Never thought I would see the day. We are celebrating 50 years of Atari. It is wild to think that the little company that popularized our medium is now half a century old. The celebration kicks off with Atari Mania. This quirky little game combines some of the history of the company with a Wario Ware style set of mini-games focused around the classic games. It feels like a pixelated parody of working at the company and I kind of love that.

The layout of the game is simple. Players take on the role of a curator at a sort of Atari vault. The game kicks off with me sweeping the floor and greeting characters from the world of Atari such as Milli, the millipede. There are items to collect that can be used around the vault and the collectibles are posters of classic Atari game box art. It is all in the spirit of tugging at those nostalgia strings. Then the game takes a turn as Milli is sucked into a pixel black hole and you’re tasked with going in to rescue them. This is where the game kicks off.

MSRP: $24.99
Platforms: Switch (reviewed), PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99

The bulk of the game are the mini-games. There are around 100 of these and they all center around classic Atari games. Mixing things like Pong and Breakout into bite-sized mechanics sounds like a pure win. The thing is some of them click while others simply fall flat. The game doesn’t mince words either. There are no tutorials. The first set is 10 games and it just tosses you into them without any explanation of what is happening. I failed several on my first go, but once I figured out what was happening, I settled into a groove.

Like I said there are no explanations. Some of the games are obscure in what they want me to do. Some of them though are downright brilliant. I loved digging into each game and seeing what they came up with. It helps that they nailed the aesthetic and sound effects. It makes me feel like I am living inside an Atari cartridge, and I think that is the point. This is a game that is intended to make gamers remember or discover these games, and it works extremely well.

If I had to gripe about anything it would be the long loading times and pacing of the game play. There is a lot here, but it feels like a drip feed. The loading between areas is also rough. It doesn’t help that the game is only available on Switch as far as consoles are concerned. This is a celebration and should be available across everything. Maybe it will get ported, but for now the Switch is the only option outside of PC.

Atari Mania is a great trip down memory lane with a unique twist on the micro-game genre. There are misses here, but there are just as many hits in the mini-games. For kids like me who grew up with these consoles it is fun to see them interpreted in a new way. I wish it was more polished, but this has truly primed me for the massive 50th Anniversary Collection set to release in November.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Loads of nostalgia
  • Some mini-games hit hard
  • Other mini-games do not
  • Loading times
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.