Were You An Activision Gamer? Part IV
Here is the final group of badges that I’m going to cover.
Activision Robot Tank Master Badges – With a totally badass name and very cool box art, Robot Tank is Activision’s version of Atari’s classic tank game Battlezone. The Master Badges were awarded based on “enemy kills”. The Medal of Merit on the left was given for 48 kills. The Cross of Excellence was given for 60 kills. The Star of Honor on the right was given for 72 kills.
Activision Decathlon Badges -Activision’s Decathlon had the trademark fast paced Activision gameplay and cool game mechanics that were later used in games like Track & Field. For instance, you moved the joystick from right to left as fast as you can to run and used the red button to jump or throw. You competed in 10 events including the 100 meter dash, hurdles, long jump and shot put. If you scored 8,600 points you earned the bronze patch on the left. If you scored 9,000 points you earned the silver patch and if you scored over 10,000 points you earned the gold badge on the right.
Activision Chopper Commandos Master Badge – Chopper Command was another favorite of mine. It played very similar to Atari’s port of Defender. Except instead of space and aliens, you flew a helicopter and defended trucks and soldiers from enemy planes and bombers. Despite its similarity to Defender, it was much, much harder. If you could score over 10,000 points you would be inducted into the Chopper Commandos. And believe me, that is not an easy task.
Activision River Raiders Master Badge – River Raid was a classic game for the Atari. I. LOVED. THIS. GAME. You flew your F-14 fighter over the ominously named River of No Return and blew up enemy planes and tankers. You have to watch out for your fuel levels as well as the sides of the river because they can both cause you to crash. If you could score 15,000 or more points you could join the River Raiders. Like Pitfall!, River Raid received an overlooked sequel called, not surprisingly, River Raid II. However, there was no Master Badge offered for the sequel.
Activision Order of the Supreme Star Master Badge – For the game Starmaster. Very similar to Atari’s Star Raiders, even including a star map of the galaxy you are protecting. You would fly around in a starship and protect the galaxy from invaders. Several parts of your ship could take on damage and be destroyed so you would periodically have to dock with a starbase for repairs. Unlike Star Raiders which required an extra keypad to turn on the star map, Starmaster used the color/black and white toggle switch on the 2600 console to turn on and off the star map. If you could score 3,800 points, you received the Order of the Supreme Starmaster badge seen above. The chevrons below the badge (Leader, Wing Commander, Starmaster) were commendations awarded to people who scored 5,700 (Leader), 7,000 (Wing Commander) and 9,000 (Starmaster) points.
Activision Space Shuttle Master Badges – This game was a pretty big deal for the Atari 2600. It was a fairly sophisticated shuttle simulator that utilized special plastic overlays on the console itself so you could use every single button and switch available to you. Gameplay involved successfully launching the shuttle, obtaining orbit, then docking with a satellite several times before returning to Earth. A gamer who successfully docks with a satellite four times and returns with at least 4,500 units of fuel would earn the Shuttle Pilot Badge seen on the left. If a gamer could achieve six satellite dockings and return with at least 7,500 units of fuel, they would qualify for the Shuttle Commander Badge with wings.