1977 Greats #04 – COMBAT

Year:  1977
Platform:  Atari 2600 (Console)
Developer:   Atari
Genre:   Tank & Plane Shooter

Combat was the pack-in game for the newly launched Atari 2600 and it was pure awesomeness.  The Atari cart was not just a tank game, but had multiple variations on not only the tank theme, but also included biplanes, jets and bomber variations in heated air combat battles as well.

The tank variations alone including things like ricochet bullets, steerable bullets, maze variations, and invisible tank.  When you take to the sky you have biplanes, jets and a big ol’ bomber to battle with – each with their own style of play and strategies.  You can fly in the clouds or go clear blue skies, have steerable bullets or straight shots… and control a single plane, or multiples.  So much variety packed into this cartridge.  A great showcase launch title for the Atari 2600.

Combat remained the pack-in title for over 5 years until it was finally replaced with Pac-Man in 1983… although their were a few alternate pack-in titles including Asteroids and Space Invaders which actually came out years before Pac-Man.


To the modern gamer Combat might seem primitive, but it was far ahead of its contemporaries.  The new Atari VCS brought colorful graphics and great sound effects to the home console market.  With Atari leading the Arcade scene, the games that it could bring to the home scene were what people wanted to play!  Combat went a long way to replicating the arcade experience… but you could play as often as you wanted without feeding quarters into a hungry coin slot.  Unfortunately… the only opponent you had was whoever loved Combat as much as you did… so, nobody really.  Doh!

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