Early this morning Atari released perhaps the most significant single retro gaming application yet to appear in the App Store. Atari's Greatest Hits [link] is a free Universal application for the iPhone and iPad that comes bundled with their first game ever, the 1972 classic Pong. And, while the games-for-free situation ends there, the fun certainly doesn't -- not by a long shot.

By way of in-app purchases, Atari's Greatest Hits can deliver to your iOS device up to 99 more games from the historical studio's back catalog, a mix of both arcade and (then) cartridge-based VCS / 2600 releases that you just might've grown up with. These games can be had in four-title game packs available at $0.99 each, as well as in a 68MB lump download of the entire library for $14.99. (The path you take here will reveal to you just how much of a bull geek retro gamer you are, so choose wisely.)

One hundred vintage Atari games for fifteen bucks. It's quite a proposition. But, what are we talking about here?

The almost awkwardly long list of game packs and the titles within them can be seen in our earlier post about this release.

The stars of this collection are the arcade titles, certainly. And there are some amazing games in here -- Tempest, Major Havoc, Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, and Battlezone, among others. Many of these titles were originally vectorscope games, where the screen draws the images laser light show style, as opposed to in terms of scanlines and pixels. These games translate amazingly well to the iPhone 4's Retina display which renders them at over 300 dpi, with antialiasing to boot. But, then, the iPad's larger physical display is quite a boon for these titles, as well.

The arcade titles may be the stars of the show, but the bulk of the games in attendance are from the Atari VCS / 2600. And here, too, there are some awesome ones -- Yar's Revenge, Battlezone 2600, Adventure, Star Raiders, and Combat, among the rest. But there are also some titles you probably didn't save your last dime to bring home from the game shop in decades past. Like Basic Math. But, hey, many of these oddball titles bring enough character to the table to be forgiven. These are titles from the very genesis of videogaming, after all.

A media gallery full of original cabinet art, manual scans, and various other bits of memorabilia accompany each game on the list. The arcade titles feature a settings menu that allows a certain degree of control and gameplay customization. Settings on the VCS titles are handled by way of the (virtual) metal switches on the front of the console, of course.

Ok, so enough about the list -- how are the controls? On this front, I am genuinely impressed with the iOS treatment Atari has given these titles, though it's not quite perfection they've wrought.

Games like Asteroids feature, not the awkward directional stick + thrust button, but a directional control that delivers thrust in the using. That's a huge design win. The default trackball swipe control for Missile Command, Centipede, and the like has a nice sense of momentum and works quite well, with a surprisingly convincing feel. Battlezone features two sets of up and down buttons that do a solid job of standing in for the arcade cabinet's dual sticks, but they're not as lovely as Vector Tanks' dual slider approach. And, games that were originally paddle-based feature a single slider across two different presentations, which work just fine. But, I do wish that there was a sensitivity adjustment for the last as, to me, they could be just a little tighter. The weakest controls come with a number of the VCS titles, where the familiar 4-way D-pad has been used. What can I say -- this has never the ideal route in an iOS title.

So, we're talking about a solid collection of games and a respectable set of controls. Thumbs up, right? Well, let's not forget to factor in the fact that many of these titles (see the unwieldy list) have been enhanced to allow local multiplayer gaming via Bluetooth. Read: Atari classics older than most of you reading this, finally getting the multiplayer treatment. Plus, we expect these titles to support the iCade retro gaming cabinet coming in June from Ion and Atari. Somebody pinch me -- I must be dreaming!

Atari's Greatest Hits is absolutely one of the very best buys in the App Store. It will appeal to the oldschool gamer that calls pixellation his or her friend -- obviously -- but, really, this is also a historical treasure trove that the young gamer of today might just find surprisingly fun, while also delivering a worthwhile familiarity with titles that influenced basically everything we see in gaming today.

In short, I cannot recommend Atari's Greatest Hits highly enough. It is truly a collection not to be missed. Hats off, Atari -- a most impressive offering.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Jim

    I'm in <3 with Atari all over again. Now, bring us E.T.

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

    I like the idea of this but the games are just old for my taste. Give me some Marble Madness and Gauntlet and I'll be in.

    • Pow R Rock

      That was NES , but hell yeah! Marble Madness would be perfect on iOS !

