Black 4 In One

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There is a certain cute factor to Mr Postman (you are a teddy bear after all) yet its quickly forgotten by the sheer brutality of that constantly shitting and spitting bird. ~Joseph Tobin

Black 4 In One

Manufactured by a German company (from what little I can find out online about it) named Bit Corp. (which sounds like a really cool chiptune artist name if you ask me) is the Black 4 In One cartridge. Why I refer to it as the Black 4 In One cartridge is because years after acquiring that one (I’ve had it since I was about 10 or 12) I managed to acquire an orange one with a different mix of games on it and the same name (which I may review later).


Anyway the cartridge has 4 games on it and it uses 2 switches to determine which game will play when you turn on the Atari console with it plugged in. This weird as I’ve never seen the same switch system used on any other Atari cartridges yet its very effective.

Something of interest is this cartridge was only released in PAL territories so they are considered pretty rare in USA.

As you can see my personal copy had taken a bit of damage thanks to my kids. Somehow it still works – further proof of how durable these old Atari carts really are (even the cheap third party ones).

Anyway these are the games that are on Black 4 In One –

  1. Space Tunnel (right/right)
  2. Phantom Tank (right/left)
  3. Bobby Is going Home (left/right)
  4. Mr Postman (left/left)

Now for the games themselves…

Space Tunnel

Space Tunnel reminds me a lot of Vanguard except you move up and down instead of scrolling left and right. Alien ships at varying speeds and sizes come at you in squadrons of one, two or three at a time. What makes this a challenge is the bullets they fire ricochet off the walls and they tend to be as fast as the ship that fires them. slow ship – slow bullets. Fast ship – oh my god how do I dodge this thing?!? Its usual Atari fare of an endless amount of waves and trying to survive as long as you can whilst scoring as high as possible.

Space Tunnel

This game is pretty fun – the controls are responsive and the adrenaline shoots up when the fast ships are firing bouncing bullets at you. When you die (by touching a wall, an alien ship or a bullet) your ship becomes a twisted piece of wreckage and there is a loud bang sound. When its game over you can still move your wreckage left and right, further rubbing in the fact your ship is screwed. Whether intentional or not I like that.

Phantom Tank

In Phantom tank you drive a tank in a maze trying to kill phantom tanks which are attacking your base at the bottom of the screen. What is really cool is this is one game where flickering graphics are actually a good thing because they make the phantom tanks look very ethereal. So you navigate your way around, shoot 20 tanks and on to the next level.

Phantom Tank

While the first level or two aren’t too tough the third level is an absolute bitch. You are fighting in mostly open terrain with a small barrier to protect the top. Where this sucks is you can only have one bullet on screen at a time and only the screen walls or the moving tanks to stop it. Not to mention if you sneak up the top a single stray enemy bullet can drift down and kill your base. When your base goes it doesn’t matter how many lives you have – GAME OVER!

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In spite of this Phantom Tank has remained one of my favorite all-time Atari games.

So the first two games are pretty straight forward. Not a lot to say about them – they are what they are and are pretty fun. The next two is where it starts to get weird…

Bobby Is Going Home

Warning – this game is cute. I’m talking obnoxiously cute here. How a bunch of Germans came up with this game is beyond me – Germany is known for industrial efficiency, hard electronic music and good beer – NOT FOR CUTE! Don’t believe me – take a look at this screenshot!

Anyway you are Bobby (who is supposed to be a little boy but looks more like an elf on his way to a funeral) and you are trying to get home. In this brightly coloured world you have to traverse such obstacles as fences, ponds, retracting bridges, chickens, bats, butterflies, rolling stones and so on. Controls are pretty good although the high jumping can get you killed sometimes.

Bobby Is Going Home atari 2600

Throughout the game an obnoxiously cute tune plays to make this German kawaii nightmare complete. That happy tune will get stuck in your head. Anyway you go from left to right through various screens dodging obstacles. When you jump it plays a little tune which plays instead of the background music’s bass line (yes the game music has treble and bass parts – something that Atari doesn’t have often).

