Atari 2600 Game
Produced by:Activision
Model Number:AG003
Rarity:4 Scarce
Year of Release: 1980

Activision's third game was Checkers. It is of course the Atari version of the board game checkers. (SharQ's node below explains the basic rules well). This game features 3 difficulty levels, and can be played by one or two players. (The 3rd difficulty level is pretty hard to beat consistantly).

This game is a wonderful addition to any Atari collection, simply for the fact that almost everyone knows how to play checkers, (so it will see a lot of use).

From the instruction manual:

Tips from Alan Miller, designer of Checkers

Alan Miller loves the challenge of playing video games and has become the champion of Checkers and Dragster. He was a senior design engineer at Atari before joining Activision.

"I can't be very much help with tips on how to beat the computer at Checkers. When I discovered any weakness in his play, I worked to improve it. The darn machine frequently beats me.

"The computer will take the time allowed him by the difficulty level and examine all moves available for the next several plays. He will add up total pieces remaining for himself and his opponent and decide which move works best. You'll want to do the same, looking ahead as many moves as you can.

"One weakness the computer still has is that he lacks a killer instinct at the end of a game. Even when he has greater firepower than you do, he seems content to diddle about in the center of the board, not willing to risk an attack, content with a draw. This is your chance to take over the attack - but carefully!

"If you want to become a really good Checkers player, I suggest you go to the library and read up on the game, as I did before designing Checkers by ACTIVISION. There's a lot of strategy to learn. In many ways, Checkers is more difficult to play well than Chess.

"I want to acknowledge A. L. Samuels, whose pioneering work in the field of computer artificial intelligence has been a source of inspiration to me and to an entire generation of computer programmers and game players."

Alan Miller is the programmer on this title.

This game is valued at around $12 USD. Games with boxes and manuals are worth more. Sears also produced a game with this same title, but the Sears version is a clone of Video Checkers.