Retro Coin Op Synopsis
One-on-one hoops entered the arcade age in 1979 with the release of Atari’s Basketball. The black-and-white game went well beyond Atari’s X and O Football game from the year before, producing two human figures that were fairly realistic-looking for the time.
Played on a full court that wasn’t quite regulation, Basketball matched your player up against a second player or a computer opponent. Control came courtesy of the famous Atari Trak Ball™ (the same one used for Football), which allowed more freedom of movement than a standard joystick. A single button did everything else—shoot, steal, etc. Atari compensated for the game’s relative simplicity with a few glossy touches. At tip-off, the game played a few bars of “Sweet Georgia Brown” to get you in the mood, and every time a basket was scored, the crowd went wild. Actually, the physical crowd stayed static, since they were painted onto a plastic screen overlay, but you could still hear their cheers.
Sticking to the basics of good competition, Atari delivered a game that wouldn’t get old with multiple plays. No matter how many times you and a buddy squared off on the virtual court, each new game was war.