If you hit an enemy Bobby farts when he dies. If you fall into a pond you sink ito it and drown with a bubbly drowny-type sound. As you near your house the music slows down – I guess Bobby is starting to get tired by this point. The final screen is a snow storm with you going into your house and you are treated to a happy ‘there’s no place like home’ type tune. Then it all starts again except a little harder.

Bobby Is Going Home

This game most certainly has camp value and is very fun to play in spite of the cuteness blasting from every pixel on the screen made even worse by that tune you will find yourself playing in your head for years to come. For what it is this game is very well made – lots of colour, great looking backgrounds, butterflies that look like butterflies, house that looks like a house and so on. However those black things they call rolling stones look pretty weird.

Mr Postman

This is a game most reviewers can the crap out of mostly because they can’t get past the first screen so they dismiss it as being a bad game. Personally I think these reviewers are just being AVGN wannabees and are deliberately looking for stuff to trash in games in an attempt to be funny. A bad game is a bad game but Mr Postman is a lot better than many other Atari 2600 titles.

There are three screens in all and I can make it through all of them. But it took a hell of a lot of practice to do it.

Mr Postman

In this game you are a postman represented by a teddy bear. The aim is to traverse the three screens and deliver your letter to a house in the ‘City of Silence’. Why I know this and most reviewers don’t? I used to have the scrap of paper that came with this cartridge they laughingly called the instruction manual.

The first screen is very hard, the hardest part of the game in fact. You have to run across the bottom of the screen, climb the tree jump onto the swinging rope, jump off the rope and land on the bird.

Jumping onto the bird is hard enough but many people don’t even get that far as the bird is constantly shitting while spitting at the tree. So you risk being shit on by the bird (which of course kills you). If you make it that far you risk being spat on as you climb the tree (which also kills you). Timing your jump to catch the rope is the easiest part of this screen (again, if you miss the rope or bird it kills you). As the bird is moving a lot its hard to time the jump onto it. But it can be done and when you do a triumphant tune plays and you can fly around on the bird for a bit. Yay.

The second screen you are flying around in a hailstorm. If you touch the trees at the bottom you die. If hailstones hit you (which you have to shoot) you die, if the lightning bolt hits you (kind of like a faster moving missile like in Missile Command) you die. Plus you have to shoot the birds at the top of the screen through the gaps in the clouds. Surprisingly its not as hard as it looks. Anyway you kill all the birds and the hail you make it to the third and final screen.

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Congratulations Mr Postman you’ve made it to the City of Silence – now to make your way to the house and deliver that letter. But its not so simple as there are some tight squeezes to slowly inch your way through else you die by touching the walls. As long as you take it slow its not so hard but a couple of those spaces are pretty tight. Ironically there is a simple tune playing in the background as you roam the City of Silence.

There is a certain cute factor to Mr Postman (you are a teddy bear after all) yet its quickly forgotten by the sheer brutality of that constantly shitting and spitting bird. The hailstorm is chaotic and keeps you on your toes. Crawling through the City of Silence can be nerve-wracking navigating those tight corners. You really feel like you’ve accomplished something when you deliver that letter. But wait… it doesn’t end there. Thats right, this is Atari – you go back to the beginning to do it all over again!!!

So there you have it – all four games and for the most part four fairly entertaining ones. All games have excellent responsive yet precise controls so you can’t blame those if you suck at the game. I like the varying difficulty between the games as it caters to gamers of all skill and patience tolerance levels. A rarity for a small third party company as they are generally known for bad games.

Our Rating

  • Space Tunnel – 7/10 – Its fun, action packed space shooting in a confined space. The changes in speed keep the challenge going and the richochets keep you on your toes.
  • Phantom Tank – 8/10 – Great game even if the third screen is nigh impossible to beat
  • Bobby Is Going Home – 7/10 – Fun but gets repetitive once you know the patterns. Has some replay value as its the sort of game you just have to show to people and laugh when they can’t make it home even once (then you proceed to breeze through it). I can imagine people on drugs having a lot of fun with this one.
  • Mr Postman – 5/10 – The sheer brutality of the first screen will turn many people off playing it. Yet there are those who will be determined to beat it if only once.

