iOS Gaming: Activision Anthology.

Some time last year, Atari launched their own iPad app containing a collection of classic Atari 2600 games as well as some of their early arcade coin-op hits. Games were bundled into packages that could be brought for 69p (or something like that) or you could buy the whole ninety nine game package for £6.99. Controls had been adjusted to suit the iPad touchscreen and these worked out really well in my option. See previous blog post <;;https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/ios-retro-gaming-atari-greatest-hits/

Sadly, the  problem with this app was that it only contained games produced by Atari themselves. Ok so there was some great content here but what I really wanted to play were some of the better titles produced by third parties like Activision, Imagic and Parker Brothers. I'm taking about games like River Raid, Hero, Demon Attack, Kaboom, Barnstorming, Beamrider, Starmaster, Ice Hockey and Pitfall.

Up until now, If I wanted to play these games on the go then I'd do so via the highly impressive Atari 2600 emulator by Robert Brogilia (www.explusalipha.com) which among other things also supports the mighty iCade. However, to run this you need to jailbreak your iPad as this is a Cydia store purchase as opposed the Apple app store -  Not that Jailbreaking is as scary these days as it used to be.

It's a great emulator and the touch screen controls are pretty damn good. Sadly those titles that where original designed for use with the Atari analogue spinners don't translate very well.  Try playing Kaboom or Breakout with a touch screen joypad!

If only I could get my Atari spinners talking to my iPad :)





20120901-190139.jpg Wishful thinking - but the next best thing is that the guys behind the Atari app have now release another collection focusing on those great games from Activision and Imagic. Activision Anthology

20120901-185351.jpg In total there are 45 games on offer which can be purchased in bundles of eleven games for £1.99 or just £4.99 for the whole package. £4.99 for 45 top Atari 2600 games...bonus! The app's presentation is superb and is a little bit more polished than say a standard emulator with a plain long list of games. From the main menu you can cycle through the games on the left and see footage of the selected game in action on the vintage TV screen in the centre. Game details can be accessed via the button on the right as well as a digital scan of the original game manual.

20120901-185451.jpg

20120901-185524.jpg In the extra's section you can see a 3D digital representation of the game box and 3D cartridge that you can rotate, flip and zoom using touch screen gestures. It's a really nice feature but it's a shame that they've used some very low resolution artwork images as they look hideous up close. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future update? It doesn't affect gameplay but it's definatly a weakness on an otherwise very well presented app. It is, however, nice to see that they've used correct models for the Imagic carts. Digital model and my own Demon Attack cartridge.

20120901-190438.jpg Control wise, you're spoilt for choice here including left and right handed controls, motion tilt and simulated 'swipe'screen spinner controls. I tested the latter with Kaboom (which happens to be the free game supplied with the app) and it works really well. In fact, I'm so close to reaching the 3000 points required to 'win' one of the many retro game patches...remember the original Atari River Raiders patch? - I never did get one but at least i can work towards a digital version :-) In game options with selectable 2600 toggle switches.

20120901-185701.jpg The app also save high scores as well as granting access to worldwide score leaderboards. You can also post your scores to various social media apps if you wish to impress your mates. For just £4.99 this is definately a worthy app for your iPad or iPhone....Oh and after checking, i can confirm it works with the iCade too.

Here’s a vid showing the app in detail.

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