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Atari Games Elimination Tournament - Sports Edition - First Round



Oh my, there has been quite the delay from the preliminary round to the first round. All things considered, these 2600 games have been around for years, so a few months won't matter.

So the 12 qualifiers from the preliminary round, join another 20 games for the 32 contenders in the first-round. The match-ups were done randomly, the only restrictions are:

  • preliminary participants don't get paired together
  • we keep games from the same company separate in the first round

So the match-ups for the 1st round are:

  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)

1. BMX Airmaster (TNT Games) vs Realsports Football (Atari)

BMX Airmaster had an easy contest in the previous round against Homerun and barely broke a sweat. In the first round it is facing a very strong contender in Realsports Football. One of the three football games in the 1st round, Realsports brought a lot of innovative play into the VCS. Graphically BMX looks stunning and has some great control mechanism. Football is certainly pushing it with 10 concurrent players on a 2D field and a very simple colour scheme. The calling of plays in Football is certainly an acquired taste, and as you control the player you can basically do what you want. BMX Airmaster is just a more polished game considering it was released in 1990 vs the silver age of Atari gaming for the Realsports series.

Winner by unanimous decision: BMX Airmaster.

2. California Games (Epyx) vs Realsports Baseball (Atari)

A stalwart from the 8bit computer line, CG comes into the first round with a lot of swagger after obliterating 2kb Basketball previously. Realsports Baseball comes in to provide a more solid challenge, but its simplistic graphics, bird noises for sounds, frustrating control and strange pitching cannot muster a strong enough challenge for CG with all of its events which play as good as most stand-alone games, multi-player and great music. Baseball put a brave fight but doesn't last long.

Winner by 2nd round KO: California Games!

3. Enduro (Activision) vs Realsports Soccer (Atari)

Enduro was somewhat offended even having to contest an initial bout with Night Driver which it completely destroyed. Realsports Soccer comes in to put in a good challenge but it is simply overwhelmed. Graphically and sound-wise, Soccer has not response to Enduro's crisp display, great animation and solid sound effects. Enduro just motors past Realsports Soccer leaving it writhing in the penalty box in what is a clear dive.

Winner by 1st round KO: Enduro!!

4. Golf (Atari) vs Skiing (Activision)

The pundits cannot believe the upset of the previous round and it has been rewarded by facing another game from the slopes: Skiing. Skiing comes running smoothly with the clean execution of a simple and straight-forward gameplay zig-zagging ahead of Golf which today seems to have an off-day. Way too many drives into the rough and it seems that Golf's worse graphics and specialized audience just can't complete with the crisper and cooler Skiing.

Winner by split-decision: Skiing

5. Grand Prix (Activision) vs Winter Games (Epyx)

Grand Prix had a lucky initial draw which allowed it to beat meaker opposition previously. Unfortunately it has to face a strong opponent in Winter Games. As a later-generation VCS game, Winter Games bring in the multi-game which flashier graphics, multi-player, national anthems, and challenging games. Grand Prix tries to evade Winter Games and is ultimately completely outmatched.

Winner by 2nd round TKO: Winter Games

6. Indy 500 (Atari) vs Decathlon (Activision)

Indy 500 made it into the first round after putting up a good qualifying fight previously. Unfortunately it's facing a game from the Bronze Age and coming from one of the best in the business. Even though exhausted after doing the 1,500m run and damaging two joysticks, it's multi-player and multi-event game just leaves the crowd roaring after Indy 500 hits the canvas for the 2nd time and doesn't get back up.

Winner by 1st round KO: Decathlon

7. Motorodeo (Atari) vs Tennis (Activision)

Motorodeo strides in with a lot of horse power against one of the trusted favourites in everyone's library: Activision's Tennis. Probably one of the best games to pick up quickly with the expected quality and level of control that makes it very popular. Average graphics and simple sounds against the graphical extravaganza of Motorodeo. It basically comes down to what is more playable and Tennis just perseveres

Winner by split-decision: Tennis

8. Sprintmaster (Atari) vs My Golf (HES)

Sprintmaster brings to the 2600 a coin-up classic against the only original title from HES. And what a game it is. Excellent graphics, a swing control later seen in modern consoles and arcades, club selection and more detailed putting. The sounds are poor compared to the roaring engines of Sprintmaster, but My Golf is just an excellent golf.

Winner by KO in the 3rd round: My Golf!

