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Rank the best 2600 arcade conversions


RickR
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Which 2600 arcade conversion was the best?  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. Which 2600 arcade conversion was the best?

    • Space Invaders
      7
    • Missile Command
      4
    • Asteroids
      3
    • Stargate / Defender 2
      3
    • Ms. Pac Man
      2
    • Official Frogger (Supercharger)
      8
    • Battlezone
      5
    • Jungle Hunt
      1
    • Joust
      2
    • Berzerk
      6
    • Kangaroo
      0
    • Jr. Pac Man
      2
    • Wizard of Wor
      1
    • Dig Dug
      1
    • Centipede
      0
    • Venture
      0
    • Reactor
      0
    • Donkey Kong
      0


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It was one of the strengths (and weaknesses) of the system.  Atari made arcade conversions a staple of it's game lineup.  The bad ones could make you question the abilities of the console.  But the great ones could make you happy and giddy.

 

So let's rank the greatest of the arcade conversions.  The rules:  No homebrews, hacks, or prototypes.  Real releases only.

 

The RickR contenders:

 

Space Invaders

The very first arcade conversion is also one of the best.  Another case of early Atari hitting a home run on the first attempt.  The game doesn't have as many aliens as the arcade version, but the spirit of the game is captured perfectly.  And if 112 variations doesn't blow your mind, it should.  Not a hint of flicker.  This game is just about perfect.

 

Missile Command

Missing the two side bases...it's still spot on and a ton of fun. 

 

Asteroids

The first 8K game.  Some will complain that the graphics and asteroid movement aren't the same as the arcade.  They are missing the point.  This was the game none of us thought the 2600 could do.  When we first saw it...amazed.  No other system of the era had a version as good as this. 

 

Stargate/Defender 2

Wow!  Just an absolute amazing conversion.  So close to the arcade version. 

 

Ms. Pac Man

This game is great...but also does a perfect job of putting the original 2600 Pac Man to shame.  We KNEW it could be done better and this game proves it.

 

Frogger (official version) for Supercharger

OMG.  This one is just about as close to the arcade as you could get.  That supercharger was really something.

 

 

What did I miss?  And how would you rank them?

Edited by RickR
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Stargate with Jungle Hunt second. Stargate, which I just reviewed, really looks and sounds like an early 80's arcade imho. The other games are great, but the graphics don't measure up as well as Stargate.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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I voted for Official Frogger. I remember I used to play 2600 roms on the computer. I remember the Summer after eighth grade, I decided to download some 2600 rooms on a brand new computer. I went online and started downloading. I downloaded one that said "Frogger," thinking that it would be the Parker Brothers version I usually played (I didn't know there was another 2600 version at the time). Imagine my surprise when I started the game and it was one I had never seen before. Even BETTER than the Parker Brothers version! It blew my mind! I didn't know until that moment that the 2600 was capable of producing that good of a game! I just couldn't see this portneeding improvement. It was 100% perfect! My vote goes to Official Frogger.

 

Another game you can put on your list is Jr. Pac-Man. It could easily make my top ten list of favorite 2600 games. It was a sweet port.

Edited by atarifan95
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I voted for Official Frogger. I remember I used to play 2600 roms on the computer. I remember the Summer after eighth grade, I decided to download some 2600 rooms on a brand new computer. I went online and started downloading. I downloaded one that said "Frogger," thinking that it would be the Parker Brothers version I usually played (I didn't know there was another 2600 version at the time). Imagine my surprise when I started the game and it was one I had never seen before. Even BETTER than the Parker Brothers version! It blew my mind! I didn't know until that moment that the 2600 was capable of producing that good of a game! I just couldn't see this portneeding improvement. It was 100% perfect! My vote goes to Official Frogger.

 

I can totally understand that, but at the same time it gets upgraded by the Supercharger, which gives it a bit of an unfair advantage.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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I can totally understand that, but at the same time it gets upgraded by the Supercharger, which gives it a bit of an unfair advantage.

True enough.

 

I'm gonna try to rank these games listed. I'm leaving off Berzerk and Joust because I haven't played the arcade versions, and therefore, can't compare them (I haven't even played the 2600 version of Joust). I'll also put Jr. Pac-Man in the rankings.

 

1. Official Frogger

2. Space Invaders

3. Battlezone

4. Jungle Hunt

5. Defender 2

7. Jr. Pac-Man

8. Missile Command

9. Ms. Pac-Man

10. Asteroids

11. Millipede

12. Centipede

 

They were all really good ports though. I had trouble ranking them.

