Casual Photos: WarGames (Atari 8-bit/C-64), D-Bug (Atari 8-bit), and International Sensible Soccer (Atari Jaguar)

Bill Loguidice's picture

Today's casual photos, taken with the Panasonic digital camera, are: WarGames (Coleco, 1984; Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64), D-Bug (Electronic Arts, 1983; Atari 8-bit), and International Sensible Soccer (Telegames, 1995; Atari Jaguar). Commentary and photos below:

WarGames (Coleco, 1984; Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64), is of course based on the classic 1983 MGM film (which itself was based on a book called War Games) starring Mathew Broderick and Ally Sheedy, which made the hacker lifestyle look oh-so-cool and appealing (and on an IMSAI no less, which was as hacker chic as you could get). For Coleco's short time as a prime-time console and computer player, 1982 - 1985, they made, featured or had several classics among the turkeys for theirs and other platforms. Certainly, WarGames (1983), is undeniably a ColecoVision classic, and Coleco fans were lucky enough for them to make it one of the few games they converted for use on computers (they obviously did quite a few Atari 2600 VCS and Mattel Intellivision conversions) before they expired in the world of videogames (Mattel followed a very similar course of action).

More or less eschewing the film's plot, the game played a wickedly fun type of real-time strategy game with a heavy emphasis on action, realizing NORAD's virtual Global Thermonuclear War game, making excellent use of the ColecoVision's keypad to quickly jump to various zoomed in locations on a map of the United States. Since the Atari 8-bit and C-64 did not feature a joystick with a keypad, some concessions in control were made, and frankly even though the basicaudio-visual capabilities of the Atari 8-bit and C-64 were up to par (and in some areas better) with the ColecoVision, in the case of this game they were rather flat in comparison, making the ColecoVision WarGames game by far the preferred version to play in my opinion. Still, Coleco did anice job on the ports and it's worth checking out on the Atari 8-bit or C-64 for the novelty factor alone.

You'll notice that the game is still shrinkwrapped, but is "sunken in". This is not because the game was crushed, but is common in older games when the shrinkwrap "shrinks" (for lack of a better word) over time, compressing the contents. This is a collector's bane much like glue seepage on cartridge labels or labels drying out and falling off.

One other point of interest, the Coleco had another similar game called War Room (1983), which placed even more emphasis on action, and was the first and only game to see release on Magnavox's Probe 2000 label (yes, the Odyssey2 people were even trying to get in on the multi-platform action). It too is a great, great game, and well worth checking out. Sadly, either due to a stated ROM shortage at the time or the in-progress crash (or a combination), it was their last game released. Even sadder, their next game would have either been Power Lords or Lord of the Dungeon, the latter of which being a Wizardry-type RPG with battery backup, the first of its kind (and by a number of years). Finally, WarGames and War Room were not the only two games on the ColecoVision to feature interesting looking in-game US maps. Campaign '84 (Sunrise, 1983), another action strategy game with an emphasis on action, also featured said map-based interpretation of the good ol' USA.

D-Bug (Electronic Arts, 1983; Atari 8-bit), is another early Electronic Arts game with their traditional album styling (note the aforementioned glue seepage, this time on a sticker on the front of the packaging). My early Electronic Arts album-style collection is probably nearing completion at this point.

International Sensible Soccer (Telegames, 1995; Atari Jaguar), is the updated Atari Jaguar version, on cartridge, of the 1992/1993 Commodore Amiga and Atari ST hit. There were several soccer games on the Jaguar, a few football games, an unreleased hockey (since released by hobbyists), but no baseball game, and it was an American console. Go figure.