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Atari's Greatest Hits Hitting the DS in November

Posted by Sean Aaron

Reborn company finally delivers classic 2600 titles to handhelds

We've long wondered if any of the companies that have held the rights to the Atari back catalogue over the past 20 years would ever see fit to put out a compilation of Atari-branded games from that most golden of console oldies, the Atari 2600. Well now the wondering can finally cease. Hot on the heels of the announcement of Intellivision Lives! for the DS, the company that presently calls itself Atari (formerly Infogrames' North American division) has released a trailer for Atari's Greatest Hits Volume 1 for the DS with a projected release date for North America in November.

This collection of 50 games will include several arcade games that also appeared on the poorly-executed Retro Atari Classics for the DS, so hopefully any shortcomings will be corrected. According to the folks at Blast Magazine, 20 of the games will support single card-multiplayer whilst head-to-head titles will require multiple cards to play, suggesting that the former are alternating multi-player games that involve handing off the DS to your friends which is a bit disappointing and one of the limitations of the first Atari collection for the DS.

Taking a page from the excellent Activision Anthology for the GBA, virtual instruction manuals will be included for the 2600 games as well as a trivia game and memorabilia showcase. Whilst we're happy to see Atari 2600 games get released on the DS, looking at the line-up it's notable that many of the titles are ports of arcade games which are also included in the collection. Without a doubt the Atari 2600's greatest developers were Activision and Imagic, so the line-up isn't quite as spectacular as a revamped Activision Anthology would be, but there's still some gems in there that will be fun to play, especially if, as claimed, the controls are rendered faithfully to the originals.

It's noteworthy that this is "Volume 1" meaning that we can hopefully look forward to at least one more volume. In our fantasies Atari would license Atari Games arcade titles from Time Warner Interactive like Peter Pack Rat or I, Robot and 3rd party titles for the Atari 2600 from Sega, CBS Fox, Activision and others. Of course the Atari library also includes a couple of other consoles, the 5200 and 7800, not to mention 8-bit computer games, all of which have been emulated and could potentially fit the roster of a future collection. Even if we "only" end up with the balance of Atari arcade games pre-dating Time-Warner's split of the company into separate arcade and home console divisions and 2600 games like Circus Atari and Yar's Revenge, we find it hard to complain when a company with an extensive classic IP catalogue decides to put that catalogue to use in the service of fans. Hopefully this will push others to do the same (we're looking at you, Activision and Time-Warner Interactive).

Check out the full game list and see if any of your favourites from yesteryear are among them:

Arcade: Asteroids, Battlezone, Centipede, Gravitar, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Space Duel and Tempest

Atari 2600: 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, Adventure, Air-Sea Battle, Asteroids, Atari Video Cube, Basketball, Battlezone, Bowling, Centipede, Championship Soccer, Dodge ’Em, Flag Capture, Football, Fun with Numbers, Gravitar, Hangman, Haunted House, Home Run, Human Cannonball, Math Gran Prix, Miniature Golf, Missile Command, Outlaw, Realsports Baseball, Realsports Boxing, Realsports Football, Realsports Tennis, Realsports Volleyball, Sky Diver, Slot Maching, Slot Racers, Sprintmasters, Starship, Stella Track, Submarine Commander, Surround, Swordquest Earthworld, Swordquest Fireworld, Swordquest Waterworld, Tempest and Video Checkers

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User Comments (32)



LuWiiGi said:

Well, another game to add to the list of games to get before the 3DS comes out.



DrCruse said:

Problem is, a lot of those Atari 2600 games are and were shovelware back in the day. 3D tic-tac-toe, Slot Machine, and then Swordquest earthworld, fireworld and waterworld at a glance, are all shovelware. Many Atari 2600 sports games are bad too, like bowling and championship soccer. And where are the great classics like Yar's Revenge?

No thanks, I'll just stick with my original Atari 2600 console.



DrCruse said:

Now that I think about it, they could release a revamped Yar's Revenge as a stand alone game, and it could be great



Sean_Aaron said:

@JesusSaves: Well, Haunted House is pretty good and I think Air-Sea Battle is worth a go. From what I recall the RealSports games were actually pretty good unlike the original Atari versions of those sports (I notice the execrable Atari Baseball didn't make the cut). I'm mainly getting it in the hopes of getting some decent conversions of the arcade games; the 2600 titles are just gravy.

Volume 2 arcade games should include Crystal Castles, Warlords, Black Widow, Quantum, Red Baron, Super Breakout and Asteroids Deluxe at a minimum. Depending on rights issues there's a possibility of Cloak & Dagger, Major Havok and I, Robot, but I'm not quite sure when the split between arcade and home divisions happened and there's still the unknown factor of whether or not Atari would look to license Atari Games titles from TWI.

If they were to license Atari Games stuff then there's a raft of titles I'd like to see there: APB, Peter Pack Rat, Skull & Crossbones, Food Fight, Vindicators, Marble Madness, Paperboy, Road Blasters, Cyberball, Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, Xybots and Klax.



misterstinky said:

"Finally delivers classic 2600 titles to handhelds"? They've already released Retro Atari Classics on the DS that includes the best of this collection as well as another "classic compilation" for the PSP. Repackaging with a new name and a bunch of extra shovelware is just scraping the bottom of the barrel for Atari



Sean_Aaron said:

Yeah and Retro Atari Classics doesn't include any 2600 games, though I'll warrant that PSP collection does - I'd forgotten about that. Hopefully it's not just a port of the PSP release.



Sean_Aaron said:

@Egg miester: Asteroids certainly ranks as one of the biggest-selling arcade games of all time. Atari had loads of hits!



The_Fox said:

50 games? Cool. I think a handheld is the best fit for these super old school collections.




I was round my folks' house the other day and found my old atari 2600 the back of the wardrobe! Nostalgic tears were shed, heh heh.

Not sure about getting this though, need a revw.



Turbo_Genesis_64 said:

I'll probably get this. I hope it's only 20 bucks. Still, I usually prefer playing Atari games on my sweet 7800!



darebear said:

No Pitfall?! Yeah, I realize it was a 3rd party release but it's still one of the few worthy games on the 2600 next to space invaders, defender and river raid. Oh well, not like there aren't other ways to play those games. The included arcade games are still cool! I got a hankering for some Battlezone all of a sudden...I can almost feel my windshield cracking ; >



DrCruse said:

Because it is good enough to be an arcade game but was never released in arcades and was a 2600 exclusive. It was the best selling original Atari 2600 game and is simply one of the best.



the_shpydar said:

Space Invaders and Defender were licensed games; Pitfall and River Raid were Activision releases (though they did license them to include on the Flashback2).

The Swordquest games are not even close to being shovelware, nor was 3D tic tac toe.



Sean_Aaron said:

Vanguard is one of SNK's earliest games - if they decide to support the VCA or Atari decide to license it, we could certainly see it someday!



jhuhn said:

Volume One release date is tentatively set for November 5, 2010 in the US region and Volume Two is set for March 10, 2011. Note: Fun with Numbers could be named Basic Math in the US region, since it was the title over here back then.



atariman said:

Volume 1 of Atarii Greatest Hits is awsome!!!!!!!!! Volume 2 of Atari Greatest Hits is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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