Monday, August 27, 2007

360 Reasons to Love Atari

Math Gran Prix for the Xbox 360

I'll give you 360 to reasons to love Atari, or at least old school games in general. The Xbox 360. To celebrate the release of Classic Game Room on DVD this week I finally, after a year of research and price stabilization, went out and bought an Xbox 360. I had also collected all my pocket change for a year ($85) and cashed in my Discover card points, so it came out pretty cheap too. Nothing feels better than buying an Xbox with quarters and nickels. Or at least 1/4 of an Xbox with quarters and nickels. And dimes and pennies too.

Xbox 360 and Atari 7800

I had been on the fence regarding these game systems for a while, and actually didn't even want to get one until Dave (from the Game Room!) and a few other friends convinced me that Xbox Live was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And the fact is, they're right. Holy crap is it awesome. If I didn't have a busy life I'd just vegetate in front of Xbox Live forever. As it is, I must restrain myself from spending all night playing Robotron 2084 and Contra on Xbox Live. Stella won't let me spend all my time in front of it though, I've still got to live my real life and actually walk our dog in reality.

Stella hates Xbox

I am very impressed with the ease of getting it online and the interface for Xbox Live. I am very unimpressed with the fact that I have to buy all these "Microsoft" accessories, like their special HDMI cable, that cost a fortune. And I really could have used a 2nd controller. My Sega Genesis came with 2 controllers, so should this. On the other hand, the wireless controllers are very nice. I don't have to worry about my dog snagging the controller when romping by the rack and pulling a $400 game system to its doom. However, I prefer the Sony Playstation and Sega Genesis controllers to the Xbox controller.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Backwards compatible? The Atari 7800 is awesome because it plays 7800 and 2600 games. However, it won't play Xbox 360 games. Sad. I am a fan of backwards compatibility and believe the Atari 7800 was the first game system to offer this back in the 80's. I ran out and bought Halo 1 for the original Xbox (which I'd actually never played) for all of $10 and was thrilled to learn I could play it on my 360 with ease. The 360 downloaded something from the Internet for 10 seconds and then I was up and running. Fantastic.

Forza 2 vs. Math Gran Prix

Now let's talk about the games. Math Gran Prix for the Atari 2600 is the benchmark standard for racing games, how does Forza 2 compete? Well, the graphics are a bit better. So are the physics. Sadly Math Gran Prix does not offer an online option. However the math is very challenging.

Forza 2 is a lot of fun and offers great racing. The car selection isn't as good as what I would like to see, but the cars that are there are fantastic. And it's about time we got a Lamborghini Countach in a racing game, but where's the Lamborghini Jalpa!?

Anyway, I really like the fact I can design logos for the hood of the cars. I'm a geek that way. I'm looking forward to posting some images later of a few designs I'm working on in my spare time (which is not much). I personally think that $60 + tax for a game is very steep (I paid $55 used). You can get Math Gran Prix for about 10 cents online. But it all depends on what you're willing to spend for the latest and greatest technology. I doubt I'll be buying many "new" games because I really don't have much time to play them. However the $5 online classic games are right on.

A glass of Weltenburger Kloster

Cheers to the Xbox 360. In closing, I'm impressed with pretty much everything about the system except the astronomical price of the games and accessories. Probably because when I grew up and bought games they were 1/3 the price of this.

I also think that for this price it should come with an HD-DVD drive. But maybe that's just because I want one. I have not yet jumped on any HD video format just yet. I was thinking of getting a PS3 but the Xbox Live thing, combined with the fact my friends in NYC and Philly are getting 360's, pretty much sold me.

I see myself getting more classics like Ms. Pac Man and Gauntlet from Xbox Live. I also look forward to playing Bioshock and Halo 3 when the time comes. In the meantime, when I'm not working or living my normal life, you can find me on the couch with a glass of good beer like Weltenburger Kloster, a dog at my feet and an Xbox 360 controller in hand playing Robotron 2084 or Forza 2.

Classic Game Room is available HERE.

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