• Tag Archives Activision
  • Megamania (Atari 2600)

    ’Megamania’ for the Atari 2600.


    Megamania is a fairly typical shooter from the early 1980s. It is similar to games like Space Invaders and Galaxian and is a near clone of Astro Blaster. It’s unique twist is that instead of fighting alien invaders, you are shooting at various random objects like hamburgers and refrigerator magnets.

    While there had already been many games like Megamania before this one was released in 1982, it’s unique humourous twist and Activision quality make it worth a try if you like classic arcade type games. In a way, this game is a symptom of the problem that led to the video game crash in 1982/83. Too many similar games. However, if they all had the quality of the typical Activision game perhaps it wouldn’t have been as bad.

    Megamania does have a more modern release in the Activision Anthology that was first released in 2002 for the PS2 and re-released for various systems through 2012. It’s also fairly easy to find an original cartridge for your 2600 or to emulate. There were also contemporary ports for the Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit computers. The gameplay was identical but the graphics were somewhat improved.

    Screen shots above are from the Atari 2600 version of the game.

  • Pitfall! (Atari 2600)

    Don’t become a statistic in ‘Pitfall!’ on the Atari 2600.


    Those that enjoy the side-scrolling platform game genre today probably have Pitfall! most to thank. While perhaps not the very first game that could be included in that genre, it did define many of the features that became popular with these type games and it was also a massive popular and critical success that helped to popularize the genre.

    Pitfall! was released by Activision in 1982 for the Atari 2600. It became one of the best selling games for that system with over 4 million sold which is an impressive number for 1982. The game is fairly simple. Run around trying to collect treasures while avoiding obstacles and enemies. You must swing over lakes of alligators on a vine Tarzan style, leap over scorpions, avoid pits, etc. While helping to define a new genre it also maintained the arcade like characteristics common with games of that era. Scoring was the ultimate goal. A perfect score could be achieved by collecting all of the treasures (of which there were 32) and avoiding the touch of any enemies or obstacles. Oh, and you also had a limited time in which to complete the game…only 20 minutes. Playing the game on those terms is definitely a challenge.

    Pitfall! was one of the killer apps on the Atari 2600. It is a must have if you own that system and any video game fan should really give this one a try if you have never played it. Pitfall! was ported to several other contemporary systems and has been re-released various times in it’s Atari 2600 form so there are a variety of legitimate ways to get this game. In addition, it has been easily emulated for many years. Even original cartridges are relatively cheap and plentiful. There really isn’t any excuse not to at least try this one.

  • MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat


    Source: Next Generation – Issue Number 9 – September 1995

    There have been a lot of mech games over the years. There are only few I have spent serious time playing and MechWarrior 2 is one of those. In my opinion, it is still one of the best.

    MechWarrior 2, like the other MechWarrior games, is part of the BattleTech universe. MechWarrior 2 was originally written as a DOS game in 1995 but was ported to Windows and Macintosh as well as to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. As the player you must choose one of two clans that are at war with each other. After making your choice, you will pilot a mech in a variety of missions with various goals. As the game progresses, you can further modify your mech and can eventually issue commands to your own squad. MechWarrior 2 is a cross between a tactical simulator and first person combat. It really plays much like a flight simulator only with mechs instead of planes and it is awesome.

    Unfortunately, they went in a little different direction with the console ports. The arcade aspects were emphasized more and the game was simplified somewhat. Some will no doubt like this better but to me it ruined the game. I loved the simulation aspect of the original computer versions and to change that makes it a much different game.

    So if you want to give this one a try, the DOS or Windows versions are definitely the ones you want to chose from. The problem is that these are relatively difficult to get working on modern hardware. MechWarrior 2 has not been re-released for modern hardware and is not available via distributors like GoG or Steam. Getting this game to work is complicated by the fact that there were different versions released for different 3D accelerators as well. There are tutorials out there for getting the Windows version to work on a modern system and I suspect that you can get the non 3D accelerated version to work via DOSbox but I haven’t tried it (and you would lose out on some textures). However, despite the dated 3D graphics and extra effort required to get this one up an running on modern hardware, it is well worth it. Whenever you see a list of top 100 games this one is typically in it and for good reason. Hopefully it will show up on GoG one of these days…