Atari's first attempt at volleyball was in Video Olympics. One of the many variations featured two paddles on either side of a vertical line, which would "jump" to hit the ball over the "net". While primitive, this variation on Pong showed that the 2600 could do volleyball. With the introduction of the RealSports series, Atari decided it was time to do a real volleyball game and they knew just who they wanted to do it.
Bob Polaro was asked to create the first (and last) volleyball game for the 2600. Since Atari was based in California, volleyball was popular and pretty much played year round. So Bob went out to do some "research" by going to beach and playing volleyball all day (why can't I get these kind of programming jobs?). After he was sure he had the mechanics of the game down, he finally sat down to do the actual programming. The result was a decent (given the limitations of the 2600) volleyball simulation. Bob even had time to throw some extra goodies in the game such as a shark fin in the water and a sunset.
The actual game is pretty simple. Each player controls two men who move in unison as they attempt to keep the ball in play. In the first two variations the computer will automatically "Set-up" the ball for you to spike by bouncing it around your players to get it into position. In variations three and four you must set the ball up yourself which can be difficult for less skilled players. Once you think you have the ball properly set-up you can attempt to spike the ball by pressing the fire button.
The characters, while only one color, are large and well animated. The ball is actually a ball instead of a square block, which was a first for a 2600 sports game. The ball even casts a shadow as it moves under the harsh glare of the sun, a nice touch and useful for positioning the ball. The sounds are nothing to write home about but get the job done.
Overall RS Volleyball is an above average 2600 title in a sports library filled with mediocre games. While it may not have pushed the 2600 to it's limits, it certainly showed that the 2600 could do decent sports games if the programmer put his mind to it. Personally I'm still waiting for RealSports Curling.