Activision Video Game Patches I Wished I Had Earned on Atari 2600

When I think back to the days of playing Atari 2600, I immediately think about Activision. One of the early developers for console games, Activision was actually founded by former Atari employees. From 1980-84, Activision produced nearly 40 games specifically for the Atari 2600 most of which are now considered classics among fans. The bright color boxes and cover art made Activision games easily recognizable on store shelves.

I collected many Activision games in my early gaming years. Something unique that Activision offered (which I somehow never realized as a kid) were high score patches! Yes, tucked inside each game manual was a challenge. Score the target point total (or more) and you could become a member of an exclusive club. Your trophy was a membership emblem patch...
All you had to do was achieve the target score, take a screenshot the old fashion way (with your Polaroid camera,) and mail it in. How or why I never realized this was a thing, still escapes me to this day. I thought I'd make a list of the patches I wish I had earned based on the Activision games I owned and enjoyed playing.

Pitfall Harry's Explorers' Club

Pitfall is the Activision game I played the most. It was a bit of a maze to figure out, whether to traverse the alligator-filled ponds on the surface or hop over the scorpions located underground. Finding the gold bars and gems seemed like a rarity when I played but given the motivation of earning an official Explorers Club patch, I definitely would have tried to find more. I like the badge incorporated a compass and also the classic swinging motion art from the box.

The Activision Trail Drive

Stampede was another game I really enjoyed. It was challenging based on trying to rope cattle that were running at different speeds. But since your rope only extended in one direction and length, it was also a challenge to move your horse top to bottom and keep the cattle from passing you (which is how the game ended.) What I like about this badge is it looked like a sheriff's badge.

River Raiders

River Raid was another game I played often. It was another game with a two-fold challenge of trying to avoid obstacles while keep fuel in your tank. It was very challenging to me because about the time I would advance past a point with difficult obstacles, I would realize I need to find a refueling area fast. I really like this badge, some great colorful 3-D trails from the plane along with a unique shape.

Save the Chicken Foundation

Freeway was a simplified version of Frogger featuring a chicken trying to cross a road filled with heavy traffic. It's one of the few my Dad would play with me, probably because the controls were a simple up or down motion. I got to be pretty good at the game and a target score of 20 passes, even on the higher levels, I feel like I could have been a member of the Save the Chicken Foundation.

Flying Aces

Outside of Pitfall, I would guess Barnstorming occupied most of my gaming time as a kid. It was a simple concept, but challenging not just for the obstacles you had to fly around. Barnstorming added the element of a timed run. So when I played with friends, it wasn't just who could complete the level but also do it in the fastest time. I would have loved to earn my "wings" with the Flying Aces badge.

The All-Star Hockey Team

I've always been a fan of sports games and in particular, hockey games over the years. Ice Hockey was a 2-on-2 battle between two teams and was very fun to play with a friend. It wasn't as easy as it looked, having to time your shots with the dribbling puck going back and forth across your stick. I got pretty good at it and would play against the computer when I didn't have friends over to play. To get the badge, all you had to do was beat the computer but since there wasn't a victory screen you had to mail a letter with the final score and a signature of a witness.

I had other Activision games like Fishing Derby, Dragster, Gran Prix, Chopper Command, and Keystone Capers but I'm not sure I was good enough at any of those to go for a badge. Visit Digit Press to see the other badges that were awarded and tell me your favorite Activision games on the Atari 2600 in the comments.

This article is part of the Show & Tell blogging event hosted by Retro Ramblings. Click the link to get more information on how you can participate each week. Check out the other articles below featuring Board Games.

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  1. What many don't remember is that it was not easy to take a clear picture of a television screen to begin with. And, unlike digital cameras today, you couldn't see if the picture turned out until after you had the film developed. I remember the first time I took a picture to get my Pitfall patch and the picture turned out as just a green screen that you could not distinguish a score or anything. Eventually, I was able to get a legible picture and earned my Pitfall Explorers Club patch (which I still proudly have). The only other one that I went through the process to get was River Raid which was a close second favorite Activision game after Pitfall. That patch disappeared at some point, so sadly no longer have that one. Great memories!

  2. I didn't even know these were a thing, but what a cool concept.


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