Play Atari 2600 Video Games Online

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The Atari 2600 was first released in North America in September 1977 and featured 9 launch titles: Air-Sea BattleBasic MathBlackjackCombatIndy 500Star ShipStreet RacerSurround and Video Olympics. The final licensed Atari 2600 game released in North America was Secret Quest in 1989, and the final licensed game released in Europe was Klax and Acid Drop in 1990 and 1992. Even with their 1980s limited colors and block graphics these games are still entertaining to play today! We have over 500 Atari 2600 games for you to play online for free using our Atari 2600 Javascript Emulator.

This game is mobile device friendly and Iphone compatible. Enjoy!

Instructions and Keyboard Controls towards bottom of page.
Click “Game Reset” or F12 to Start Game

Tac Scan

If you grew up in the 80’s you shouldn’t need instructions!! You might find some help at and look up the game you need assistance playing.

Click “Game Reset” or F12 to Begin/Restart Game
Arrow Keys – Move
Space bar to fire/action button


Game Play Instructions and Poster


  Squadron alert!  Squadron alert!  This is not a drill.  Enemy airships 
are approaching your command base.  All that stands between you and 
annihilation is your five ship squadron.  

  Wipe out 10 enemy ships and you can bring in any needed replacements.  If 
you don't need them, leave them in the reserve fleet for later use.

  Complete four rounds and advance to the next level.  Now the action gets
hot and heavy.

(picture of Atari 2600 with joystick in left port and paddles in right port)

  Plug the game paddle into the RIGHT connector at the rear of your game 
console.  TAC-SCAN uses the RIGHT connector.  So if you already have a 
joystick plugged into the left connector, you can leave it alone.
  TAC-SCAN is started by pressing the FIRE button of the correct game 
paddle controller.  Unfortunately, we can't tell you WHICH control this 
is, since they are not marked.  Try them both--you'll know when you have 
the correct one when the game starts.
  Use the rotary control to steer the squadron.  Every time you press the 
FIRE button, a missile salvo is unleashed by your squadron ships.  Each 
ship fires one missile, so the more ships you have in your formation, the 
more firepower you have.


Push in the TAC-SCAN cartridge and go!  No option switches to fool with.  
The only console switch which has any effect is RESET, which terminates a 
game in progress.

Enemy Approach

(close-up picture of five ships)

You command a squadron of five ships, shown at the bottom of the screen.  
Watch out for the approaching enemy ships!  They fire deadly laser bolts, 
which can wipe out ships in your squadron formation.  As your skill level 
improves, you will be able to hit these enemy ships and then dodge their 
deadly laser bolts.  


(screen shot showing a ship docking)

Every time you hit 10 enemy ships, you end a round (signalled by a distinctive
sound).  At this point, if you have any ships missing in your squadron, you 
are given the opportunity to dock new ships into fighting formation.  These
ships slowly descend one at a time, and you must steer them into the "docking 
platforms" shown in the vacant ship positions.  Anytime you miss (or avoid)
docking a ship, it floats past your squadron, and the next round begins.  Any
ship which is not docked is put back into the reserve fleet--you do not lose 

Reserve Ships

You begin TAC-SCAN with no reserve ships.  Every time you complete a round
by shooting 10 enemies, you are awarded a reserve ship.  These reserve ships
are stored off-screen for deployment during the docking maneuver.  When you
complete a round with empty ships in your formation, the score at the bottom 
of the screen is replaced with a two digit number showing how many reserve 
ships you have.

Game Difficulty

When you complete four rounds, TAC-SCAN automatically advances to the next
difficulty level.  You'll know when this happens.  The screen colors change,
and a special sound is heard.  Now the action picks up, and you have the 
chance of scoring even higher points.

TAC-SCAN has 15 "theoretical" levels of difficulty.  We say theoretical 
because the highest anyone at SEGA has managed is level 7.

End of Game

When your flying squadron loses the last ship, the game is over.  This 
happens whether or not you have ships in reserve.  At the end of the game,
the highest round you achieved is shown on the screen, as well as your final
score.  To start another game, simply press the FIRE button.

Point Values  	Enemy Ship	End of Round	   Hit 3	Hit 4
                                   BONUS           BONUS        BONUS

Level 1		   100		   1,000	  10,000       20,000
Level 2		   200      	   2,000   	  10,000       20,000
Level 3	 	   300		   5,000	  10,000       20,000
Level 4		   400		  20,000	  10,000       20,000
Level 5 and up     100 times      20,000	  10,000       20,000	
                   level #

A mysterious enemy ship which shimmers in color appears at various times
during a TAC-SCAN game.  Hitting it awards an additional 500 points.

Bonus points are awarded for completing a round, for hitting three ships 
with one salvo, and for hitting four enemy ships with one salvo.


1.  Be patient and let enemies go by when you are in a vulnerable position.
    There is no penalty for enemies not shot.

2.  For high scores, concentrate on lining up three and four (rare) enemies
    for the 10,000 and 20,000 point bonus.  This is fairly easy to do in 
    the early rounds.

3.  In the early rounds, purposely avoid docking the reserve ships so that
    they are added to your off-screen inventory.  You'll need them in the
    later rounds!

4.  Experiment with different squadron formations.  Some are easier than 
    others to avoid enemy fire.

5.  Always hit the shimmering enemy ship for extra points.

(cool Tac-Scan poster on reverse side)


Our Atari 2600 emulator utilizes Javascript to run in your browser. No plugin is required, but a fast modern web browser will enhance the game play.

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Emulation on mobile devices will drain your battery quite fast. I recommend playing while device is plugged into charger.



TacScan Arcade Game Emulated on the Atari 2600. Play TacScan in your web browser or mobile phone. This Atari 2600 console emulator provides very accurate TacScan gameplay. TacScan is a classic 1980s Atari 2600 video game.