Our friend came by the other night and let us borrow an Atari he received for Christmas and exhausted himself playing. It really brings back memories, mostly the memories associated with the frustration of not knowing the object of some of the games. The console is much smaller then I remember, and instead of individual cartridges, the console has several games built in, and upon turning it on there is an options screen that lets you pick and play from several different categories. I'm guessing there must be about 50 games on that, but not all 50 are games you remember or want to play.
There are a couple of great classic games, like Combat and Asteroids, but after about 20 minutes of play my attention span waned and I switched games again. I played Pitfall for a while, but was soon revisited by the same anxiety I experienced when I was a youngster—killed by scorpions that switch direction at the exact moment I’m trying to jump over them, getting eaten by alligators, not navigating the obstacles well and falling into pits or bodies of water. I played Yars’ Revenge, but after defeating the spinning thing on the right hand side of the screen a few times, playing became redundant and not stimulating. I played Atari Pong for a while, but again, after 20 minutes of volleying the square blip back and fourth I became uninterested. I played Haunted House, a game I remember sitting on the floor -with my cousin and investing many hours into, only to become discouraged after wandering around the electronic maze and not having a clear objective. Missle Command was kind of fun, and a couple of games that were new ones for me proved to be entertaining for a while. Some were just as dumb as I remembered, such as Hangman. All said and done, I spent about 45 minutes playing all the different games. What started as a walk down memory lane, soon turned into the stark realization that even though I enjoy playing, I still suck at most Atari games.