This morning we gave you your first look at the Ataribox, the first home console Atari has developed in over 20 years. Right now there is a lot about the Ataribox that we don't know. We don't know exactly what's inside, or how powerful the console will be, but Atari did state that it would have modern hardware and play current games.
It will also play classic Atari games, of course, which means that we could be looking at an evolution of the NES Classic idea. This could end up being a home console packed with retro goodies, and an operating system that allows you to purchase or play more modern Atari games. We would be perfectly fine with that, and there are a ton of games we'd love to see on the Ataribox at launch.
Assuming that Atari plans on loading this thing up with retro and current games to entice retro gamers at launch, we figured we'd mention the all-time classics that have to show up on the console out of the gate. These are the games that have the power to give the Ataribox that NES Classic level of hype and appeal; let's just hope they make enough to go around!
Keep scrolling to see our top picks, and make sure you vote at the bottom for your favorite.
Step aside, Tetris. Space Invaders was the first "must-own" video game for a console, and when this game landed on the Atari 2600 back in 1980, it was the first time that a home console got an officially licensed arcade game to add to its roster. It was a big deal back then, and Space Invaders still has a notable legacy today as one of the very first "shooter" style games ever developed.
The game's creator, Tomohiro Nishikado, cited Atari's Breakout as a big inspiration for Space Invaders, which brings a unique meta twist to the game. This will be a "must-own" on the Ataribox as well.
If the Ataribox can play current games, then we're going to have to have some version of RollerCoaster Tycoon. A brand new version exclusive to the Ataribox could very well be the killer app that ends up stealing a lot of the marketing buzz, especially if Atari wants to sell this to younger gamers.
RollerCoaster Tycoon belongs to Atari for at least a few more years, and Atari has seen enormous success reviving the theme park simulator and roller-coaster building simulator on mobile. The more recent RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch has been getting great reviews, so we know Atari has what it takes to bring a unique next-gen version of the game to its proprietary hardware.
This is very likely the first game you ever played that truly stressed you out as a kid. Missile Command was basically the bleepy, bloopy, digital version of spinning plates. You had a series of bases along the bottom of your screen which you would have to defend from missiles raining from the sky above. You'd do this by frantically spinning a trackball to move your cursor and line up defensive missile shots. As the difficulty increased, more missile would come down at various angles at high speeds, and eventually it would reach an intolerable crescendo and you'd get destroyed.
We're willing to bet this game can still make us cuss like sailors.
I bet you didn't know that the original Rampage saw its definitive version on an Atari console, did you? The Atari Lynx version of Rampage added an exclusive new character, a giant rat named Larry. No other version of Rampage featured Larry, and the NES version of the game actually took away one of the main characters, leaving players with only two to control.
With the new Rampage movie on the way, Atari could hit the jackpot by marketing either a retro Rampage collection on the Ataribox, or else a brand new Rampage game that takes advantage of the new consoles modern hardware.
For the high-score junkies, you know we have to include Ms. Pac-Man. While Pac-Man is the all-time classic, most arcade rats claim that Ms. Pac-Man was the ultimate version of the game, and one that hasn't truly been topped since it launched in 1982. Players appreciated the more colorful presentation and the additional challenge.
Ms. Pac-Man found a home on several Atari consoles, including the 2600, 5200, and 7800. It was on Atari consoles that many of you played Ms. Pac-Man for the first time, and it's main selling point for most of the plug-and-play consoles that we see in stores. This would be a no-brainer if Atari wants to market its Ataribox toward retro gamers.