The best games of 2022 you haven’t played: Atari 50

On this home we’ve commented many instances that video video games know tips on how to do many issues, however in fact honoring their very own historical past just isn’t considered one of them, typically decreasing the anniversary to a easy excuse to assault the pocket interesting to nostalgia. However Atari 50, the compilation launched in November to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of one of many business’s pioneers, is likely one of the (only a few) exceptions that stray from the rule.

On paper Atari 50 is a group with simply over 100 video games that characterize the lengthy historical past of the corporate based in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. In it we discover the arcade video games that cemented its place as a pioneer within the sector, from the title that began all of it, Pong, to a few of the best classics of the seventies and early eighties, similar to Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command or Breakout. From there we jumped to the Atari 2600, the primary nice dwelling online game console (Fairchild’s Channel F and RCA’s Studio II got here somewhat earlier, however their gross sales had been testimonial), and its successors, the Atari 5200 and Atari 7800, and we ended up with the Atari 800, an 8-bit pc with which they tried to compete with Apple’s first microcomputers, and what had been their final proposals earlier than declaring chapter and disappearing as a {hardware} producer, the Lynx (developed by Epyx ) and the Jaguar (touted as the primary 64-bit console, though this knowledge is considerably deceptive).

The choice of video games is accurately consultant of Atari’s artistic pressure throughout its completely different eras, with the distinguished presence of some nice classics of the medium but in addition with the occasional obscure and unknown title that’s price discovering. Being, furthermore, a title developed by the Digital Eclipse studio, nobody might be stunned if we are saying that the standard of the emulation is impeccable and that the completely different video games embrace the standard high quality of life enhancements, similar to the opportunity of saving the sport, filters picture frames or high-resolution marquees to disguise the distinction between the 4:3 facet ratio of the day and the 16:9 facet ratio of at the moment’s {hardware}. However at this level you’ll rightly marvel, what’s so completely different and memorable about all this in comparison with the remainder of the compilations revealed lately that we embrace Atari 50 on this sequence of articles. And the reply is within the packaging.

As a result of what makes Atari 50 particular and sensible is the way in which it presents all this content material. Divided into 5 sections (the origins of the arcade, dwelling gaming, the ups and downs, the daybreak of the PC, and the 90s and past), the corporate’s historical past and video games are unfold out on a timeline by which they’re proven facet by facet. of an avalanche of pictures, texts and movies with plenty of info that flip Atari 50 not a lot right into a compilation, however right into a enjoyable and really full historical past lesson. The documentation work is big, with high-quality, high-resolution scans of the unique supplies (covers, manuals, growth documentation, flyers, pictures, ads and far more) and small documentaries (with Spanish subtitles) by which individuals who labored on the firm (from Al Alcorn to Eugene Jarvis, together with Howard Scott Warshaw or David Crane) or personalities from the sector (similar to Tim Schafer or Cliff Bleszinski, to call a few examples) share reminiscences and experiences associated to the subjects coated in every considered one of them.

The result’s a real interactive encyclopedia about Atari, and a spectacular documentary supply about one of many firms and one of the crucial vital durations in online game historical past. It’s particularly attention-grabbing as a result of it’s not restricted to giving solely knowledge that many people already know, but in addition offers curiosities (priceless, for instance, the interview by which these concerned clarify whether or not the parable that medication ran freely via the workplaces of Atari within the seventies) or recuperate prototypes of arcade video games that by no means noticed the sunshine of day similar to Maze Invaders or Akka Arrh, Atari 2600 video games similar to Actual Sports activities Basketball or the Atari 5200 conversion of Millipede, all of them completely playable. The icing on the cake are a couple of secret video games which are unlocked by fixing puzzles and the seven titles of the “Reimagined Collection”, trendy video games created on objective by Digital Eclipse the place mechanics are recovered and several other classics are reimagined with extra graphics, sound and gameplay. present.

Atari, as a consequence of its significance and its legacy, deserved a tribute to the peak within the 12 months by which it turned half a century, and towards all odds it has had it with what is probably essentially the most cautious retro compilation of all these which have been launched to the world. market thus far. They are saying, and I could not agree extra, that you will need to look to the long run, however it’s equally important to know the previous. And few methods extra sensible than this I can consider, inside the online game, to show the brand new generations in a didactic and entertaining method the historical past of a basic and inescapable medium inside the tradition of the final half century.