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Combat (Atari 2600, 1977) - CX2601

Combat (Atari 2600, 1977) - CX2601

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"Combat" is one of the earliest and most iconic video games for the Atari 2600 console. Released in 1977, it was one of the launch titles for the system and remains well-known for its two-player competitive gameplay.

Overview of the Game

Developer: Atari, Inc.

Platform: Atari 2600

Release Year: 1977

Genre: Action, Shooter


"Combat" features a series of head-to-head battles between two players, with various modes that include tank and airplane combat. The game is entirely focused on multiplayer gameplay, and there is no single-player mode against AI.

Key Features:

  • Two-Player Mode: Players compete against each other, controlling either tanks or airplanes.
  • Variety of Game Modes: There are 27 game variations included, offering different challenges and gameplay experiences.
  • Simple Controls: The game uses the joystick controllers to move and fire.
  • Destructible Environments: Some game modes feature obstacles that can be destroyed or altered by the players.

Game Modes

Tanks: Players navigate maze-like arenas, attempting to shoot each other while avoiding obstacles and bullets. Different modes include variations with invisible tanks, bouncing bullets, and more.

Biplanes: Players control biplanes and engage in dogfights. Variations include different formations (one plane vs. one, two planes vs. two, etc.), and sometimes clouds or other obstacles affect visibility and movement.

Jet Fighters: Similar to biplanes, but with faster and more agile aircraft, providing a different dynamic in the aerial combat modes.

Graphics and Sound

Given the technological limitations of the Atari 2600, the graphics of "Combat" are simple, consisting of basic shapes and colors to represent tanks, planes, and obstacles. Sound effects are minimal but effective, emphasizing the simplicity and focus on gameplay.


"Combat" is considered a classic and a quintessential multiplayer game for the Atari 2600. It demonstrated the potential of video games as a social activity and set the stage for future competitive and cooperative multiplayer games. Its simplicity and fun gameplay have given it lasting appeal, and it remains a beloved title among retro gaming enthusiasts.

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