Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 1 and 2 (XB1) Review

Ken McKown

Gaming without all the dust.

Classic game collections are the best; well when they are done right. Over the years we have had plenty of Atari collections, but never one this definitive. The Flashback Volumes are the definition of how to do these compilations right. Between these two volumes are just about every Atari game (both arcade and console) anyone could ever want. Also, considering the low price point, it is impossible to recommend not just snatching up both copies at once. Digging back into these games left a smile on my face from the minute I booted it up.

Between both of these collections there are 100 games in total, and let’s be fair, a large percentage of them are good for nostalgia alone. Firing up Boxing or Basic Math are a one-time thing, but it is still great to see these classics perfectly represented in 2016. Each collection has 40+ classic Atari games, and the rest being arcade games, and the difference shows. The arcade games are much more polished, with some of the games even featuring online multiplayer and leader boards, which was more than I expected.

atari_01

MSRP: $19.99 per volume
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4
Price I’d Pay: $19.99 per volume

The slick menus are designed to look like the old cartridges, and the artwork surrounding the menus is stellar. For me this was nostalgia overload, and I adored it.

The biggest challenge coming into this collection though was replicating the paddle controls of these classic games. Playing something like Super Break Out with an analog stick is troublesome. Remember with each move, the stick re-centers itself, making for an extremely difficult way to play. The developers have compensated for this with a few options.

Players can opt for the traditional analog control, which I don’t recommend. They can also use the d-pad where the paddle never re-centers. For PS4, users can also use the touchpad to simulate the paddle, which works a lot better than I expected. Trying to play these games using the analog stick though presents more trouble that it is worth. It also makes me appreciate my patience in my younger years.

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Collections like these are designed as more of an encyclopedia of classic games though, and these two packages excel at that. Being able to revisit these titles brought a smile to my face. I was never worried about the quality of the game at hand, and instead enjoyed taking a stroll down memory lane. Everything is intact here, from the sounds, to the available filters to replicate playing on my old tube TV. Nostalgia is a heck of a drug.

For $20 a pop these collections are a no-brainer. There are not a lot of flashy extras outside of leader boards and multiplayer, but having over 100 classic games in one (two?) simple package is more than worth the price of admission. Even if players only boot up half the games for mere seconds, it is worth it to experience this history of the console that started the craze. I only wish Nintendo would do something similar with their games, imagine a library of 100 Nintendo games in one convenient place…

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Tons of classic games
  • Slick presentation
  • Leaderboards

Bad

  • Some games are throwaway
8

Great

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.
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