Atari Flashback Mini-Reviews Part I

I know it’s a little later than when I said I was going to start making these mini-reviews, but you know how the holiday season can be.  But I have gotten the chance to play through a handful of the games on the Atari Flashback &… well, it’s been an interesting experience in gaming history.  It’s strange to play a game that has no goal other than getting a high score.  And truthfully, I don’t have the attention span to play most of these games for more than a few tries.  I just don’t find them that engaging.

So far I’ve only played through the most well-known games with varying degrees of success.  As I mentioned in my first post about the Flashback, these aren’t going to be full-blown but rather my experiences with playing these games for the first time from a modern gamer’s perspective.

Space Invaders


I had more fun with the fact that I was playing against my mom than actually playing the game.  My mom challenged me to this game, as this is the only real video game (not counting Wii Sports) she’s ever played.  I guess she thought she could beat me since I’d never played before.  But sheer gaming experience won out over familiarity — in other words, I smoked her.  I think that’s part of the fun of these games.  They’re not that much fun to play by yourself, but better when you’re trying to beat someone else’s score.  It was funny listening to my mom talking smack at first, then blaming everything but herself when she started doing worse than me.  She blamed me, blamed the dog for barking, blamed the controller & then blamed me again for cheating.

As for the game itself, it’s okay.  I couldn’t make it past the fourth wave.  I can shoot the ships fine, but I have a hard time paying attention to when they’re shooting at me, so I always got killed by missiles.  I also couldn’t get the timing right.  It was like there was a delay between pushing the button & it actually firing.  But that might just have been me.



This game didn’t work properly for me.  I mean, it played fine, but the controls were messed up.  Whenever I tried to moved my ship, instead of moving in a straight line it would start to spin in a circle.  It was like piloting an out-of-control ship… or being drunk.  I’m pretty sure this is a hardware issue, because I’ve seen original versions of this game & the ship moves like it’s supposed to.  Regardless, it meant I had to try shooting the asteroids while spinning & slowly drifting in the vague direction I was moving the joystick, hoping I could move fast enough to avoid being hit.  Which, more often than not, I couldn’t.  That being said, I did find shooting the asteroids into smaller & smaller pieces satisfying.



Man, do I suck at this game.  I’m lucky if I can get past the first level.  I just can’t shoot the centipede fast enough.  The frustrating part is I can usually get it down to, say, just the head, but I can never finish it.  I’m not good at these sorts of games.  As I mentioned before, there seems to be a delay between hitting the button & it actually registering.  Also, the button isn’t that sensitive, so you can’t really rapid fire.  If I hit the button five times, the game may register two or three shots.  So my typical pattern is shoot too early & by the time the second shot is fired it’s already moved on.



I was actually really impressed by this game.  It’s certainly the most graphically impressive of the Atari games I’ve played so far.  Even though it’s essentially just lines of color, things actually look like they’re supposed to.  And is that an illusion of shading I see?  It’s also pretty fun once I realized what I was doing.  Driving a tank around, waiting for a blip to appear on your radar & then trying to find & destroy it before it gets you is fun.  The limited field of vision really helps.  My only real problem was I couldn’t always tell what I was shooting at.  Of course I recognize tanks, but were those other things spaceships?

I think the version I played was not the original Battlezone but the port on the 2600 because of the different visuals (original used wire-frame images).



This game wasn’t too bad, either.  Although graphically simple (you play as a dot), I liked the fact that there are three versions of the game — simplified, full & random.  I like mazes, so exploring the castles to find the items I needed was pretty fun.  I also both liked & disliked the fact that you can only carry one item at a time.  While I liked that it made it a bit more tense because I had to drop my sword to pick up keys, meaning the dragons would chase me, I don’t like that this means backtracking.  Also, the dragons cheat & can move through walls.

I had a funny moment the first time I played it… at least funny to me.  Because of the graphics, I originally thought the sword was an arrow or spear.  I thought it was just a one shot thing.  When I was looking up the basics of the game, I realized it was a sword I was just stupidly holding it backwards, which I actually made a point of doing afterwards.  Seriously though, the prongs on the hilt need to be shorter.  It looks like a giant arrow.


When I get the chance to play more of the games, I’ll post more mini-review sets.

– GamerDame


1 Comment

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One response to “Atari Flashback Mini-Reviews Part I

  1. But I have gotten the chance to play through a handful of the games on the Atari Flashback &… well, it’s been an interesting experience in …

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