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  • Indy 500 (Atari 2600, 1977)

    Indy 500 for the Atari 2600 (1977)


    Indy 500 was one of the nine original launch titles for the Atari 2600 (or VCS as it was originally called) in 1977. It was based on an earlier eight-player Atari arcade game called Indy 800. It was also one of the many titles that Sears Telegames would released under a different title (“Race” in this case).

    Indy 500 was unique in that it was packed with a pair of “racing controllers”. These were much like standard paddle controllers with some differences, like the ability to rotate the control an unlimited amount in either direction as opposed to having stops. For those that don’t know, paddle controllers were a type of spinner control that was originally used to control the “paddle” in pong type games. Loosely speaking, they could be used in some games where a trackball might be a better choice than a joystick (at least if you only need two dimensional control). They could also work as mini steering wheels but Atari made a couple of minor improvement in the driving controllers to make them more suited to the task.

    Like most Atari 2600 games, Indy 500 had several variations. These included standard racing, “Crash ‘N Score” where you competed with an opponent to crash into a randomly placed white dot, tag (pretty much what it sounds like) and ice racing where the tracks are slippery. Also like most Atari 2600 games this is pretty simplistic stuff. But in 1977, it was pretty amazing to have the ability to have this sort of racing video game in your home.

  • Atari 2600 (1981)

    Stevie Wonder Atari 2600 ad from 1981


    I’m not sure what to say about this ad. I’m not sure that having a blind guy promote your VIDEO game system, no matter how famous and talented, is really an effective thing to do. This ad for the Atari 2600 came out in 1981, near the height of the 2600’s popularity. I know 1981 was a different time, but do you think these quotes from the ad would make you buy one?

    “My friends tell me the graphics are the best”

    “Even Stevie can fumble his way through a joystick”

    “Stevie likes to play alone even if he has no idea what’s happening”

    “You don’t need two people to play with an Atari 2600…or even two eyes.”

    And it doesn’t get any better.

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous ads ever…

  • Yars’ Revenge (Atari 2600)

    Yar’s Revenge (Atari 2600)


    Yars’ Revenge is the best selling original title for the Atari 2600. It was exclusive to that system and while many reviews, including this one from the third issue of Joystik, were somewhat mediocre, it is recognized as a classic today.

    The game started as a port of Star Castle but limitations of the system led to it being changed into a somewhat different game though with some of the same concepts. In Yars’ Revenge, the player controls a mutant housefly who is defending its world against alien attackers. Even though the game essentially repeats the same activities over and over, there are some complex subtleties to the game play that make it interesting. Overall, it is an excellent example of classic arcade gameplay.

    There have been a number of remakes and sequels of sorts throughout the years. A version was created for the Game Boy Color in 1999, Yars’ Revenge was released on the Atari Flashback in 2004, and it was released as part of a 3-in-1 cartridge for the Game Boy Advance in 2005. The original version was released through Xbox’s Game Room in 2010. A remake was released through Xbox Live Arcade and for Windows in 2011. A remake/prequel was released as a social game on Facebook in 2011 as well. Yet another remake is playable via your browser on Atari.com along with a number of other classic remakes. Finally, a sequel was released titled Yars’ Return on the Atari Flashback 2.