Overall an excellent cartridge to pick up if you can find a copy.

Crash Dive

Crash Drive

Format- Atari 2600

Genre- Side on shooter

There’s only so many things you can say about a lot of Atari 2600 games without stating the obvious.

The graphics are basic. The gameplay is confusing. What is that shape actually supposed to represent? Yes, if you’re not trained in the ways of ye olde Atari, most of the console’s games are more trouble than they’re worth.

Judging Crash Dive purely on adjusted standards though, it isn’t too bad. Sure, it’s pretty aimless and outdated, but what do you expect?

You play as the white ship (see pic) that is always fixed on the left hand side of the screen. Enemies such as fish, battleships and lizards all come at you, and it’s your duty to blast them away. That’s your lot.

Crash Drive

Added intrigue does comes about however, with how the screen is unevenly split between air, sea and underground. Your craft can dive underwater (which involves a cute – for the Atari – splash effect) and burrow underground, but for all extents and purposes the ship’s handling remains the same.

You have a few lives, with the only aim seemingly to stay alive. You’ll play this for a few minutes and that’s probably it. This is a solid entry into the 2600 pantheon, and the sounds are as retro-cool as ever, but i’m struggling to say any more.

Developed by 20th Century Fox, i’m not sure whether the game is the studio attempting a very late interactive version of the 1943 film of the same name. I don’t think the film would be worth seeing if the game’s ‘plot’ is anything to go by though.

Weird Games: X-Man

X-Man Adult game

I don’t think Charles Xavier had this in mind when he created his school for gifted mutants, but then again, I guess if you can run naked through a maze avoiding teeth and scissors that could be considered at least, a special ability. In a nutshell (pun intended) that is what X-Man for the Atari 2600 is all about.

X-Man Adult game

Released by Gamex in 1983, in this adult game, you play a naked guy with a non-Viagra induced hard on, who has to navigate a maze while avoiding all the dangers that keep our manhood not up at night. These dangers include the dreaded teeth, crabs and scissors. When you finally make it to the room you enter a bonus round where you earn points by having as much sex with the woman as you can in the time allowed.

This is about as close to a summary of what young men are in game form as we will ever get. Seriously, even the cover is perfect.

Crystal Castles

I usually praise developers for bringing me something unique, and this game can be categorized as such…or maybe “odd”…”weird”.

Crystal Castles - Gameplay screenshot

A 1983 Atari product, Crystal Castles is a game that stands out. From its crazy-detailed cabinet art to its glow-in-the-dark trackball, you wouldn’t be able to miss this in any arcade. But, how does it play? The “Crystal Castles” are 40 isometric levels given a 3D look. You play as a goofy-looking bear wearing Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Throughout the pathways of the castles are scores of gems and jewels. Your mission is to collect them (for points) as quickly as possible. The trackball moves you around and there is a jump button, as well. To reach the different levels of the screen, you’ll use ramps, stairs, elevators, and secret passageways.

Crystal Castles - Gameplay screenshot

To stop you in your mission are a multitude of creatures: There are wormy things that eat the gems, taking points from you. You can avoid them or (only while they’re eating) run into them, which kills them. There are killer trees (that chase you?!?), which if jumped over will freeze them for a short time. Also, skeletons and ghosts, which should be avoided. One of the bonus items you may capture for points is a pot of honey, but you’ll have to watch for the swarm of bees protecting it. Lastly, every so-many levels is an ugly Witch (I think these are her castles from which I’m stealing), who you can avoid, but will probably need to kill because she’s hanging around gems you’ll need to complete the level and move on. So….there’s this silly little hat that you can find and put on, making you invulnerable for a short time…and the only way to kill her.

