Atari 5200 Guy Posted December 25, 2015 Report Share Posted December 25, 2015 Alright. There was a time when the 2600 didn't impress me. Those times were when Mom and I would go to yard sales and buy old 2600 systems with a few joysticks, sometimes paddles too, and between 10 to 20 games. Sometimes more. More often than not there would not be any instructions with those games. The 2600 is one machine that had a difficult time making game characters recognizable, even more was how difficult it was for the 2600 to sometimes give an idea of what the player was supposed to do in the games without needing instructions in printed form. Gravitar was one of many 2600 games I would come across in my 2600 endeavors and one of many games that would get placed on my "not good" list. I know...those who like that game are ready to throw something at me but allow me to finish before you throw, please? OK. Imagine being 13 to 15 years old. You bring home this collection of old Atari stuff, somewhat excited because Space Invaders, one of your favorite games, was one of the included games along with Asteroids, Centipede, Moon Patrol, Defender, Joust, and Dig Dug. Those games were popular so most gamers know what those games are and how to play them. Those games are embedded in our hand-eye coordination skills. It would take an act of congress to cause those gamers to forget how to play those games. Am I right? Then you get to Gravitar...a game you have never seen nor played before in your life. All of a sudden your ship is being sucked in by a flashing object on the screen and before you find the thrust button, BOOM!! Your toast. Trying again only ends in more frustration because now you've found what looks like a place to land. Objects on the ground are shooting at you...and resemble the player's ship in Space Invaders. You blast a few of those shooting-happy idiots out of the way and think you are supposed to land on the surface. After working hard to gently set your ship on the surface...BOOM!! Your toast, again. A third attempt starts and wonder what those blue blocks are for. So you try to touch one to pick it up. BOOM!! Now you are frustrated so much that you take the game out and replace it with another game you know you can play. Yea...that is how my relationship with Gravitar would be. Every time I would discover an Atari 2600 with a few games where that game was in the library I would try to give the game an honest try and every time I couldn't figure out what the game was about. Every time there the instruction manual would not be included to help answer how to play the game. So this game really never got played and since I couldn't figure it out I would put it on my avoid list. Here it is Christmas and a good friend of mine gifts me some Atari games for my 2600. Three games are given which are Asteroids, Kangaroo, and...Gravitar! My first impression was the artwork at least looked good. Then I opened the box, grabbed the cartridge and, forcing my arm, plugged the cartridge into the 2600 Junior model on the floor in front of an entertainment center cabinet that is home to a 20" Stereo CRT TV. I turn the TV and 2600 on. Gravitar's title screen appears and memories immediately come back to me. Do I dare pick up the controller and try it again? I reached inside the box, took the instructions out, and read them front to back carefully. Now I sort of had an idea of what I was supposed to do. I grabbed the controller and pressed the fire button. Ha! I didn't crash into the sun this time and I immediately went for the planet in the upper right corner. I crashed twice, once trying to refuel by touching (the part on how to refuel in the instructions for some reason I missed), and when I left the planet exploded. Pretty cool! After about 7 more attempts I managed to finish a mission by destroying four planets. Now is the time I try to redeem my statement of Gravitar being on my "bad game/avoid" list. Gravitar's difficulty lies completely with the artificial gravity in the game...on every screen! If the sun isn't trying to suck you in then it's a planet's surface trying to pull you to your doom. For a 2600 game it is done well given the system's limitations...and I didn't notice any flickering which is a plus in my book. The visuals are pretty good but the game play is addictive. Your ship blowing up to end the game only makes you want to try again. It has taken all these years for Gravitar to finally get some respect from me. It really is a fun and challenging game and I would put it on top of a personal top 10 favorites list. Solaris remains my top favorite with Gravitar sitting in the second spot. Not too bad for a game that always got neglected because I simply didn't know how I was supposed to play it. New 2600 owners who, like me, don't have a clue as to what games are good to go after, place Gravitar on your list. It is a challenge you wouldn't want to miss. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.