7800 Top Favorites
My first 7800 was received in the early 1990s...long after the company stopped making them. What games I got with it was pretty much all I ended up with. I admit I had mixed feelings about the system because I wanted to like it, I wanted to enjoy the games, but the controllers were keeping me from doing so. Often times I forced myself to play it, enduring hand cramps for a couple of hours, just to play it. The only game I found I liked using the joystick on was Ms. Pac-Man. That's it. So I played that one the most only because it didn't hurt my hands as bad. And no matter what anyone says...Atari systems before the Lynx and Jaguar, had a sound that is unique to an Atari. I know that doesn't make sense to most but that sound is, in its own way, attractive. More attention getting than some others.
Today I have a Frankenstein 7800 in need of a shell with a self-made A/V mod. I try very hard to maintain an original spec integrity with all my systems but this 7800 just wasn't having it. My library of games is sitting at a lovely 20 games whereas my first library didn't even reach 10 games. But those system and games came from 3 family members I miss dearly. What I have now has replaced those initial games plus games I never seen before on the 7800. I am missing Ballblazer, however, which I once thought was a 7800 exclusive title. Boy was I wrong.
For fun I thought I would tell what 7800 games have become my favorites over the years. The 7800 has come very close to replacing my 5200 as number 1 console but not yet...even if it is getting more attention than my 5200. Anyway...here is my list. No particular order.
- Asteroids - Asteroids just simply looks stunning on the 7800 and I feel is easily one of the best games on the console. The visuals are stunning and greatly enhanced by the random atmospheric sounds combined with the fire shots and rock explosions going off in the forefront. Add a second player for some interesting competition or work together to last as long as possible. It really is interesting how a simple.game has a lot to offer. This one is my top favorite.
- Dark Chambers - I am guessing this was suppose to be the 7800's answer for a Gauntlet clone? Maybe trying to compete with Zelda (yeah, right)? Either way I enjoy the game as it is a nice break from the single screen arcade games once in a while. It's fun to explore the levels, too.
- Ms. Pac-Man - I have to admit for having only 2 sound channels this game sounds really good. It plays better than the 5200/A8 ports as well. Everything loved about the Queen of Video Games is here right down to the intermissions. Another personal top favorite. This one gets played as much as Asteroids...and, yes, I still use the standard 7800 joystick on this one.
- Xevious - a weird vertical scrolling shooter that I never understood. However it was one of the initial titles I ended up with and did try to enjoy. I own this same game on the Famicom and must say that I like the 7800 version better. It just looks more eye pleasing. Also, the 7800 version is a bit more forgiving. I really like the fact I have one button for both guns and bombs. Both versions are fun but I would give the win to the 7800 on this one. Nicely done, Atari.
- Commando - I don't care for the NES version but play the heck out of the 7800 version. It is amazing how different these 2 really are. The 7800 feels closer to the arcade to me. I thought the title screen, however, was a bit much but that's a minor thing. At least even that is more detailed than the other one.
- Donkey Kong - I'm ashamed to admit I am not a huge fan of DK but I am a lesser fan of DK JR. However something about playing DK on the 7800 is just pure enjoyment. I know Atari licensed it from Nintendo, and I know the 7800 trying to compete with the NES just wasn't happening, but to me this was Atari slapping Nintendo in the face. I only seen 3 of the four mazes present in the 7800 port but those are faithfully present here. Some arcade animations are missing but, hey, it's still Donkey Kong. Who doesn't like that great big ape? I didn't at one time but I do now.
- Ballblazer - Across all three Atari platforms this title was on are identical. Granted the XE and 5200 versions have a little extra but the heart of the game remains unchanged. I found this one addictive.
- Galaga - I'm more of a Galaxian fan but when it comes to the 7800 Galaga fills the bill. I have to admit that the 7800 version is nicely done and I prefer these sounds over the arcade sounds. This is a 7800 exclusive as no other Atari consoles ever got this game. Not officially anyway.
- Pole Position II - This pack-in game was a wise choice. Its four tracks helped keep this game from getting boring too quickly. So pick your track and get ready for a race...the Atari way.