articles, and picture books; and high-quality versions of classic Atari Box art. You can even see the original code for some games.

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It seems like a massive amount of stuff, but the team at Digital Eclipse cleverly arranged it into a timeline. It’s divided into five different eras, starting with the arcade origins of Atari before moving on to home consoles and PCs and ending with the bad days of Jaguar. The timeline is peppered with supplementary materials alongside the games so that you can understand the context of the title before playing. You also don’t have to experiment with the schedule in any specific order. You can pick and choose what you see, delve into the most interesting and skip the things you already know. It’s kind of an interactive exhibit in the museum, just on your TV.

This context is especially important because many of these games are not aging well. Even as someone who loves vintage games, I am totally stunned when I run something like Sword. But after watching some videos of the designer explaining his work and delving into comic books that illustrate the backstory, I was able to appreciate the series much more. I still can’t say that I enjoyed playing it, but having that context helped me understand that these highly confusing mazes were actually an important point in video game history, helping pioneer action-adventure games as we know them. (Atari 50 It even contains a newly developed version of the previously unreleased fourth game in the series.)

I really liked being able to compare different versions of games. For example, I really found myself in this matter dark roomsEarly dungeon crawler. I started playing the Atari 7800 version and was impressed with its detailed characters and dungeons. Then I played the port 2600 which was very stripped and was able to estimate how much of the game was left intact despite the much weaker hardware. play scrap dogin early time Super Mario-style platformer, had a similar experience. First I ran the bright and colorful console version, then the surprisingly hand-held version of the Lynx.

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All of this is made easier with a few modern touches. Everything is fast and fast, so it’s easy to switch between titles and Atari 50 It has saved statuses so you don’t lose your progress when you do. You can also view original controls and instruction manuals with the push of a button, which is especially important since controls can change from game to game and platform to platform. I should also point out that you don’t have to experiment Atari 50 As a timeline: If you want, you can just play the games from a list as in most old combos.

Interactive schedule.
Photo: Atari

But it is this timeline that makes this group so special. Without it, you would probably have played most of these games for a few minutes and then moved on; With that said, I’m more invested in understanding what it is and how it fits into gaming history, and I know what to look for when I dive into it. However, there are a few notable omissions. Where Atari 50 It only has a few third-party titles built in, and important releases like Notorious ET The Atari 2600 and the beloved Aliens vs Predators On Jaguar not available. And while there is no fault of the team at Digital Eclipse, I must repeat that many of these games aren’t very fun to play in 2022. As a kid, I always thought of a 3D Jaguar fighter fight for life She looked great in magazine shots, and three decades later, I was able to experience how awful it really was.

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This does not take away what is accomplished Atari 50 he is. It’s so detailed and sprawling that it feels like a history lesson told in a way that perfectly matches video games. The biggest compliment I can give is that I now want this for every retro collection. Imagine the likes of Nintendo, Sega or PlayStation receiving similar treatment. It’s a false dream, but it’s one Atari 50 It makes me want to get real so badly.

Atari 50: Anniversary Celebration It launches November 11th on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

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