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Favorite Atari 2600 Sports Games


Skippy B. Coyote
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I'm not generally a big fan of sports games, but after picking a copy of Super Football for the 2600 from a local game store the other day and being rather shocked by how good it was it occurred to me that there's actually a pretty decent amount of sports games on the 2600 that I still find playable and fun to this day.

 

Super Football definitely jumped up to near the top of my list after only a few hours playing it, with the only complaint I could really make about the game being the need to keep a copy of the instruction manual (or a HTML copy downloaded from the AtariAge manual database in my case) sitting in your lap while playing to help you remember which numbers correspond to which offense and defense formation selections. I had all the defense plays memorized after about an hour but I think it would take me a good long while to memorize all the offense play options. That's alright though, since the graphics and gameplay were rock solid and the computer AI was surprisingly well crafted to provide an intelligent opponent with just the right level of challenge.

 

Some other favorites of mine are Pete Rose Baseball, which really astounds with it's graphics and decently balanced computer AI (even if it is one of those "instruction manual required" sort of games when it comes to learning the controls), and the more pick up and play friendly titles Miniature Golf, Bowling, and Activision's Ice Hockey and Tennis. Miniature Golf and Ice Hockey in particular are two games that I can still get the misses or a friend to sit down and play with me pretty much any time, since the controls are simple and intuitive and the gameplay is still a ton of fun to this day. I should also give a nod to RealSports Boxing, which may be the best 1 vs 1 fighting game on the system and offers a pretty solid single player experience complete with modern fighting game conventions like health bars and the ability to knock your opponent out.

 

 

How about you guys and gals? What are your favorite Atari 2600 sports titles?

Edited by Jin
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Besides some you mentioned, I'm partial to RealSports Tennis (prefer it over Activision's Tennis) and SuperChallenge Baseball. Also like me a game of RealSports Volleyball from time to time. Oh, and Track & Field of course!!

 

Really wish RealSports Baseball was a better game. Was soooo disappointed in it BITD and won't even bother with it today.

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Ice Hockey for sure. If we count racing games as sports games, then I would definitely add Enduro and Indy 500. I also enjoy Bowling, Double Dunk, Grand Prix, Decathlon, Super Challenge Baseball, and Double Dunk. Homebrew-wise, K.O. Cruiser and Blip Football are also favorites of mine.

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Home Run (I'm not a baseball guy so the super minimalistic arcade style works for me)
Basketball
Football
Video Olympics
Super Football
Tennis
Realsports Tennis (like Activision Tennis but better)
Ice Hockey
Golf
Miniature Golf
Pole Position (if it counts)
Bowling
Pete Rose Baseball (amazing for a 2600 game!)
Track & Field (> Decathlon)

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I also like Pele Soccer because you could change the boundaries to walls and have the ball bounce off the wall, just like real indoor soccer!

 

I never knew this. I need to try it out. I grew up watching indoor soccer in the old MISL.

 

Ice Hockey is my favorite 2600 sports game. Fast action, easy to pick up and play. Just as much fun playing against the computer as playing against another person. The original Atari Basketball is second for the same reasons.

 

Once you get used to the klunky infield "zones" and accept that there a going to be a lot of cheap home runs, Pete Rose Baseball is a great game.

 

Track & Field, especially with the Track & Field Controller, is another favorite.

 

Super Challenge Baseball and Super Challenge Football would be on my list if they had single player modes. It's too hard to find someone to play against.

Edited by KaeruYojimbo
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I didn't like any of them back in the day. Back then I thought they were a waste of time. I didn't own any of the sports games and had no interest in them. The ones I played like Activision Tennis and Realsports Baseball just pissed me off.

 

It wasn't until the Activision Anthology disc on the PS2 that I really gave any of the sports games a chance. Then I developed some fondness for Activision Ice Hockey, Atari Basketball, and Atari Bowling.

 

Edit: Oh, I forgot. I did like Golf back in the day. I played it at someone's house and was something of a natural at it. But I didn't play it again for years. In fact, I only just recently played it again a few weeks ago. I had mostly forgotten the title, and only remembered it because some YouTuber was making fun of it.

