Gear Games Review: Atari’s Greatest Hits … and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!

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Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!

Just last week I posted a nice review of the Pong home entertainment system … and everyone thought it was a joke! But not Atari – they just released a new game called ‘Atari’s Greatest Hits’ on the iTunes App Store. But is it any good?

The Hype:
Atari’s Greatest Hits brings the best of retro gaming to iOS with 100 Classic Atari Games. This suite brings you the hottest Arcade and 2600 titles from Atari. For those who love the classic gaming experience this handheld breakthrough is sure to guarantee hours of fun.

What we feature is:
• 18 Classic Atari Arcade Games including PONG
• 92 Atari 2600 Games
• Bluetooth Mutliplayer for head to head play for titles such as Pong, Warlords, and more!
• Original Cabinet and Box Art

Download this App and receive PONG for FREE!

Buy the rest of Atari’s Entire Library in 2 unique ways:
1. 25 separate packs available for download at $0.99
2. Buy all 100 games for a discounted price of $14.99 (basically the price of a movie ticket)

Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!

The Reality:
Atari’s Greatest Hits is a pretty tremendous undertaking – you get a free version that includes Pong, and can add on individual packs of games or just buy up the entire 100-game collection for $14.99. Oh – and it is a Universal app, so you can enjoy these great games on whatever iOS device you own!

The Basics

You start with a single game – Pong. Yet the interface is built to work well no matter how many games you have – just Pong or all 100 games!

There are multiple ways to get to your games. There is full view listed by game platform (Arcade or Atari 2600) and then by category for the Atari 2600. There is also an ‘arcade view’ where you can click on the arcade machine to get started, and similarly there is a ‘box view’ for Atari 2600 games.

In all views there is a ‘Recently Played’ that brings up whatever you’ve been playing recently with the latest one right up front. It is tremendously powerful simplicity.

Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!

The Games

Reading the iTunes App Store description might have you believe that you get every Atari Arcade game and every game for the Atari 2600. Not true – there are many great games here, but remember that Atari didn’t make many of the games for its 2600 console, nor do they own the IP for everything they published. However, this remains a great collection!

Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!


I have not been a big fan of too many arcade collections for one simple reasons: the controls always seem to suck! If you have ever played Pong on one of those ‘TV plug-in’ joystick games, Sinistar on a PC or PSP, or pretty much anything else on a re-purposed control scheme you know what I’m talking about!

Not so here – each game has a control setup that makes sense to how it was designed. Pong, for example has you sliding your paddle up and down the side of the screen. Tempest has a wheel on the edge to spin you around the outside of the circle, and so on. I was thrilled!

Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!


I have not had the chance to play every game in the collection, but I have been thoroughly impressed by how well they play. Every game feels like it did so many decades ago, with the core gameplay intact. Lunar Lander has those awesome vector graphics, Tempest is every bit as frantic and so on.

I found the games easier to play on the iPad than my iPod Touch, but I have large hands and appreciated the extra real estate for the virtual controls. But even on the iPod Touch I was able to get the panic and frenzy in Missile Command of running out of ammo in one silo and desperately trying to cover a base from the other silos!

Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!

Music and Other Stuff

You are greeted with some high quality 8-bit music that mixes modern techno and old school lo-fi analog synth sounds in a way that would make Daft Punk proud! The sounds in-game are very much like playing the original games – only better! Everything is cleaned up, and sounds fantastic through headphones or the internal speakers.

As I mentioned, the interface is perfectly integrated, and that extends to every corner of the game. Whether you are changing global settings, starting a game and looking at different modes, or pausing the action mid-way through, you are presented with a clean, unified menu system that always makes sense and feels natural. The integration of touch controls into these classics is perfect.

Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!

In App Purchases
As I mentioned, you get the game system and Pong for free, but before long you’ll want more … and you get a choice how to buy – a la carte or all at once. There are 25 game packs, which at $1 each will cost you much more than the $15 you pay to just buy it all!

