Rest in Bits: Atari

Atari VCS (2600)

Atari 2600October 1977 ushered in a new era of home video games with the arrival of the Atari Video Computer System (VCS). Though it wasn’t the first, it was surprisingly capable and helped to kick-start the first video game boom.

In 1982, it would adopt the 2600 moniker on the release of its successor, the Atari 5200. The failure of that system though kept this humble little console alive far longer than I think anyone would have thought possible.

I didn’t get to play too many 2600 games at this time but I have fond memories of two which were played to death before we embraced the computer revolution. Others I discovered further down the track but were nonetheless impressed with what was possible.

Games of note:

Space Invaders

Though it was the pack-in for our 2600, the game was also the most addictive title we had the pleasure of playing at the time. Considering the arcade game was monchrome (coloured by celophane strips), it was quite a buzz seeing the game in colour on the TV. The winning feature of this game was its support of 112 game variations including a few clever ones such as “invisible invaders”.

Air Sea Battle

The first competitive multiplayer console game I ever played. The game was basically a shooting gallery with a military theme to it. It had a multitude of game variations as well, mostly along the lines of shooting as much as you could in a short time but had a couple of fun modes such as “polaris versus bomber” which required a player at the top of the screen (the bomber) attempt to destroy a player (a polaris frigate) at the bottom.

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