E3 2018: Hands On with Atari Flashback Collection
Based on your age and gaming history, you might have started gaming with Atari, until Nintendo came long of course and without a doubt, Atari do have quite the pedigree of gaming goodness, via the arcades and their home consoles. Atari have been releasing their Flashback Collection for a while now on other platforms, but now it’s the Switch’s turn to get some classic gaming goodness.
The first two volumes have already been released onto other platforms, with the third coming later in the year, each containing 50 games. For the Atari Flashback Collection on Switch, you’ll be getting all 150 games. The collection is a mix of titles from the arcade, the 2600 and 5200, but while some games are only from one source, some games were remade for all — something like Centipede will be on there three times, one from each platform. The collection will also include some games that were never released before, like Holy Moley, which is a whack-a-mole type game, and the classic sports games as well.
The well-known games, like Missile Command, are here but some M-Network games are also here, like Astroblast, with Atari making a deal with Mattel to bring those games to the collection. The collection also includes all three released Swordquest games — Earthworld, Fireworld and Waterworld — the latter of which has no relation to the movie or stuntshow. Perhaps one of the coolest unreleased games that is coming to the collection is Sword Fight, which ,when you start to play it, you can see why it was unreleased. Not because it was bad, but because it was clearly a lightsaber battle game.
When playing any of the Arcade titles, you will notice that the border of the game is that of the original arcade cabinet, but that’s not all. Some games support touch screen, so any arcade game that used a trackball, you can use the touch screen to simulate it — but if you don’t want to, you can just use the thumbstick or even the d-pad. Any arcade game that was released in portrait mode will also support the same visual layout here, so if you wanted to play it that way, you can do it as well. A small touch that most people won’t worry about at all, is that each of the Arcade games comes with a picture of the machine, so you can see if it was standing cabinet or a tabletop cabinet. All of the home console games also come included with a digital copy of their instruction booklet, so fans who enjoy reading those will be happy.
The collection comes with 150 titles, and only 36 of them are single player based. The remaining games all contain some form of multiplayer, be it one at a time or all at once; some games even have online multiplayer. For games that have scores, you can post those scores to online leaderboards, to boast that you scored the most points in that particular game, helping you relive that arcade bragging moment. Looking through the menu at all the games was quite daunting, 150 titles will make anyone stop and think, but the game does not have, at least right now, the ability to show only a single platform. They are sorted in a way — you get all the Arcade games first, then the rest are just shown alphabetically, but it is not known if there will be an option to show only a single platform.
The games look just as they did back in the day and they sound just as they did as well, the strangest part is hearing the chiptune sound effects coming from the Switch, it was something that made me chuckle. The collection supports save states, so no need to worry if you need to quit out of the game, it will just save your progress, so when you go back to it you can pick up where you left off.
If there was a single thing that I could feel was a bit pointless in the collection, it would be the addition of the basic math games. Yes, there are games included that teach you how to add and subtract and such. It is nice to include them, but I don’t think people would have rioted if they were not included in the collection.
The collection will give a massive amount of nostalgia for Atari fans, and those who want it only need to wait until October to add it to their collection.