Packed with 80 old games from the Atari canon and available at a budget price, Atari: 80 Classic Games in One is a great way to relive some of the high points of classic gaming. However, poorly implemented customization options and sometimes less-than-perfect emulation tarnish what would otherwise be an incredible trip down memory lane.
Houston, we have a problem.
Of the 80 games available in the package, 62 were previously released on the Atari 2600. Among many, many others, you'll find classics like Combat, Missile Command, Asteroids, Adventure, and Yar's Revenge. Nearly every genre of the day is well represented--there are plenty of action, sports, driving, and puzzle games to choose from here, as well as several games that seem thrown in just for the sake of rounding the collection off at 80 games total: Basic Programming and Fun With Numbers, to name a couple of such cases. In all, though, the selection of Atari-produced games is fairly comprehensive, with the more familiar games being the clear standouts. In addition, the emulation of these games is spot-on, with all of the trademark lo-fi sounds, simple graphics, and flicker that gave these games their distinct feel. Thanks to the accurate representation of the original hardware, the gameplay that so many gamers grew up with is perfectly intact as well.
While the large number of Atari 2600 games is a great feature of this package, the real draws are the 18 arcade classics that make up the remainder of the 80 games available. Featuring Pong, Super Breakout, Centipede, Millipede, Crystal Castles, Warlords, Missile Command, and a host of vector-graphics games such as Tempest, Battlezone, Major Havoc, Red Baron, and others, these games are arguably the ones most worthy of your playing time. Unfortunately, these games are also the most unevenly re-created, with spotty and unfaithful sounds and--worst of all--twitchy controls, regardless of what input method you select. For the most part, the traditional raster-display games, such as Centipede, are the most accurate representations of their original incarnations, and they feature accurate graphics and sounds that are very close to those of the originals.