Atari Archive


Stardock picks up Star Control rights from Atari, targets reboot

Atari’s assets have gone up on the auction block, and Stardock has scored the rights to Star Control.

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell elaborated on the company’s plans for the rights, stating that “We expect the new Star Control to come in the form of a reboot, similar to what Firaxis did with the XCOM series last year. We are looking at Star Control II as a major source of inspiration.”

Plans for re-releases of the previous games are somewhat limited – the rights Stardock acquired only relate to the naming of future games, as the rights to previous Star Control games lay with series co-creator Paul Reiche.


The people behind GCW-Zero want your money to buy the Atari brand

The GCW-Zero was a recently successful Kickstarter project that aimed to deliver (yet another) a retro gaming centric handheld. Now the folks behind it want some more crowdfunding bucks to help them in their next goal – buying the Atari brand.

How much do they think they need? $US250,000.

The assets of Atari are going up for auction, and there is no guarantee that the effort by GCW-Zero to acquire the rights will be successful even if they meet the basic goal of their fundraising drive. They state in the drive that if they are unsuccessful in getting the Atari rights, they’ll use the money to license games from the likes of Capcom and Sega.


Another World coming soon to Jaguar

Homebrew developers The Removers have successfully ported the classic action/adventure game Another World to the Atari Jaguar, one of the few formats of the era to not get its own copy of the game.

The Jaguar version takes advantage of being late to the party by incorporating all of the enhancements from the 15th anniversary edition of the game. The project even has the blessing of Eric Chahi, the man behind the original game.

The Removers are ramping up plans to produce a physical release of the cartridge, though numbers of cartridges produced will be based on the number of responses they receive to a survery they are conducting on their website.


Atari was incorporated 40 years ago today

One of the most important companies in the history of video games, Atari, was incorporated 40 years ago today. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney’s original business, Syzygy Engineering, was started about a year earlier, but never formally incorporated.

Of course, the Atari corporate entity that exists today and the original company are quite different. Atari as we know it today is actually French video game developer and publisher Infogrames Entertainment SA. The original Atari Corporation was bought at the height of its success by Warner Communications. After the video game crash in North America, Warner split the company into three; Atari Corporation, the home computer and console games division, which was sold to Tramiel Technologies, Atari Games, the arcade game division, which was sold to Namco in 1985, and Ataritel, which dealt with phones was sold to Mitsibushi.

The Tramiels sold their stake in Atari, leaving the company to merge with a hard drive manufacturer JTS to form JTS Corp in 1996. The marriage was short-lived, with JTS selling the Atari name and assets to Hasbro Interactive in 1998. Hasbro sought to free itself of Hasbro Interactive in 2001, selling the division to Infogrames, which subsequently rebranded its North American division as Atari, Inc. It also made Atari Interactive, the division it bought from Hasbro a separate entity.

After years of losses, Inforgrames SA bought out all existing shares in its listed American entity Atari, Inc. and then rebranded itself as Atari SA.

Atari Games, on the other hand, only stayed with Namco for a year. A group of employees decided to buy the company out, and operated it until 1993 when Time Warner , which technically originally owned the company, bought it from the group. Time Warner held onto the company for three years before selling it onto WMS Industries, better known as Midway Games. It was renamed Midway Games West when Hasbro began using the Atari name for home console software again. The division stopped producing arcade games in 2001, and was disbanded in 2003. The holding company for all of these assets still existed as late as 2009, and amusingly, found its way under the Warner umbrella again when Warner Bros. Entertainment bought the remnants of Midway.

That ought to do it for today’s lesson in corporate history.


Fan remake of cult classic Black Sect is now available

Last week saw the release of a fan remake of Lankhor’s cult classic Black Sect – a 1993 adventure game released for the Atari ST, Amiga and PC.

Black Sect has been remade in Adventure Game Studio and includes additional features to make the game more accessible – extra and modified puzzles, new sound and music, unlimited save slots, updated hint system, new interface, etc. The remake retains the original game’s visuals (for the most part), locations, and the day and night cycle while removing the real-time time limits and dead ends that plagued players previously.

The Black Sect remake can be downloaded here for free.

Source: Retro Collect


Video Game Ad of the Day: Dig Dug

Dig Dug is one of the most influential arcade games from the early 1980s. Players control Dig Dug, who must drill his way through the ground and eliminate any enemies occupying the area by sticking them with his hose and filling them with air until they explode.


Star Castle release for Atari 2600 looks likely

D. Scott Williamson, self-proclaimed Atari fanatic and former Atari employee, has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund production and distribution of a cartridge version of Star Castle for the Atari 2600.

Star Castle, a 1980 Cinematronics arcade game, was planned for release on the Atari 2600 but was never released. Williamson completed his own port of Star Castle for the Atari 2600 in 2010, which received a very positive response when shown at a fan event during the following year.

The Kickstarter campaign is already 64% funded, with 27 days remaining for backers to pledge their support. Williamson seeks $10,000 to have boards made and programmed, cartridge shells cast, manuals and labels printed, reproduction Atari games boxes created, CDs produced and such. The Star Castle 2600 cartridge version will be handmade, serial numbered and be compatible with NTSC Atari 2600 systems. A CD version will also be available, containing everything required to play the game on your PC.

More information about the project and Kickstarter campaign can be found here.

Update: D. Scott Williamson has told Eurogamer that a PAL version in the works.


Video Game Ad of the Day: Galaxian

Another Namco/Midway/Atari partnership.

Galaxian is the first game in Namco’s Galaga series, evidently named after the far more popular second entry. Galaxian was developed with the intention of producing a superior, full color clone of Taito’s Space Invaders. Namco teamed up with Midway to bring it to arcades outside of Japan, and Midway teamed up with Atari to bring the game to homes, which is where this ad comes in.


Video Game Ad of the Day: Centipede

Goddamn mushrooms.

Centipede involves the player character, a garden gnome (!) fighting against a rather large centipede. Evidently the gnome’s magic wand (or whatever macguffin he has) can transform centipede parts into mushrooms. Milton Bradley actually released a board game based on the arcade game – one of many MB did over the years.


Video Game Ad of the Day: Dig Dug

I’ve always considered Dig Dug/Taizo Hori to be one sadistic individual.

Dig Dug is another of Namco’s early hits brought to home consoles by Atari. The company continues to reference the game in many other series like Ridge Racer and Mr Driller, and always includes it in the Namco Museum collections. This ad is for the Atari 2600 and 5200 versions.