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Favourite Atari 2600 Sports Games


AlwaysOnPlanetPatrol

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In order:

  1. Decathlon
  2. Realsports Soccer
  3. Pole Position
  4. Track&Field
  5. Enduro
  6. Realsports Boxing
  7. Tennis
  8. California Games
  9. Realsports Baseball
  10. Winter Games



Decathlon
This is the game that I got because I was so hooked on the Hyper Olympics (Track & Field) arcade game. Released in time to take advantage of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, and to cash in with the following of Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, and I suppose Ken Jenner, this was an excellent game. I ended up saving for over a year to buy this game (games at the time in Europe weren't cheap). I spent way too many afternoons playing and while I got mighty close to 10,000 points, I never reached that gold medal level. I still enjoy playing it, although as I get older, my joystick speed isn't what it used to be. I may one day just build my own cheat controller for this!

Realsports Soccer
Man oh man. I played soooo many games on this cartridge pretending to be my favourite players (always attackers I suppose, even though I played as defender myself). I remember borrowing this game from one of my friends, and probably one of the few times were I must have played for eight hours straight (not possible with my life now). The graphics, control and animation are not great, but as soccer fan, this was probably as close I'd get to Intellivision's NASL Soccer.

Pole Position
This is one of the (few) arcade games that I could master. I would basically qualify in 1st place and then able to race the four laps. I actually remember buying this at the Kmart in 89 and being excited to plop it into the console. I was a bit disappointed with the graphics, but the gameplay was there. The collision detection can probably be tweaked as well, but overall I really like playing this. I'm a bit spoiled now having the sequel for the 7800 and having one of those TV-plug-in games with Pole Position on it.

Track&Field
I loved the arcade game. This is probably the reason I even run MAME on my desktop and I bought the XBOX 360 adaptation from their store. I can play this game for hours. The Atari version is awesome and one of these days I will treat myself to one of the special controllers (or build my own!).

Enduro
I just played this the other day after perhaps two or three years, and was able to almost finish the game. I was about 30 cars short! Probably the best I have ever done. I just love playing this game, unlike Pole Position you actually have the button act as the accelerator, which gives you great control. The time of day, the snow track, this is so well done. As always Activision gets the balance perfectly right.

Realsports Boxing
This is another game I bought in 1990 or so, probably at Consumers in Waterloo. I think I must have been going through a phase where I was following Boxing, so I ended up getting this. I always thought that the controls were great and the ability to run around the ring was excellent. Unlike the Title Match Pro Wrestling, you don't have to memorize a crazy amount of moves, so the playability is totally there.

Tennis
This is a perfect example of simplicity and excellent gameplay in a sports game. Where many games overcomplicate things by trying to be a simulation rather than a fungame , Tennis kept the formula nice and simple. The graphics and the few sounds are quite basic. Where this game shines is in its playability especially against another human opponent. It's basically a 2D version of Pong, but as such it works really well. The ball bounces nicely, you can hit the ball at angles and even the computer can be challenging. The only problem with such a nice formula, the play can get formulaic. You can reach your best skill level very quickly and then you plateau. It is a fun game to kill some time.

California Games
I actually had California Games on my C64 before I bought the actual Atari version at ToysRUs back in the day. It has a lot of great events, I especially enjoy the footbag (hacky sack) and BMX events. It is missing a couple of events (frisbee and rollerskating) that some of the other platforms have. It's a clean version, very playable and shows some great music can also be played on the VCS. The surfing event is a bit of a throw-away since it's a tricky one to master, while the half-pipe runs hot and cold for me. It's especially fun when you are playing with one or more other players.

Realsports Baseball
There are a few baseball games out on the Atari that do a good job, and while I'm not a die-hard baseball fan by any means, I do like to play the game and I like to play it on the Atari. Overall the game that hits the spot for me is the Realsports edition from Atari. The screen layout and the control scheme works well, and while in some regards may be not as slick as Super Baseball and certainly not like Pete Rose Baseball, it's the one I get into fairly quickly and play a few innings.

Winter Games
This is fairly good port of the original computer series. I also remember buying this game originally in 89 and having blast playing. Ski Jump and bobsledding/luge are my favourite events in this game and I can play them over and over again. The other events have their charm (the biathlon is cleverly done) and the control scheme is pretty tight, which makes it pretty fun to play.







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