Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration – PC Review – Thumb Culture

If you were born in the late 70s or into 80s you may have been lucky enough for your parents to have a classic PC in the household, be that an Atari, Commodore or a ZXSpectrum. Now I was one of those lucky children and an Atari ST520 adorned my Dad’s office, with my siblings and I fighting over who would get the game time first, before 2 joysticks magically appeared and put a stop to that farse! Atari 50 hopes to bring that all back in the 21st Century!
Now in the 2020s Atari has released the Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration a broad selection of history and games that span the Atari universe.
If you enjoy this review check out my others right here!
Let’s start by saying this “game” is huge! I’ve been playing for quite a while now and barely scratched the surface. I say “game” because you can treat Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration as a stand alone gaming title, or as history tour of the Atari name.
Personally, I treated the title as an Atari compendium. Starting at the Arcade Origins and learning about the beginnings and the titles they release along the way. This is all lovingly done via timelines and offshoots of that year, it includes videos, artwork, interviews and playable games. There are over 90 games to be found in Atari 50, plus some hidden easter eggs, so you are bound to be coming back for more of the retro classics.
Each game has been superbly recreated for modern PCs and yes, I know some people want that retro feel when playing these titles but I found these upgraded versions to be just as good. If we are honest the thing that makes the retro really sing is the arcade music, which again is here in full force.
With the upgraded games come some modern improvements as well, including button remapping. You also have the ability to turn on a CRT like filter, to add more “retroness” to the titles.
My personal favourites from Atari 50 were Asteroids, Pong and Breakout. I think this is due to the fact these were the games of my early years, plus my Uncle had one of the original bar versions of pong, which I spent many hours playing in his pub!
As you progress through the timelines you also come across “Re-imagined” titles from the later Atari platforms such as the 3D Jaguar. These games were released during the initial PlayStation 1 and N64 era so not many people got to see them in the flesh. It’s amazing how the titles looked compared to their console counterparts, so it’s definitely worth taking a look at what Atari was up to during that period!
If you aren’t interested in learning about the origins and history of Atari, then there is the option to jump straight into games by hitting the TAB button from the main menu. I feel that if you are going to do that you’ve missed the whole point of Atari 50. Don’t get me wrong I like nothing better than jumping straight into a game, but finding out what drove people to make it, the marketing behind it and more, somehow makes you realise all the hard work that went into making some of the greatest games of the 20th century.
Once I have read and explored the full history, I will totally be jumping straight into that Game Menu. Even more so when my Dad comes over as I know he will spend hours pouring over all the details. The addition of a few multiplayer games means we can game together for the first time in forever, as he’s not a fan of modern console and PC gaming.
With the game count coming in at over 90 individual games, plus some hidden easter eggs, you will keep coming back for that retro fix, there are even some steam trophies available for the grinders out there! This compendium might even make the perfect Christmas Family Arcade game, who will get that high score over Christmas and claim family bragging rights?
Due to the fact some classic and amazing arcade games are missing from Atari 50 I can only award it the Thumb Culture Gold Award. Hopefully, some future deals can be achieved to help bring them to this title and make it the ultimate Atari compendium!
 

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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