Release Date: 1978
Publisher: Atari
Controller: Joystick
Players: 1 – 2
Genre: Sports
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: CX2624
Rarity: 2
Programmer: Alan Miller

This one-on-one basketball duel is a flawed but entertaining take on the sport.

This is about as rudimentary of a basketball game as you can get while still being able to classify it as basketball. Forget set plays, teammates, three pointers, fouls, free throws, crowds, timeouts, and pretty much everything that makes basketball what it is. Instead all you get is a ball, a court, and a single opponent.

When you start the ball is tossed in the air and it’s a mad scramble to pick it up. If you end up with it the only thing left to do is make a beeline to the goal and fire up a shot. Normally you would line up your player and execute a perfectly timed press and release of the button to launch an arcing shot that will hit nothing but the bottom of the net. Here however you are better off running directly under the basket and tapping the button, which will cause the ball to bounce off the post, fly straight up through the hoop and gracefully fall back through for two points. While it doesn’t exactly capture the realism of the game, it is an effective way to score.

The downside to the easy scoring is that the computer can do the same thing. To make that more of a problem the computer can also hit shots from pretty much anywhere on the court at any time, which means if you want to win the game you are going to have to play some defense. This is accomplished by getting on the other side of the ball the computer is dribbling, which gives you a fifty-fifty chance of a steal. If you time it right you will be on your way to a fast break through the hoop layup, and if you don’t you’ll watch helplessly as the computer puts another two points on you.

The game lasts for four minutes and stops as soon as the timer hits zero (meaning no half court heaves to win the game). While this is an overly simplistic version of basketball it can be forgiven since this is one of the earliest 2600 games.


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Derek Slaton Derek Slaton (61 Posts)

Derek began playing video games in the early 80s, cutting his teeth on every Atari 2600 game he could get his hands on. This kickstarted a lifelong love of games, which continues to this day. No matter how advanced the systems and games become, the love for Atari remains supreme, which is why the Atari 2600 Encyclopedia project was done. With this massive project completed, Derek looks to begin work on another system encyclopedia, hoping to pay tribute to the games that shaped his childhood.