Friday, May 24, 2013

26 Apps For Atari 2600 Fans

26 Apps For Atari 2600 Fans

Atari 2600 was my first home console gaming experience. I'm still pretty nostalgic for those simpler games in the early 80s and if you are too, there are many apps available in the iTunes and Google Play stores to feed your 8-bit needs. I recently set out on a treasure hunt that I think Pitfall Harry would've been proud of. My app quest initially involved just games, but along the way I also managed to find apps for sound effects and even a guided tour inside an Atari 2600 console hosted by a gaming legend. 

I've compiled 26 apps for Atari 2600 lovers to experience for themselves. Now, RD80s isn't exactly IGN and I don't have any minions on the payroll to test and rate each app I've noted below. So I'm leaving some of the leg work up to you and would love to hear your comments on any of the apps listed below. Most are free to download with add-ons or ad-free pay options available. I'm providing links below each description to iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon stores when available (Game pricing as of 5/24/13.) Here is the list in no particular order...

Activision Anthology (free iTunes/Google Play/Amazon)
The official Activision app for 45 classics like Pitfall, River Raid, Decathlon, Barnstorming, Stampede, Demon Attack, and more. This app "offers the entire Activision 2600 catalog in one app, with controls designed and optimized for each game. Each game is presented alongside the original box art and manuals for retro lovers, and features the ability to earn digital versions of the famous game patches!" RD80s: Kaboom! is free, but you'll have to pay $2.99 for 11-game packs or $6.99 for the complete collection.

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play

Atari's Greatest Hits (free iTunes/Google Play/Amazon)
The official Atari app featuring 100 classics like Asteroids, Centipede, and Yar's Revenge. "This extensive catalog pays homage to each of the originals, with controls designed to mimic what Atari fans remember from 30 years ago!" Bluetooth multiplayer available on Tempest, Warlord, and others. RD80s: Missile Command is free, but you'll have to pay $.99 cents for 4-game packs or $9.99 for the complete catalog

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play Download from Amazon


Airfox HD Lite (free iTunes/Google Play)
Based on River Raid by Activision. Features include "multiplayer game with WiFi, unlimited game play and maps, graphics based on the original game, a new Fantasy mode, swarm leaderboards, cool achievements, 3 types of controls (Tilt, Retro, Directions) and autosave & load." RD80s: Highly rated in both iTunes and Google Play stores. I'd highly recommend this one as well! Great game play.

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play

Keystone Kapers (free Google Play)
Based on the Atari 2600 game originally produced by Activision in 1983. This remake uses the 8-bit characters of Officer Kelly and crook Harry Hooligan in all new levels. "It will not be an easy quest as department store hazards like fast moving shopping carts, biplanes, cathedral radios and beachballs will attempt to hinder your progress as you try to catch up with the crook." RD80s: If you are not planning to purchase the game pack on the Activision Anthology app, this can be a nice substitute.

Download from Google Play

Heartlight (free Google Play, $.99 iTunes )
For those of you who remember playing Boulder-dash. Heartlight is a "remake of the legendary classic "Boulder-dash" type Atari DOS game. It was originally developed by Janusz Pelc for 8-bit Atari. Dodge falling boulders, avoid exploding grenades, and solve extremely challenging puzzles in your quest to get all the hearts!" RD80s: A good puzzle game with good music and that Atari feel.


Download from iTunes Download from Google Play

Smash (free Google Play/Amazon)
First, open a new window or tab and run an image search for "Atari Breakout." Second, go download Smash if you want a good knock-off of the classic Atari's Breakout. Two great modes are available. Use Arcade mode to try to beat your personal best score or try Challenge mode to progress through the levels at your own pace. RD80s: A solid 4.5/5 rating with millions of downloads can't be wrong! Couldn't find it in the iTunes store though so checkout Atari's official Breakout: Boost for free.


Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Classic Ringtones Themes (free Google Play)
This app gives you easy access to classic game themes and sound effects. Atari favorites like Pac-man and Space Invaders are featured along with other classics like Super Mario Brothers, Contra, and Duck Hunt. RD80s: The icon is a little deceiving as there isn't much Atari content in this app, but with all of the other games available, I felt it was worth adding to the list. Plus the quality is there and currently holds a 4.7/5 rating.


Download from Google Play

Astroblast (free Google Play/Amazon)
A remake of the Atari classic Asteroids with the look and feel of the original. "Enjoy destroying asteroids that have different abilities, across 6 modes of difficulty. You can even share you score to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There is also now a Global Leaderboard system so you can compete against people from around the world!" RD80s: Good updated version and holds a nice 4.4/5 rating.


Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Galaga 30th Collection (free iTunes)
The 30th anniversary edition of Galaga includes "all-new features include updated graphics, optimized touch-panel controls, and more. Earn Galaga Points when you play, and spend your Galaga Points on items to toughen up your fighter." RD80s: There are many games available in the Galaga series but this one seems to be most like the original. I've yet to find a good classic version on Android, but there is a Galaga Special Edition for free that's worth downloading.


Download from iTunes

Pac-man + Tournaments (free Google Play)
There are Pac-man apps on every platform but the newest "+ Tournaments" is the one I use. Even though it's only available in the Google Play store, I'm pretty sure iOS users are pretty happy with the Ms. Pac-man app for $4.99 from the look of the screenshots. RD80s: Pac-man + Tournaments is a pretty nice setup and they social interaction with other players is a nice new feature. The joystick control takes getting used to, but it's definitely the best Pac-man app for Android.


Download from Google Play

Radiant (free Google Play, $.99 iTunes, $1.99 Amazon)
Radiant is a revamped mix of Atari classics Galaga, Space Invaders, and Asteroids. "Cut through hundreds of creeps to face giant monsters in unique bossfights. Collect special weapons and power-ups, upgrade your ship and save your homeworld! Features include 3 Episodes with 100+ Levels, 10+ Unique Boss-Fights, 6 Upgradeable Weapons, 12 Special Power-Ups, and 3 Difficulty Options." RD80s: For Android users who don't have access to the aforementioned Galaga 30, this is a decent substitute

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Lunar Racer (free Google Play/Amazon, $1.99 iTunes)
For those of you who remember Moon Patrol on Atari, try this modern version called Lunar Racer. "Ever tried racing with homing missiles, land mines, bubble shields and gravity thrusters? Yeah, didn't think so! Shoot, dodge, blast, and nitro boost your way through the solar circuit. Achieve the ultimate prize and conquer the solar system by beating any competitor in your way!" RD80s: For a true retro Moon Patrol experience, I'd recommend Moon Racer in the Google Play store. Lunar Racer is a more modern game but with the same concept of racing on the moon.

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Frogger (free iTunes/Google Play, $.99 Amazon)
Jump into the classic arcade/Atari game action! "Are you the best Frogger player out there? Can you beat the World Record mark of 896,980 points? Can you beat your friends? Features cars, logs, turtles, alligators, and other classic Frogger friends/foes, classic arcade-style game play with multiple control options (swipe/touch/tilt,) new and classic graphic options, and compete with local, friends, and global leader boards. RD80s: A must have app if you are a classic gamer. Pay $.99 to remove in-game ads.

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Copter Classic (free iTunes/Google Play/Amazon)
If you remember playing Choplifter then you'll have fun with this game. It's a simple game of avoid obstacles with the graphics and feel of classic games. RD80s: Simple is sometimes better when talking about retro games. Holds a 4.2/5 rating with millions of downloads in the Google Play store. Definitely not one of my favorites on this list, but with the aforementioned stats, there are definitely some people who play this freebie!


Download from iTunes Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Pitfall (free iTunes/Google Play)
If Pitfall was one of your favorite games on Atari 2600, you might enjoy this re-visioned and re-booted 3D version. "Navigate through constantly changing environments as you make your way through narrow trenches, dark caverns, and cascading waterfalls with cinematic camera angles.Level up and trade in your loot for a trove of game changing powerups that can be used to enhance your experience and customize your wardrobe. Easy swipe and tilt controls allow you to jump right in! RD80s: If you prefer the classic game, download it from Activision Anthology App.

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play

Zaxxon Escape ($.99 iTunes/Google Play/Amazon)
Zaxxon was Sega's first video game with 3-D isometric perspective. Now, in the spirit of the original, "Zaxxon is back and rebuilt with a new gameplay style for a whole new generation in this fast action arcade game. Get ready to maneuver your spaceship and escape the fortress at warp speeds!" Swipe your desired direction, blast away force fields with missiles and tilt your device to steer through obstacles. RD80s: This is an updated version of the classic game with a head-on perspective so if you are looking for the same experience, look elsewhere. Would love a classic version app!

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Pong World (free iTunes)
"Pong World introduces a new generation to the classic game of PONG® with a dazzling unique twist and colorful new look. Explore Pong World by defeating opponents while collecting all five paddle creatures; Shaggy, Chompers, Sir Bouncelot, Razzle and Gnop to help you in your journey for domination. Each paddle is equipped with unique upgrades and powers. Unlock 4 different locations, each equipped with unique features -- summon a wall of energy to block your opponent’s ball, hinder your enemy’s vision and much more!" RD80s: There are many free ping pong apps on every platform to get your Pong on, but this is the official revamped version that most classic players will enjoy.

