Trips Down Memory Lane Without The ROM Pain – Atari Vault Review (PC)
Atari was a key figure in video games. Responsible for both the Atari 2600 and various iconic arcade games, it’s impossible to deny their importance. Things may not have panned out to well as the industry evolved. Failed original Ips, botched remakes and licensed titles have led to Atari no longer commanding such power in the modern market.
The Atari Vault stands as something of a reminder to their glory days. Packing in 100 games into one neat package, Atari have opened the door for a whole new generation to experience their glory days.This is perhaps the biggest selling point, the concept of not just taking a history lesson, but playing it. Atari have seemingly taken their time in drilling home nostalgia, this is especially true in how the menus are handled.
Each game is shown in its original release, complete with arcade cabinet and box. Spinning around 3D recreations of each games original format provides a bizarre buzz. It’s not the same as being able to physically touch them, but it’s the closet you can get. Be it nostalgia or just curiosity, just looking at each game on the menu feels weirdly satisfying, similar to when you inspect a game before buying it in store. The feature (if it can be called one) provides a reason not to simply defer to a emulator.
Atari have included 18 arcade classics and 82 home titles, it’s a pretty damn impressive number. Each game comes in its original state, or as least as close as they can. The sights and sounds are all very much present, but there’s a few issues. Titles that original used tracker balls feel a little off. There’s something missing, it’s not that they play badly, it’s much more subtle of a problem. The sweet spot just does not seem to be there, with movement feeling either too sluggish or too fast depending on the game.
If there’s one annoyance that’s impossible to mention, it has to be the choice of Atari 2600. There’s a few inclusions that a raise eye brow, feeling more like filler than solid choices. Admittedly there’s still the initial dose of nostalgia but the novelty soon rubs off, producing the questions of ‘why did this make it into the Vault?’ On the plus side, least there’s none of the strains and pains of trying run ROM versions of the game.
The Atari Vault ushers in one new addition, online functionality. All of the relevant games can be enjoyed in both online and local multiplayer, complete with leader boards. At the time of review, only the most well known games (Pong etc) seemed to host a healthy supply of players. A few niggles to do with lag and connection drops were also experienced. Playing online provides The Vault with a feature ROMS can not, making this an attractive option beyond the before mentioned pains of running a ROM.
For £14.99, there’s plenty here to enjoy. It may not match the thrills of playing the originals, but it’s pretty damn close. The few issues it suffers from aren’t enough to sour the experience but they do nibble away, causing a few cheap defeats.