Crystal Castles - Gameplay screenshot

As you can see, this game is a little f’ed-up, but it has quick, intense gameplay. The levels will be more difficult as you progress (as usual), but there are “cheats” in form of level-warps, if you choose to use them. A couple of neat additions to the game: Whenever you get killed, a word balloon pops over the bear’s head, usually a comic-book curse word (#$^!). Also, the importance of being careful on each level, but still having to maneuver quickly. As you delay, your gems are being eaten, costing you points…and there are bonus points for who/whatever grabs the last gem. If a creature gets it, you’ll go to the next level, but lost out on the bonus.


I do find it odd that the bear’s motivations are stealing money, and the honey is a bit of an afterthought….and why does he need to wear clothes on his feet and head? It’s hard to tell, but he may actually be wearing a thong. Also, why would the Witch ever want to stay at her castles when they’re clearly overrun by ghosts and goblins? There is also an actual ending to the game, which I’ll never be good enough to see (lack of continues). But, if someone knows what it is, please let me know. This was truly a lot of fun, and will always get my recommendation if someone is looking for a “different” kind of retro game.

Overall 9/10

Superman: Atari 2600

Superman - Atari 2600 - Video Game screenshot

Growing up a video game and comic book lover, you can imagine how I felt when my two passions merged, and at the age of 9, had a chance to play the Superman cart for my Atari. It was everything I could ever want; Superman flying around, Luthor trying to kill Supes with Kryptonite, Lois needing more saving, etc… Fantastic!
Now, here is how I feel at age 41…
The game starts with Clark leaving one of those old-time phone booths, and as he walks to the next screen, the bridge blows up. The object of the game is to capture Lex Luthor, 6 unnamed criminals, and find/reassemble the 3 pieces of the bridge. Superman has the power of flight, strength, and x-ray vision to help you accomplish this.

Superman - Atari 2600 - Video Game screenshot
The first part that bothers me (and there’s a big list), is there’s actually no proof that Luthor had anything to do with The Great Metropolis Bridge Explosion of 1978. Whatever reason, I felt Superman was just picking on him a bit. All Luthor does is fly around the entire game with a propeller coming out of his head, and for some reason, wearing Aquaman’s Underoos. As embarrassing as that is, I’m guessing he committed no crime. Also, why these random 6 criminals? Only reason I see is they’re carrying these huge tommy-guns (what year is this anyway?), but they never actually use them.

Superman - Atari 2600 - Video Game screenshot
The characters are very blocky, but they’re colorful enough to figure out who is whom, although Supes has no hair. Lois wears a pill-box hat (again, what year is this?) and seems to find herself in trouble, get in the way, etc….so, she’s easy to locate.
The sound effects couldn’t be more annoying, with the flying sound (90% of the game) bringing back horrible flashbacks of 2AM TV static. The flickering when multiple characters are on screen leaves me to believe this should have been the first game to come with the “epileptic seizure” warning. The “maze” of Metropolis is beyond frustrating. You could actually be on the jail screen, fly down 1, then fly back up 1, only to find you’re not at the jail, but somewhere else. Insane.

Superman - Atari 2600 - Video Game screenshot
There are kryptonite satelittes flying around, and if one hits you, Lois magically appears for you to “kiss” to get your powers back. That makes 2 cases in Superman canon where a magic kiss was used, and that’s 2 times too many.
Finally, there’s a helicopter flying around that serves as the same purpose as the bat in Adventure….to piss you off. It just flies around picking up your bridge pieces and making them harder to find, and occasionally carrying Lois around by her hat.

Superman - Atari 2600 - Video Game screenshot
Friday, I talked about one of my favorite co-op adventures in The Wizard of Wor, but this one of the worst. Yes, they made Superman a co-op game. One person can control him flying up and down, where player 2 can jump on the right joystick and control him flying left and right………….seriously.

In conclusion, some games just don’t age well, and this is one. I recommend keeping your fond memories intact, and don’t actually ruin them with reality.

Overall 3/10


FREEWAY, designed by David Crane (Activision). I remember actually looking forward to games by Crane, who I still consider the greatest of all time.

