Thursday, April 26, 2018

Retro Atari Classics for Nintendo DS (2005)

Original ad featured in the April 2005 issue of EGM (no. 190).
Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

Great artwork, terrible performance

It took me 13 years to pay attention to this advertisement, prominently featured in the inner part of the back-cover. It's incredibly gaudy, but someone at Atari thought it would be cool to display this type of artwork to the masses. The end result was unique but falls way short of the intended objetive.

It didn't help that the adaptation of the classic games featured here was hit or miss. Retro Atari Classics includes the following collection: Pong, Breakout, Asteroids, Centipede, Gravitar, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Sprint, Tempest and Warlords. From the reviews and videos I've gathered the worst, by far, are Missile Command and Tempest. That's because Atari forced buyers to use the touchscreen on the DS to actually play these games.

I don't blame them. Halfway through the 2000s everyone was obsessed with touchscreen and online functionality. Reviewers would deduct points if the game did not include some kind of gimmick related to either of the two. Obviously, the idea did not work every time. This game was a clear example of it. But again, I don't actually blame Atari and the developer Taniko for this.

Nintendo's DS was a huge hit. To this day the little machine has sold an astounding 154 million units, practically tied with the PS2 for all-time most units sold of a video game console. Atari had to place some kind of product on that fantastic little handheld.

The market for DS retro games included some of the best shooters and retro games ever: Space Invaders Extreme I and II, as well the superb Geometry Wars: Galaxies, Nervous Brickdown, and of course Namco Museum DS. All of the were clearly superior to Atari's effort, even if they tried to "remix" their classics with a coat of fresh paint by asking some graffiti dudes to help them out with newer graphics.

One last thing: when you think of Atari, you think of paddle controls and joysticks. Try substituting those for touch and D-pad controls. Not cool, man.

Retro Atari Classics for Nintendo DS print ad copy

Play original classics and ten fresh remixes

Asteroids, Pong, Breakout, Centipede, Gravitar, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Sprint, Tempest and Warlords.

Grafitti legends tag 10 Atari Classics. (Reas, Obey)

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