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Atari 2600 Games of Note

  • common available for: Atari 2600
  • schema: Video game
  • status: permanently under construction

This list is an offshoot of Video Games of Note which is dedicated to games for that 6502-based home system, the Atari 2600 VCS.

These are arguably all classics instead of merely games "of note", but if so, they are somewhat on the obscure side of "classic".

Haunted House

screenshot

  • written by: James Andreasen
  • genre: Graphic Adventure
  • available for: Atari 2600
  • controls: joystick and 1 button
  • date released: 1981
  • wikipedia: Haunted House (video game)
  • entry @ tvtropes

As the TVTropes article says, this is possibly the ur-survival-horror game. The game uses invisibility to good effect — just because an object exists at a certain location doesn't mean it has to be drawn on the screen.

The "font" in which the digits of the score are rendered is also nice, but I suppose that's minor.

Adventure

screenshot

  • written by: Warren Robinett
  • genre: Graphic Adventure
  • available for: Atari 2600
  • controls: joystick and 1 button
  • date released: 1980
  • wikipedia: Adventure (Atari 2600)
  • entry @ tvtropes

Notable for at least two things: one, it was an attempt to "graphicalize" a text adventure; that is, the author wanted to translate Colossal Cave to a graphical interface. And two, apparently it is the first game containing an Easter Egg (or at least, the first to popularize this notion.)

Yars' Revenge

screenshot

  • written by: Howard Scott Warshaw
  • genre: Shoot-'em-Up
  • available for: Atari 2600
  • controls: joystick and 1 button
  • date released: 1982
  • wikipedia: Yars' Revenge
  • entry @ tvtropes

This ends up being a very good game, despite being quite simple, probably because the gameplay is varied and balanced, despite being quite simple. In this vein, it's been analyzed as a microsport.

It's also notable for the early use of a "glitch art"-like effect: the neutral zone is indicated with visual noise which is actually the 6502 machine code of the game itself, being displayed on the screen as if it were a bitmap.