      • Jemlay

        Sorry bud, Marble Madness was Atari and out in the arcades before it hit Nintendo. It was ported by Rare.

      • Wikoogle

        If the iCade had one more arcade stick for 2 player gaming (and also usable for dual analog shooters like NOVA2, Modern Combat 2, and Nazi Zombies), it would be perfect.

        Leaving out a second arcade stick was a mistake. You can't even play 2 player pong without a second stick.

      • pfooti

        I bought a trackball thingy for my atari just to play marble madness. That and crystal castles.

  • Anonymous

    Great review, Blake - it's definitely one of my favorite iPad purchases in the app store! And the coin-op games save hi-scores I believe!

  • klaus

    I like to have real fullscreen mode, with transparent sticks, like the C=64 emulator! For both, 2600 and Arcade!

  • Stirolak26

    How do you dwitch to landscape orientation on the hipster pad?

  • http://www.codemystics.com Code Mystics

    Thanks for the great review. (BTW, that headline is hands-down my favourite review headline ever!)

    On controls I do want to add that there are more control options, though. You can drag directly on the playfield in many games (Crystal Castles, Missile Command, Warlords, etc.) and several other games (e.g. Asteroids, Centipede) offer multiple control schemes in the settings. For example, you can make the Centipede shooter track with your finger instead of using the virtual trakball.

    - Jeff

    • EastsideStompers

      Thanks for this compilation! Is there anyway you can clean up the scanned images of the manuals so that the text is easier to read?

      • http://www.codemystics.com Code Mystics

        It can be done, though there's a lot of content in there. It was a trade-off between image quality and download size. The core app is under 20MB but we're closet to 120MB as is when all the scans and UI is downloaded.

      • EastsideStompers

        Thought as much. The quality of text ranges. In some manuals it's perfectly fine, but others are basically unreadable. Black Widow springs to mind as particularly bad. I'd personally welcome a few extra megabytes...

    • Stirolak26

      I wish the virtual circle or joystick under disc settings for controls in gravitar was smaller or circumference smaller and more sensitive because us fling users with the ipad would have an easier time.

    • Klaus

      Thanks for the instructions, works great! My only wish is if it is possible to drag directly on the screen it would be great to have fullscreen mode without the control elements on the side or bottom! Hope to see that in a update very soon.
      Landscape orientation on the iPodTouch is wrong, here you have the earphoneplug on the bottom left side, taht is not handy!

    • DotComCTO

      Jeff,

      I'm another old school gamer in his mid-40s, so I know all these games extremely well. I have to agree with Blake that - at least for Major Havoc - the controls need a user defined sensitivity setting. Major Havoc used a roller wheel and you could more accurately control the velocity. There are many areas in the game that require fast movement, but the emulator's control wheel makes it a little too hard to get that kind of finesse. Having a user defined sensitivity/range (for all games) would be very helpful.

      One other thought on Major Havoc: the sounds are *mostly* right on, but there are some sounds that seem off to me. For example, during the initial maze to get to the base on level 3, the sound engine seems to have problems keeping up with all the sound effects being played while the maze is being drawn.

      Thanks again to you and Atari for making all this happen. I never thought I'd see this kind of collection on iOS! Next *has* to be getting the Atari computer version of Star Raiders in there! :-D

    • DotComCTO

      Jeff,

      I'm another old school gamer in his mid-40s, so I know all these games extremely well. I have to agree with Blake that - at least for Major Havoc - the controls need a user defined sensitivity setting. Major Havoc used a roller wheel and you could more accurately control the velocity. There are many areas in the game that require fast movement, but the emulator's control wheel makes it a little too hard to get that kind of finesse. Having a user defined sensitivity/range (for all games) would be very helpful.

      One other thought on Major Havoc: the sounds are *mostly* right on, but there are some sounds that seem off to me. For example, during the initial maze to get to the base on level 3, the sound engine seems to have problems keeping up with all the sound effects being played while the maze is being drawn.

      Thanks again to you and Atari for making all this happen. I never thought I'd see this kind of collection on iOS! Next *has* to be getting the Atari computer version of Star Raiders in there! :-D

    • editor11

      This works perfectly on my iPhone. But when I downloaded it to my iPad, I couldn't get the games to play full-screen. They are still iPhone size. What am I doing wrong?

