The Atari 2600 video game console was the first mass produced gaming system ever made. It sold over $30 million units. Atari released this system in 1977 and it was extremely successful and still has a very huge following even today. The Atari 2600 was originally priced at $199, and came with two joysticks and a game called Combat. The Atari 2600 was named the second greatest video game console of all time by IGN, who called it “the console that our entire industry is built upon.” There was a total of 418 Atari games made. Some of them were truly excellent and some of them were just as horrible.
These are the top 5 best-selling Atari 2600 games:
The full name of the game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial but it is just known as E.T. It was launched as an Atari game in 1982 and was based on the film that had the same name. The game was the work of Howard Scott Warshaw and the main objective was guiding the extra-terrestrial through various screens so that 3 interplanetary telephone parts could be gathered. To put it simply, you had to get E.T. back home. What is interesting is the fact that the game was seen as one of the biggest of all commercial failures in gaming history. This was mostly because of the few weeks that were available for game development. Even so, the game sold 1.5 million copies and is still popular in many circles, mainly because of its part in gaming history.
4. Demon Attack
Demon Attack was published by Imagic and it was available for many different video gaming consoles. The game was supposedly based on Galaxian, an arcade shooter launched in 1979. However, it is a lot more similar to Phoenix, a game launched by Taito in 1980. This game was created to only last until wave number 84 but just 2 days after the release, that level was reached and beaten. The developers basically had to change the coding so that the game would never end but the levels never got harder after level 84. Demon Attack was an extremely succesful Atari game and sold over 2 million copies.
3. Missile Command
Missile Command was launched in 1980 by Atari but was also licensed by Sega in order to have a European release. Out of all the games listed in the Golden Age Of Video Arcade Games, this is the most notable one. It has a very simple plot and the gameplay is easy to learn. There are basically 6 cities attacked by ballistic missiles and smart bombs. You are the regional commander and you use 3 anti-missile batteries. Your job is to protect the cities and not allow them to be destroyed. The popularity of the game was also very high because of the political context of the time. Missle Command sold over 2.5 million copies.
Pitfall is definitely a memorable Atari game. It is a simple game that was highly entertaining when it was launched in 1982. It sold more than 4 million copies and sees the gamer in control of Pitfall Harry. The character has to recover 32 treasures, travel through a jungle maze and achieve all this in under 20 minutes. Along the way you would meet various obstacles including pits, quicksand, rolling logs, fire, rattlesnakes, scorpions and crocodiles that you had to clear. Obstacles can be avoided but the maze is tricky as it has alternate dead-end routes that lead to nowhere. Given the time limit, everything had to be done just right. Pitfall sold over 4 million copies.
Pacman was a popular arcade game launched by Namco. Atari ported it to the Atari 2600 console and success was immediate. You can control the main character with the use of joystick and the object is to simply go through a maze while consuming absolutely all wagers. In addition, you have to avoid 4 ghosts that can kill your character. The ghosts were different colors and had names such as Clyde, Inky, Pinky and Blinky. The arcade game was a lot more popular and the Atari 2600 version had various problems that were not solved. It is still the best-selling Atari game with over 7 million copies sold!