9. Pole Position (Atari) vs Ice Hockey (Activision)

The classic racing game Pole Position faces one of the few sports games that Activision has produced. Ice-Hockey brings in 3v3 action that makes the usual VCS limitations very clear. It doesn't generate the fun and excitement that you would expect from a fast-paced Hockey game. Pole Position brings in the arcade tracks to the 70s console and straight away races past everyone. Ice Hockey is down for the count.

Winner by KO in the 2nd round: Pole Position

10. Titlematch Pro Wrestling (Absolute) vs Realsports Boxing (Atari)

Two ring entrants. Both have four characters to choose from and both have a complex control scheme. This one goes really back and forth. Graphically similar, they are both games from the later era of VCS games. At the end there is a not a lot separating both entrants and Realsports Boxing edges Titlematch.

Winner by split-decision: Realsports Boxing.

11. Trick Shot (Imagic) vs Realsports Volleyball (Atari)

The crowd takes the opportunity to grab some refreshments while this match goes on. Trick Shot becomes a one-trick pony very quickly and struggles to mount a good defence on top of a non-existent offence. Volleyball just spikes the opponent to the canvas with its control, cleaner graphics and simply more fun gameplay.

Winner by KO in the 2nd round: Realsports Volleyball

12. Pete Rose Baseball (Absolute) vs Super Baseball (Atari)

The two giants of Baseball games on the 2600 face-off to determine who is the best baseball game. I wouldn't bet on it, but Pete Rose Baseball had a massive edge on the graphical front, with detailed graphics in sections of the diamonds as well as supporting different pitches. Super Baseball takes a refined approach that makes it the best game for a quick baseball round, but ultimately, the sheer technical advancement of Pete Rose Baseball takes Super Baseball down.

Winner by KO in the 1st round: Pete Rose Baseball

13. Super Football (Atari) vs Super Challenge Football (M-Network)

And now we have the Football face-off! Here we have the Atari version with it's 3D-like view, jumbotron and ability to select plays. Mattel's version looks tired, simple and way out of its league. This was a non-contest from the beginning.

Winner by TKO in the 1st round: Super Football

14. Summer Games (Epyx) vs Realsports Tennis (Atari)

Summer Games comes into the mix with a solid computer gaming background while facing amember of the Realsports family, Tennis. While perhaps the least fun member of the Epyx 2600 collection, it boasts a good set of games, great sound effects and multi-player. Tennis brings in a more advanced version of the game that even allows you to enter your initials. At the end of the day, the variety and technical advancement just makes Summer Games too powerful to beat.

Winner by KO in the 2nd round: Summer Games

15. Skate Boardin' (Absolute) vs Track&Field (Atari)

Skate Boardin' had a solid initial fight and showed us what it was made of. Unfortunately Track&Field has no intention of going down easy. A solid arcade conversion of a popular game, it brings in a multi-event game for up to four player, while SB shows off a massive map in which too explore. Both are very good at what they do. It comes down to fun and replay. Track&Field just wins across the board.

Winner by unanimous decision: Track&Field

16. Street Racer (Atari) vs Super Challenge Baseball (M-Network)

The last bout gives people the chance to leave early and get out of the parking lot before it gets busy. Super Challenge Baseball looks bemused at Street Racer, this is a lightweight bout and the SCB just brings a more fun game. A better layout for the diamond and playability just trumps across the board for Street Racer. This was over even before it began.

Winner by KO in the first round: Super Challenge Baseball

And so we have it, a great first round with some great battles and some mismatches. Will Enduro and California Games maintain their momentum? Will we see another same sport match-up with Tennis vs Realsports Tennis, or Pete Rose Baseball against Super Challenge Baseball? Find out soon, as will do random draws and may see company games fighting against each other From Epyx (3), Atari (5), or Activision (4).

We have 16 games advancing to the next round:

  • BMX Airmaster (TNT Games)
  • California Games (Epyx)
  • Enduro (Activision)
  • Winter Games (Epyx)
  • Skiing (Activision)
  • Decathlon (Activision)
  • Tennis (Activision)
  • My Golf (HES)
  • Pole Position (Atari)
  • Realsports Boxing (Atari)
  • Realsports Volleyball (Atari)
  • Pete Rose Baseball (Absolute)
  • Super Football (Atari)
  • Summer Games (Epyx)
  • Track&Field (Atari)
  • Super Challenge Baseball (M-Network)

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