The very best museum I’ve ever performed.
No matter whether or not you grew up with an Atari 2600 or have been born and raised in a world the place Atari was historic historical past, the impression of the corporate on video video games, particularly within the West, is immense. Possibly you might make the argument that another person would have carried the torch, but when not for Atari, video video games as we all know them wouldn’t exist. That historical past is what makes the brand new online game assortment Atari 50 fascinating. Celebrating the corporate’s fiftieth anniversary, it options greater than 80 video games, primarily from the Eighties, that assist inform the story of Atari’s rise and fall. The video games themselves won’t have aged nicely, however the package deal they’re in is fascinating, providing up fascinating and related context for why these video games mattered and what their legacy is.
From the leap, Atari 50 presents its main focus as a museum exhibit or interactive documentary. You aren’t dropped at the listing of playable video games; as a substitute you’re dropped at an inventory of 5 timelines that inform the story of Atari, from arcade origins to ‘90s flameout. The meat of this package deal is that story. The timelines are participating, filled with field artwork, commercials, and extra visuals. Additionally they assist you to immediately play a sport being mentioned and while you’re accomplished, you’ll be able to return proper again to the place you have been within the timeline. The good half to me although is the number of interviews with Atari luminaries starting from Yars’ Revenge creator Howard Scott Warshaw to Swordquest creator Tod Frye. Their tales are fascinating, filled with nice anecdotes and amusing quotes. My private favourite video is the one about dispelling (or proving) the parable that each one the Atari devs did medication. However apart from that bit, it’s additionally cool seeing Warshaw and Frye element the origins of their best-known works.
Atari 50 is strictly what I hoped for in that I left my expertise with this sport having a fuller image of what Atari was and why it issues. I’ve a better appreciation for the trailblazing nature of the corporate. If this was a sport that simply had a port of the 1982 sport Journey, I’d most likely roll my eyes and never hassle. As a substitute, it supplies the context for why Journey is massively influential and allowed me to raised recognize this sensible previous sport that Nintendo followers would possibly label as a proto-Zelda.
Other than the ‘80s ambition and the data of how groundbreaking a few of these video games have been, I don’t suppose numerous them are all that good in 2022. If in case you have nostalgia for these video games, you then’ll be in heaven as a result of that is the perfect they’ve ever performed since they got here out. It’s neat enjoying Asteroids, Centipede, and Basketbrawl, however they’re extra curiosities than something I’m going to sink hours into. Even among the ‘90s video games on Atari’s handheld Lynx and closing house console Jaguar aren’t terribly nice. Atari Karts is a cute kart racer, Ninja Golf is an outrageous idea, and Cybermorph is a neat shooter, however general it’s a smattering of video games which might be extra fascinating than they’re good.
The very best a part of the sport choice are the handful of Reimagined titles which might be newly created for this assortment. Vctr Sctr is a loving pastiche of Atari’s vector graphics video games, which incorporates the one actual reference to Battlezone. In the event you don’t know, Battlezone is a traditional Atari sport that sadly isn’t current right here as a result of one other firm owns the rights. The licensing points really forestall a handful of notable video games from exhibiting up right here. One other Reimagined sport is Haunted Homes, a voxel rendition of the early survival horror sport that’s extremely enjoyable to fiddle with. SwordQuest: Airworld is the deliberate fourth sport within the collection that was by no means made however the crew at Digital Eclipse used notes from 40 years in the past to make the tip of the quadrilogy. Yars’ Revenge Enhanced exhibits the standard of the unique as a result of all it’s is a contemporary coat of paint on the sport with out every other modifications. Normally, the Reimagined video games are very good at taking the perfect ideas of the dated older video games and making them completely sing within the twenty first century.
As an interactive timeline and a digital exhibit, Atari 50 is unparalleled. No different historic assortment comes near how superior that is as a context-rich story (the one ones that do are additionally from the identical developer). I hope that this model of giving historic context and never simply presenting an inventory of 40-year-old video games with none clarification is the development going ahead for packages like this. Even when I’m not chomping on the bit to play some RealSports Soccer, I’m thrilled that I now know its place within the grand historical past of Atari.