Few videogame publishers are as famous as the legendary Atari. Formed in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Debney, this pioneering company has forged its name with both games and consoles, and its mountain-themed logo is one of the most instantly recognisable worldwide. From the highly influential arcade game Pong to the Atari 2600 and its modern-day incarnation, Atari has served up some of the finest videogame experiences of all time. So join us as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Atari with ten of its finest games available to stream, for free, on Antstream Arcade.

Adventure

Atari 2600

1979

Inspired by text adventures such as Colossal Cave Adventure, Adventure introduced several new concepts to gaming, all within the harsh restrictions of the Atari 2600 console. The player – represented by a small square – explores the many screens as they search for a magical chalice. But, as Adventure’s cover poignantly shows, this game has plenty of danger. With its enemies living off-screen, multiple screens and tense play, Adventure is recognised today as highly influential and one of Atari’s most significant early hits.

Lunar Lander

Arcade

1979

While the concept of guiding a spacecraft to its destination had been explored previously, Atari’s Lunar Lander truly popularised the genre and is accepted today as the finest of its type. The concept is simple: the lunar lander is on moon approach, and the player can select a landing zone, with the trickier locations yielding a higher points score. Devoid of the adrenalin of shoot-‘em-ups such as Space Invaders and Galaxian, Lunar Lander is a thoughtful and challenging game that paved the way for the next game on this list.

Asteroids

Arcade

1980

Designed by Lyle Rains and Ed Logg, Asteroids is one of those arcade games that has transcended mere gaming and entered into the pantheon of overall cultural history. Taking the graphical template laid down by Lunar Lander and Space War, Asteroids introduces the emotionless and unthinking eponymous rocks, each circling menacingly around the player’s small triangular craft. One of the first significant games of the Golden Era Of Arcade Games, Asteroids is a true classic and as playable today as it was 42 years ago.

Missile Command

Arcade

1980

Nuclear armageddon is the unlikely theme of 1980’s Missile Command, and with the Cold War at its height, there would have been a real-world frisson to this game back in the early Eighties. Ballistic missiles are descending relentlessly upon your cities – launch your own missiles from three batteries against them in this tense and frantic classic from the Golden Age Of Arcade Games.

Centipede

Arcade

1981

Atari’s Ed Logg hit gold again a year after Asteroids, this time alongside co-designer Dona Bailey. Centipede is a fixed shooter, with the player’s bug blaster destroying the titular creature as it rapidly descends the screen. Yet with fierce spiders, fleas and scorpions to contend with, this is no peaceful garden retreat! Centipede is another legend of the Atari golden age.

Tempest

Arcade

1981

Tempest was the first major game in a brief vector tunnel genre and is rightly acknowledged as another trailblazing game from Atari. The objective is to simply survive, rotating around each field, destroying the enemies that rapidly ascend towards them. With its clean and precise geometric shapes and compelling gameplay, Tempest is another wonderful Atari arcade game on Antstream Arcade.

Gravitar

Arcade

1982

Taking the gameplay template pioneered by Lunar Lander and Asteroids, Gravitar notoriously ramps up the difficulty in its multi-world universe. Your mission is to destroy a number of planets within each system, and uniquely, the player can choose which planet to tackle, with each providing a solid gravitational pull to battle against. And watch out for the Deathstars – one touch equals destruction!

 

Haunted House

Atari 2600

1982

The haunted house is one of horror’s commonest staples, and Atari created one of its most noted games 40 years ago based on the idea. The player is attempting to recover three pieces of an urn dotted around the mansion of the late Zachary Graves. Can you avoid the bats, spiders and the ghost of the house’s owner in this prominent early example of a survival horror game?

Yar’s Revenge

Atari 2600

1982

As the eponymous Yar, the player is up against the Qotile, a malevolent being that lurks behind a shield. Yar can shoot and nibble at the shield, and performing the latter activates the Zorlon Cannon. Only this powerful weapon can destroy the Qotile, but watch out for the relentless destroyer missile and the Qotile itself, which regularly transforms into the destructive swirl. There’s plenty of depth in this classic Atari shooter.

Ninja Golf

Atari 7800

1990

For our final Atari classic on Antstream Arcade, we whizz forward to 1990 and this delightfully odd game for the Atari 7800 console that randomly combines the twin tenets of golf and ninjas. Your peaceful round of golf is constantly interrupted by rival ninjas, giant frogs, birds and even sharks, lending a new meaning to the term water hazard!

Antstream Blog Antstream Blog (20 Posts)

This blog primarily written by Graeme Mason covers retro gaming and offerings of Antstream - and can be checked out at it's original published location of https://www.antstream.com/retro-gaming-news/