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Basketball (Atari 2600) artwork

Basketball (Atari 2600) review


"There's nothing complicated to the gameplay. You run to the other side and hit the button to shoot the ball. Do it from the right angle and it lands perfectly into the hoop. Miss and it bounces off and gives your opponent a chance to shoot. This game skips all the complicated BS of more sophisticated NBA games and goes straight for the throat. This one is more about being fast and aggressive. There are no fouls, no flags, no complicated maneuvers or flashy graphics and sounds. It's raw and primitive, like throwing your rifle away and hunting a deer with a spear. Just that little bit of simplicity makes the game rustic and enjoyable. "



I'm not a very big sport fan. I hardly ever watch sports, basketball especially. It's not that I hate sports, but I can never sit and watch an entire game. I'm just not patient enough. Watching sports is one thing. Playing them is another. I like to play some once in a while, both real life and video game. If I still owned an Atari, this would be one of the few and proud. The one thing that serves as a hook for sports games is innovation. Would you rather play a mundane football game, or a newer one with loads of features and realism? Most folks go for the latter. Strangely, it's not Basketball's showing of innovation, but lack of innovation that makes it a strong game. It's crazy and counterintuitive, but brilliant just the same. The fact that you don't have to worry about overly complicated controlling and you can play this game pretty much at your own pace gives it charm. It's like a quaint and tidy peasant village. It's so cute, little, and simplistic you can't help but love it to death..

There's nothing complicated to the gameplay. You run to the other side and hit the button to shoot the ball. Do it from the right angle and it lands perfectly into the hoop. Miss and it bounces off and gives your opponent a chance to shoot. This game skips all the complicated BS of more sophisticated NBA games and goes straight for the throat. This one is more about being fast and aggressive. There are no fouls, no flags, no complicated maneuvers or flashy graphics and sounds. It's raw and primitive, like throwing your rifle away and hunting a deer with a spear. Just that little bit of simplicity makes the game rustic and enjoyable.

Multiplayer adds that extra MMPH to the equation. Without being able to play with a second player, this game would have almost no meaning or worthy attributes. Playing against the computer is lightly amusing until you've gotten the gist of the computer's playing style, then you can mercilessly tromp it to bits. It eventually turns into a celebrity boxing match between Fiona Apple and Kane Hodder. The only problem is getting a friend that's open-minded enough to enjoy Atari. In this day and age, there seem to be a lot of people who have the ''old = out-dated = crappy'' mentality. If you can succeed in snagging one with an open mind, then you're set. Playing multiplayer here may not be as exciting as playing some of today's games, but it's great for asinine fun.

One almost gets old flashbacks of B.T. Barnum's Acrobat! for Odyssey 2. Make no mistake though. This is way better than Barnum's hellspawn of a game. The characters are rather simplistic looking stick figures with a square ball with colors so plain, unmarked college rule paper looks like a major work of art. If this game could be stronger in terms of graphics, color diversity is really a must. The designs are as good as they can get for the times, so those really don't get much of a mark down. Just the colors.

Atari games are a lot like our elderly. Sure, some can seem cranky and you really don't want to touch them, but there are those that just have that charm. A comprehensive gaming experience isn't complete without them. You can get a sense of how much gaming has come along. Pop this game into an Atari and play it for ten minutes, then look at the latest titles for systems out today. Yeah, the graphics of today's systems are mind-blowing, but that innovation wouldn't have come if we wouldn't have started with the first step.

Basketball isn't a great game in comparison to the rest of the Atari library, but its simplicity and overall quick pace make it a hit. Its best feature has to be the multiplayer, but the game can be lightly fun for a while in single player mode. It's the fact that just the right elements came together in just the right way. Tight controls combined with simple, addictive gameplay and well instituted multiplayer. This game may be old, but it certainly isn't waste. If you get the chance, do give this game a play.

Rating: 7/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 14, 2010)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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