Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Halo 2600 -- A revolution in Vintage Computing Games

By Bill Martens

The Year is 2010, July to be specific. The world has seen some of the best games come and go. Halo is one such game. Many played it, many buy it, and many more have gone on to even more advanced games in the first person shooter genre.

But now imaging if the year was 1977 and you knew all the programming ideas you know now. Atari 2600 is brand new this year and being limited, you have to write the game in 4K. This would be daunting for most people to accomplish.

Ed "Eddy" Fries is not most people. He was one of the key people in Microsoft Game Studios, the game division of Microsoft for many years. While many of the games available for the Atari 2600 are quite simplistic with the usual video games including Pac-Man, Frogger, and Space Invaders being among the most popular titles, even the Adventure made on the Atari is no match for what Ed has accomplished in Halo 2600

Halo 2600 was created as a hobby project which allowed Ed to see firstly what he could do on the old platform with his knowledge and secondly to create something that would showcase a platform that has long been forgotten and thrown away by most folks.

Not only did he nail a winner with Halo 2600, but now many people around the country including the mass media are knocking at his door wondering how he could get away with producing this game while Microsoft is right on the door step of releasing "Halo Reach". However, Microsoft doesn't seem much interested in it, and according to a report in the Seattle Time, the MGS president laughed it off as some kind of joke.

The game play is controlled by the arrows for Up / Down / Left / Right and the spacebar controls the firing. You can only fire left or right which makes the game more challenging but once you put together the movements and the firing restrictions, then you will find that they fit right into the ideas of retro gaming.

While you , Master Chief, the super enhanced cybernetically enhanced soldier of the the future, go through the task of shooting the aliens, getting weapons upgrades, picking up keys to unlock passage ways, you will find the pay amazingingly familiar. But while it is not the simplistic pick up the spear and kill the dragon like adventure, many of the same concepts that appeared in Adventure for Atari 2600 also appear here.

If you are looking for the fancy graphics of the commercially released Halo games, then Halo 2600 is not the game for you. But if you are looking to enjoy 64 levels of tough, challenging, retro graphics fun, then you definitely need to check out the program.

The game has been offered as a free download from Atari Age at:

You can also join the Halo 2600 Facebook page at:

A flash based browser playable version of the game is available at:

If you dont have flash, then we have it up for users with Java at:

If you like Halo 2600 and think it is the best thing since sliced bread as we do, then be sure to leave a comment on Ed's Halo 2600 Facebook page.

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