• Tag Archives Atari 7800
  • Summer Games (Epyx, 1984)

    Summer Games (Epyx, 1984)


    The best sports game on the Commodore 64 and in my opinion in the entirety of the 8-bit era was not a baseball, basketball or football game but Epyx’s take on the olympics. Summer Games was the first in the series and coincided with the 1984 Olympic Games. While Summer Games was ultimately ported to a wide variety of video game and computer systems, it was developed first for the Commodore 64 and this is probably the most well known version. I don’t think any of the subsequent versions exceeded the Commodore 64 in terms of playability.


    The game starts with choosing the country you want to represent. Up to eight players can compete, two at a time. You can choose to practice an event, compete in some events, or compete in all of the events. While the available events varied depending on what version of the game you were playing, the original Commodore 64 version includes the following events: Pole Vault, Platform Diving, 4x400m Relay, 100m Dash, Gymnastics, Freestyle Relay, 100m Freestyle, and Skeet Shooting.


    While Summer Games is a reasonably fun game to play on your own, the real fun is competing with a group of your friends and the more the better. There is a pretty good balance of play mechanics spread throughout the vents. Some, like Pole Vault, depend on perfect timing. Putting you stick down at the right time and timing your release just right are paramount. In other events, like the 100m Dash, it’s all about how fast you can move the joystick. Each event offers its own subtleties in terms of control.


    Epyx went on to create a number of games in this series including Summer Games II (which could be combined with Summer Games to compete in events across both games), Winter Games, World Games (with events such as Bull Riding, Cliff Diving and Caber Toss) and finally, The Games: Summer Edition and The Games: Winter Edition. These last two were remakes of sorts with some events that were the same as those in the original Summer and Winter games and some new events.


    The original Summer Games for the Commodore 64 was re-released in 2004 as one of the games included on the C64 DTV. This was a joystick that plugged directly into you television and included a number of built-in Commodore 64 games. However, these are pretty hard to find now (or at least relatively expensive). The best way to play this game is with an original Commodore 64. It can also be done via an emulator but you really need and Atari style or similar joystick to get the most out of it. It’s just not going to be as enjoyable with anything else.

    All screen shots above are from the Commodore 64 version.

  • Electronic Game Player (September 1988)


    Source: Electronic Game Player – September 1988

    Electronic Game Player was a very short lived video games magazine form the late 1980s. While this particular magazine didn’t last very long, it was the predecessor to Electronic Gaming Monthly. The last issue of EGP had a number of things that would be familiar to those that have seen earlier issues of EGM. The September/October 1988 issue of Electronic Game Player includes the following:


    • Atari Plays to Win – Once holding a commanding profile in the electronic gaming spotlight, the Atari 2600 has failed to excite players in the shadows of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Master System. But Atari is now ready to play hardball against the new generation of gaming goliaths with their 7800 system.
    • Dare to Compare – A great new column you’ll find every month in EGP! It’s summer and that can only mean one thing…BASEBALL! Bring out the boys and get ready for some of the hottest video baseball action available for play on your Nintendo Entertainment System! Special reporter Mike Myers provides in-depth analysis as four tough hitters step up to bat for your gaming dollar. Get at a glance comparisons and hard-hitting ratings of four major contenders!


    • Special Report From the CES – The bi-annual Consumer Electronic Show once again staged a successful preview of things to come from the electronic gaming superpowers! EGP takes you behind the scenes and provides an advance sneak peek at the games you’ll be playing for the next twelve months as well as important developments that may change the way we all play video games at home.


    • The Electronic Game Player “Win An Arcade Game” Contest – A fantastic video game give-away from your favorite video game mag! Match game screens with game titles and you could WIN an authentic coin-operated video game just like the ones you see in the arcade!
    • The Winners Corner – Learn about our latest contest winners and enter the “Save Your Allowance” sweepstakes – you could win a year’s worth of games courtesy of your friends at EGP!

    Also In This Issue…

    • SCORE – How to Master Double Dragon – Learn the hottest techniques and super secret strategies of the U.S. National Video Game Team as they show you how to conquer the most talked-about game of the year! Find out how to attack each character, improve your scores, and complete each of the game’s power-packed missions! Play like a pro and impress your friends with this special strategy feature!
    • Tricks of the Trade – Find out about the latest, most guarded gaming secrets anywhere! Champions from around the country show you how to use hidden tricks, level selects, and power-ups to your advantage! Valuable information that puts you in control of your game!
    • Mark of Excellence – The most famous game players in the world, the U.S. National Video Game Team, introduce you to the latest favorites that have earned their coveted “Seal of Approval”.

    …and more!

  • Donkey Kong (Atari 7800)

    Donkey Kong (Atari 7800, 1988)


    Donkey Kong, released in 1981, was Nintendo’s first big arcade success. Over the years it has been converted to a massive number of game systems and computers. The Atari 7800 version was released in 1988, seven years after its arcade release and a couple of years after the NES was released which had Donkey Kong as one of the launch titles.

    The Atari 7800 version of Donkey Kong isn’t bad. However, the NES version has slightly better graphics and greatly superior sound. Most games for the Atari 7800 made use of the same sound chip that the Atari 2600 used which was pretty limited. While not a bad game, the fact that it wasn’t quite as good as the NES version released years earlier did not help the Atari 7800. The Atari 7800 was a capable enough system but Atari had a bad habit of cutting corners by severely limiting first party game development time and cartridge memory in order to cut costs and it shows in this game. It’s just ok but it could have been much better.

    There are a million ways you can play Donkey Kong but if you want to try out the Atari 7800 version then you will have to obtain an original system and cartridge or resort to emulation. However, even though it is a decent conversion, it is hard to recommend this version when there are better conversions and arcade perfect translations out there.

    Screen shots above are from the Atari 7800 version.