Thanks to Sean, here are a few more Atari 8-bit cartridges we owned back in the day:
Tunnel through the earth and use your pump to blow up monsters! Another excellent arcade port.
This is one of the few Atari 8-bit games with a cinematic opening of a sort, along with a really decent, if repetitive, soundtrack. You flew around the earth, using your joystick to fire laser beams in four directions. Very fluid and fast moving.
This was one of our favourites. Choplifter was a 2D side scroller; you flew your helicopter behind enemy lines to rescue hostages. By holding the joystick down for a second, you could rotate your chopper to face toward you and shoot missiles straight down, good for blowing up tanks, or, if you were sadistic, shooting the hostages you were supposed to rescue.
Yet another arcade port, in this one you hopped around "painting" the tiles on a faux-3D pyramid while avoiding a purple snake and other hazards. Famous for "swearing" when Q-Bert dies. A fun, accurate adaptation.
I barely remember this one, and Sean thinks it may have been the last game he purchased for the Atari 8-bit (by that time, the 130XE). Here's a video:
A fast-pace, frenetic shooter, the arcade version sported two joysticks: one to control your movement, and the other to fire in any direction. Rather than doing things the lazy way and combining those functions into one joystick, Atari packaged the Atari 8-bit version in a box that allowed you to sit two Atari joysticks side-by-side so you could replicate the way the arcade version played. Sean still has the box!
Swing through the jungle on vines without missing, swim through the crocodile-infested river, and run up the hill as boulders roll down at you, all so that you can rescue your beau from, well, a rather insensitive portrayal of jungle cannibals. Eek. Swinging on the vines was a lot of fun, though.
Not a game but a programming language, Sean and I learned a lot about computers by fastidiously typing out programs from books and magazines and then experimenting with the commands we learned to create our own programs.
A game that's still fun to play today, bounce a ball against a slowly descending wall of colourful bricks in the hopes of smashing them all.
Whimsical but repetitive, in this one you drive a dune buggy--or rather, a moon buggy--across the moon's surface, avoiding craters and the like. Not terribly memorable.
As in the arcade version, you control a little ship at the bottom of the screen, shooting at the centipede winding its way toward you. Mushrooms get in the way, and spiders complicate matters. Fast-paced and entertaining.
Jumbo Jet Pilot
A very, very primitive flight simulator with terrible graphics. Not very good at all--a waste of money at the time, I remember thinking.
This game was almost like
Why did the frog cross the road? To earn some quarters. Another excellent arcade port.
A Defender rip-off, but I remember it being almost as good as the original arcade classic. Fly your ship horizontally over a cityscape and rescue people from alien invaders.
A driving game where you drive a race car through a small town while avoiding a really creepy giant snake-like thing with a quasi-human head.
Even better than Pac-Man, in terms of gameplay and fidelity to the arcade version. House of fun.
This might have been the last XE cartridge I purchased; it was a diagonal side-scroller aircraft shooter with a vaguely Egyptian theme.
Another side scroller, with good 3D fakery (you could move up and down and side to side to avoid obstacles) and a science fiction theme.
You're a shamus slinging shivs in an endless labyrinth, dodging robots and looking for clues to escape. Sean and I both really enjoyed this one, despite never winning. I don't think you could, really - there weren't a lot of games you could win in those days.
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
It wasn't the greatest port of the arcade version, mainly because once again the original used vector graphics, but it was still a lot of fun tooling around the galaxy blowing up Klingons and Nomad.