      • editor11

        AND THE ANSWER IS: Just update the iPad OS to make the games fill the screen.

  • Cubia

    I cant believe this even EXISTS. This is a great surprise. As a big fan of retro gaming, both arcade and older consoles, this is something I've wanted on here ever since I got an Ipad originally. Even Secret Quest and Demons to Diamonds are on here. That.... just blows my mind. Never thought I'd see anything like this on here. A big thanks to the devs, and to Atari as well.

    • Stirolak26

      I wish the virtual circle or joystick under disc settings for controls in gravitar was smaller or circumference smaller and more sensitive because us fling users with the ipad would have an easier time.

  • Anonymous

    I was disappointed in Star Raiders -- have been waiting ages for it to come out, but discovered this is apparently the original -- not the version I played many years ago was on an Atari ST computer. While it wasn't exactly a graphical masterpiece, it was much better than the one included in this new game pack.

    Then I went to http://www.starraiders.com and found that a remake is coming out any day now for xBox, Playstation, and Windows PC's! :)

    • Mentat Tir

      I have fond memories of the Atari ST version too. I would use the joystick while my buddy would take control of the keyboard. We made it into an unofficial two-player game. Good times. That said, I'm skeptical if a Star Raiders remake will help us re-live those Atari ST days.

      • Anonymous

        [Mentat Tir wrote: ...That said, I'm skeptical if a Star Raiders remake will help us re-live those Atari ST days...]

        It's not so much that I want to relive the Atari ST days, just play a game from start to finish without getting killed. It was one of the few games I was able to complete (I'm not a gamer) and repeatedly replayed the game without becoming bored with it.

        The new version looks good to me -- from the looks of the trailer they've kept the original spirit of the game intact.

      • Griff

        There is an excellent remaking of Star Raiders that's been out and unfortunately overlooked for a year. It's "Star Rangers", and it's a bonified remake of the original with improved graphics and additional mission scenerios.
        If you're a fan of the Atari 800 version, look for it, you'll love it.

      • Anonymous

        I bought it when it came out... Glad you like it, but it's not 'excellent' to me, not the same -- not StarRaiders :(

  • Baseley09

    What's that mad looking vectore space ship game in the video, looks like Silpheed then you can get out of your ship and place a bomb in a space station? Looks good.

    • EastsideStompers

      2nd screen shot from the top? That's Tempest. And yes, it is good; )

      • EastsideStompers

        Sorry, scratch that, you said video, doh!

    • GCBoi

      Major Havoc. A pretty rare game. It ran on the same hardware as Tempest. In fact most Tempest cabinets were converted to Major Havoc.

      • thewiirocks

        Quite honestly, I was shocked when I saw the Major Havoc machine in the lineup. I didn't even think. Just smacked the insta-buy button. :-)

      • DotComCTO

        Believe me...I'm a big Major Havoc fan! I played that while I was in college in the early 80's. I was completely bowled over to see that in the list. That game alone made me buy the whole bundle!

  • Sylvain Castonguay

    I know Pitfall is a property of Activision but seeing an Atari Collection without Pitfall always seems soooooo odd to me! My memories of the Atari 2600 is so much related to Pitfall. Well, this collection seems very nice nonetheless!

  • GCBoi

    WOW! This is my wet dream!!! I had no problem buying the lot!

    I can't wait for pack 2! Here's my wishlist if your listening Atari:
    Marble Madness/Marble Man (Marble Madness 2)
    Quantum
    Gauntlet
    RoadBlaster
    Road Runner
    Peter Packrat
    I Robot
    Firefox
    Star Wars/Empire/Jedi
    Arabian
    STUN Runner
    Super Missile Command

    And throw in some Bronze Age Arcades: Space Race, Night Driver, Avalanche, Canyon Bomber etc.

    And Vapor TRX! Not exactly retro but not far from it now.

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    • Dahak

      Your knowledge of the Atari catalogue is impressive, but some of those titles are not owned by the entity currently doing business as Atari. Games like Gauntlet are owned by (whichever company now owns) Midway (who absorbed Atari spinoff Atari Games). Some like Arabian are imports and owned by the original publisher. Firefox and Star Wars are movie properties, with all the licensing problems those entail.

