One of the greatest things about the Atari 2600 games was the art on the box that the games came in, and the elaborate instruction books and occasional add-ons. A simple game like Yar’s Revenge, which involves a single screen where you control a flying bug/spaceship (you’re officially a member of the Yar species) around trying to blast the shields around the evil “Qotile”, came with a comic book with an epic back story. It’s only funny in hindsight: it was pretty incredible to me at the time.
That’s what I’m talking about. The little shape behind that semi-circular shield is the bad guy. Pretty sinister, huh? You wouldn’t think that the screenshot above, which shows the only screen you’ll ever look at, would deserve anything in the way of plot, but the Atari’s horsepower was so low compared to what video gamers have today that the add-ons were the only place any sort of story actually could occur. The capacity of each game cartridge was taken up by the shooting and flying.
I would get up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. A couple of hours later, my best friend would come ovee and we would have Atari tournaments, usually switching between Qbert and Yar’s Revenge. The goal was only to see who could get the. Ost points. There weren’t many other options for competitive Atari. The games didn’t have endings, they just got faster and faster until the bullets were moving so quickly, and there were so many of them that human reflexes simply could not keep up.
I have nothing but good memories of this game. The control was good, the graphics were fine, compared to everything else the 2600 was putting out, and while I never hated the Qotile enough to root against it, I was more than happy to shoot at it for entire mornings, just to get more points than my friend.
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