After playing Pong for a while and looking at how many of the games from the list I wanted, it was an easy decision to buy the entire pack. To do that, I went to Tempest and chose ‘Buy’ and it asked if I wanted to buy the one game or the whole pack. The rest of the process is simple.

Here are all of the separate packs you can buy for $0.99 each:

Asteroid Pack
1. Asteroid
2. Asteroid Deluxe
3. Asteroids 2600
4. Canyon Bomber – Bluetooth Multiplayer

Battlezone Pack
1. Battlezone
2. Red Baron
4. Submarine Commander

Centipede Pack
1. Centipede
2. Millipede
3. Centipede 2600
4. Millipede 2600

Black Widow Pack
1. Black Widow
3. Desert Falcon
4. Space War

Crystal Castles Pack
1. Crystal Castles
2. Crystal Castls 2600
4. Maze Craze

Gravitar Pack
1. Gravitar
2. Gravitar 2600
3. Radar Lock
4. Demons to Diamonds – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER

Star Raiders Pack
1. Star Raiders
2. Liberator
4. Human Cannonball

Missile Command Pack
1. Missile Command
2. Missile Command 2600
3. Fun with Numbers

Lunar Lader Pack
1. Lunar Lander
3. Video Pinball
4. Code Breaker

Super Breakout Pack
1. Super Breakout
3. Off – the – Wall

Tempest Pack
3. Outlaw
4. Atari Video Cube

Majar Havoc Pack
1. Major Havoc
2. Secret Quest
3. Sentinel

Warlords Pack
2. Warlords 2600

Adventure Pack
1. Adventure
2. Haunted House
3. Return to Haunted House
4. Save Mary

Tic-Tac-Toe Pack
1. 3d Tic-Tac-Toe
2. A game of concentration
3. Backgammon
4. Brain Games

Fatal Run Pack
1. Fatal Run
2. Dodge ‘Em
3. Night Driver

Quadrun Pack
1. Quadrun
3. Stellar Track
4. Math Gran Prix

Casino Pack
2. Slot Machine
3. Video Checkers
4. Video Chess

Sword Quest Pack
1. Swordquest Earthworld
2. Swordquest Fireworld
3. Swordquest Waterworld
4. Sprintmaster

Championship Soccer Pack
1. Championship Soccer – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER
2. Golf
3. Double Dunk
4. Basketball

Football Pack
2. Home Run
3. Miniature Golf
4. Bowling

Real Sports Basketball Pack
1. Realsports Basketball – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER
2. Realsports Boxing – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER
3. Realsports Tennis – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER
4. Realsports Baseball – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER

Real Sports Football Pack
1. Realsports Football – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER
2. Realsports Soccer – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER
3. Realsports Vollyball – BLUETOOTH MULTIPLAYER

Battlezone Pack
1. Battlezone 2600
2. Super Breakout 2600
3. Super Baseball
4. Super Football

Hangman Pack
1. Hangman
2. Black Jack
3. Steeplechase

Gear Games Review: Atari's Greatest Hits ... and You Thought It Was Just an April Fools Joke!


As it says on the App Store:

If you have read this far then you should obviously buy the $14.99 option because you are a die-hard Atari fan and we love you for it.

I completely agree – if you are digging through all of those great games, chances are you want more than a few sets and should just buy it all and explore! This is a great collection with an excellent purchase model – you get Pong for free, game sets for $1 each, and an entire 100 game library of classics for $15! If you are a fan of these I definitely recommend checking them out – at least grab Pong, and then see what you want to do from there.

Review: Atari’s Greatest Hits

Where to Buy: iTunes App Store

Price: Free (Pong only, in-app purchase $0.99 each or $14.99 entire collection)

What I Like: Great games collection; excellent purchase flexibility; great controls that match the games; excellent value

What Needs Improvement: ‘Buy All’ option not immediately obvious; missing some of the better games from the Atari platform

Source: Personal Copy

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!