16 - Asteroids
The objective of the game is to last as long as possible, destroying asteroids and other objects as they appear while avoiding them as well. Though it was considered a much easier game than the arcade original, the Atari 2600 still stands out as an example of how to make potentially repetitive games an enjoyable experience.
15 - Yars Revenge
The game features the player as an intergalactic flying bug that must shoot down the evil Qotile which hides behind its shields. There is a neutral zone in the middle where missiles cannot hurt the player but the player cant shoot either. The Qotile has some tricks up its sleeve, though, and can still fire an angry swirl and do damage.
Part of the appeal was the difficulty of the game and strategies that developed using the various mechanics available. Specifically, the neutral zone is often cited as a stroke of genius.
14 - Centipede
Though the hardware limitations prevented the same graphical quality from being presented, the gameplay translated incredibly well to home consoles. The player moves a cannon from side to side while firing at the centipede making its way through the course. Extra points are granted for hitting various other enemies like the spider and fleas.
13 - Ms. Pac-Man
Whereas the original Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man was a (very) poor port, the port of Ms. Pac-Man was nothing if not stellar and crisp. Of everything included in the arcade cabinet, the only thing missing from the Atari 2600 version were the intermissions. That means that four different mazes, different-colored ghosts, fruit, and even an animated title screen made the jump to consoles, and that's none too shabby, especially considering how much was cut from the original Pac-Man port.
12 - Q*bert
The entire game revolves around the titular character, Q*bert, jumping around to turn blocks the same color. Whilst the player goes about this business, Coily the snake and other bizarre creatures give chase. Its admittedly a pretty weird scene, but it's weird in a good way.
11 - Pong
But the time-honored tradition of the original Pong is something that cant easily be tainted. The gameplay consists of tennis-like rules where two paddles bounce a ball between them and hope to have the opponent miss in order to score a point. Given that its usually black on white, theres not much more to this. It was immensely popular upon release and remains one of the most influential and oft-copied games of its time.
10 - Warlords
The players each control a shield guarding a wall of blocks in front of their respective knights. A fireball bounces around the screen that the players can deflect using paddle controllers to send them off at their enemies to destroy the blocks guarding their knights. The last knight standing wins the round and the winner of five rounds wins the game.
Though the graphics are nothing to write home about, the game they represent certainly is. Talk about a series overdue for a revisit.
9 - Frogger
The 1982 version included everything from the arcade game, like navigating the street filled with cars, the river full of logs and flies that could be picked up for extra points. The bright and distinct colors made all of the different objects stand out from each other in a way that made sense. The Atari 2600 version is a timeless classic, and perhaps the best version of Frogger.
8 - Pole Position
The core game remained unchanged, however, and the gameplay had the player weaving in and out of a series of enemy cars while twisting and turning with the road. The car accelerates automatically and the fire button acts as a brake button as the player jets down the raceway. Though the environment might be sparse and oddly colored, the game itself continued to be exhilarating. Everything that made the arcade game as good as it was made the jump to home consoles.
7 - Dig Dug
The player, as the intrepid gardener Dig Dug, must dig around and try to blow up the pesky enemies cluttering the screen with their handy-dandy air pump. There are also rocks scattered about that the player can strategically use to drop on said enemies if they so choose. They arent terribly discriminating, however, and will crush the player just as easily.