Saturday, August 18, 2012

7 classic video games for the Odyssey 2

Pick Axe Pete

This was one of the most popular video games for the Odyssey 2 home systems. It was a climbing game sort of, in which you controlled the Pete on the screen who had to collect keys while avoiding boulders and other objects tumbling in his direction before going through doors and on to the next level. This was my personal favorite of all the Odyssey 2 games from Magnavox.

Killer Bees!

This was one of the more unique games not only for the Odyssey 2, but for all the home gaming consoles during the early 1980s. You play a swarm of bees attacking robots while avoiding other bees.


This arcade classic was still fun to play at home on the Odyssey 2, though I have to admit the graphics could have been better. Still, the Odyssey 2 had a lot going for it, but often the graphics paled in comparison to other home gaming consoles.


One of the few arcade games to make it to a home version for the Odyssey 2 gaming console. The graphics were pretty good, the sound decent and the gameplay just like the arcade version of Turtles. For the early 1980s, this was an alright game.


Based upon the popular arcade game, which was based upon the popular cartoon, Popeye brought arcade-style fun to the Odyssey 2, though admittedly it didn't have the same quality of graphics. Still, Popeye was a lot of fun to play on the Odyssey 2, also known as the Philips Videopac in Europe.


This game from Imagic was popular on the Atari 2600 and other gaming consoles and computers in the early 1980s, so it's only proper the Odyssey 2 had a version, especially since there never was a lot of third-party software for this gaming console. Atlantis here is great fun, and has great gameplay and colors.


Much like the arcade game Asteroids, you pilot a ship through space while avoiding the enemy. However, that's where the similarities end. UFO is an awesome game in its own right, and is worth playing for all its differences from asteroids. Oh yeah, and just for the fun of it!
Video game links

5 classic Atari 5200 games

Realsports Baseball

In my opinion, this is still one of the best baseball video games of all time. The graphics were sharp, the sound excellent, and you could control pretty much everything on the screen. There were even line scores!


Though many gaming fans were not impressed by the version of Zaxxon for the Atari 2600, this version for the Atari 5200 set many things right, mainly moving back to the isometric, sort-of-3D viewpoint.

Space Invaders

Space Invaders might have been old hat in 1982 when the Atari 5200 came along, but this gaming console still managed to bring some new, entertaining qualities to this classic arcade game.


With the huge success of the Gremlins movie in 1984, it was no surprise Atari produced video games based upon the movie, the best of which (in my opinion) was this game for the Atari 5200 which came out in 1986. Lost of frantic action here with solid graphics and great gameplay.


This version of the classic Defender video game is darn close to the original arcade version by Williams Electronics from 1980. The graphics are fantastic and the sounds are awesome. The gameplay is somewhat chaotic, but that's just how the arcade Defender was, with lots going on on the screen at any time.
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2 classic Intellivsion video games


Released in 1981, this was one of the most realistic boxing sports video games for the longest times. The graphics weren't the greatest, but there was a lot of variety to this game, and you got to play a full 15 rounds, each one 90 seconds long.

Armor Battle

Back in the late 1970s there were not a lot of military video games to play, but Intellivision came up with this nifty game, which had graphics a couple of years before its time for home consoles.
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Game of the week: Cosmic Avenger for Colecovision

History records the arcade game Cosmic Avenger as being the very first continuous horizontal space shooting video game that also included side scrolling. Some might argue that Defender was the first such game, but the screen in Defender was technically not continuous but looped back in upon itself.

Unfortunately, despite its little place in history, I don't remember Cosmic Avenger being a big hit at the arcades back in the day. Oh, I'm not saying I never saw a Cosmic Avenger game in the arcades, but it wasn't very often that I'd run across one, and I'm thinking I would be hard pressed to find a working Cosmic Avenger game today.

However, Cosmic Avenger was fun to play back in the day and it must have had something going for it because it was ported to the Colecovision home gaming system.

The arcade and Colecovision versions of the game are quite similar, but that shouldn't be a surprise because the Colecovision was known for quality graphics back in the day.

The gameplay is quite simple by today's standards. The player controls a spaceship that flies over cities and mountains and even under water, all the while shooting at enemies in the sky and on the ground below.

The graphics are a bit garish, even for the early 1980s, with lots of bright pinks and yellows, but they felt appropriate to this game. The Colecovision game had one fault I did not care for which was the choppy frame rate; the screen didn't blink all the time, but it seemed whenever action heated up, then there would be blinking, blinking and more blinking, which wasn't all that common in Colecovision games.

How does Cosmic Avenger hold up today? Well, it's a horizontal shooter with somewhat cartoonish graphics, so what do you think? So, probably not very well. Still, Cosmic Avenger offered plenty of action, and collectors could do much worse in finding this cartridge for their old Colecovision.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Video game of the week: Venture for Atari 2600

In 1981 the arcades were full of maze games and shooting games. Little yellow fellows zoomed around a screen eating dots and alien menaces died by the millions. There were a lot of arcade games, and after a while many of them started to look the same, like clones of other games.

Of course there were some games which were different from many of the others. Venture is one such game.

