Price: Free    Score: 3/10    Category: Games

Retro game emulation has been attempted by a multitude of developers looking to make an extra buck from a game they developed decades ago, offering nostalgia and not much else. These classics certainly have a limited appeal, but simply slapping them on the iPad or iPhone does them nothing but a disservice.  Sadly, Atari’s attempt with ‘Greatest Hits’ is not much different.

The Atari Greatest Hits collection app is “free”, but all you are really getting is Pong. Instead of being an application dedicated to gaming, the app is more of a catalog of Atari 2600 and arcade games. There are a lot of what one would consider classics, but there were more that… well, aren’t.

If only 'Atari's Greatest Hits' was as entertaining as the original...

I picked up a variety of games that all use different control schemes. Trackball, roller controller, joystick, multi button setup – you name it, I tried it. For the most, the controls didn’t work out at all. The roller controller in something like Missile Command and the button layout in the arcade Asteroids worked best, but were still far from great.

When you first download the app you’ll get Pong for free, but any other games beyond that will cost you. Games come in a 4 pack for 99 cents, or you can just buy everything at once for $15. So what do you get in the 4 pack you ask? One game you want, and a bunch of stinkers.

Want Battlezone, the classic vector graphic tank simulator? Great! But you also get Super Baseball, Super Breakout and Super Football — all three not-so-good games. How about Missile Command? Well in that bundle you also get a different version of Missile Command, Basic Math and Flag Capture. It’s one game you want, and to get it you end up buying 3 games you likely couldn’t care less about. It feels about as mean spirited as it really is.

Sure, you can buy all 89 games for $15 bucks, but even then you’re not “really” getting 89 games. Since there’s a lot of overlap between arcade and 2600 games, you end up with multiples of the same title. Not to mention the junk that you have zero interest in touching. You can’t help but feel jilted after buying some stuff.

With a hit or miss collection, a stacked against the consumer bundling setup, and a control scheme that misses the mark way more than it hits it, Atari Greatest Hits will stand as the latest in a long line of misguided attempts at capturing our retro game hearts. The app trades on the nostalgia of those titles, seeming to aim to just get a few bucks out of you just before you realize what is happening.

  1. The only thing I agree with on is the control methods offered, most games don’t work well in this regard. However, saying that there’s an overlap between arcade games and their home console translations is unfair. Arcade games vastly outpaced home games at this point, and both are very different creatures worth checking out separately. The game bundling might not be optimal, but I think most gamers will opt for the full 14.99 bundle, a good deal by any measure.

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