Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My 100 Most Favorite Video Games of All Time #96: Atari Classics Evolved

If you saw the title of this and your immediate reaction was to groan, you’ve played the game.  You didn’t groan because it sucked, though.  You groaned because it’s hard.  Very hard.  What makes it so difficult?  Atari Classics Evolved teases.  That’s right.  Teases.  Like the girl who wants to do everything but that.  You start out with a few old Atari games (like Centipede, Pong and Missile Command) in both their original state and a new “evolved” state (3D, better graphics, etc.), but if you want to get the fifty-plus Atari 2600 games available for play and dangled in front of your pleading eyes, well, you gotta work for it.

The “work” in this case is unlocking a few achievements in every one of the core games.  There are 11 core games, each with four awards.  If you are too lazy to do the math, that’s 44 awards.  Easy, right?  Hell no!  Yeah, some are obtained with relative ease, but there are others that will have you pulling out your hair trying to obtain them.  At some point you have a brainstorm, and then everything changes.

For me, this brainstorm was about a week into playing the game.  I was trying to unlock something in Super Breakout when it occurred to me: Why am I so hell-bent on unlocking old Atari games to play on a PSP?  What the hell was I thinking?  Would Adventure or Combat really be worth it?  Of course not, but I kept playing anyway, and that’s the beauty of this game.  These are simple, quick games with plenty of replay value, but the idea of getting more games that are actually worse is somehow enough to keep you playing.  It’s the equivalent to getting gold on all the license tests in Gran Turismo in order to win a Chevette to run in the races.

If you look at some of the poorly written reviews on Amazon for the game, you’ll find a lot of people pissed that they have to work to unlock the games (or can’t find cheat codes readily available).  These people obviously don’t get it.  It’s called a “challenge,” and challenges are supposed to be “hard.”  I know these are words lacking from far too many people’s vocabulary, but there we have it.  This game is a challenge, period.  If you don’t think the reward is worth it, don’t play it … or don’t play it for the reward. 

As for me, I have yet to unlock the damn games, but I’m still trying…

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  I did not receive this game to review.  Clicking on a link may earn me a commission.

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