What Will They Recharge Next?
Time to Recharge Again
Yars’ Recharged is coming soon, and it looks fantastic. I’ll admit, I was a little lukewarm on these Atari Recharged titles when Missile Command first hit, but since then they’ve really grown on me. Especially Gravitar, Black Widow, and Centipede.
Yars Recharged opens some exciting doors though, as it’s the first Recharged title to draw specifically from a console game instead of an arcade game. These Recharged games are clearly doing well enough for Atari for them to keep making them, and with each entry looking more ambitious than the last, I can’t wait to see where they go from here, especially now that they’ve officially entered the Atari 2600’s vast library.
Presumably they’ll continue with just the first party stuff, but that has a degree of wiggle room there because Atari published unique visions of a number of arcade classics that weren’t originally their IP. So, as I love to do, let’s speculate wildly about what games I’d love to see Atari Recharge next!
Let’s start with stuff that’s exclusively theirs, and the game at the very top of that list for me is Video Pinball. Video Pinball is a pretty simple game, but it’s nonetheless a very fun one. It’s also a weird pinball game because they made absolutely no attempt at making the table seem vertical. That makes Video Pinball pretty unique among other pinball simulators out there, and a super cool basis for a Recharged take.
Seriously, pinball video games have come so far since the Atari 2600, and applying the same abstract nature of the Recharged series to the concept of pinball could yield some incredibly cool results. Pinball games that don’t try too hard to simply emulate what can be done in real life are some of the best out there, and if we could get a game that more closely resembles the original’s iconic box art, color me sold.
Okay, hear me out. I know Atari Miniature Golf isn’t exactly a beloved classic, but there’s definitely some fun to be had in there once you get the hang of it. Thinking about how much fun I had with a recent game called What the Golf!? and just how many weird golf video games there are out there these days, makes thinking of what kind of wacky stuff they could think of for a Miniature Golf Recharged super exciting.
Since the original game is so abstract to begin with, they could effectively just make a wild-looking game about trying to maneuver a golf ball through a number of neon-colored obstacles. That sounds fun to me.
This is a super simple concept that’s been reimagined a number of times before, but it’s no less fun today than it was back in the old days!
Really, I can’t imagine what they could do with this one to change it on any intrinsic level, except for adding weapons and items, which is sort of a staple of these Recharged games, and honestly that sounds great. I’d play it.
This one seems inevitable, but I honestly have no earthly idea what to expect. When it comes to Atari 2600 games, Adventure is easily among the most famous. It was absolutely groundbreaking at the time. The problem is, how do you take that basic gameplay conceit and make it into a Recharged game?
The typical “neon space” aesthetic would be pretty weird when applied to Adventure, but I think keeping the abstract nature of the original intact in some way is important. Also, having the map actually logically connect would be a must. And maybe that’s all there needs to be. A bigger map that makes sense, or a series of maps to travel through, maybe some actual combat against the dragons, and then a whole lot of searching for stuff. I’m sure we’ll see though, because I’d be shocked if Adventure Recharged doesn’t happen someday.
Another of the most popular Atari 2600 games is Combat, and it’s still a blast to play. Pun very much intended. This is also a game that’s been reinvented dozens of times over the years, including as recently as Clubhouse Games for Nintendo Switch and the upcoming Atari 50 Anniversary Celebration.
So, what could Recharged bring to the table? Well, yet another reinvention of the basic formula! Some unique weapons, 4-player online, and of course all the different vehicle modes. Maybe even find a way to combine them so some players could be planes while others are tanks! No matter what, I think Combat Recharged would be a winner.
Genuinely shocked this one hasn’t happened yet to be honest. Warlords is some of the most fun 4-player goodness ever made, and it’s the kind of thing that still gets set up at conventions to this day.
They don’t even need to make it much more than the original in this case. Just make it look cool and slap the word Recharged on it!
I know, I know. Breakout Recharged already exists. But, and I will continue to shout this from the rooftops for as long as anyone will listen, another awesome-looking Breakout game exists, and currently has nowhere to be played.
Choice Provisions, the folks behind the incredible Bit.Trip series, created an original Breakout game for the Intellivision Amico. As you probably know, taht system likely isn’t going to see the light of day, and that amazing-looking Breakout game is just sitting there, lost behind the dumpster fire that is the Amico.
So, just call it Super Breakout Recharged and call it a day! It already mostly matches the Recharged aesthetic, and it’s nothing short of tragic that a game that cool is lost in limbo. Please Atari, I’m begging you.
Okay, this is very much in the longshot territory because Atari doesn’t own Space Invaders by any stretch of the imagination. However, the version that was created for the Atari 2600 is one of the best there is, and a Recharged update of that specific version would be incredible.
There were a ton of interesting game variations built into the 2600 Space Invaders, and while a lot were similar to one another, almost all of them provided really cool ways to alter the way the game played. This kind of thing is so very ripe to be expanded on, and the Recharged series is the perfect venue to do it.
While we’re dreaming, let’s think about Pac-Man. There’s no denying that for better or worse, the Pac-Man port forAtari 2600 is one of the most historically significant games ever made. It had a huge effect on the game industry for a number of reasons, and it remains to this day a truly unique version of the ultimate arcade classic.
So my proposal is to take specifically the Atari 2600 version of the game, weird color scheme and sprites and all, and make that into some kind of wacky new Pac-Man experience. It’s never ever going to happen, but I want it. I really do. The modern Pac-Man games have been pretty great, especially the Championship Edition titles, which proves to me that there’s still a lot of cool stuff to be done with the basic Pac formula. Those sound effects are more iconic than some might think too, having been used in movies and TV shows for decades as their generic video game sound effects. This specific game is an icon, and it deserves redemption.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for Atari. Their current position in the industry is very exciting. The Atari VCS exists and is pretty neat. They’ve got new IPs like Kombinera and Atari Mania, and Atari 50 looks like an incredible compilation that could bring awareness to a whole new generation. Their Recharged line has a lot of life left in it, and if they keep going the way they’re going, there’s no doubt some great stuff on the horizon. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Miniature Golf.