Surround (Atari 2600)

Developper : Atari

Publisher : Atari

Year : 1977

Type : 2 players versus

Game description

Surround is one of the nine launch titles for the Atari 2600 back in 1977. Under the Sears label, it is known as Chase. It based on the arcade game Blockade by Gremlin, which came out in October 1976. It is a versus snake game in which the objective is to avoid crashing on the wall or on the other player. It also features a graffiti mode which allows the player to draw on the screen.

Checkmate for the Bally Astrocade (1977) and Snafu (1981) for the Intellivision feature the same type of gameplay. Unlike Surround, they allow four players (but only 2 human player). The concept would be popularized by Midway’s Tron, released in 1982 in the arcade. One of the four sections of the game is a variant of Gremlin’s blockade.

Each variation changes the colour of the play-field as well of those of the players.

In the main variation, the two player plays as a square that leave trails. The objective is to maneuver around the play-field and avoid crashing. When one of the two players crashed on the other trails or the wall, he wins the round. The game ends when one of the player scores 10 points. It is also possible to play against the CPU, either as an amateur or as a pro, depending of the Left Difficulty’s switch position.

There are also other variations that adds interesting twist to the regular game. In speed up mode, the movement of the square get faster and faster until the maximum is attained. The beeping also get higher pitched in the process, giving a more stressful ambience that will likely cause one of the players to crash. Diagonal movement allows the player to perform diagonal trailing along with the regular movement.

The erase mode allows the player to not leave a trail if he holds the fire button during movement. Finally, the wraparound removes the boundary and allow you to go on the opposite side of the screen when you exit the playfield. This work both vertically and horizontally.

There are special variation that combine some or all of the previously mentioned option. One of them allow you to enable every option, creating a more complex game that requires reflex and quick thinking.

The last two variations of Surround are called Video Graffiti. This special mode allows one or two players to draw on the screen with the trail they leave. Each variation has wraparound and erasing feature enabled. The last one adds diagonal movement into the mix.

In the main game, the CPU gives a fair challenge to the player. However, any experienced player will be able to defeat it cornered early in the round.

Surround playthrough

The playthrough use the original North America version of Surround. The goal of this playthrough is to play any notable variation of the game. Since it is a 2 players only game, 2 distinct players are present for this run.

No priority is accorded to any player and the gameplay itself is live (in a sense that nothing was predetermined before starting the run). However, some TAS tools were used to show the most action possible.

6 games are played in 2-player mode.

  • Regular game with no extra option enabled
  • Speed run game
  • Speed run game with diagonal movement enabled
  • Speed run game with diagonal movement and erase mode
  • Special variation with every option enabled, including the wraparound feature
  • Griffith mode, which consists of drawing patterns

TAS tools are used to make a high-quality gameplay video.

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