Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
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5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom

Funkmaster V Reviews

7800 Rank: Not Ranked

Genre: Sports (Olympics)

Awards: None
I Lost My @#!@ Directions!!! Pros: Each Event Featured is Fast and Fun/ Good Background Graphics
Cons: No Closing Ceremonies/ Speed Skating Graphics are Poor
The Only Way Americans Can Win the Bobsled= Old Video Games

Overview: Since the 2002 Winter Olympics are winding down, it would be fitting if I threw in my Winter Games review for the Atari 7800 in the mix of the current winter sports fever. Instead of dozens of sleep inducing sports such as curling and ice dancing, Winter Games for the Atari 7800 offers 4 unique and surprisingly fun events for up to 8 cold weather heroes. The events are Biathlon, Speed Skating, the Ski Jump, and the 2-man Bobsled.

Graphics: Visually the game is either good or bad, depending on what event you are currently jamming. All character avatars suck, but most of the backgrounds look good. The Biathlon has several different scenes in it, each depicting a new and well-detailed background. The Bobsled event has a nifty overhead shot of the bobsled course that can help you judge the upcoming turns. The Ski Jump has a "Picture in a Picture" (thank you Mr. Rogers) where you can see the ramp/ landing spot and your ski jumper at the same time. The best graphics are probably the "Flag Page". This is where you can choose to represent one of several countries by viewing the beautifully done flags of each country (Betsy Ross Gets Some Gloss). Why, you can even represent the legendary country of Atari if you so desire, but I heard that this country went backrupt and was bought by the French, so beware. The opening ceremony graphics are decent, even though the torchbearer is wearing a muscle shirt in the dead of winter. The baby blue and yellow menus and the Speed Skating event look terrible. But overall, I would award Winter Games the silver medal here.

Sound: Ack...once again the Atari audio department owes us money. Apart from the Olympic theme playing in the opening ceremonies, Winter Games is disturbingly void of audio. The Biathlon suffers the most, because this long event needs a dance track or something to keep those waiting to play awake. Here, I would award Winter Games a lump of coal.

Gameplay: Something tells me that the Epyx line of Summer/ Winter/ California games were the heart and soul inspiration behind the Mario Party mini-games. The controls are easy to understand, but executing moves skillfully may take some time to get used to. The Biathlon by far is the hardest to grasp, because of the difficulty travering inclines and the sudden switch over to the shooting range. If you are unlucky enough to not own the instructions, you might wanna do an internet search to find some. The other events, Speed skating, Ski Jump, and Bobsled are fairly simple, and can be very fun if playing against a number of people who are competitive. Although at times frustrating and taxing on hands and joysticks, the control and gameplay of the four events are fairly simple to pick up and learn. I would give Winter Games a bronze medal here as well.

Interpretation: I've played numerous Epyx games of this nature on 3 different consoles, and the 7800 version of Winter Games is one of the best. Only having four decent events as opposed to something like a mix of 2 good, 2 weak, 2 bad, is really the way to go. Quality, not quantity...my friends, is the key to video game hoop-la. Overall, the game fares well against all ports from this era, but I really miss the Closing Ceremonies where the overall winner was crowned after a points race. Hell, even the Atari 2600 versions of these games had that. What a blunder. Still, Winter Games gets a silver from me in this category.

Value: One of the original party titles, Winter Games has four mini-games inside that could possibly entertain a half drunk group of sailors or a Boy's Club for a minute or two. The games are very short (except for the Biathlon, which by comparison may be a little too long) and that probably means that most people will play this a few times and grow tired of it. After all, most of these events are simply just racing against time type games. Winter Games really requires 1 or 2 friends to play with to even begin to scratch the surface of the game's soul, so when its a single player affair, its a bit of a bummer. It would have been great if you could have assigned a couple of computer AI countries to battle it out with you... but alas, you can't. The lack of closing ceremonies hurts this game's life span since there is no real sense of closure here (much like my last relationship). I mean, after the Bobsled event... it just ENDS. Like the Sopranos. NOTHING. Who wouldn't enjoy seeing themselves win a gold medal for winning the Olympic points race? I mean... that's not a real thing in real life, but who cares? In this category, Winter Games misses out on medaling.

Overall: Well, the good news is, you at least won't get screwed by the scheming French judge when you play Winter Games. As far as sport titles go, this is one of the systems' best...even though initially that doesn't mean much. The graphics, gameplay and the quality of each event is pretty solid, even though holistically this game probably won't hold your interest for long. If you have a bunch of people you know who love classic video games and/or party games like Mario Party or Mario Kart, you might wanna give this game a spin. If you have Multiple Personalities, this game might be for you. If you are currently roommates with Mary Lou Retton, you might talk enough trash to get her involved in the fray. If not, just get this game to complete your 7800 collection... it is at least good enough for a "once through."

Other Reviews:
The Video Game Critic: A-
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 3.5 out of 5.0 (Good)
The Atari Times: 4 out of 10

Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Mitch Orman at www,Atari7800.org for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.