Evolution of the Console Controller – River Raid (1982), Atari Flashback 2 (2005)

River Raid is a scrolling shooter for the Atari 2600 programmed by Carol Shaw, the first female game programmer. It controls using the joystick controller and accepts input in four directions. Left and right on the stick bank the player’s aircraft left and right, forward and reverse speed up and slow down the player’s flight speed. The action button fires missiles. The game requires precision aiming and dodging enemies while flying over fuel depots to keep the player’s airplane fueled.

The Atari Flashback 2 is a modernized re-release of the Atari 2600. It has no cartridge slot, instead coming with forty games loaded into the machine’s on board memory. It reproduces the Atari 2600 on a single chip, meaning the Flashback 2 is not an emulator and instead performs exactly the same as the original 2600. It plays every game exactly as it was played originally. Some enthusiasts have modified the Flashback 2 with a cartridge slot, finding it can play original 2600 cartridges too. The Flashback 2’s controllers are reproductions of the original Atari 2600 Joystick, and the Flashback 2 is compatible with the original Paddle controllers though they have not been remade.

Up to Classic Era – Back to Atari 2600 – Forward to Colecovision

Gift of Anonymous, 2012.015.001