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Atari Games Elimination Tournament - Sports Edition - Prelimary Round



So, there is a collection of 24 games that will try to make it past the first hurdle in becoming the best Atari 2600 sport game ever. There are some titles here that will put on a brave face and try to punch over their weight class. Barely 4kb lightweights against some 16kb behemoths? Who will make it past the initial round and get a good chance to claim the title?

For the dozens in the forums, and the three following blogs, this is the best in sports entertainment! Let's get ready to ruuuuuuummmmmmmbblle!!!!!

Match 1
BMX Airmaster (TNT Games) vs Homerun (Atari)

Here we have the beauty of a good innovative title (BMX Airmaster if you haven't guessed) against one of the earliest Atari sports attempt that even they themselves couldn't find the courage to label as "Basebal". One of the weakest titles in both gameplay and graphics, gets pulverized within the first 20 seconds in the first round with a left uppercut.

Winner by K.O.: BMX Airmaster!!!!

Match 2
Bowling (Atari) vs Skate Boardin' (Absolute)

Bowling (Atari) vs Skate Boardin' (Absolute) the creation of two Activision compadres (Larry Kaplan and David Crane), this is a technical mismatch. Skate Boardin' is good-looklng massive map playing game going with a cool trend of the late 80s against the Friday night smokey bowling alleys of the ages. Bowling puts on a brave fight, it's a fun game that is easy to play and hard to master. BMX Airmaster gets a TKO in the 2nd round after hitting Bowling with a barrage of bankswitching jabs.

Winner by T.K.O.: Skate Boardin'!!!

Match 3
Dragster (Activision) vs Indy 500 (Atari)

Two seasoned Pros in the twlight of their careers are pitted against each other like older Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. This is a serious battle, going all the three rounds. Dragster shows off with his unique concept and sub-10-second games that goes old very quickly. Indy 500 showcases its own controller and excellent consistent action. Two classics taking it to the end.

Winner by unanimous decision: Indy 500!

Match 4
Enduro (Activision) vs Night Driver (Atari)

A championship contender in the preliminary round?! Enduro is a giant among games and brings an impressive record with many stunning knockouts. Clean graphics, amazing control, and excellent implementation. It is the racing game of choice for many people. And who stands in its path? Night Driver, the arcade classic that actually looks and plays better than its 70s edition. A fine effort, but a journeyman fighter that struggles to get attention. After the 2nd knockout later in the first round, Night Driver is not getting up again any time soon. Was there any doubt?

Winner by K.O.: Enduro!!!!

Match 5
Titlematch Pro Wrestling (Absolute) vs Karate (Froggo)

Too unconventional fighters coming out of the left field. Titlematch is a polished title with complex logic, good animation, and bold in its attempt to create a wrestling game on a 2nd generation console. Karate is out of its element, it does not have the graphics, control or even playability to mix it up. Titlematch is like Thunderlips and throws Karate out of the ring. The judges don't care and allow it!

Winner by K.O.: Titlematch Pro Wrestling

Match 6
California Games (Epyx) vs Basketball (Atari)

California Games comes with an established pedigree from years on the computer platforms, sleek graphics, fun games, great sound/music, and excellent playability. Like the Real Deal Holyfield, it just glows with confidence, power and style. A legend in the ring. Basketball brings fun one-on-one action with a square ball. Poor AI and simple gameplay unfortunately disappoints. It tries to hang to the ropes but California Games just hammers away and knocks poor Basketball into submission in the first round.

Winner by T.K.O.: California Games

Match 7
Grand Prix (Activision) vs International Soccer (M-Network)

A face-off between two lightweights. A crisp over-head racing game that has become a classic over the years, versus a poor version of Intellivision's NASL Soccer without the single-player feature. International Soccer struggles to string a few moves together and is completely outmaneuvered by Grand Prix. Both show great stamina, but Grand Prix manages to knock out International Soccer with a fast flurry of body blows, and while International Soccer dives waiting for a penalty call, it never comes and its called out.

Winner by K.O.: Grand Prix!!!

Match 8
Trick Shot (Imagic) vs Pele's Soccer (Atari)

Trick Shot is Imagic's lone sports representative from its impressive library so the legacy itself is imposing. Pele's Soccer comes in with a scrolling playfield, fireworks galore, and the first video license for an individual (way before Landon Donovan, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi). Trick Shot displays some good archaic physics and a challenging control scheme. Pele's Soccer displays a stubborn and relentless AI, and the most unique synchronized 3 player object movement not to be seen until Tac-Scan. The weigh-in itself was controversial and a lot of shoving between two titles that have a lot to prove. Both show up out of shape and trade punches for ages. Pele's Soccer suffers a nasty cut which Trick Shot exploits without mercy. This goes all the way to three rounds. And the judges have it, regardless how Pele's Soccer argues that it has a referee on the left hand side of the screen instead of a technical glitch. The crowd boos Pele's Soccer lame attempt. Trick Shot is declared the winner.