Freeway_Cover - Atari - 2600 - Gameplay Screenshot - 1

Freeway is a pretty simple game. Either 1 or 2 players control a chicken who is trying to get to the other side of a multi-lane highway filled with speeding cars. Unlike Frogger, the chicken can only be moved up or down. When struck by a car, the chicken is knocked back a couple of lanes, which may put you in the headlights of another vehicle….

Freeway - Atari - 2600 - Gameplay Screenshot
You have exactly 2 minutes and 16 seconds to cross the road as many times as possible, or get 1 more than your opponent in 2-player mode.

Overall, I like the game. The graphics are nice and colorful. The bright, yellow chicken moves its little feet quickly across the road. I say “little”, but it’s about 5 foot long. I like to pretend it’s escaping from KFC ‘s Double Down assembly line. The many cars look different, with unique shapes and sizes. A neat little animation of the chicken getting knocked backwards is a nice touch.

Freeway - Atari - 2600 - Gameplay Screenshot
The sounds of cars and trucks speeding by are solid, and the horns will beep to warn you they’re speeding through, because no one in the city is going to stop for poultry.
This game is a nice little time-waster. Fun and easy to pick up and play.

I’d give this a 6/10 for the 1-person game, 8/10 for 2 player, which is great for smack-talk.

Old Game Reviewer reviews classic and retro games, you can check out more of his great work on his blog here – Old Game reviewer.

Haunted House



The other day I was chatting with one of the neighbor kids. Not in a “creepy old man” way, more of a “I wonder if his parents taught him the value of a dollar? Because I want to talk him into raking all my leaves…for a dollar” way. It seems little Johnny was smarter than I thought. After all, he’s a PS3/Xbox gamer, and he realizes games are in the $60 range. He’s into Halo, Call of Duty, and the Left 4 Dead series. These games are favorites of mine, as well, so we actually had something in common. Anyway, after a little zombie-talk, I was flooded with memories of scary games from my younger years. Two of these stuck out, so I thought it was time to replay them to see how they stand up to today’s standards. So, I enter my game room with a leaf-covered yard and one dollar still in my pocket.


First game I thought of was Haunted House by Atari, for the Atari 2600. I remember playing the hell out of this game. It was one of my favorites…let’s see if I still enjoy it. Speed-reading the instructions, here’s all you need to know:

Old guy died and his ghost is still “haunting” the house. There are other creepy-crawlies in there as well. Four floors to the house with six rooms on each floor, stairs seperating the floors. Some doors are locked, so finding the master key is “key”. There’s a magic scepter which will keep away the creepies, but not the ghost. OBJECTIVE: Find the three pieces of an urn and return to the front door. Seems simple, but there is a catch. You can only carry one item at a time. So, if you are keeping the monsters away with a scepter, you can’t use the key to open doors. If you’re carrying the urn, you can’t…you get the idea.


Game start. Everything is pitch black, which is cool, except for two eyeballs, which is you. The controller’s red button does one thing. When you press it, you’re circled by a flickering light, which is supposed to represent a lit match. That’s the only way you can see the items to pick up. Nice touch. The match will last for a little time, then go out. Hit the button again, and we have light. The amount of matches you use combined with how many times you’re “killed” (you have 9 lives) is your score for the game.


There’s no true “walkthrough” because every game has items randomly placed…which is good. Here were some highlights/lowlights:

I grade on a 0-2 scale in 5 categories, for a max score of 10.


The eyeballs will ‘look” the direction you’re moving. Flying bats and spiders look like bats and spiders. The ghost chasing you looks cool. Flickering lightning!

This was an important part of the game. A distinct sound when you go up or down stairs, and when you are bumping into walls. Footsteps. A cool “wind” sound when a monster enters the same room you’re in (it blows out your match).

Your eyes move fluidly, and you bump into a lot of things (because it’s dark). Done well.

It’s okay. I enjoyed it more as a kid. But, you run like hell when you see the monsters coming at you. A little-girl scream might have come out of my mouth on occasion.

