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Review: Atari 50

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Christmas 1982…a Christmas I will never forget. As my brother and I quickly made mincemeat of the wrapping paper that hid what was inside, we would ultimately receive the typical gifts every 1980’s kid would expect; a few pairs of socks, some comic books, and maybe a sweater or two. It had become customary for my mother to at one point say, “Well that’s it”. Undoubtedly, there was always one more gift somewhere. The big gift, the gift we’d been asking for all year. My brother and I spotted it. It hid just behind the trunk of our beautifully decorated Christmas tree (with one or two strands of lights that remained dark, of course). We quickly asked, “who is that one for?”. My mom, with a big grin on her face, said conveniently, “Oh, I didn’t notice that one”. She then grabbed it and handed it to us. It must have been a gift that my brother and I would share. Much like Ralphie in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story…the shape of the box foreshadowed what was inside. Could it be? In no time at all, my brother and I excitedly ripped off the shiny Christmas paper my mom had recently purchased from Prange Way. In a moment, the gift was revealed…the console every 1980’s kid wanted for Christmas; the Atari 2600. To this day, it is one of the most memorable gifts I’ve received.

Fast forward to 2022, and it feels like Christmas all over again. Digital Eclipse has released “Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration”, and the nostalgia has kicked into high gear. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy, and fire it up.

Digital Eclipse has created a winner here, sourcing so many of the wonderful games I grew up playing, plus many more. You will be transported back to the 1980’s as you enjoy such classics as Asteroids, Missile Command, Warlords, Tempest, and even the one that started it all: Pong.

The thing that makes “Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration” so special though, is not just the games (these are fantastic of course). It is all about the incredible history that DIgital Eclipse has gathered. There are commercials, documentary shorts, and even original print ads. I enjoyed myself thoroughly navigating my way through Ataris history. The layout is easily navigable. The main menu allows you to partake in an interactive journey beginning with the “Arcade Origins”. It proceeds with the “Birth of the Console”, then “Highs and Lows”. It wraps up with “The Dawn of PCs” and “The 1990’s and Beyond”. WIthin each section, you will find many historical nuggets. I really enjoyed digging into the origins of Atari, which included rare footage of Nolan Bushnell discussing his ambitions from the Syzygy offices. The games can also be found within each of these sections, conveniently located on a timeline. If you’re not into history, the games can also be accessed quickly by simply pressing “Y” at the main menu.

Ah yes…the games. There are over 90 games for you to enjoy here. I enjoyed myself for hours playing games that I hadn’t played in decades, while also enjoying some titles I’ve never actually seen. I did wish at times that I had the old Atari 2600 joystick or paddle in my hands to really take me back, however, the adjustment was really quite easy to make with the Switch controller. I was also slightly disappointed to see certain games omitted. Oh what I would do to enjoy a good game of Pitfall, Space Invaders, Pacman, or E.T. But I can forgive Digital Eclipse, I guess. Because, I almost forgot they weren't there, when I fired up a killer game of Yars Revenge, Crystal Castles, and Cloak and Dagger. You will find hours of fun with the games included here.

Final Grade: A

Overall, if you are into high end graphics and heavy story based games, then this may not be for you. But, if you’re a kid of the 80’s or you just love nostalgia, then you should go out right now and pick up a copy of Atari 50: The Anniversary Collection. You will not be sorry.

Review copy provided by UberStrategist PR

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Jan 05, 2023

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