Winner by unanimous decision: Trick Shot!

Match 9
Golf (Atari) vs Mogul Maniac (Amiga)

What a crazy mismatch this seems to be. Here we have a journeyman heavyweight with a mediocre record going against a polished contender. Mogul Maniac the sole release by Amiga and walks confidently into the ring. An awesome 3D perspective and a custom controller, showing a new age of gaming. In the other corner there sits the timid Golf. Shoddy graphics and simplified playfield representing 9 interesting holes. And the bells rings. Oh my!!! The gameplay starts to show. Mogul Maniac is a one-dimensional and tedious game and the crowd starts heckling it. Meanwhile Golf displays a challenging and fun game play, with a club selection that actually works!! Golf stuns Mogul Maniac, who falls on the canvas hard. We have an upset! A knock-out by Golf in the first round! The bookies will have a field day with this one.

Winner by K.O.: Golf!!!!!!!!!!

Match 10
Motocross Racer (Xonox) vs Sprintmaster (Atari)

What an odd match-up. Motocross Racer has little fighting experience and has not really proven itself. It's graphics, movement and control is way below what is expected for a proper contestant. Sprintmaster strolls in as a seasoned arcade game adaption with a ton of variety of game play and a challenging AI. We have a feeling this will be over quick. Sprintmaster struggles a bit in the first round, as Motocross Racer is able to dodge some blows. Sprintmasters control scheme makes this a challenging fight but at the end there was no doubt, a quick succession of traction and speed power-ups helps him. It is a TKO in the 2nd round.

Winner by T.K.O.: Sprintmaster!!!

Match 11
Racquetball (Apollo) vs Motorodeo (Atari)

The Atari gym brings in another solid combatant, while Racquetball seems completely outmatched. Racquetball is in terrible shape, poor graphics, bad animation and challenging control. Motorodeo is not a proven fighter since it has not decided on what type of fighter it is, but it shows a head-to-head game, good graphics and animation. Oh no! This didn't last long, a knock-out in the middle of the first round!

Winner by K.O.: Motorodeo!!!

Match 12
Skeet Shoot (Apollo) vs Street Racer (Atari)

And we saved the worst for last. People are leaving the arena to get refreshments before the true tournament starts. Both flyweight fighters show a lot of stamina but ultimately bring little to the table. Poor graphics, poor concept, poor execution and poor control. This goes on for three boring rounds while both games just jab back and forth. At the end the judges feel that Street Racer brings in a little shred more gameplay, but barely.

Winner by split decision: Street Racer

This was a good preliminary round for some games to show what they are made of, and the winners move into the tournament proper. There were some expected winners like Enduro and California Games, but also some shockers like Golf!

So here we have our 12 winners who qualify for the tournament:
BMX Airmaster (TNT Games)
Skate Boardin' (Absolute)
Indy 500 (Atari)
Enduro (Activision)
Titlematch Pro Wrestling (Absolute)
California Games (Epyx)
Grand Prix (Activision)
Trick Shot (Imagic)
Golf (Atari)
Sprintmaster (Atari)
Motorodeo (Atari)
Street Racer (Atari)

So for the first tournament round we will have sixteen bouts between the following match-ups:

  1. BMX Airmaster (TNT Games) vs Realsports Football (Atari)
  2. California Games (Epyx) vs Realsports Baseball (Atari)
  3. Enduro (Activision) vs Realsports Soccer (Atari
  4. Golf (Atari) vs Skiing (Activision)
  5. Grand Prix (Activision) vs Winter Games (Epyx)
  6. Indy 500 (Atari) vs Decathlon (Activision)
  7. Motorodeo (Atari) vs Tennis (Activision)
  8. Sprintmaster (Atari) vs My Golf (HES)
  9. Pole Position (Atari) vs Ice Hockey (Activision)
  10. Titlematch Pro Wrestling (Absolute) vs Realsports Boxing (Atari)
  11. Trick Shot (Imagic) vs Realsports Volleyball (Atari)
  12. Pete Rose Baseball (Absolute) vs Super Baseball (Atari)
  13. Super Football (Atari) vs Super Challenge Football (M-Network)
  14. Summer Games (Epyx) vs Realsports Tennis (Atari)
  15. Track&Field (Atari) vs Skate Boardin' (Absolute)
  16. Street Racer (Atari) vs Super Challenge Baseball (M-Network)

Will Golf continue with its upset streak? We'll have some great match-ups: Football vs Football, Baseball vs Baseball, and Wrestling vs Boxing!


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