Atari 2600 Game Reviews: Bachelor Party through Barnstorming

bachelorparty_1Bachelor Party (Mystique, 1982)

Oh God, here we go. Mystique’s lineup of “adult” video games is probably the biggest embarrassment in the entire 2600 collection of games. And it’s just not me being a prude either. Despite marketing that all but promised pixilated erotica for adults, what consumers actually got were poor rip-offs of games like Breakout and Kaboom! that were usually tied to concepts that were misogynistic and (in the case of Custer’s Revenge) even racist. I’m not even going to bother going into the manual’s ridiculous “story” – Bachelor Party is sideways Breakout with rows of women in place of blocks. Usually my computer’s mouse does a serviceable job of emulating paddle control, but in this case the control was extremely choppy. Just to make sure it wasn’t a hardware problem, I called up Breakout. While the control wasn’t the greatest (kind of similar to the jitteriness that starts to happen as paddles age – that can be fixed by the way) it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was while playing Bachelor Party. This leads me to believe that unless I just have a bad ROM, the problem is in the software itself. Simply not worth the effort. D-

More Info: Bachelor Party on the Atari Age database.

bachelorettepartyBachelorette Party (Mystique, 1982)

Same stupid game as Bachelor Party, genders reversed. The control felt a little better on this one, which is nice, I guess. Apparently came packaged as a Xonox-style double ender cartridge with Burning Desire. Rest assured I’ll be awaiting that game’s place in the queue with baited breath. Yes, that was sarcasm. D

More Info: Bachelorette Party on the Atari Age database.

backgammon_1Backgammon (Atari, 1979)

Really tried to give this game a chance and spent far more time than usual trying to get it to work properly. I must admit I do not know a lot about backgammon, but I read through Atari’s manual and thought I had a pretty good idea about how the game is played. Too bad the game seems to bend the rules, making it far more confusing than it should be. For example, if you’re playing against the computer you’re supposed to only be able to move clockwise. However, after attempting to move my piece the allotted number of points in that direction with no luck (the game does not allow you to place the piece on an illegal point), I went counter clockwise just to see if it would work. Sure enough, it did. There are other glitches too, such as the cursor inexplicably disappearing on the bottom row of your inner playfield. I’m giving Backgammon a neutral grade because, again, I’m very much a noob and I may not entirely know what I’m doing. However, given what I do know about the game, this version seems broken. If anyone has any tips, please let me know. C

More Info: Backgammon on the Atari Age database.

bankheist_1Bank Heist (20th Century Fox, 1983)

Unremarkable Pac-Man/Lock ‘n Chase-style maze chase game. You drive around various “cities” (mazes) robbing banks while avoiding the mons… I mean “police.” It’s playable but gets repetitive awfully fast. Graphics are a little flat and uninspiring. It’s frustrating how the cop cars spawn out of nowhere – you don’t have much of a fighting chance when one suddenly materializes in front of you. I find it a little amusing that we’re only two letters into the alphabet and there are already two Pac-Man clones from 20th Century Fox. Alien was much better though. C-

More Info: Bank Heist on the Atari Age database.

barnstorming_2Barnstorming (Activision, 1982)

It seems like a lot of online reviewers and players in online forums find Barnstorming a pretty bland entry. Granted, it’s not the most exciting game ever made but it has its charms. Your goal is to fly through an obstacle course of barns, weather vanes and pesky seagulls in as little time as possible. It’s similar to Grand Prix (another Activision title) in that it is often too late to react to an obstacle once it’s already on the screen. However, just like Grand Prix, obstacle positions are fixed in most game variations so the key to success is memorization. I really like this game but have always struggled to get a decent time (back in the day you could get a “Flying Ace” patch if you completed the first course in 33 seconds – best I’ve ever been able to do is 36). The graphics are bright, colourful and flicker-free even by Activision’s high standards. You can even see the pilot’s scarf blowing in the wind. Recommended if you enjoy games based on memorization. B

More Info: Barnstorming on the Atari Age database.

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