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Strat-O-Gems Deluxe - Atari 2600
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Strat-O-Gems Deluxe - Atari 2600
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Strat-O-Gems Deluxe is a new Atari 2600 game by John Payson, originally created for the 2005 Minigame Competition that bears similarities to Columns, Jewel Master, and Salu's Acid Drop. In Strat-O-Gems Deluxe, colored gems fall from the top of the screen in groups of three. Any time three or more adjacent gems of the same color line up vertically, horizontally, or diagonally they will disappear. Any gems above them will then fall down; if these create new groups of three or more gems, those too will disappear, leading to chain reactions. Your job is to score as many reactions and chain reactions as possible before the gems reach the foul line. If any gems remain over the foul line after all reactions are complete, the game will end.

AtariAge and John Payson sponsored a contest to create original artwork for Strat-O-Gems Deluxe. The winning label appears on all copies of Strat-O-Gems Deluxe, featured on both the cover of the manual and the cartridge label. You can read about Strat-O-Gems Deluxe's development in our Homebrew Discussion Forum.

Includes cartridge and manual. Supports both NTSC and PAL television formats.

AtariVox Enhanced

Strat-O-Gems Deluxe includes extensive support for the AtariVox and MemCard devices. When used with an AtariVox or MemCard, Strat-O-Gems Deluxe will display "Instant Replays" while you are playing. Additionally, if a play exceeds the previous record for combination depth, combination value, or maximum unmultiplied single play, it will be saved for display during "attract" mode. If you have an AtariVox installed, you'll be treated to additional verbal and audio cues!

Author John Payson
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 32K




Reviews (7)

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Reviewer: Christopher Veach
03/12/2016 01:39pm
I love puzzle games. This is maybe the best match game I've ever played. I can't believe it is on the 2600. The graphics are fantastic, the controls are nice, tight and fluid and the sound is fantastic. The Vox support is great too! I highly adding this game to your collection. Very addicting and very fun!
Reviewer: Cankerwurm
02/21/2013 01:35am
This game is the Atari equivalent of a bag of Lay's ("Bet you can't play it just once!").

When playing it, you just can't help but sense that a great deal of work and creativity went into this. This game just feels so... complete.

I might've liked a bit more sound, or maybe some light background music, but whatever. The graphics and gameplay more than make up for it. Besides, when you set off a combo that results in a sizeable chain reaction, the game interrupts itself to commend you! How cool is that? Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Dale Oxley
07/29/2007 02:57pm
Strat-O-Dems Deluxe is eye-numbing fun with gameplay so riveting you'll forget to blink. It's a welcome change from the action style games that are so pervasive in the Atari 2600 world. It will test your reflexes, but the primary challenge is the strategy.

The control scheme is intuitive and extremely responsive. Expect to spend some time digesting the manual if you want to thoroughly understand the variety of scoring options.

Excellent work, Mr. Payson: a new classic for an old classic. Yeah, so what if it kicks my butt in just the first few levels? This game should be in everyone's collection."
Reviewer: Nathan Strum
03/28/2006 05:08am
A great, colorful puzzle game requiring strategy and fast reflexes, Strat-O-Gems Deluxe is a welcomed addition the 2600 library. The game starts you out slowly, but this allows you to build up potential chain-reactions of gems which are the key to scoring big points. The manual, although a bit wordy, is full of useful tips on how to get the most out of your game. As you get to higher levels, the pace picks up and you'll have less time to strategize, and barely enough time to survive. Nice touches like bomber and wild-card gems give you even more opportunities for strategy and scoring. The sounds and graphics are all first-rate, with some cool visual effects. The gems change shape each level, which not only adds visually to the game, but keeps you on your toes as you have to adjust to each new shape. When you score a particularly impressive combination, the game stops to congratulate you, but I found this to be disruptive to the flow of the game. Fortunately, you can turn that option off using the right difficulty switch.
Reviewer: Raul Torres
01/03/2006 11:34am
If okiedokie caused you hair loss... then Stratogems will bring it back. Excellent puzzle game. Keeps you visually entertained with the changing shapes. Again, another game that everyone can play immediately.
Reviewer: Brad Barratt
01/01/2006 06:18pm
I have never been too big of a fan of puzzle games. However, I find Strat-O-Gems to be both addictive and challenging. I haven't been able to score past 2k but I am tempted to continue to try my hand at scoring higher.

The game is well built, fun to play and challenging. The title screen is pretty neat as well. For those who say that a Tetris-like game couldn't be fun on the 2600, Strat-O-Gems proves them wrong! This game is a must have for 2006!
Reviewer: Glenn Saunders
12/30/2005 12:58pm
I was not following development of this game so while I could have played it ahead of time on the Cuttle Cart, it was a completely fresh experience when I purchased it as part of the holiday special. I was really impressed!

The graphics are literally awesome for the 2600, especially the title screen with all the color changes. The falling pieces are nicely shaded and the graphics are single-scanline crisp. It really looks more like a game for the Atari 8-bit home computer than the 2600. Also, the game makes full use of the AtariVox for both speech and some sound effects. Since Klax in the arcades used speech, it is right at home in this puzzle game. I haven't tried the replay feature. I hope that all future homebrews consider supporting AtariVox because it significantly enhances the 2600 game experience.

A very polished and professional piece of work.

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