Released in 1981 by the Exidy Company, Venture grew to some success in the arcades, though it never quite had the legendary status of such games as Donkey Kong or Space Invaders and the like. The player controls a small dot on the screen known as Winky, and Winky's goal is to travel around a dungeon and collect treasure while avoiding or slaying monsters. It's a fairly simple process, and the first dungeon (of three) is pretty easy for most players, but there was still fun to be found here.

In each of the three dungeons there are four rooms that Winky must enter. Those rooms contain the treasure. Out in the dungeon are giant monsters roaming around, and Winky isn't able to kill them. But in each of the rooms are monsters Winky can kill with his trusty bow and arrows; even after slaying a foe, however, Winky has to be on his toes because touching the body of a dead enemy can still kill Winky. And if Winky takes too long in any of the rooms, one of the giant monsters from the dungeon will pop into the room and make a beeline for Winky.

It wasn't soon after Venture became known in the arcades that Coleco made a home version available for the Atari 2600 and just about every other major home gaming console of the day.

One could call Venture a minimalist game, and to some extent that is true. The sound is very basic, almost monotonous, and the graphics are pretty bland, even by standards of 1981. However, perhaps it is only nostalgia, but there was plenty of fun to be had having Winky traverse around the dungeon slaying monsters and stealing treasures. Perhaps we just didn't know better back then because we were all thrilled with every new game that came along, but I, for one, always appreciated the simplicity of Venture and the fun that came along with the game, despite that once you've master this game it does not have much replay value.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Video game of the week: Killer Bees! for Odyssey 2

The Odyssey 2 home video game console, also known as the Videopac outside the U.S., had a decent following in the early 1980s, but it was never the most popular system. A large part of that had to do with the system's lack of strong graphics and sound, but that meant the creators for the Odyssey 2 games had to work all that much harder to make stronger gameplay.

To that end, such unique games as Killer Bees! came about.

The player controls a swarm of bees in an arena. The bees attack robots, which slows down and eventually can destroy the robots, leaving behind a tombstone where the robots died. The most dangerous enemy? Another swarm of bees, and they fly around quickly trying to attack the player's bees. One by one, the player's bees are picked away, and once there are no more bees for the player, the game ends.

For today's gamers, this might sound a little silly and overly simplistic, but for the early 1980s it was actually a pretty decent game. Unfortunately, the Odyssey 2 was never shown a lot of love by consumers and collectors, and such games as Killer Bees! never caught on big time.

While the graphics for the Odyssey 2 were never great, here they are quite sharp, bright with no blurring. The sound is simplistic, as well, but it's appropriate for the system and the time period. The controls are excellent.

The game speeds up slowly, adding to the tension, and while Killer Bees! might not be a game you would want to play for hours and hours, it is a nice little game that can give you a short break.

Killer Bees! was truly a different game for its time period, and deserves to get a little notice for its uniqueness. Collectors of retro video game systems could do far worse than to pick up a copy of Killer Bees!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Video game of the week: Discs of Tron for arcade

In 1982, Walt Disney Pictures released a movie called Tron. Since then there have been a ton of video games based upon the movie, and there has been a sequel film only released in 2010. While the original movie and the sequel did alright at the box office, and they have their cult followings, neither has been a huge success with the general viewing public. Still, the movies live on in part because the original was one of the first films to really tackle the subject of video games, part of the plot being about real humans becoming part of a computer world and taking part in actual games.

Like I said, there have been lots of Tron video games, both in the arcade and for the home console markets, as well as for computers. But of them all, my personal favorite has to be Discs of Tron.

Discs of Tron was not the first Tron video game. That honor goes to a game simply titled Tron, which was popular in its own right and not a bad game by any means. But Discs of Tron, to this day, has the best action and continual gameplay of any of the Tron games.

In this game, the player controls the Tron character in a world of video games. Specifically in this game, Tron moves around on a giant floating circle in an arena while using flying discs as a shield and as a weapon to defeat his enemies.

The first level of the game is fairly easy, with Tron moving around on one circle while facing one simple enemy. But as the game progresses, Tron must move around on more circles simply in order to survive the barrage of enemy discs, bombs and other attacks coming his way. Sometimes there are shield in the center of the screen, these shield making it more difficult for Tron to hit his target, but also making it more hard for the enemy combatants to attack Tron.

The control system for this game was quite complex for its time. The main controller was a large joystick with two buttons, one a trigger and the other smaller on top, but the player also had to use a dial for Tron to aim his attack discs. By today's standards that's no big whoop, but in the early 1980s this was considered complicated gameplay. Still, it wasn't anything a gamer couldn't figure out, and the complexity of the controls actually added to the fun once you were familiar with them.

There were at least a couple of different cabinets for this game. One was the traditional cabinet in which the player could just walk up and insert his or her quarters. The other was a cockpit cabinet in which the player could sit down within the cabinet for play. It seems I've seen a couple of smaller table cabinets, but my memory might be playing tricks on me.

This game is still popular today, and if you search online you can probably find a few free versions of it to play.

Anyway, Discs of Tron is my all-time favorite arcade game. It was fun, exciting, had great graphics and sounds, and could offer hours of play. For only 25 cents. You can't find that nowadays!