Download from iTunes

Fishing (free Google Play/Amazon)
Reminiscent of Fishing Derby by Activision on Atari 2600. "Press the screen at the right time to throw the spear/hook, you can catch the fish and get the money! You can submit your score after passing each level and then see your score in the global high score board. " RD80s: I remember my dad didn't play many Atari games with me growing up. We did like to play Fishing Derby together and this app is about the same gaming experience for one player.

Download from Google Play Download from Amazon

Ski Classic Free (free Google Play)
Similar in play to Skiing on Atari 2600. "Ski free down a wintry slope. Pass arrows on the side they point for a better score. Buy Ski Classic Pro for $.99 to get more modes of play: fast, no bigfoot." RD80s: The game does not hold a high rating by any means but for those of us who remember the bottom-scrolling game on Atari, this might fit your need to ski.


Download from Google Play

Circus Atari (free Google Play)
Updated version of the classic Circus Atari game. "Like a human cannonball, launch your fearless clown into the air and guide him through the big top by tilting your device. Pop balloons to hurl yourself up higher while grabbing as many Coins and Power-ups as you can—just be careful not to fall!" RD80s: This game has the simple gameplay style you'll remember on the 2600, but with updated graphics and features. The basic premise is what you'll enjoy, like back in the day.


Download from Google Play

Centipede Origins (free iTunes, $.99 Google Play)
"Inspired by the Atari classic, Centipede: Origins brings an entirely new level of bug-blasting fun to the world-renowned franchise. Evil, plant-munching vermin are swarming into your precious garden and rapidly destroying everything! You, a peace-loving gnome, have no choice than to wage an all-out war against these vile creepy crawlies. Using extreme weapons and gadgets, protect your garden from the ambush of vicious bugs and the dreaded CENTIPEDE." RD80s: I wasn't much of a Centipede fan, but this updated version seems to keep the classic gameplay.

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play

Atari Outlaw (free iTunes)
"Inspired by Atari’s 1976 classic arcade game, Atari Outlaw™ features a heavy arsenal of weapons with tons of powerful add-ons and upgrades. Travel from town to town and annihilate corrupt sheriffs, banditos, ol’ miners and the like. Let your shootin’ do the talkin’ and show who lays down the law!" RD80s: I remember playing alot of Outlaw with my friends on Atari 2600. I don't think you ave to worry about hiding behind pixelated cacti and stage coaches in this game by the looks.


Download from iTunes

Asteroids Gunner (free iTunes)
"Experience the next evolution in Atari’s legendary Asteroids franchise! Blast your way through deadly asteroids fields and alien war ships to become the most wealthy and powerful Asteroids Gunner. Work your way to the top of the gritty crystal mining business by traversing through the galaxy and collecting the treasures of the cosmos. Upgrade your ship as you climb up the intergalactic ranks and become a force to be reckoned with!" RD80s: Holds a pretty good rating and the screenshots appear to be the classic gameplay style that Asteroids fans are used to seeing.

Download from iTunes

2600 Magic ($1.99 iTunes)
"The Atari® Video Computer System™ started it all. There were other early game systems, but the Atari® VCS (also known as the 2600) was the first commercially successful programmable home game player. Why was it so successful? What was the secret of its longevity? How does it do the things it does? Inside the 2600 lives an elegantly simple video circuit, far less capable than the circuits in other game systems. But this very simplicity made it possible for game designers to invent thousands of games. 2600 Magic, Volume One of David Crane’s Technical Wizardry Series, is designed to answer these questions." RD80s: Since I'm on Android, I'd love to hear a review from someone who has this app. Sounds like it would be a fun educational lesson on Atari 2600 history.

Download from iTunes

Enduro ($2.99 iTunes)
"NEMO GAMES has been busy remaking ENDURO for the sake of retro lovers using their iOS Devices featuring the very exact original game's theme and all its detail." Rated a 4+ in the Apple iTunes store. RD80s: From the screenshots, it looks like you booted up an Atari 2600 emulator on your iPhone. Appears to be the exact graphics and gameplay you'll remember.




Download from iTunes

Dragon's Lair ($4.99 iTunes/Google Play)
Okay, so maybe this one wasn't Atari, but simply had to share. "Immerse yourself in the visually stunning world of hand-drawn animation adapted from the original smash hit arcade classic. Transferred from the original high definition master film, you’ll experience this fully arcade authentic experience right in the palm of your hand. Simply press on the direction pad to guide our hero Dirk The Daring in the correct direction. Use your sword to take on all that the Evil Wizard Mordroc throws your way." RD80s: Highly suggest trying the free demo in Google Play before buying the app. Seems to be the same classic game we all remember inserting $.50 cents to play.

Download from iTunes Download from Google Play

Please feel free to share your favorite apps that take you back to the Atari 2600 era!