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atari mania
Written by  :  MagFram (43)
Written on  :  May 04, 2005
Platform  :  Atari 2600
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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A game that should be canonized for its contribution to multiplayer video gaming.

The Good

This is the game that brought me in from the arcades and opened my eyes to the fact that playing home consoles could actually pull off tricks not found in the arcade at that time. Up until I played Warlords, my multiplayer experience involved switching back and forth between 1P and 2P in the arcade or 1-on-1 pong/combat at home.

The gameplay is simple: 4 players defend their castles pong-style with a shield/paddle from a ball of destruction being bounced about. Certain modes allowed players to grab the ball, others didn't. As the match progressed, the ball sped up. Last castle standing wins.

This game single-handedly united the neighborhood I grew up in. Kids from 6 to 12, normally very sensitive to age differences, fought over open paddles to get in on 4-on-4 action and play somebody regardless of age, sex, etc. As a 9-year old at that time, I took a lot of pride in the fact that I got to hang out with the "older kids" whenever I played Warlords: I was renowned for my defense and would get invited over for tag-team matches. At the time, it was flippin' awesome.

I can't believe that it's been 25 years, and Warlords is still for me the purest multiplayer video gaming experience I've ever had.

The Bad

Honestly, this game is pure goodness. What is bad is that it wasn't more widely played at the time. Had it been more popular, games like Gauntlet and Quake would've showed up much sooner. I'm crazy and stupid enough to believe that.

The Bottom Line

A true classic. A masterwork. People who played and "got" Warlords were automatically 15 or 20 years ahead of their time in terms of understanding the essence of multiplayer video gaming.

Though playing it now would be a novelty and isn't going to open your eyes to anything mind-blowing, it's worth checking out if you can just to see how the idea of multiplayer gaming is a pretty simple concept. And it's a concept that Warlords nailed cold in a decade long, long ago.

atari adventure