      I think they did a pretty good job of releasing titles to which they have immediate rights, although the '70s titles you mentioned seemed like they should have been fair game. I'm not sure how much discreet circuit emulation might have been needed for some of those titles, though. On the VCS side of things, I only find the lack of Indy 500 odd; perhaps the use of the open-ended driving controller may have been difficult to emulate on a touch screen.

    • Evan

      Road Blaster is available now. Revolutionary Concepts put is out about a month ago, and it is fantastic.

      • GCBoi

        Not the Laserdisc game. It was a driving/shooting game. Ran on System I hardware which was a cartridge system that Marble Madness launched.

  • Steve Whitaker

    The games are fantastic, and a hell of a bargain. But the controls are a little more difficult than you indicate here, and the iPad's screen real estate really isn't as well-used as it could be.

    • Retr0Rob

      Agree with you, specifically on Yar's revenge the Joystick is waaaay to close to the middle of the screen for comfort. Hopefully they will update it. It's still an excellent effort and I think they did a great job on the spinner controlled games.

    • http://profiles.google.com/harwood.andrew Andrew Harwood

      I agree, the controls are not that great. Granted I only played one game (pong) because I am always skeptical of ports and their use of the touch screen. Pong was not a fun experience. The paddle is pretty fluid until you try and hit the ball in the very corner of the screen. Your finger can't go that far. It takes a lot of effort just to put the paddle at the very corner.

      • EastsideStompers

        My problem with Pong is that the ball seems to go through the paddle on occasion! Not the best one of the bunch.

      • http://www.codemystics.com Code Mystics

        The ball went through the paddle at the corners in the original Pong. We're kind of doomed on that because we reproduce an original game quirk that no one remembers and ends up thinking we got wrong. Though it's authentic, you can turn that behaviour off in the Settings.

        There shouldn't be any problem reaching the edge of the playfield in Pong since the playfield is smaller than your iPad/iPhone/iPod screen. It's actually just letting the ball through those glitches at the edge that existed in the original game.

        Also, many of the games have multiple control schemes. I saw in a different post some disappointment with Gravitar and Missile Command. Have you tried the alternative settings in Gravitar or dragging the crosshair in Missile Command by touching the playfield directly? You just touch anywhere on the playfield and it moves in tandem with your finger, so you don't have to obscure the crosshair to move it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708020490 Chris Loos

        Ooo the developers! First of all, amazing work guys!

        Secondly, can we expect additional downloadable game packs in the future, or was this a one shot deal?

  • Anonymous

    OH WOW atari omg omg it so awesome... NOT! This thing was popular in XX century but now its XXI century and we demand more then this thing! And all I see in toucharcade is emulator promotion it's like they are possessed with old stuff!

    • Anonymous

      Are you saying there are no modern games on iOS? Are you blind? Go back to FarmVille if you've got some twisted, childish vendetta against retro gaming. I'm trying my best to refrain from direct insults here but Jesus you've got crappy taste in games if all you care about is the bleeding edge.

      • Anonymous

        Do you think this is modern gaming? Especially 1988 year atari emulators? If you do then sir I think you need to check your brain! All I want to say is I want a normal gaming experience not atari or other emulators from 80s, 90s. Do you get it? My taste in games aren't 2d pixaleted games with no visual no story line and no perspective!

      • EastsideStompers

        I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that you didn't grow up during the 80's? The app store is drowning in games for your taste on iOS I think. Why not play them, instead of concentrating your energy on the ones you DON'T like!

      • Alan Smithee

        Pilekasis is right! This retro gaming is taking up valuable space in the App Store—space that could have been given to a fancy new game with graphics you think is the real world they are so good.

        If you retro fans love these games so much then why don't you build a time machine and go back to the XX century and marry them. Oh, it's too expensive to build a time machine you are saying? That just proves you are selfish, but I will tell you what, I will pay for the invention of the time machine just so you go away, and there is more precious space in the App Store made.

        Now what are you saying? It is not legal to marry video games in the XX century? Oh, now you are just making excuses, if you really love these games you will join political activism and lobby your Senator until the dream becomes real. That is my challenge to you, sir, but you are probably too cowardly to accept.

