Denny's Adds Extra Cheese to Atari Classics

July 1, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Did someone order something with extra cheese at Denny's, allegedly "America's Diner?" Well whether you did or not a new deal with Atari to transform some of its select classic Atari 2600 games is some of the cheesiest marketing we've seen.

The deal sees Denny's app offer three classic Atari games reimagined with new titles and food items as themes. There's Hasteroids (Asteroids), Centiup (Centipede), and Take-Out (Breakout). The games are free, and available now in both iOS and Android app stores via the Denny's app.

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A Meaner, Leaner Atari is Ready for Business

June 27, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

In an interview with Polygon, Atari explains how a combination of old and new IP, licensing, digital publishing, and a smaller operation will put the company back on the right track after surviving bankruptcy.

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The Man Who Disposed of 750,000 Atari Games

May 2, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Here's an interesting fact: the man responsible for the Atari game graveyard unearthed by a documentary film crew over the weekend (to be released at a later date as part of Microsoft's Xbox Original entertainment programming for Xbox Live) has been identified as James Heller of Nampa, Idaho.

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ICHEG Adds Atari Arcade Materials to Vast Archives

April 23, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) revealed that it has added materials documenting the history of Atari's coin-op business from 1972 to 1999 to its archives. This material includes original artwork, videos, marketing materials, source code, design documents, and much more. The collection details the production of nearly every game in Atari's coin-op lineup.

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The Hunt for the E.T. Cartridge Dump Continues

April 4, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

It looks like the documentary seeking to find the lost dump containing thousands of copies of the worst Atari game ever made can dig in New Mexico. It has long been rumored that millions of copies of the Atari 2600 game, E.T.: Extra-Terrestrial were buried in a landfill in New Mexico.

For those who don't know, E.T. is considered the worst game ever made, and has been accused of helping to hasten the video game industry crash of 1983. Recently several film companies ran into a government road block when they located the landfill in question.

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Court Approves Atari's Bankruptcy Exit Plan

December 6, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The North American arm of Atari filed for bankruptcy in January 2013 and hoped to separate itself from its French parent company. It looks like the company has finally gotten approval to do just that. According to the Wall Street Journal, a US bankruptcy court judge has approved Atari's plan to escape bankruptcy.

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Wargaming, Stardock, and Rebellion Score Big IP from Atari Auction

July 22, 2013 -

New U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents obtained by Gamasutra reveals some of the companies that managed to successfully bid on various Atari franchises that were being sold off at auction as the company liquidates its assets as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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Nordic Games Buys Desperados and Silver From Atari

June 24, 2013 -

Nordic Games has bought more assets from another company finding itself in the throes of distress and bankruptcy. This time the company has snapped up several franchises from Atari: Desperados and Silver. The IP was part of a block of assets put up for sale last month.

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Atari Seeks Permission to Hold Asset Auctions in July from Bankruptcy Court

May 23, 2013 -

Atari Inc., the US division of French parent company Atari S.A., has asked a U.S. bankruptcy court for permission to auction off its assets in July. The assets include the Atari logo, the Test Drive, Asteroids, Pong, Total Annihilation, and Rollercoaster Tycoon franchises.

Atari filed for bankruptcy in January and tried to solicit bids for its entire catalog, but the 15 offers it received were deemed unacceptable. Now the company hopes to divide its assets up and sell them separately in hopes of generating more cash to pay down its debtors.

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Atari Founder Thinks Oculus Rift, Google Glass are the 'Next Big Things'

March 27, 2013 -

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell tells All Things D that the smart money is no longer going into smartphones as the industry shifts to focus on new platforms.

"All the money's out," Bushnell told the publication. "Do I really want to do a mobile game that's one of 300,000, where discoverability is everything? You really have to have a little more sizzle on the steak."

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Happy Birthday Andrew Eisen!

February 1, 2013 -

Normally we don't do shout-outs for people's birthdays, but our own Andrew Eisen is special to us - like the son we always wanted without having to go through the motions of sex or adoption.. He is now 33 years old as of today.

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Atari Files for Bankruptcy

January 21, 2013 -

Atari has filed for bankruptcy in the New York Bankruptcy Court and its assets will be sold off, according to GamesBeat. The company founded by Nolan Bushnell in 1972 will continue to operate during the bankruptcy proceedings.

