Raiders Of The Lost Ark – Atari 2600


Little Bit of History: The first ever officially licensed movie based game. Based on the movie of the same name, developed and published by Atari. Released in 1982. Designed by Howard Scott Warshaw, who for inspiration would walk around Atari’s offices wearing a Fedora hat and cracking a bullwhip.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Follows the basic plot of the movie with Indy being tasked to find the Ark Of The Covenant. Exploring screens based on scenes from the movie itself.

Little Bit of Character: Characters were few in this game. While you played as Indiana Jones, you got to meet and interact with other such as Sheiks, a Lunatic (yes that is what he was called in the manual) and Thieves.

Little Bit of Influence: Most games at the time were simple, no point other then trying to get a highscore. This game brought the concept of an actual goal to achieve and a story to follow and even an ending to reach.  Easily the first ever “action/adventure” game and certainly opened the door for future games such as the Zelda series and many other action/adventure styled games and even games with an actual plot and ending. The game also featured a unique control system where you would use one controller to move Indy and another to select and use items, meaning you could use items on the fly without menus or interruptions. Something we take for granted now with our controllers with multiple buttons, etc. We really owe a lot of modern games and gaming to this title.

Little Bit of Memories: I always remember my brother playing this, making notes, drawing, maps and having to use wits to advance…like Indy himself. The first game I ever saw being completed which was new at the time.

Little Bit of Playability: Once I got used to the concept and feel of the game after 30 odd years, I still found the game playable and rewarding. It’s basic by today’s standards but also a great history lesson to see the first official movie based game and the forerunner for not only plot/story lead games but also one of the main steppingstones for the action/adventure genre.

Cover art



2 thoughts on “Raiders Of The Lost Ark – Atari 2600

    1. “I believe E.T. actually beat out Indiana Jones in terms of release date by a couple of months”

      Nope. E.T was originally released in December 1982 and Raiders released in November of 1982. The release dates were close, but Raiders did come first.


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