When Infogrames became Atari, it got more than just a cool logo and a set of dusty cartridges. It gained the right to ceaselessly combine and port the classics that spawned a series of compilations for several different consoles. Most good compilations also deliver an interesting series of extras. Atari Retro is the company's latest classic compilation, bringing together seven Atari 2600 games and marking the first time such a package has appeared on the Tapwave Zodiac. While the Zodiac has more than enough power to emulate these games properly, the game is utterly lacking in the bells-and-whistles department. That, combined with the fact that there are only seven games included makes it a mostly forgettable collection.
When it comes to Atari 2600 games, seven is a low number--especially when compared to the expertly done Activision compilation for the Game Boy Advance, which collected 55 different games, including a few unreleased prototypes and newly-developed homebrew games. That said, the developers did manage to choose seven classics. Atari 2600 ports of arcade games like Asteroids, Centipede, Breakout, Missile Command, and Pong. Two fantastic Atari 2600 originals--Adventure and Yars' Revenge--are also included.
While the emulations may be accurate, there's one pretty large oversight--none of the games have any multiplayer support. In most cases, that's not that big of a deal. But playing Pong alone isn't very exciting. Bluetooth support for multiplayer would have been a nice touch.
In the collection's favor, the Zodiac's analog controller is well suited to the included games, each of which runs smoothly in its emulated state. Only Asteroids is a challenge to control, but that's half the point of the game. Also, the game's sound is a flawless reproduction of that found in the original games. In those early days of gaming, sound support was limited. So even today, your ears won't be assailed by a wide variety of noises. And what few bleeps you'll encounter will be readily recognizable.
Just having these titles on a PDA--in a relatively unmolested state--is going to be enough for some people. Those all-too-familiar sights and sounds will readily cause a lifetime of gaming memories to flood the brain. However, those looking for more than just a relatively small number of games and a nostalgia trip will probably be disappointed.