Atari Vault is a collection of over 100 Arcade and Atari 2600 ranging from sports to blowing up asteroids in space. With this massive selection of games to choose from you will likely spent hours just trying all the games and staring at the included scans of the box art, arcade machine or cartridge for each title. It is both a love letter to those that loved the old Atari company and a great introduction to games of the past in one convenient package. These are quite clearly decade old games with no graphical improvements whatsoever so they will obviously look outdated and the only addition to the graphical presentation are some nifty borders unique to each game. The biggest feature to this collection of games is the ability to use controllers for each game and have custom bindings on a game per game basis which really helps keep you playing as you can fine tune to your liking and never worry about it again.
Most of the games had optimal controller bindings but games like Brickout or Warlords that require a paddle simply do not play well on a controller and makes precise movements much harder. Along with the controller you can use either mouse or keyboard which can also be rebinded however you please. For games that were originally for the paddle using the mouse is really the only way to properly play them if you plan on being any good at them. Now highscores have much more reach than bragging in your local arcades hangout as each game has their own leaderboards to compete against your friends or people around the world. The second biggest feature of this compilation is the ability to play with your friends or random people online though I was sadly unable to use this feature over the course of four days testing as no one plays online. You can be the host and try to set up a match while still being able to play games which is nice but without a community it is kind of pointless. Hopefully it gathers a following in the future but if you are looking for online play you will need to find a friend with this title as of now.
While the games themselves have no improvements I was pleasantly surprised to see the Atari Vault running at 2560x1440p @ 165hz. It makes little to no real difference in the games but it’s always nice to have it running at your monitors native resolution and not locked at 1080p 30fps like so many modern games. With Arcade games you can change the lives, difficulty and various other factors while the Atari 2600 games require you to first boot up the game before being able to change anything. It’s a nifty little selection screen that is a far better alternative than getting up, flicking the “game select” switch on the console and wondering just what it did if you no longer had a manual. For those that don’t know, most Atari 2600 games had multiple modifications to the core gameplay that you could choose from in order to keep the game from getting stale. It also retains the Atari 2600’s feature of being able to choose whether to display in color or in black and white if you so choose.
100 games is quite a lot of content no doubt but keep in mind that these are very old games where the point of them is to play for fun or for the highscore. It is primitive compared to today’s games and most don’t even have music, only bleeps and bloops. With that out the way they are still as fun to play now as they were back then. Even without the realistic graphics and captivating soundtracks of modern games there is still something immensely charming about a pure focus on gameplay and sound effects so primitive that you can’t help but kick back and relax. These are the type of games you’d play when you are short on time and want some quick fun. Get in intense dogfights in the Red Baron, continue to suck at Centipede and out drive bandits in Fatal Run all before work or school. With 97 more games to try out and plenty of them having different modifiers to the gameplay you’re bound to find a couple of games that will have you hooked and wanting to make your way up the leaderboard. Atari Vault is definitely a must buy title if you have fond memories of playing Atari’s 2600 console or arcade machines and a perfect title for those wondering what gaming was like back then.