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Atari Revenues Slip as it Sticks the Fork in Eden Games

May 11, 2012 -

Atari reported a fiscal year decline in revenue, revealing that it raked in about $51.3 million (39.6 million euros) for the year, down from $77.8 million (60.1 million euros) in 2011.

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Atari Defends iOS App Store Take-Downs

January 4, 2012 -

Atari says that, while it admires the work of independent developers, it must defend its intellectual property. The company made its comments after it was revealed yesterday that it had been using its tight relationship with Apple to take down games that had a "passing resemblance" to games in its extensive back catalog of classic games arcade games. Black Powder Media claimed that it took its games Vector Tanks, Vector Tanks Extreme, and Vector Tanks 3 off the app store after Atari claimed the games infringed on its Battlezone IP.

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Atari Takes Down iOS Games for Having a 'Passing Resemblance ' to Battlezone, Claims Developer

January 3, 2012 -

According to iOS game developer Black Powder Media, Atari is removing games from the App Store (with the help of Apple, of course) that resemble anything from its extensive back catalog of classic games. The company developed a game called Vector Tanks 3, which bears a slight resemblance to Battlezone. Atari has also threatened legal action against iOS developers who are developing games that it deems are rip-offs of its owned IPs.

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Atari Lawyers Take Aim at Retro Community Developers

August 23, 2011 -

According to two reports - one on Atari User and another on 8-Bit Rocket, lawyers representing Atari are taking aim at the retro Atari community. The most recent actions on Atari's part include sending a cease and desist letter to atari2600.org, a website that has been registered by Andrew Davie since 2000.

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Atari Settles D&D Dispute, Delays Neverwinter Game

August 15, 2011 -

Neverwinter Nights, the online-focused RPG that was being developed by Atari’s Cryptic Studios, has been delayed. When Atari announced the PC role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter, it did so knowing that some bad results could be coming out of a court battle with Hasbro over the licensing rights to Dungeons and Dragons. While Hasbro and Atari seemed to have settled their dispute today, the company also announced that its latest D&D-branded game would be delayed.

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Atari Sues Tommo Over Flashback Knock-Offs

July 7, 2011 -

Atari Interactive has filed a $30 million lawsuit in a California district court against Tommo Inc., alleging that the toy distributor knowingly sold knockoffs of its Flashback 2 console. According to the complaint filed by Atari and acquired by Gamasutra, Tommo sold "wholesale quantities of unauthorized and pirated copies of Atari software and Atari Flashback 2 consoles."

The Flashback 2 was released in 2005 as a plug-and-play direct-to-TV console shaped like a 2600 console. The Flashback came packed with forty games. In 2006 Atari discontinued the system after selling over 860,000 units.

Knock-offs sold by various companies are usually identical to the original Flashback units, offering the same style of packaging, design and packed-in games.

According to Flashback creator Legacy Engineering, "illegal manufacturers" were probably able to obtain the original's source files and plastic molds for the Flashback.

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Perfect World to Acquire Cryptic Studios from Atari

May 31, 2011 -

China-based MMO giant Perfect World has entered into an agreement with Atari S.A. to acquire a hundred percent equity interest in Cryptic Studios, the developers of Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and City of Heroes. The California-based online game developer will cost Perfect World approximately EUR 35.0 million in cash, or $49.8 million. The deal is subject to working capital, adjustments as provided in the agreement, and other customary closing conditions. It is assumed that Perfect World does not gain control of the MMO's that Cryptic currently facilitates such as Champions Online or Star Trek Online.

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Atari To Divest Cryptic Studios

May 17, 2011 -

As part of an earnings report today, Atari announced it is divesting of its interest in Champions Online developer Cryptic Studios, calling the development house a "discontinued operation" as of March 31.

Atari will continue to support all current Cryptic products while the publisher looks to sell the studio, Gamasutra understands. Development on the Bay Area studio's Neverwinter project will continue as normal for the time being.

The studio showed a loss of $7.5 million for the 2010/11 fiscal year period, up from a loss of $17.9 million in the same period a year ago. Most of this was due to turning its super hero MMO Champions Online to a free-to-play game, instead relying on micro-transaction to make money off the game. Its success was apparently not appreciated by parent company Atari.