      • Anonymous

        Are you on drugs? What's all this insane rambling about marriage and time machines? Get the hell out of here you lunatic.

      • Alan Smithee

        Yes, I am taking a drug—it is called modern gaming! And it is such a lovely drug that I tell you right now I will never go to the rehabilitation centre.

        Why must anyone want to play silly retro games when they can play cutting edge original such as Shadow Guardian HD? I am not a lunatic, I say to you! On the reverse side, if you MidianGTX wish to play perverse retro gaming, then it is you, sir, who has the brain which is unnatural.

        (And may I ask everyone, why do we call such games retro? Should we not name them simply old? That is what I say! Who is with me on this thing?)

        I now with confidence go back to playing a truly normal game.

      • thewiirocks

        If I press the "flag" button, will it show up as "-1 people thought this was helpful" or will it simply report it as spam? Because I'd really like a "-1 people thought this was helpful" option.

        And while you're at it, can you add a "Get off my lawn, you damn kids!" button?

        kthxbye

      • Anonymous

        I play all games. I've been playing all games for over 20 years. I am a gamer. You're just freakin' weird. Your opinion is not fact, it's not even a good opinion.

      • Alan Smithee

        May I say, every minute that you spend to play old, emulated games such as the Atari or the Commodore C64, or I-want-to-be-old games such as The League of Evil or The Pizza Boy, this is a minute that you now cannot spend to play a brand new game which we have never seen before such as Gangstar Miami Vindication HD.

        This is not my opinion. On the reverse side, this is a fact.

        I have proven my case, and you are guilty and now must go to jail.

      • sbtrct

        What about every minute you're wasting posting here? Shouldn't you be spending that time playing some brand new game we've never seen before? You can't get these valuable minutes back, you know. Chop chop, tick tock, time's a wastin'.

      • metalcasket

        Shadow Guardian HD and Gangstar Miami Vindication HD? Alan, you work for Gameloft, don't you? >_>

      • EastsideStompers

        You should lobby for parliament Alan. That was one hell of a speech!

      • Racso

        "...taking up valuable space in the App Store" -> WTF are you talking about? Where is the "App Store space" meter? What a jerk.

      • Alan Smithee

        Oh, when something can not be seen it does not exist? By this thinking, the Creator himself does not exist.

      • http://profiles.google.com/harwood.andrew Andrew Harwood

        what? I agree with Racso, Have you seen the junk on the appstore lately. There is so much crap out there that its not funny, and the claim is that this "atari's greatest hits" is wasting space? Hardly. If there were a meter, this game would not be as close as some of the other crap. I'm not saying its great because I too like some of the newer games more, but I respect the old school games and their value. They are what paved the way for what we have today.

      • Racso

        Alan: the App Store does not have a space limit. Don't be fool.

      • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

        lol
        I can't figure out if people are being sarcastic in reply to Alan Smithee's insanely sarcastic post, or if they are confused, or both. Funny. Alan is certainly having fun.

      • Racso

        Well, I'm not being sarcastic, so maybe I'm confused. It's difficult to detect sarcasm on written things, you know.

      • Tuna

        His comments (Alan's) are dripping in sarcasm. Go back in time and marry them? You seriously took it.. seriously? I cannot believe it. He's was mocking, in a light hearted way, Pilekasis, but now he is having his fun with you guys, because you see someone getting torn apart, but infact he's not. He's thrown down a blow up doll to you guys and you're all fighting it, while he's sat laughing and popping corn.

      • Anonymous

        Please learn to read. Not once did I call this modern gaming. Check your own brain. There are "normal" experiences on the App Store, thousands of them. If you can't find any it's your own damn fault, stop whining like a little girl when something comes out that you don't like because you're freakin' spoilt for choice already. Do some research.

  • Retnuh

    Besides all the childhood memories, I grabbed just to see if the ui music was part of the app or added for the video. that track needs to be purchasable.

  • Jay

    As others have said -- Gauntlet! I would love to play an iPad version of that. The iPad is large enough to accommodate hands-on multi-player (or via Bluetooth with an iPhone).

  • http://twitter.com/Zghying John Dickerson

    Since its universal, if I buy a game pack for my iPad will it transfer over to my iPhone?

