Atari 50: The Anniversary Collection (Review)

Dec 2, 2022

Published by: Atari
Released: November 11, 2022 (PC, Playstation, Switch, Xbox)

Atari 50: the Anniversary Collection is a masterpiece. It is one of the best historic game collections ever assembled. Digital Eclipse’s level of care, detail, and conversation creates a historical archive of Atari’s first 50 years. This historic collection is a necessary experience for anyone interested in video game history.

Other Atari collections, like the Flashback series, have collected more games in a package. However, Atari 50 still provides the historical context. The timeline moves through a variety of Atari periods and generations. The birth of games and arcades. The VCS, 2600, and home consoles. Even the Lynx and Jaguar find representation and historical meaning. Video interviews from original developers recall their experiences with a variety of games. 

The timeline also includes videos from modern creators and writers describing the meaning and influence of the games. For players without this historical background, Atari 50 creates a sense of meaning and value to what could appear limited and primitive by modern standards. For players who lived through these times, Atari 50 celebrates the significance and importance Atari had in shaping video games as a medium, a hobby, and an industry. 

Game collection

Moving through the timeline, players experience a curated selection of games that represent touch points. Pong. Breakout. Missile Command. 25 arcade classics. Adventure. Warlords.. Yar’s Revenge. 40 2600 games. A sampling of 5200 and 7800 games. The Lynx games represent a time when developers attempted to create a future of colored handhelds. The Jaguar games document the historic half-step between the 16-bit and early 3D eras.

In addition to classic games, Atari 50 provides a handful of new and reimagined games from classic franchises. Fortunately, the timeline provides the opportunity to experience each game through a variety of settings. Visual filters help retain a time period appropriate presentation. All this production care from Digital Eclipse creates a true video game museum piece.

Consequently, the only limitation is from a historian lens. The images of the console units are not 3D and do not provide the opportunity to view how ports and connections changed over time. However, this is a minor issue given the overwhelming depth of content and preservation in the collection.

Atari 50 Essential History

Atari 50 is a triumph. Thanks are needed for Digital Ecilpse’s work to interview, capture, and preserve an essential piece of gaming history. What they have created will be a required text for future courses on video games. A new standard in classic collections. And a necessary experience for every video game fan.

Score: 9.8