Activision Classics Review

By: Dave Mitchell

They're back... 30 games from a bygone era. Way back when the Atari 2600 was on top, a little known company called Activision was known for making some of the best games for the system. It's all here, from River Raid to Pitfall in this classic anthology. All gamers should take a trip down memory lane every now and again to appreciate today's works of art.


Good old nostalgia. It sells everything from Zoot suits from the swing era to Lost in Space merchandise. "Everything old is new again" is everywhere these days! For those who owned the old Atari, I'm sure this game will bring flashbacks of the good old days of gaming. I haven't played the original system, because I only got into gaming when the NES came out. I will review the games as a first time player, and review them mostly on the merits of their gameplay, obviously not on the primitive sounds and graphics.

The selection screen shows demos of every game when you select it, and loads quite quickly. Most of the games are one player, but there are some two player selections. But enough about that. On to the games! Obviously you can't expect a whole hell of a lot in the graphics and sound department, since these games were made in the early eighties. Bleeps and bloops sound in all their glory when you do certain tasks like jump and shoot and get hit. Stick figures seem light years more advanced than most of the graphics (ahem), but they show you what's happening in the game and rarely have glitches (Yeah ahh, never mind!)

The control moves you to point A to point B but that's all you're going to get out of it. Back then, basically all they had was gameplay to program. Most of the games are programmed solidly and make sense what to do, but a couple of them don't. There really isn't an end to any game here: They either stop suddenly, or just get progressively difficult, ad infinium. I found my self addicted to a number of games, Pitfall, Keystone Capers, Frostbite, and Kaboom in particular. After you play them for a few minutes, you forget about the pathetic graphics and abysmal sounds and just get hooked!

A friend of mine joined me in playing the two player classics. We played Boxing, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Ice Hockey, and Tennis. At first we looked in horror at the games, but after playing just for a few seconds we realised why these games became classics. These games all have a zany, Mario Party-style play, where there is a lot of very primitive fun to be had. On a day where you don't want too much thinking, and just want too have fun, break out these beauties and play away! You'll be amazed at how long you can guide a stick chicken over a highway trying to avoid passing motorists!

Conclusions: Apparently the price is now around $30, and for that you get 30 games. That's a very good bargain, and if you don't mind de-evolving your Playstation back to the '80s, you'll probably play 25 of these 30 games quite a bit. For 30 bucks, you probably could get quite a few hours out of this puppy once you get used to it. I would recommend this game especially to former Atari owners, but also to any gamer who wants to go back to the olden days of gaming. You don't get much more primitive then the Atari 2600, except the Colecovision (Shudder). But compared to today, where developers spend millions in development on games to give them breath-taking graphics, but forget to put a game inside worth playing (That means you companies!) I hope in the approaching age of Dreamcast, Playstation 2000, and new Nintento 2000, we will see developers putting in some genuinely good games behind the hype and graphics, and CD-quality sound. I wouldn't recommend rushing to the store for this one, but to rent it, see how you like it, then decide.






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