It does have scoring and different difficulty levels, but I probably wouldn’t play it again…at least until next Halloween.

A very well-done game for an old console

Old Game Reviewer reviews classic and retro games, you can check out more of his great work on his blog here – Old Game reviewer.

Keystone Kapers

Keystone Kapers, designed by Garry Kitchen (ACTIVISION).

The object of the game is for the player, who controls a keystone cop (equipped with a billy club), to catch a convict (dressed in b&w stripes). You’re in a 4-story department store, starting in the bottom right corner, and the convict has a bit of a head start. He will try to reach the roof, and if this happens he gets away. You have 50 seconds to reach him, and there are escalators and elevators to help. Also, there are many obstacles in the way that you will have to either jump over or duck under. This includes radios, bouncing balls, and toy planes. A hit from a plane takes away a life (you get 3), and other obstacles take off 9 seconds. If the timer reaches 0, you lose a life. The game potentially could last forever, because there is no true end to the game. But, the pace gets rather fast and hectic.

Atari - Keystone Kapers - Gameplay Screenshot

You can earn a “Billy Club” patch with 35,000 points. Back in the day, you were able to take a photograph of your TV screen, send it toActivision, and they would send you an “achievement” patch for a job well done. Points are earned by time left on the clock after capture, and the occasional bag of money picked up while running.

Overall, a very fun game. The officer and convict look cool, and the animation of him running with the billy club is funny.

Controls work well, although sometimes I have problems lining up with the elevator.

Not too much audio or sound effects, just some footsteps and a sound when you jump or run into something.

Atari - Keystone Kapers - Gameplay Screenshot

The game is very repetitive, but the pace picks up after a few rounds. I find myself not even blinking after a couple of minutes of game play, worried about what is in the next “room”.
It’s a game that makes me want to get right back into it to improve my score.


Overall 8/10

Yars Revenge

Backstory on Yar’s:
It’s a simple game, really. A Yar is this giant, flying insect. Its enemy is the Qotile, who hangs out on the right side of the screen. It’s protected by a shield, which can be shot or eaten by the Yar. Once there’s a “hole” in the shield, you can use the Zorlon Cannon, which appears on the left side of the screen, to kill it. There’s also a small, slow-moving missile that can kill you. It follows you relentlessly, like the Terminator. There’s a “neutral zone” in the middle of the screen, which will save you from the missile, but not the Qotile’s main weapon..the deadly “swirl”. The swirl is like a can of Raid. Kills Bugs Dead. At certain intervals, the Qotile will turn different colors and periodically shoot out toward the Yar. A really cool feature (and one you will NEED to use) is that Yar can fly through the top of the screen and “pop” out of the bottom, or vice-versa. The missile or swirl cannot do this.

OBJECTIVE: To reach 1,000,000 points, turning the score back to zero, and getting the revenge for the Yars.

I fire it up, and it still has that cool background music. Sounds a bit like an old refrigerator droning on and on before it dies.
Yar moves around very quick and smoothly, controls are nice.
You get more points for eating the shield than shooting, so I’m going to get in close as much as possible.

(Eat 50 pieces of shield)

After there’s a hole in the shield, you have a couple of options: You can continue eating the shield for more points, or get right to the BIG points. It’s 1000 to shoot the Qotile while he’s sitting there; 2000 to wait until he turns into the swirl; or 6000 points to shoot him while he’s shooting toward you. The risk/reward of shooting him in mid-air is the way I like to go for a big reason: This is the only way to get a “free man”. You will max out with 9 lives, but you’ll need them.

I’m out of practice a bit, but I opt to eat a little shield, head back towards the left side of the screen, then wait for the swirl to turn red. After the color change, he’ll “swirl” in place for a second or two (2000 points), then attack. I have to time the Zorlon Cannon just right, then move out of the way so I’m not hit by it (Yes, you can kill yourself with your weapon)….AARRRGGHH!!!!! Got me! I am a little out of practice.

(Go Down in a Burning Ring of Fire)

After I get the hang of it, and the timing down, I hit my first flying swirl for 6000 points!