Source: Gamasutra

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Eden Games Stages 'Symbolic Day Strike' After Massive Layoffs

May 11, 2011 -

Test Drive Unlimited 2 and the V-Rally series developer Eden Games is not happy with the way Atari has been treating it and - in the face of enormous redundancies at the company - have gone on strike today. In the face of layoffs, the French studio has said enough, and are refusing to work. After learning they are to lose 51 of their 80 employees they’ve taken strike action.

Eden issued the following statement:

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New England Town Keeps Video Game Ban in Place

May 9, 2011 -

You may remember our report on a small coastal Massachusetts town that banned coin operated games from grocery stores and bars in 1982. Well recently, the town of Marshfield voted on lifting the ban and the results were surprising. By a vote of 655-554 at a recent Marshfield Town Meeting, residents rejected lifting the town's ban on coin-operated video games. It has been 29 years since the people of Marshfield chased Donkey Kong out of town and it looks like him and his ilk are still unwelcomed.

George Mallet, a long-time resident who petitioned the town to consider repealing the law at annual Town Meeting, thought resident had come around.

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Atari Wants Infringers to Pass GO

September 23, 2010 -

If you can't beat, join them... or convince them to join you. That's kind of what Atari is doing with those developer and publishers it thinks are infringing on its copyrights to create socialized game experiences (Facebook, iPhone, etc.). Atari calls it the "GO initiative." The company will reach out to portals and developers that it believes have created clones of its classic IPs and offer an invitation to replace the clones with the real deal.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in an interview published today, Atari project head Thom Kozik said that getting developers on board to improve Atari IP instead of copying it is of paramount importance.

"This initiative is not about going out after the market with a big stick, that's a different situation," Kozik said. "First and foremost we're going to be saying, 'let's bring the friends and folks who love us, and the folks who love these brands, into the fold, and we'll worry about the folks who don't want to play along, no pun intended, we'll worry about them later in a different context'" .

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Nolan Bushnell: 'I Was Stupid to Sell Atari'

August 11, 2010 -

Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, has regrets about selling Atari many, many years ago. This week at the [a]list summit during a keynote on the future of games Bushnell said it was dumb of him to sell Atari and that, looking back, he regretted doing so.

He also admitted that these days he feels a little tired and that his age might be catching up to him. He also added that he had a short attention span when it came to his own ventures, referring to his behavior in related to Atari as "5-year ADD."

"I was stupid," Bushnell told the crowd. "I sold completely because I didn't understand Wall Street. In retrospect, I really wish I hadn't sold it.

He began his talk on the "future of the games industry" with tongue in firmly in cheek, asking "Do I want to be this retro-focused historical fossil?"

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Avi Arad's Pac-Man TV Series to Tackle Social Issues

June 18, 2010 -

You would think that Pac-Man would only know how to teach us life lessons about eating power pellets and gobbling ghosts, but if Marvel producer Avi Arad has his way the video game icon will teach us about life.

During a Pac-Man anniversary party earlier this week in Los Angeles, Arad revealed that the secret project he is working on is in fact a Pac-Man TV series. But instead of following the goofy formula associated with the last Pac-Man TV series, Arad wants to use Namco's number one son to deal with social issues including societal ills and race.

"We feel we have a unique opportunity to have an action adventure, human interest story," Arad told Variety. "As a filmmaker, it's a unique opportunity to get to know the characters you play."

Perhaps Arad sees something the rest of us don't. We see a yellow dude eating dots and chasing ghosts; but he sees a guy who has a back-story we know nothing about. Here's an example:

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Obama on the Atari 2600?

March 10, 2009 -

I thought I knew my classic games pretty well, but somehow I'm drawing a blank on this particular Atari 2600 cartridge.

In fact, Technabob has uncovered an entire series of parody 2600 carts. Most aren't political, but they are definitely worth a look - and a laugh.

Via: Examiner.com

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Obama Staffer Invokes Atari to Describe Tech-Challenged White House

January 22, 2009 -

A spokesman for President Barack Obama used a comparison of video game consoles to describe what the new administration found upon moving into the White House on Inauguration Day.

