Atari 100 Classics Pack for iPhone, iPod, and iPad

by Jonathan Schlaffer

For those of you seeking a bit of nostalgia or to see what gaming was like back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Atari is now offering a suite of 100 Classic games for the iPhone or iPad. It is one of the more expensive apps at $14.99, but is it worth the cost?

Buying the games in the $14.99 pack is a bit cheaper than purchasing them separately, and I would rather have the complete pack than go into the game and have it to tell me that I haven’t downloaded a particular title yet.  The pack includes recognizable titles such as Centipede, Asteroids, Space Invaders, several unreleased games, and many more. These games were probably better played on an original Atari 2600, and I’m not old enough to have played it (nor have I ever sought one out on eBay). 

I realize that the Atari 2600 was a revolution at the time, but being raised on systems released only since the NES, it is hard for me to even begin to tell what is happening on the screen; everything looks the same and it turns out that graphics have been reused among games, and I would barely describe Atari 2600 games as having graphics at all.  It’s difficult to play a game when it’s hard to tell what is happening. One of the games (Save Mary) says it was a prototype, but it doesn’t appear to have been anywhere near completion, or maybe I am just playing it wrong.

Atari should have put a bit more optimization into this (and perhaps tweaked the graphics a bit) and adapted the controls better to the iPad. Another huge caveat is that it only works in portrait mode.  The whole kit just feels like a very poor port.

It’s just my opinion but I would have rather spent that $14.99 on something else…  ANYTHING else.