When I first heard of Review a Good Game Day, I immediately knew what game I would be reviewing. From the first time I ever played Solaris for the Atari 2600 to today, I’ve always believed this it is the best game ever made for that system. Here’s why:
If many of you aren’t familiar with Solaris, even those among you who did grow up with a 2600 in the house, it might have something to do with the fact that it was released on July 25th, 1986, which means many of you had already been helping a plumber save a princess on your NES for nearly a year. Luckily for me, who only got an NES in 1989, and gamers everywhere, Douglas Neubauer (the man behind the massively influential Star Raiders, to which Solaris is ostensibly a sequel) was still programming games for it.
Why would anyone bother to make a game for a dying console? Apparently, while Neubauer doesn’t know why Atari bothered releasing more games for the 2600, he was working only a few miles away from Atari’s headquarters at the time, so it looks like he just figured “Why not?” He had pitched the game years earlier, and Atari wanted it to be called “The Last Starfighter” as a tie-in to the movie; however, one week after they flew him down for a screening of the movie, Jack Tramiel bought the company and pretty much laid everyone off. To Neubauer, it looked like the end for Atari and video games. Yet, two years later, he gets a call and just like that, Atari bought the game we now know as Solaris.