Atari’s Mr. Run and Jump previewed

I’ve been watching the live stream of Zero Page Homebrew’s preview gameplay of Mr. Run-and-Jump on the Atari 2600.

Mr. Run and Jump exists in two editions: a modern game (available on Steam, the modern Atari VCS, XBox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch) and an de-make version programmed for the Atari 2600, and sold on physical EEPROM cartridge.

It’s really cool that Atari did a de-make, a nod to the still-living 2600 console, which will turn 50 years old in 2027.

I’ve played the Steam game, and it’s pretty challenging. I did not get very far into it, using keyboard input for controls makes it especially challenging. The gameplay and graphics seem to be done well, and I’m going to have to plug in a gamepad and give it another try soon. It’s basically just another 2D side-scrolling platformer, and doesn’t really break any new ground, at least so far as I’ve seen so far, but it is a solid, competently made game.

The 2600 version is a bit less solid, less competently made, but still has some appeal. It has issues with sprite flicker, which could have been addressed and arguably should have been. And there are a few places where I’ve seen level design issues that can result in soft-locking the game (you can get trapped in a pit too deep to jump out of, with no way to die and the only way out is to reset the game).

It’s a decent looking game otherwise. The classic run of the Atari didn’t really have anything quite like this game, the closest thing to it perhaps being Pitfall!, but Pitfall really feels less advanced and Mr. Run and Jump feels more polished and modern due to the jump physics and overall play mechanics. Some of the challenges are a little too difficult to be fun, but that’s a matter of taste/opinion.

There’s some homebrew games that have come out in recent years which provide similar gameplay but are even better, such as: Game of the Bear, Xanthium, Ninjish Guy, and Knight Guy in Low Res World. Based on what I can see, I would put Mr. Run and Jump in the middle of the pack among these. It’s really difficult to rank them because rankings like this are incredibly subjective, but I think that Mr. Run and Jump is maybe a little better than Xanthium, and Ninjish Guy, but Game of the Bear and Knight Guy are all a bit better executed.

I will reserve the right to revise this rating when I receive my copy and get to play it for myself, but it looks like this game is probably a solid B.

Updated: 2023-Nov-15 — 4:21 pm

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