Atari VCS at 40: The 10 Best Games

The Atari VCS, first released 40 years ago, was home to a host of brilliant games that still resonate today

Chopper Command
10
Activision7/10

7. Chopper Command

Slow projectiles were a mainstay of Atari games, and they made shooting a stately and deliberate act. Except for in Chopper Command, which just went hog-wild on the flashy cannon strapped to the front of your helicopter. It fired constantly when the button was held down, making a meaty CHOOV-CHOOV sound like a kid pretending to be a laser. People who say that Destiny has guns that "feel good" need to play more Chopper Command.

The sensation of weight in the controls turned helicopter shooter Chopper Command into every scene in a movie where the pilot grits teeth and clutches a flightstick while grunting "Almost... almost!" Maybe you pull off the moment where you spin and take out a jet you just hurtled past, or maybe you screw up and clip your tail on one of the trucks you were trying to protect. Either way, your heart was racing.

As that chopper you protected a convoy of trucks from other choppers and planes, all tiny compared to your craft. They dropped bombs that split to impact both below where that convoy was and in the sky where you inevitably were. They hovered for long enough you'd think you can get out of their way, and if you were fast enough you could – but that chopper was a lumbering thing, able to build up to a dangerous speed but slow on the turn in a way that made flying it feel like wrestling with the stick.

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