massive fan of the Jaguar and have been collecting games, hardware and memorabilia related to that dumpster fire of a system for quite a while...so I consider myself well positioned to pour humorous scorn. Oh, and Super Burnout is one of my all time favourite racing games, so chill. This article isn't about that criminally-untapped pile of 64-bit awesome though. It's about the Dreamcast and a rather nice compilation of Atari arcade classics of yesteryear that I recently acquired: Atari Anniversary Edition.
Atari Anniversary Edition is, as you'd expect from the title, a GD-Rom stuffed full of games from Atari's monumental back catalogue. The games contained in this package are some of the finest and most highly regarded in gaming history, and while they may not look like much now (or even back in 2000 when this collection was originally released), they paved the way for what we know as current gen gaming in one way or another. The games on the disc number twelve in total and these are they:
- Asteroids Deluxe
- Crystal Castles
- Missile Command
- Super Breakout
|I'm on the right, by the way...|
Try these for size:
Centipede was released in 1980, the same year celebrated film director Alfred Hitchcock died!
Asteroids Deluxe was released in 1981, the same year deposed Shah of Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, died of cancer!
Crystal Castles was released in 1983, but that was also the year singer Karen Carpenter died of anorexia!
There are many more celebrity deaths mentioned in the manual, but at this point I feel slightly uncomfortable so I'll stop.
Even in light of these tabloid-worthy revelations though, it is the interviews with Atari founder Nolan Bushnell that really complete this whole package. Bushnell is a legend in the gaming industry and no-one would deny that he was an instrumental figure, and watching these 5 - 10 minute interview snippets in which he describes the origins of Atari and the various games he worked on is nothing short of spine tingling. Yes, the videos are in a tiny window and the quality is akin to a Quicktime clip from 1995...but that's not the point. The fact that all this information, and the games themselves are here to play in such faithful states is the point.
The emulation is spot on, the variety of games cannot be faulted and the presentation is second to none. One of the only things I would fault is nothing to do with the game itself, and more to do with the fact that Atari Anniversary Edition was only ever released in North America. Atari was massively successful in Europe during the 1980s - possibly even more so than in any other part of the world with the ST and 7800 (and even the Jaguar and Lynx), so the lack of a PAL release is somewhat strange. It did come with a cool Atari sticker though (actually still in the box with this copy - thanks Lee), so it's not all bad.
For the reasons stated above, Atari Anniversary Edition is possibly my favourite retro collection on the Dreamcast thus far and I would recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the history of gaming. Now, if someone can produce an Atari Jaguar Anniversary Collection for the Dreamcast, my life will be complete.