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Atari 50
  opened by paleface at 23:27:31 11/13/22  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS4; cat=Action_Variety; reg=NA]

Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe feel like the stone cold classics they are. Fight For Life definitely isn't. Not sure about the others yet--still, I'm really glad I got to see Dark Chambers, even with its single basic AI type; it creates a beautiful lo-fi fantasy look that encapsulates something I've been looking for and failing to find in a video game for the past six months or so. Those palettes! The gloriously chunky 160x240 texture patterns! Golly man.
I like Basketbrawl better than Midway's arcade Arch Rivals from the year before that it ripped off (Arch Rivals' slogan was "A basket brawl!" according to the Basketbrawl Wikipedia page); I played Arch Rivals in Midway Arcade Treasures 2 on PS2 recently and just couldn't seem to get the two-button control down in that game, whereas Basketbrawl's works beautifully for me. Yeah Basketbrawl seems to swing wildly in difficulty based on my CPU teammate's speed stat: if they're slow, I get stomped into the ground, but if they're fast, the opposing team barely gets into my half of the court! So that's a little unfortunate, but it's still fun to stomp them for a while--take THAT, you mean Arch Rivals AIs!
The emulation feels really good. The minimalist set of options works quite well for what it does, but I'd have liked a few special cases, for instance if you want to be able to play Asteroids Deluxe without the considerable visual noise of the background space illustration--for which the actual arcade cabinet creates a really cool 3D effect by using a two-way mirror to make the the vector graphics hover over the painted background, an effect that just doesn't come across in this purely 2D representation in Atari 50--you have to toggle off "Border," which toggles border art off on all the games; the border art is actually quite nice for the most part, so I don't want to do that, but I HAVE to toggle off those backgrounds when I play Asteroids Deluxe in order to be able to see what I'm doing in that game; I wish it had a separate toggle for that that didn't mess with the Border setting on every other game.
I wish you could flag selected games as favorites and sort just by them; the closest the collection comes to that is letting you sort by Most Recent, and that list only shows the oh eight or so most recently played games. But if you go just poking through some other games briefly, it totally disrupts your Most Recent list. : P
It took me a day to realize there's no online in Atari 50: no online play, not even online leaderboards. I suppose supporting leaderboards for the 100+ games across the release's multiple platforms would have been a huge task; still, they could done them for some of the most popular games. (Okay I haven't looked through ALL 100+ games, some could still be hidden in there somewhere, technically. 'p')
I did flip through the included digital versions of the three DC Swordquest comics originally packed in with the three published Swordquest games--back when Warner owned both DC and Atari--marveling at their kooky and crazy art and writing (art by George Perez and Dick Giordano, writing by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by John Costanza, editing by Giordano), but afterwards figured that was a bit too just filming probably copyrighted material, so I cut them out; the cut is at 49:48. If you want to read them online, check out the External links section of the Swordquest page on Wikipedia.
Oh that reminds me of another too-minimalist annoyance: the arcade flyer/game manual/comic reader doesn't remember your place, or even your zoom setting from page-to-page! I mean jeepers. I guess that's good for clean browsing in a way, but then they should have adjusted the default zoom so that it's more full-screen than it is; it's always zoomed out maybe ~15% when you get to a new page.
  paleface 23:50:06 11/13/22
This compilation by Digital Eclipse is sleeker than their previous collections, which have usually settled for a cartoonish colorfulness; the crisp minimalist lines and colors here, with good sound choices, really evoke the techno-70s Atari vibe, and highlight the classic illustrations well. Good design work.
· Midway Arcade Treasures 2 (PS2)

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