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Desert Island Cartridges - Atari 2600 version - YOUR 8


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I guess I am not the only one who came up with a "Desert Island" list, as it has been constantly used for favorite DVD/VHS movies and also for music (CD/LP/Cassette), so I am going to pose the same question to my fellow Atarians:


If you were stranded of a desert island and could only have 8 of your favorite 2600 cartridges (not including any multicarts) which ones would they be???


(I also did a similar thread on the Atari 5200 forum as well)


My answer for the 2600 carts:


Pac-Man (Atari), a perennial favorite of mine, despite the poor controllability with the stock CX40 controllers, very addicting and will give you eons of fun

Astreroids (Atari), it's a very addicting game, you could play forever and not get tired of it, SO easy to beat especially when you have the difficulty switch set to B

Pac-Man 4K (AtariAge), something that SHOULD'VE been released back in 1982 as opposed to Atari's original version back then

Yars' Revenge (Atari), again, why you bought THIS game when you bought a VCS/2600

River Raid (Activision), another staple in your 2600 library

Phoenix (Atari), who can complain about this choice, when you could have TONS of great times with this one

Centipede (Atari), very playable for hours, once you master the stick, a very well-done (for 2600 standards) port, and probably better that the 5200 port I also have.




Vanguard (Atari) Who DOESN'T want to destroy The Gond???.



On THIS island there is only one 2600 controller (a CX40 or better yet,a CX24, preferably with the gold Best Electronics rebuild), one TV and 8 of your favorite games you just happened to bring along to kill the proverbial three-hour tour. Sorry Gilligan.

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Space invaders

Keystone capers

Yars revenge


I would have added kaboom if we had a set of paddles on this island

I picked Berzerk on my 5200 desert island carts list so you and I can both agree it is one of the best games ever put out for Atari systems

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Variety + lasting challenge are what's required here:



Yars' Revenge


Jr. Pacman

Keystone Kapers

Video Chess

Pressure Cooker



If paddles had been available then Kaboom! and Super Breakout would have made my list. Might include Casino too.

Edited by davyK
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1. Centipede: One of my all time favorite Atari games, and Hell one of my all time favorite games period. The 2600 port may not have great graphics, but it perfectly captured all of the gameplay elements. Not like you see details when you go into Atari zen mode anyway.

2. Phoenix: I've been playing this one since I was a toddler. The progression through different enemy types concluding in a battle against a boss enemy was satisfying and made it much different from Space Invaders.

3. River Raid: Not much to say here, it's just fun to blow stuff up.

4. Jungle Hunt: It was a tough call between this one and Pitfall, but Jungle Hunt won. When most games said that horizontal scrolling on Atari was too hard to do, this one did it, and did it with Paralax to boot. You either love or hate Jungle Hunt, but I love it.

5. Super Break Out: Assuming paddle games are allowed, this one's a must.

6. Super Princess Rescue: I may be cheating a bit here with homebrew, but why not include a great one if I can? Donkey Kong almost made the list, but this one pushed it out.

7. Solaris: A game that really pushes the 2600 to its limits.

8. Adventure: Never did finish that one. Guess I'll have time now.

9. Pole Position: I'm not that big on racing games, but sometimes I feel an itch and Pole Position scratches it.

10. Berzerk: Yeah can't think of any reason not to include this one.

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Chase the Chuck Wagon

Demon Attack

Gas Hog



Quest for Quintana Roo




Here's why: All of the games have shiny labels, so I can try to flag down a passing ship or whatever. Demon Attack and Taz are fun enough to pass the time while I wait, and the rest are valuable enough to trade for safe passage :)

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I made this list by picking 8 of my favourite games from different genres.


Frostbite (Platformer)

- More a platformer in the literal sense than the traditional sense; once you get into a rhythm and your reflexes take over there is no other 2600 game that compares (in my opinion).


Keystone Kapers (Endless Runner)

- Non-stop running, jumping over and ducking under obstacles, memorizing patterns that get progressively complex and more difficult: all the hallmarks of a good endless runner.


Pressure Cooker (Puzzle)

- The best 2600 puzzle game, this is the Tetris of burger making.


Ms. Pac Man (Maze)

- Some prefer Jr. Pac, but this is my personal favourite.

(Although, If I were including “modern” games, I might replace this one with Ladybug).


Berserk (Top-Down Shooter)

- Who doesn’t like Berserk? (Also, I think the electrocution effect is my favourite sound on the system).


Enduro (Driving)

- Not strictly a ‘racing’ game, this is actually more like meditation; after a while you just end up in a sort of trance while the days and the seasons pass by before your eyes.


River Raid (Shoot-em-up)

- This one is pretty straightforward, it’s the best vertical shooter on the system.


Adventure (RPG)

- Set this to random mode and nothing else can touch it for ‘adventure’.



(Bonus - Solaris: I could never get very far in this so a desert island would be the perfect excuse to master it... but somehow this never quite felt like a 2600 game to me, its design sensibilities were of a later age)

Edited by Jstick
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1) X-Man, gotta topple the worlds high score (held by me)

2) Stellar Track; Strategy games keep me hooked for days

3) Beamrider: Needs to be included

4) Princess Rescue: And why not.

5)Dungeon: Another homebrew which I like quite a lot

6)H.E.R.O.: Great platformer

7) Phoenix: Love it

8) PAC MAN: First video game I've ever played


But there's plenty more goodness on Atari, so hard to choose

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Wow, not an easy question! I took a stab at an answer the other day, but gave up. I'm going to try this again, because I think I can come up with 8 I'll be satisfied with.


In alphabetical order:


1. Basketball (1978) - Primitive? Sure. Simple? Very. And yet, I want to say it's my favorite sports game on the system, though it's a tough call when you factor in...

2. Bowling (1979) - A sport I absolutely love, despite the fact I am (well, was; it's been years) terrible at it. Nevertheless, I always take an interest in vintage video game adaptions, and the 2600's hits all the right buttons for me.

3. Galaxian (1983) - Honestly, this spot could just as easily have gone to Joust or Jungle Hunt, but if I'm stranded on an island, Galaxian seems like it would keep my mind off my predicament for the longest time.

4. Mario Bros. (1983) - A longtime mainstay on my all-time favorites list, I'm not going anywhere without this one.

5. Missile Command (1981) - This has been a real grower for me. For years it was just kind of 'there,' but as I got older, it steadily became more and more of a go-to game.

6. River Raid (1982) - I didn't intend this to be the only non-Atari-released game present, but if it makes a difference, I could also (objectively) look at my list and say it's the BEST game present.

7. Superman (1979) - This is dangerously close to being my favorite 2600 game of all-time. I won't quite go that far, but it's definitely top 3. I don't know how many times I've hit reset, trying to top my best time!

8. Xenophobe (1990) - Really neat late release. Very addicting, and the quiet, 'downgraded' nature of the the 2600 port adds an extra sense of desolation to the proceedings (not sure I'd want that on an island, but whatever).

Edited by King Atari
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