Atari Anniversary Edition
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Publisher: PC Gamer Presents
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-4
Words By:

Remember the days when tube socks were stylish, 20p could nearly buy a car and PONG was the most popular arcade game ever? Well I don’t. Sadly, I’m not old enough to have been around for the “golden years” of computer games (my gaming honeymoon started with the Atari ST), but luckily Atari have brought back all the classic coin-guzzlers onto one handy disc to show that older can be wiser, and cheaper!

Let me start by saying that my parents were right. Not about me needing to clean my room, or that eventually I’ll be as old as Nan, so I should show some respect, but they were right in saying that “us kids have it easy”. If you have ever doubted this saying, I invite you to play any of the games on the Atari Anniversary edition disc with the settings at arcade standard!

The games certainly aren’t smart or pretty, but that was never the point of them. The buzzwords here are “simple” “fun” and, above all:“addictive”.
It’s strange, but thirty years on a game that involves propelling a hollow white triangle around a screen filled with big blobs that explode into smaller blobs when you shoot them is still highly addictive and great fun! Most of the games on the list you’ll have heard of, with a couple of more obscure ones for the purists:

• Asteroids
• Asteroids deluxe (Asteroids with a shield and more types of enemy…)
• Battlezone
• Centipede
• Crystal Castles
• Gravitar
• Millipede
• Missile Command
• Pong
• Super Breakout
• Tempest
• Warlords

Most of the games were like I remembered them - Pong still has that minimalist feel, and the satisfying “PONG” when you make contact with the ball/white pixel. But the novelty wears off quite quickly, and even Breakout, one of my favourite classic games takes backseat to some more radical arcade kings!

Warlords is probably the best of the bunch. I’d never heard of it but I played it five times more than any of the other games, it’s just so damn good! It’s essentially a mix of the best games - a bit of Pong mixed with some Breakout action! Basically there are 4 castles in each corner of the screen and a flaming ball in the middle. You have a paddle to protect your castle from the ball, and to lob it back at someone else’s castle! It’s pretty tough covering two walls from three other players, but then they gradually throw more and more balls into the mix until it’s absolute mayhem and your eyes can take no more!

Tempest could possibly be the most confusing of the bunch, and most likely to send anyone playing it on drugs into a hallucinogenic fit. Crystal Castles, which I’ve heard so much about from the “Oldies” is a bizarre game. The only one featuring colour, it is a 3-D version of Pac-Man, except with a cuddly bear instead and you have to run away from trees instead of ghosts…

I needn’t go into the ins and outs of each game - chances are you’ll only be buying this game if you’re old enough to have remembered playing them way back when. This is a shame, as I feel privileged to have reviewed this - it took me away from my cushy RTS games and shallow arcade racers and kicked me hard in the teeth with a shot of mental gaming. Sure, they don’t look that good, and all the levels all look the same, but even past the rose-tint value these are great games to waste a few minutes on, or pour whole hours into. Buy this for your GTA-playing kid, make him play it and tell him how he’s had it easy.

Best Bits

- A great selection of addictive games
- The games are actually challenging
- Authentic arcade feel
- Damn cheap
- Rose tint factor 10!
Worst Bits

- Not for graphics-whores
- Or people born later than the ‘80s
- Or SEGA fans.

by: Crazypunk

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