Edited by Gabriel
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I never knew this. I need to try it out. I grew up watching indoor soccer in the old MISL.

 

Ice Hockey is my favorite 2600 sports game. Fast action, easy to pick up and play. Just as much fun playing against the computer as playing against another person.

 

I grew up on the MISL as well. Did you have a home/favorite team? Mine was the Cleveland Force. Loved going to their games. Once I discovered the indoor feature on Pele Soccer, I played the heck out of that game!

 

Surprisingly Atari only has 1 version of Ice Hockey (unlike the other sports games). It's still a great port and I'm sure if Real Sports had tried to do one, they would have ruined it.

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...The ones I played like Activision Tennis and Realsports Baseball just pissed me off.

 

 

:thumbsup:

 

RealSports Baseball... sigh, I soooo wanted a good single player BB game one summer and bought this POS. People talk about E.T. and Pac-Man, but this game was easily the most disappointing VCS purchase I had ever made. Still wish it were a better, more playable game to this day. :mad:

 

Had Activision's Tennis back then and actually liked it well enough for what it is. There's a tiny bit of depth to it as there's some variance in returns/volley's, but seriously... someone thought it was a good idea to not use the fire button to swing? Ends up being little more than a multidirectional game of pong w/ fancier graphics when you boil it down. But hey, I like Pong! :lol:

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I grew up on the MISL as well. Did you have a home/favorite team? Mine was the Cleveland Force. Loved going to their games. Once I discovered the indoor feature on Pele Soccer, I played the heck out of that game!

 

The Wichita Wings. My best friend's dad worked for the local Anheuser-Busch distributor and we got to go to a lot of games for free. We also got to hang out before the games and watch them set up for the promotional stuff they would do.

 

 

 

:thumbsup:

 

RealSports Baseball... sigh, I soooo wanted a good single player BB game one summer and bought this POS. People talk about E.T. and Pac-Man, but this game was easily the most disappointing VCS purchase I had ever made. Still wish it were a better, more playable game to this day. :mad:

 

I made a video capture of a 1 player game Realsports Baseball a while back with the intention to record a play-by-play voice over to it. The beginning of the game went something like this:

 

"Here's the windup and the first pitch. Right down the middle of the plate, strike one. No, my mistake, the umpire called it a ball. 1 and 0 now. Here's the pitch. Ground ball to short. Should be an easy out. The throw to first in plenty of time. But the first baseman's foot is off the bag! The first baseman was never anywhere near the base and the runner is safe! Now the throw back to the mound gets by the pitcher and rolls into left field. The runner takes off for second and he's in there easily!"

 

I remember the runner ended up on third somehow, but I can't remember how that happened. The left fielder probably threw the ball to first or something. I need to find that video and find some time to sit down and finish that.

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I remember the runner ended up on third somehow, but I can't remember how that happened. The left fielder probably threw the ball to first or something. I need to find that video and find some time to sit down and finish that.

 

Ha, yeah, that is my favorite way to point out the sheer absurdity of Realsports Baseball. A ball hit to the left field wall can be picked up and thrown to first in time to get the runner out. The worst part is, there are only a small handful of "hits" that keep repeating over and over again, so you see the left field thing happen multiple times per game. So stupid.

 

 

 

RealSports Baseball... sigh, I soooo wanted a good single player BB game one summer and bought this POS. People talk about E.T. and Pac-Man, but this game was easily the most disappointing VCS purchase I had ever made. Still wish it were a better, more playable game to this day. :mad:

 

Exactly what I was going to say. RS Baseball is much more of a joke than ET and Pac-Man could ever dream to be.

 

My fave 2600 sports games are probably Super Challenge Baseball, Activision Tennis, and Ice Hockey.

Edited by Cynicaster
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A ball hit to the left field wall can be picked up and thrown to first in time to get the runner out.

And in your next at bat you'll hit the ball right at the first baseman and he'll toss the ball to some random player without touching the base and the runner will be safe. I'd really love to see a breakdown of the defensive AI, just to see why it does the things it does.

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