Just a quick post on this Thanksgiving day about a little project I hope to undertake during my Christmas Break. Last week, my dad bought the Atari Flashback 3 system from our local Kroger (odd store to be selling gaming consoles…). If you have seen these yet, they’re essentially the old Atari systems but already have a multitude of the old Atari games programmed in. No cartridges required. The latest version also comes with wireless controllers. The third version of the console includes 60 games, ranging from the well-known to unreleased prototypes.
I find that this is an interesting opportunity for me. I’ve never played the Atari before. The first system we had in the house was the NES, although the oldest game I’ve ever played is Qbert. As someone who came into the gaming world later than most of my peers, I’m always looking for opportunities to play games I missed out on the first time around. And what better way than to start than with some of the first games ever?
My plan is to play through the game library & give a series of mini-reviews. These will be less proper reviews in my usually format & more of my impressions as a modern gamer looking back. After all, what am I supposed to say the plot of a game like Pong is? I also plan to group several of the games together into a single post so I don’t have 60 mini posts. I’m not sure how many I’ll group together, but it will probably depend on the length of the games.
Thus far I’ve only dabbled a bit with the system, checking out a few of the games just to see what they were. And I’ve come up with several general impressions of the system so far:
1) Who designed these controllers? I quickly found myself at a disadvantage from being used to modern controllers. And it’s not just because there’s only one button. With modern controllers, you use your left hand to control movement and your right hand to perform actions (shoot, stab, etc.). But with the Atari controller, the button (the only button not counting Start or Reset) is used with your left hand while your right uses the stick. My poor thumb just isn’t used to that type of repetitive movement. I’m glad we’ve evolved since then.
There seems to be a general lack of responsiveness with the controller in general, although I don’t know if that’s because it’s a wireless controller that uses infrared sensors or if it’s just a trait of the Atari controller in general.
2) I usually have no idea what I’m doing in these games. Although the system came with an instruction book that talks about the different games, it doesn’t discuss controls. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “How complicated can it be when you just said there’s only one button?” True, but I can’t always tell what action that button is doing. Generally it’s pretty straight forward, like shoot, but not always. For example, in Swordquest, I couldn’t tell if pressing the button is opening my inventory, taking or dropping items. It’s very confusing.
I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences on this blog. Hopefully it will bring back old memories for some of you who have played these games before. I foresee much confusion in my near future.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll watch some of the Angry Video Game Nerd’s videos to prepare myself.