Some Gnarly Atari Games

Am I allowed to use the word gnarly?  I think I was a bit too young in the 90s when that was popular.  Visions of Bill and Ted are flashing before my eyes now…

Though retro game pickings have been mostly dismal over the past few months, I did see a classifieds ad for some Atari games pop up.  As a relatively casual collector for that system, I wasn’t quite sure whether or not any of the seller’s games would be worthwhile for my tastes, or whether any were particularly sought after that I could snatch up.  TheDeviot over at Comma Eight Comma One recommended I check out AtariAge for some information on rarity, and it was incredibly helpful (thanks again!)   After doing some research and watching some gameplay clips online, there were definitely a few gems in the pile, so I negotiated what I thought to be a reasonable price for 8 games, and actually went back on another day to pick up a few others to round it all out.

Of the games I picked up there was only one double in my current collection, and that was Frogger.  The rest were entirely new to me!  It was obviously great to find a copy of some Nintendo games like Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Jr., but I was even more intrigued by Pitfall II.  It’s not a game I had known very much about before owning it, but after trying it out and seeing that it was like a little adventure title, I was very surprised to find that it has an ending!  That’s a bit of a rarity on a console normally geared towards racking up points, and I played that game for two evenings straight just to listen to the great music and get to the end of all the obscurity of collecting what might have been a bunch of glowing cheese and a shaking monkey – I didn’t have an instruction manual after all.  I even went so far as to record a playthrough of it, but though my voice and the game’s audio were captured fine, there was so little detail in the video’s picture that it’s going to take some tweaking of the setup before I try that one out again!

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The two games I ended up going back for on a separate occasion after doing some more research were Crackpots and Radar.  Crackpots honestly looks like a game I can get behind and involves smashing spiders with flower pots as they try to ascend your apartment building.  Radar I picked up for the simple fact that it was a Zellers-exclusive game, meaning that it was a Canadian-only release and likely has a higher rarity than some of the others here.  I know that most of the games from that set are just blatant copies of other games, and this one is no exception: it’s a copy of Cruise Missile.  Either way, it was great to find a third game in that bunch, with the other two I currently have being Dragon Treasure and Earth Attack.

In other news, I’m heading to a swap event soon, so hopefully I’ll find some more really great stuff there and report back with that in the next few weeks.  We recently had some new shelving custom-built and installed for the Nerd Room, and it’s looking fantastic.  We have so much more storage that’s quickly filling up with all the things we didn’t previously have room for (mostly all the stuff from Joe’s collection I picked up a few months ago), so who knows how much more collecting I can realistically do before we need to have shelves built on the ceiling in there?  I am hoping to do a post in the next bit showing the before and after of that space.  That will be something fun and a little different!

I hope your weekends are all off to a lovely start.  As always, thanks for reading!

-GG

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15 Responses to Some Gnarly Atari Games

  1. Crackpots is one of a handful of Atari games I remember playing. Hopefully you find some good stuff at the swap!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know there was a Pitfall II. I enjoyed the first one a lot! I also say you can use the word gnarly whenever you want 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • hungrygoriya says:

      It’s honestly pretty fun, and the music is catchy and funny. I never played the first one, but in the second game whenever you die, the song changes from a major key to a minor one as if to punish you and sing of your death. I giggle every time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. thedeviot says:

    Thanks for the shout out! Congrats on finding Double Dragon! It’s not a great version of the game, but it is one of the rarer games on the console. It’s also pretty good in the sense that Dan Kitchen was able to port the game in some fashion to the console, considering the memory limitations.

    Crackpots is awesome. Uncommon too. And Pitfall II is one of the best games on the system. It’s even better than the Sega Mark III version if you can believe it. The first Pitfall is a challenging game of trying to find all of the treasure before time runs out. But Pitfall II is just a much more engrossing game. Fun fact: David Crane made his own sound processor for the game. It’s installed in every copy, and that’s why the music is so good. It’s a shame none of the other Activision releases repurposed the idea. The game was ported to the Commodore 64, Atari 5200, Atari 8 bit family, Sega Arcade, and the Mark III among others. The 5200 version added a new map that gets unlocked after beating the game, and continuing the story. But honestly the 2600 original version is a triumph.

    Great haul! Hopefully, you don’t beat me to HERO, Beamrider, and River Raid II 😉
    Jesting aside, nearly everything Activision, and Imagic put out on the console is gold. Even the commons. Demon Attack, River Raid, Cosmic Ark, and Kaboom! are but a handful of the great games they made.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy all of these!

    Liked by 1 person

    • hungrygoriya says:

      Hey, no problem! I’m always glad for your suggestions and input 🙂

      The Double Dragon game is so, so bad. I played for under 5 minutes and game over-ed twice! I’m not very good at the normal version of the game mind you, so I’m probably just not skilled… yet.

      David Crane sounds like he is/was a genius. I have had that music stuck in my head for days now, and I keep going back to it! Activision was pretty foolish to not follow that idea into the sunset. It would’ve made a world of difference!

      I definitely don’t have those three you’ve mentioned there, but I do have Demon Attack, River Raid and Kaboom!. This Cosmic Ark though… I’ll have to add that one to my list!

      Thanks for the well-wishes. I will definitely enjoy my time with them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. benez256 says:

    Uh, Atari 2600 games are so charming! I have never found a decent priced copy of both Pitfall and Pitfall II and I really love to see one of them pictured here! I do have Reactor, Popeye and Mario Bros.which is strange to play on a non-Nintendo console!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t had the chance to check out Pitfall II myself, but if you were able to complete it without a manual and treated to an actual ending, I’d say you made out like a bandit! Thanks for sharing your story! 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gnarly and Atari rhyme so I approve!

    Liked by 1 person

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