Master Chief goes triple-old-school in Halo for Atari 2600 (and Flash)

The original Halo was released in 2001, making it old enough that some people might consider the game worthy of old-school honors. It has nothing on the Atari 2600, which fought the Mattel Intellivision and Manavox Odyssey 2 in the first console war, circa 1980. Those two worlds collided last weekend with the release of Halo 2600, ahomebrewgame that tookthe Halo franchise and rewound the clock over three decades, sendingthe playerto an era where the Atari name stood for cutting-edge gaming hardware.

Unfortunately the limited production run of 500 real Halo 2600 cartridges was sold only at theClassic Gaming Expoin Las Vegasthis past weekend. But don’t fret – you can still enjoy this classic gaming goodness by heading over toCode Mysticsand playing the flash version. There is also a 4KB binary available atAtari Agethat you can download and drop into an Atari 2600 emulator or onto a flash-able 2600 cartridge, should you happen to haveoneof thosejust laying aroundyour nerdcave.

Above: Believe it or not, a pretty impressive programming feat.

Halo 2600 isn’t a long game, but it does a great job of capturing the spirit of old-school gaming. You’re best leaving your rage at the door, however, as Halo 2600 isn’t easy. I’ll give you a quick tip; walk up as soon as you enter the game in order to obtain the Magnum. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself fighting the Covenant unarmed, and there is no melee attack in this game. The 2600 controller, you'll recall, has only one button and that's for shooting.

If you want more information, including a quick story from creator Ed Fries (remember him?) about the challenges of programming a game on 30 year-old hardware, check out his post onAtari Age.

Aug 02, 2010