(Get your first moving kill)

There’s a lot of repeating until you reach 70,000 points. This is when the shield will turn from orange to blue. Now, the swirl will come at you 3 times more frequently. The missile will continually get faster and more relentless throughout the game, so now you have to use some skill.
I get on a roll and start knocking them out.

(Destroy 2 swirls in less than 12 seconds)

This continues until I reach 150,000 points. The shield turns gray. The good part about this milestone is the swirl will go back to shooting at you at its normal frequency. The bad news…it now acts as a guiding missile, taking a 90 degree turn toward you.
The strategy here takes quite a bit of skill and hand/eye coordination. I mentioned before about using the top-to-bottom “gateway”. You’ll have to now or you’ll never survive. The idea is to be at the top when swirl shoots, then go through to the bottom. When the swirl turns straight down towards you, fire your cannon to time a direct hit. Don’t forget to move right quickly to avoid the 3-way collision. After I get the pattern down, it becomes fairly easy.

(Reach the quickest level of gameplay)

At the 230,000 point mark, the guiding swirl remains, but the frequency is back up the 3 times normal. It’ll stay that way for the duration of the game.
It feels like I’m going to break my joystick, but I zig and zag this way for a while.
I lose a life on occasion, but after about an hour or so of game time, I finally turn it over.

(Singlehandedly wipeout the entire Qotile fleet)

Nice to see I’ve still got it.

I grade on a 0-2 scale in 5 categories, with a max score of 10.

Pretty fantastic, with bright colors and a cool-looking, flying Yar. The explosion after a Qotile hit is a full-screen death-rainbow.

Background sounds are ominous. Unique sounds for Yar eating, swirl shooting, and explosions.

Yar moves fluidly and easily with just a simple joystick. 1-button to fire.

Off the charts for me personally. Insect vs. alien combat for universe supremacy.

I could pop this game in for a while every day. Even after you’re good enough to turn over the score, the fun factor makes this one of the best 2600 games ever produced.

Combat (Atari)

Atari Combat
Atari Combat

There is just something grand about opening up a brand new video game console and finding it packed full of everything you need including a game so you can start playing right away. With my Atari 2600 when I received it the system came with 27 games!

Combat shipped with the Atari 2600 in the fall of 1977 and was based off of black and white coin-op games, Tank and Anti-Aircraft II. The game had what could be called “Pong” like graphics, but did feature a variety of colors. More importantly it was the ultimate two player game at the time as the game was about fighting against your opponent in tanks, jets and biplanes.

Atari Combat
Atari Combat

Tank Game

The Tank game featured two tanks you could move around the “field” and fire at each other, the side with the most points would win, but there were various conditions you could play under. In some instances the board dynamic would change giving you different hiding spots and an invisible mode. There were also different ways to fire at your opponent including your normal straight firing missiles, your guided missiles and missiles that could bounce off walls.

Atari Combat
Atari Combat

Biplanes & Jets

In the flying levels you could control either biplanes, jets or a bomber. In most instances you would face of in one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-three battles, but you could also have miss-matched battles and one where three biplanes would face a bomber. Most of the levels were the same, either it would be a clear “sky” or have two clouds which you could hide within. The firing modes were also slightly different offering a normal missile, machine gun and guided missile.

I personally played Combat for hours against my sister who was extremely good at tank pong. What made the game so fun was the two player aspect and even though to today’s eyes one may think the game was simple it took on a whole new dynamic just by switching levels. Even when we got Pac-Man as a present a few weeks later we always came back to Combat because of the fun factor.

Atari Combat cartridge
Atari Combat cartridge


Combat was not always shipped with the VCS (2600) however other versions were sold most notably for the Sears console. Tank Plus was the name released under Sears Telegames. Frontline was the name Combat was released under in Canadian by Zellers. The game was released as just Tank by CCE in South America for the 2600. Dynacom and JVP released the game under the name Combat for Brazil.

Atari Combat game card
Atari Combat game card

Atari Combat box art
Atari Combat box art