    • Crypton

      Most likely. The first time you start the app it asks if you want to restore your previous in-app purchases.

    • DotComCTO

      Yup. I already put this on my iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch. Easy peasy.

    • Evan

      Yes, it does. I have both an iPad and an iPod Touch. You do use the Restore Your Previous In-App Purchase button when the App is launched. This re-downloads what you have already purchased under the same iTunes account.

  • Anonymous

    I love this site's passion for retro games. I really do. As a forty something that grew up with these, I was eagerly awaiting their arrival as many of your readers were. That said, I could assume from your review of controls you only played this on an iPad and that your excitement for them made you lose some objectivity. On an iphone 4, the top model of the class of device running iOS that are most users have, the game play is terrible. And it’s not just because the controls are applied with little thought to game play (they are) but more so because they are so insanely large the screen size is forced to be minuscule. There is no ability to use the accelerometer to turn the device horizontal for a larger view.

    Please try Gravitar (which is completely unplayable), Missile Command, Battlezone, Adventure, or lunar Lander for example. I don’t pick these randomly, but rather because there are already direct ports or clones of all these games on the App Store today, which don’t suffer from these problems. These much smaller developers who had far less of a game portfolio to profit from, spent more time, energy and love to make their games fun to play on a iPod or iPhone than the company Atari paid to port these games did .

    Most of these developers were able to have the game be most if not all of the screen restate by having overlaid controls. And while I can appreciate games being 100% accurate ports, ( I can get that from MAME or Stella) it does not excuse poor game playing. Which is what I thought this site was about, game play. But for most part your review reads as a love letter that they are available at all. That is not good enough for a game that costs $14 for a set of games created 30 years ago. If Atari wants to make these games thrive and be fun for not just old gamers like me, but young one as well, if they actually love these titles, they would make them so a new generation would love them. A game screen larger that is 40% of the actual screen size is not going to do it.

    • http://profiles.google.com/harwood.andrew Andrew Harwood

      I agree here. I will not pay $14 for games that I don't know will control properly. I will stick with buying the remakes by indie devs.

    • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

      I am hoping that the iCade will solve these problems. That the games will be full screen (at least the vertically oriented ones), and there will be no buttons on screen because that will be handled by the iCade. I suppose we'll know soonish.

    • Dave

      Could not agree with this post more.

    • http://www.codemystics.com Code Mystics

      Just curious: which of the two control schemes for Gravitar did you find the more tolerable? Also, with Missile Command, we did put in the ability to drag the crosshair by moving your finger directly on the playfield. (It moves in tandem so you don't have to be covering it to move it.) Was that preferable to the trakball? We'd love suggestions on how to improve the controls.

    • Evan

      I agree. There needs to be a full-screen mode with transparent controls.

      • Klaus

        Yes, we need fullscreen mode!

  • Science1matthew

    Atari beat the dev who was making the atari emulator to the app.
    Looks great love pong!!

  • kevlar

    are IAP device specific or account specific? i.e. If I buy all the games on my iphone will they be free on my ipad? I ask because I'm sure I have been stiffed in the past buying music in TapTap Revenge and then being charged again for the same music on a different device.

    • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

      Yes, you just pay once. I confirmed this between my iPhone 4 and iPad.

    • Evan

      It is account specific. You buy it once and download again on your other devices. I did it on an iPad and iPod Touch.

  • Catherine

    ohh this is going to cost me a bomb. please release the vcs Superman cartridge next, loved that game!

    • Dahak

      Oh, I really wish that could happen. Superman remains my favorite Atari VCS game. It was made when Atari and DC Comics were both part of the same company, though. The current Atari probably doesn't hold that license.

  • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

    I suspect all or most of these games will come free with the iCade, but I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

  • mpechner

    Comment on 'share' link. The tweet of 175 characters. UTL shortenters are a good thing.

    As a software engineer, I say for $15, support the guys. Great set of games for those of use that don't like spending hours learning and playing. I just want 5-10 minutes of distraction here and there.

  • Mentat Tir

    If I remember my gaming history, the Sword Quest series tied in with a contest that Atari was running during the very early 80's. Gamers had to look for clues in the game in conjunction with a comic book. Why, oh, why would Atari release the series for the iPod when the contest has been over for 30 years?

