|Released the same year as
Back when videogame consoles were still new to most people, it was
common practice to make at least a few classic board games for a system.
These "classics" served two purposes: 1. They allowed people
not familiar with popular arcade games (i.e. parents) to have a familiar
old game that they could enjoy. 2. They were cheap and easy way
to create library filler. Needless to say almost every classic console
had a least one checkers, chess, backgammon, and blackjack game to its
name, and the 2600 was no different.
In an interesting twist of fate, it turns out that both Atari and Activision
were working on their own version of checkers simultaneously. Neither
company knew what the other was up to, thus both were released to market
at the same time. Both carts were basically the same (checkers is
checkers), although Atari's version was 4K while Activision managed to
squeeze theirs into a miniscule 2K. Also Activision's Checkers cart
displays the pieces from somewhat of a sideways perspective, while Atari's
is viewed from directly overhead. It's hard to say which style is
better, it all depends on what you like.
Since Atari gave Carol two extra K to work with, she was
able to add some extra options no available in Activision's smaller checkers
cart. Video Checkers has nine different computer skill levels while
Activision's Checkers only has three (although those three are killer!).
Video Checkers also included an interesting checkers variation called
"giveaway" checkers in which the goal is to be the first player to loose
or have all his pieces blocked by his opponent. While I'm sure this
variation was never as popular as regular checkers, it does breathe some
new life into a very dated game. Carol also added some coloring
differences when the game is played on the pro levels (using the official
tournament colors), but this is merely eye candy and doesn't really add
anything to the playability of the game. And for those of you who
like to cheat (and who doesn't?), Video Checkers also allows the player
to set-up the board in any manner they wish (even during a game!).
Overall I'd have to give the edge to Atari's Video Checkers,
but in the end one game of checkers is really the same as the other. While
these board game simulations may not be of much interest in this day and
age, they were once very popular when doing any common activity (such
as playing checkers) on a computer was considered to be trendy.
Still if you have the urge to play checkers, you can't go wrong with the
2600. The system may be 25 years old, but it can still whip your
sorry butt 9 out of 10 times.
||V. Checkers C012636 (PAL)
||Final Version (PAL)
to 2600 Software