I’ve never held back on the fact that I’m an Atari fan at heart and I always have been – that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate games from other companies, I just happen to have had some great memories with many Atari games through the past and I appreciate their often overlooked contributions to the game industry as a whole. In fact the article I’m going to link to starts out by discussing how every company seems to have it’s fans except for Atari which in fact are out there but in smaller numbers than what is seen by other ‘factions’.
The article is called Game Design Essentials: 20 Atari games and it takes a look at not just a number of titles to come out of Atari over the years but what it was that made them great games. All of them are arcade titles which is why I am pointing this out and in a way this fits in with my “Missing in Action” articles (which I have not been able to continue with lately since I have been so busy and they take a little while to put together) by pointing out play aspects that are unique, interesting, fun, and generally only work in an arcade setting as opposed to a console setting. The article focuses a lot on Atari Games (the division that existed after Atari split in two in 1984, with the arcade division keeping many of the same people) and their efforts in the late 80s but does take a look at some pre-crash games like Gran Trak10 and Sprint, Tempest, Asteroids, Centipede, I, Robot, Quantum and Major Havoc (these latter three I’d love to own for my personal collection one day but they are quite rare). Of course they also discuss excellent titles like Marble Madness, Paperboy, VIndicators, Tetris, Rampart, Gauntlet Legends as well as a few stinkers like Batman. In addition to taking a trip down memory lane or taking in a game history lesson, I think the article makes some excellent points on certain play aspects that still could be utilized in today’s new arcade games and thus makes a great case as to why we should see more than racers & light-gun titles, even with today’s more advanced technologies.