    • Dmarcoot

      Because they dont care. It was about the money. Easy money.

  • Wikoogle

    If the iCade had one more arcade stick for 2 player gaming (and also usable for dual analog shooters like NOVA2, Modern Combat 2, and Nazi Zombies), it would be perfect.

    Leaving out a second arcade stick was a mistake. You can't even play 2 player pong without a second stick.

    • Anonymous

      You don't play Pong with a joystick, you play it with a paddle.

  • Dave

    As always, these games just do not stand the test of time. I'm a big nostalgia guy, because I grew up in the 80s and love everything about them. That being said, just like most things that I go back and look at from that era (hair styles, sitcoms, most of the music, Saturday morning cartoons, etc.) these retro games just do not hold up when compared to what is out there now. Lackluster or missing storylines, hit-and-miss controls, and graphics that just don't hold a candle to what we have now.

    I'm not saying they don't have their place, and I get why folks get excited when releases like this are made, but 4 of the last 5 posts including this one are retro posts here on TA, and that's not what I come to this site for. I come to find out what the latest and greatest cool game is for a phone and iPad I paid a great deal of money for to get the best technology around. I didn't pay that money because I wanted to be able to play a faithful translation of a game I was playing in 1982.

    I firmly believe TA needs a spinoff site called Retro Touch or something along those lines. Either that or a site called Modern Touch (sounds a bit creepy) or something that is for folks like me who are tired of all of the retro love.

    Please no flames, as I'm not discrediting the love that people have for these titles. I put my "next in line" quarters on the arcade cabinets just like you! ;)

    • Anonymous

      No flames, but to each his own. Maybe they don't hold up for you personally, but I've been having a blast! I play modern games too -- and they have their own place, but as a child of the 80's, I am not about "the story", or long winded cut scenes. Hey, I'd much rather play Tempest for five minutes at clip then the oh so mighty Doodle Jump. If I feel like sinking into something deeper, I'll play Dungeon Hunter 2 -(and skip the story line).

      If there was a Retro Touch forum, the kids would hang out there as well, and still question why older adults like "old games". Thirty years from now, the kids of that era will be asking them why they worshiped an old dude who called Solid Snake.

    • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

      Personally I think these old games stand the "test of time" better than most stuff released since them.

  • Chad

    @ Dave

    Sorry, you are going to get flamed but not for your claim that these old games don't hold up. Are you seriously whining about too much "retro" coverage because Atari comes up with a newsworthy release that has been featured on other sites all over the net?

    Get over it dude.

    Some people just can't get through the day without whining about something trivial.

    • Dave

      As mentioned, 4 of the 5 posts leading up to and including this one were retro themed. I've also voiced this same concern in the past, in regards to the number of retro posts on the site.

      You will hear no argument from me over the newsworthiness of a release like this, and if retro is going to be featured, it should by all means be this massive one from Atari.

      I also have no doubt that there is a market and place for these games, but at the same time I believe that market is, for the most part, nostalgic gamers who fondly remember playing them on their couch in the 80s like I did. There won't be a lot of new fans made from a release like this, as the number of "Wow! I've been waiting for this since I played it as a kid!" forum posts would dictate. In other words, a lot of retro posts over the past few months for what amounts to a relatively small but very vocal group of fans.

      I would just much rather see the space used for games that are pushing the envelope and trying new groundbreaking things, and not for games that are 30 years old and being re-released for the 10th time. Hence my suggestion that maybe a second site would be a better option.

      There is nothing to get over... dude... just stating my opinion.

      • Anonymous

        You just wrote 500 words about how you don't want retro coverage. Let it go. It's not your site.

        I like the retro coverage, and it's one of the major draws for me.

        Side note: has anyone else noticed that very few people are bitching about the price of this package? That's what happens when you have adults in the room.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone else having a problem buying the Lunar Lander pack? It keeps offering me the Gravitar Pack instead. ugh

  • Anonymous

    Anyone else having a problem buying the Lunar Lander pack? It keeps offering me the Gravitar Pack instead. ugh

  • Anonymous

    Major Havoc? Wow. One of those mythical games. Played one 5 years ago at the Houston Arcade Expo. Really neat game.