Edited by atarifan95
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I love the 2600 version of Berzerk.  It's a good level of difficulty and invites marathon play, unlike the 5200 version which is just punishing.  I don't mind the missing voice synth at all.

 

There are a TON of arcade ports on the 2600.  Here are more not yet mentioned, and I still may be missing some:

 

Amidar

Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom

Bump 'n' Jump

Burgertime

Carnival

Circus (Atari)

Congo Bongo

Crazy Climber

Dig Dug

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Jr

Double Dragon

Front Line

GORF

Gravitar (yeah, vectors!)

Gyruss

Ikari Warriors

Journey (Escape)

Joust

Krull

Kung Fu Master

Mario Bros

Moon Patrol

Mouse Trap

Mr. Do!

Mr. Do!'s Castle

Night Driver

Omega Race

Pengo

Phoenix

Pole Position

Pooyan

Popeye

Q*Bert

Q*Bert's Qubes

Reactor

Roc'n Rope

Sky Skipper

Solar Fox

Space War

Strategy X

Super Cobra

Tac/Scan (yeah, vectors!)

Tapper

Time Pilot

Track & Field

Up 'n' Down

Vanguard

Venture

Wizard of Wor

Xenophobe

Zaxxon

 

One could also make an argument for Warlords (as the arcade version was released first) but supposedly development of the 2600 version started before the arcade version.

 

Of everything now mentioned, my personal ten favorites (not in any order):

 

Asteroids

Berzerk

Bump 'n' Jump

GORF (even with the missing level)

Gravitar

Joust

Mario Bros

Night Driver

Space Invaders

Tapper

Edited by Ballblaɀer
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Battlezone is fun, but I was going for best conversion, so I was looking for the game that best resembled the arcade game. 

 

Battlezone was almost like an HD remake with all the fancy colors and such!

 

If I went on most enjoyable arcade conversion, I think I'd have to go with Ms Pac Man with Dig Dug getting honorable mention.

 

BTW games like Krull and Journey Escape are not arcade conversions as they had little to do with the arcade versions of the game.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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Poor Battlezone's not getting any votes! It really deserves them.

I actually liked Robot Tank better than Battlezone, and a real arcade conversion of Battlezone needs the vector graphics, imo. 

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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That's one I hadn't seen.  Awesome!  I loved that you didn't instantly die.  You had systems that failed.  Neat game.

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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Here's my take on them "as ports" :

 

Space Invaders - good port but not a fan of it

Missile Command - missing bases / no trak-ball - not a fan

Asteroids - missing vector graphics / gameplay too easy - see Space Rocks

Defender -  really good port except for the use of smart bombs/hyperspace  :(

Stargate / Defender 2 - see Defender

Ms. Pac Man - excellent

Official Frogger (Supercharger) - simply awesome (wish I had this back in the day instead of the PB version)  :thumb:

Battlezone - good port but missing the vector graphics again

Jungle Hunt - excellent

Joust - badddd  :wreck-it-ralph: ranks up there with Pac-Man

Berzerk - very good but missing Evil Otto  

Kangaroo - ok but not a fan

Jr. Pac-Man - i'm not a fan of the scrolling maze - i like to see where the monsters (ghosts) are

Centipede - very good (would have made excellent, if they had made it trak-ball compatible) - see Centipede TB

Millipede - same as Centipede - see Millipede TB

Donkey Kong - baddddd :wreck-it-ralph: - see D.K. VCS

Burgertime - very good

Congo Bongo - good

Dig Dug - ok - wish they would have done a better job with the graphics  :dig_dug:

Moon Patrol - very good

Pole Position - excellent

Q*Bert - very good

Wizard of Wor - excellent

Zaxxon - good

Pac-Man - not even going there! - (see dintar's Pac-Man 8k) 

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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Asteroids too easy?  Try game 8 with difficulty switch on "A". 

I should have added "based on default game and default settings"............

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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Your list is thorough and excellent.  But Berzerk does have Evil Otto (select game 2, for example).  And Joust is really good IMO.  Great controls, great 2 player options. 

I will try it - always wondered why there was no Otto.....always played game 1 - now I know why!

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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I will try it - always wondered why there was no Otto.....always played game 1 - now I know why!

Try game #9 of Berzerk...it's the hardest variation. 

 

The one thing that always amazes me about the 2600 is the sheer speed that it can produce.  Watch those robots swarm on level 9...and all those asteroids cruise around the screen on level 8.  No other machine of the era could move so many objects so quickly.  Other good examples (but not arcade ports) of speed are Kaboom and Dragonfire.  Incredible how fast and smooth objects move on those. 

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