On a certain level, it's vaguely amusing to see the latest, greatest consoles running software from 25 years ago... all that massive power brought to bear on a game that won't use a thousandth of it. It's wonderful, though, that so many old games, classics and otherwise, are thus preserved through remakes and emulation. Activision Hits Remixed is packed full of the oldest games you could possibly play on your PSP, with 40 or so virtual cartridges from Activision's high-flying Atari 2600 days. Not all of 'em are good, and most are very simple - these games took up less memory than most emails do today - but a solid list of classics, solid presentation, and a budget price tag help make this collection a reasonable value.
Avid retro watchers will notice that Activision Hits Remixed is more or less just a PSP version of 2002's Activision Anthology for PS2. Don't look too hard for the "Remixed" part, as it only refers to the PSP game's new menu system. It's not as cool as the virtual '80s bedroom / cartridge rack of Anthology, but it's also easier to navigate. And as before, you can rock out to a small but enjoyable selection of '80s rock tunes while you play, including songs from Twisted Sister, A-ha, Soft Cell, Blondie, and some less notable acts. Annoyingly, you can't skip tracks mid-game.
A subset of the 2600 games on offer are true classics. Games like Pitfall, River Raid, Demon Attack, Megamania, Spider Fighter, and Fishing Derby are simple, addicting tests of skill and coordination that can still suck you in today. It's all about getting the highest score, and Remixed keeps faithful track of your achievements, even offering the odd unlockable commercial or virtual iron-on patch - price these trinkets on eBay, why don'tcha - as extra incentive to excel. You can also check out manuals and box/card scans, though the latter are not nearly as high-res and legible as they were on PS2.
Other Remixed games are not so enduring, to be kind, and are simply there for completeness to pad out the game count. Kaboom!, normally well-regarded by fans, is hard to enjoy due to the lack of a proper paddle control - neither the analog nub nor the d-pad can really do the job. Others, like early space flight sim Space Shuttle, just don't make any freakin' sense. Luckily, every cart has a nicely presented manual. Good or bad, most every game seems to be emulated well, with graphical filtering only becoming apparent in full-screen mode. Game-sharing lets you play with others, too.
Activision Hits Remixed is a solid retro collection for those looking for stone-age thrills. There are enough good games to care, the miniature '80s revival bit is fun, and the $20 price tag is just about reasonable. If you're down with Pitfall Harry and don't have the slightly superior PS2 version, well, have at it.