    • Dmarcoot

      It is an awesome game, truly unique for a vector

  • Shatner's hairpiece

    I had all the Atari, Intellivision, Imagic, Activision games in 1980-1984. The appeal for me is just seeing the game again and hearing the sounds, not playing them, as there is little play value in any of these games anymore. I can't imagine anyone actually playing something like Atari adventure and enjoying it. This is like trying to go back to using a phone line modem. The best times I had were with all the two player sports games, and most of that was on Intellivision. I don't think I could ever go back and enjoy these Model T's. You really need the original Atari controllers. This is why I just look up these games on youtube, get my nostalgia fix, and then get back to the modern games.

  • Singapura

    For me it was an instabuy. I have most cartridges in my collection but this is great for a quick fix on my way to work. The only thing is that the server seems to give a time out every time so I can only download the games one by ine.

  • FranzLanzinger

    I copied the following from my blog entry titled: Broken Crystal Castles releaded for IOS -- shame on you Atari.

    Why am I so upset? Well, where to begin.

    They didn’t give me any credit. I wrote the code, designed it, did the music, sound effects and 3/4 or the level design. They didn’t give anyone else any credit either, so I’m in good company. Part of the problem is that the old Atari didn’t allow in-game credits. This policy was changed right after the original Crystal Castles was released. There was a ROM update with credits in it, but that update seems to never be used when the game is emulated. As a result, the only credits in the game are my initials. That big FXL on the first level are my initials. This is small consolation. A lack of credits for the developers should no longer be allowed to happen. It’s just plain unfair.

    Atari didn’t contact me. I’m easy to find. I could have helped them make the game better. The same can be said for my ex-colleagues at coin-op Atari. We’re still alive and actively developing stuff. Not only are we not getting credit, we’re totally out of the loop. Sad, really. We built this industry. Where’s the love?

    The graphics are screwed up in Crystal Castles. The trees are transparent in the trunk. It’s a simple and obvious bug to anyone who knows the original game.

    The controls are a problem. There are two versions of the controls, but neither control scheme feels very good. It’s tough to get the controls right on a touchscreen port of a trackball game, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

    I want to use my right hand to operate the trackball, but the button in only on the right side. The original coin-op had two jump buttons to accommodate both left and right handed players.

    The game screen is too small. I’d like to see the entire game on the screen with overlay controls. Instead the game looks tiny, which is very different from the original arcade experience.

    At least the user reviews are mostly poor. It’s odd that I’m in favor of poor reviews of one of my games, but I totally agree with most of the one-star reviews that I’ve seen. There are so many that I don’t have time to read them all. I also give it 1 star, and I’m the original designer!

    And oh, by the way, I’m not getting any royalties or payment of any kind from the sale of this game. That’s what happens when you do “work for hire” as a game developer. Keep your IP (intellectual property) if you want to avoid this sad situation.

    This is the reason I quit my job at Atari in 1984. Amazing that it’s still an issue 27 years later.

    P.S. you can see the original blog entry at franzgameblog dot com. -- Franz Lanzinger

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  • http://twitter.com/Drosehn Garance A Drosehn

    I bought this pretty much instantly for Deluxe Asteroids, Tempest, and Centipede. It is hard to map the original controls to something that works on a touch-screen, but I do enjoy just seeing the games pretty much exactly the way I remember them. Except that Deluxe Asteroids shouldn't have that background image! One of the cool things about that game is that the ships seem to be actually floating in space more than on the original Asteroids.

    I'll be very interested to see how well these work on the separate iCade console.

  • narvolicious

    Hoo boy. After buying one game after another for my kid (5 yrs. old in August '011) to play on my iPhone, I began to wonder, "Did someone make an app for Atari games so dad can have some fun too?" I guess this is the answer.

    Needless to say, it's "confirm purchase" time for ol' Daddy-O.

  • Anonymous

    ThinkGeek put out a coupon today for $10 off, 1UPBONUS, good through 6/30. I finally ordered an iCade. Can't wait. I also hope more developers make their games compatible with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Hall/100000304657173 Adam Hall

    The manual scans are pathetic. I suspect they are using Stella and MAME source code as well

Atari's Greatest Hits Reviewed by Blake Patterson on . Rating: 4.5