First things first, I love the Atari paddle controllers. Any game that requires the smooth movements that only a paddle controller can provide automatically rates high in my book. There’s just something about how the paddle controllers feel. They are much more ergonomic than the Atari joystick which has a tendency to bruise the inside of your hand after playing awhile. The paddle controllers were created with love and reducing hand cramps in mind. The 5 games in this post are some of the more iconic paddle titles for the Atari.
The paddle controllers offered easy two player action as one controller port would connect you to two paddles! Games like Video Olympics, Warlords and to a lesser extend, Demons to Diamonds are premier multi-player games. Warlords is actually best played with 4 players but I rarely have 4 willing participants to join me in an Atari experience so I tend to play 1 or 2 players which reduces some of Warlord’s fun. Video Olympics offers Pong-like variations and honestly there are only a couple of 1 player options available as most try to take the Pong concept and apply it to sports like hockey, soccer and basketball. It’s very obvious that Video Olympics is one of the earliest titles since it is essentially a Pong machine in cartridge form.
In Demons to Diamonds, you shoot at demons of the same color as your cannon to create diamonds that you can also shoot to rack up big points. Shooting demons of a different color creates skulls that can shoot lasers at your cannon so be careful. This becomes extremely important in the 2 player mode. The game is pretty standard fare and I never got into it like the last two games on the list.
Super Breakout is of course an enhanced, or “super” version of the original Breakout. Various single and multi-player options exist for this game which make it super-fun but I always favored the later stages with different shaped block formations. I do think this is an enjoyable and addictive game but my biggest gripe has always been the occasions when you cannot get the ball to go at any other angle than the one it’s currently stuck in. For example, if your screen is mostly clear and you’re trying to break those last few blocks, it can become extremely frustrating when you cannot get the ball to take any other angle than the trajectory it is maintaining. You have to kill yourself in order to to move on….ugh.
My favorite of the bunch is the Activision classic, Kaboom! Such a simple game….but soooo addictive. Move your buckets of water across the screen to catch the bombs being dropped from above by the lunatic convict. You miss one, you lose one of the 3 buckets that you start with. You gain one back if you reach 1000 pts and the game gets more frantic and frenzied to the point where you’re anticipating where the bombs are being dropped as there is no way to know for sure. I just love Kaboom! and could play it any day.
Currently in my collection:
Demons to Diamonds – game, manual B-
Kaboom! – game, manual A
Super Breakout – game, manual B+
Video Olympics – game, manual C
Warlords – game B