Play Testing the Atari 10 in 1

Field Report: The Retro Gamer Crate

Play Testing the Atari 10 in 1

People often ask “How do you guys choose which things go into each Man Crate?”

I’d be lying if I said we had a scientific process- it’s more like a third-world parliamentary session where fisticuffs and blackmail are on even footing with polite debate and rational reasoning.  We’re opinionated and stubborn, and we don’t always agree on what will make the most awesome crate.    However in the case of the Retro Gamer crate, Jon and I play-tested the Atari 10-in-1 set against two competing retro-gaming systems on the market and hours later, with calloused thumbs and reddened eyes, we both knew that this was the set for us.

Atari 10-in-1 Review

On any album there are some singles and some filler tracks.  The 10-in-1 is no different.  Some of these games provide interesting anthropological  insights into the origin and evolution of video games rather than enjoyable replay-ability (Adventure, Realsports Volleyball.)  The best games stand the test of time, and casual and serious gamers alike will enjoy the top 3 titles below.

1. Missile Command

Missile Command Screenshot

Sam (high score: 52,465): Obviously we skipped the instructions and started playing all the games immediately.  This game was my early favorite because it’s an easy concept to grasp and the controls are intuitive.  The bad guys are attacking America with missiles and UFOs, you’re the fearless commander of the STAR-WARS defense shield responsible for shooting down all the incoming ordnance.

Jon (high score:19,380): The game gets hard pretty fast, the key to staying alive is naming your six cities. San Francisco.  Houston.  Chicago.  Washington.  New York.  Boston. It makes the mistakes real.  You just lost the Giants and the Smithsonian.  Nut up and aim better.  Enforcing drinking penalties also takes this game up a notch.

2. Centipede

Centipede Screenshot

Jon (high score: 10,271): Classic arcade action, no explanation needed.  If it feels like the game’s gotten a lot faster, you may just be a little older than you were in 1982.

Sam (high score: 4,320): This is such a solid all-around title.  It’s fast-paced but there’s room for different playing styles and strategies.  Alternate between targeting the centipede and clearing dangerous mushroom columns that cause the enemies to beeline down the screen. Don’t be afraid to leave an enemy or two to come off the bottom row and clear ‘shrooms.

3. Gravitar

Gravitar screenshot

Sam (high score: 6,300): It took three or four games to figure out what was going on in this one- the instruction screen is written to establish a scene more than provide direction.  Either that or people had way better imaginations back then.  Once you get past the learning curve Gravitar has the best exploration and replay value by far-  I’m still trying to get past the second solar system.

Jon (high score: 2,130): This game is cruel and unforgiving.  Technically speaking, using the joystick to pilot the spaceship through the different obstacles against gravity is about the best retro experience this set has to offer.  I’m less stoked on the long quest than Sam, but this is definitely deserving of a top 3 spot.

The runner-up titles were Pong, Breakout and Asteroids.

Summary

The Atari 10-in-1 set plugs into any TV with standard RCA (red & yellow) jacks and offers 10 titles to explore.  You’re pretty much up and playing as soon as it’s out of the box.  Let us know which titles bring you back again and again, and if you can beat our high scores.  The Retro Gamer Crate ships in a wooden crate you open with a crowbar and comes with old-school sugar snacks to keep your reflexes sharp through hours of play.  If you know a guy that:

  • loves the ’80s or video games
  • has time to kill post-retirement
  • is recovering from a torn ACL

or if you just feel obligated to educate the new generation on how things used to be back-in-the-day, send a Retro Gamer crate.  Whatever his title ends up being, the crate will be a hit.

—-

Sam was born in 1983 and is an at-risk case for compulsive gaming.  His best title is StarCraft2, where he’s ranked #1 in the Masters league for 3v3 random team. 

Jon was born in 1979 and thinks he’s good at Halo.

***EDIT***
Sam neglected to mention that he lost at StarCraft to me and the marketing intern because he can’t handle a 2 minute blitz.  – JB

Screenshots from http://www.atariage.com/

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