Staffer Bill Burton told the Washington Post:

It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari.

We assume he means an Xbox 360...

In any event, Burton was referring to the sorry state of technology that the Obama crowd inherited from the departed Bushies. More from the WaPo:

Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts.

What does that mean in 21st-century terms? No Facebook to communicate with supporters. No outside e-mail log-ins. No instant messaging. Hard adjustments for a staff that helped sweep Obama to power through, among other things, relentless online social networking.

Via: MTV Multiplayer

24 comments

UK Consumer Group Files Complaint Against Law Firm Which Targeted Game File Sharers

December 10, 2008 -

A British law firm which targets consumers who allegedly share games and movies via the Internet has itself been targeted by the UK's largest consumer advocacy organization.

Zeropaid reports that consumer group Which? filed a complaint against law firm Davenport Lyons with the UK's Solicitors Regulatory Authority. As GamePolitics reported in August, Davenport Lyons aggressively targeted alleged file sharers on behalf of five UK game publishers. From Zeropaid's coverage:

The alleged file-sharers have received letters from the law firm demanding payment of £500 ($773 USD) compensation for copyright infringement, but many, most notably a non-gaming elderly couple, have been wrongly accused.

A recent Which? Computing investigation found that while working with games firm Atari, Davenport Lyons wrongly accused a Scottish couple, aged 54 and 66, of infringing copyright of a game ‘Race O7’. Since then, Atari has severed ties with the law firm. But Which? Computing has evidence from people who, after repeated letters from Davenport Lyons, have been scared into paying compensation for something they say they did not do.

The Which? complaint charges, among other things, that Davenport Lyons' letters to alleged file sharers misstate copyright law, ignore evidence of innocence, and increase the amount demanded over time.

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Atari's Phil Harrison Weighs in on Used Game Trade Debate

December 3, 2008 -

And the used game trade debate rages on...

As reported by gamesindustry.biz,  Phil Harrison (left), speaking at a London event yesterday, took a moderate approach to the argument over used game trading. Of the issue, the Atari president remarked:

There's no doubt that second hand games sales has a macro-economic impact on the industry and a lot of people get miserable about it.

But it's no coincidence that the most valuable games, the ones that have the most lifetime as a game experience, are the ones that don't get resold, that don't get traded.

The games that have the embedded community, the embedded commerce, the extended, expandable experiences, are the one's that you would never want to trade, the one's you want to keep hold of. And that's perfectly in line with our future strategy so we're not that concerned about it.

Atari CEO David Gardner made similar remarks at the gathering:

Second hand game sales represent consumer choice and desire. Obviously, it has economically been extremely painful for the industry... the publishers don't benefit.

 

But as games change and they become more and more network centric, the disc in the box becomes only one part of the experience. As that experience grows then it becomes not such a problem.

GP: Although the used game issue brings out the militant consumer advocate in me, I must give these guys a little credit for moderating their comments (unlike Epic's whiny Michael Capps). Both Gardner and Harrison seem to be saying that digital distribution is the wave of the future, so let's not get too frothed up about used game sales now. And they're probably right.

Still, I've ginned up enough working-class frustration while writing this to be annoyed by Gardner's complaint that "the publishers don't benefit" [from used game trades].

Why is that a problem?

Gardner's comment is typical of the greedy mindset of some game publishers, who already got paid when they sold the game to the retailer. The retailer then made its money when the consumer purchased the game. And when the consumer disposes of the game, the publisher wants another bite of the apple? What is this, the Mafia? Everyone in the food chain has to kick back up to the Don?

Fughetaboudit...

285 comments

Atari Pulls Out of UK File-Sharing Lawsuits

December 3, 2008 -

Atari is no longer chasing file-sharers in the UK.

In August GamePolitics reported that five British publishers, most notaby Codemasters and Atari, were filing lawsuits against suspected P2P game uploaders. In one case, an unemployed immigrant mother of two, Isabella Barwinska, was ordered to pay £16,086 (roughly $30,000) for sharing a pinball game.

But a little sleuthing by gamesindustry.biz showed that the law firm employed by the publishers was a sleazy outfit, indeed. The story got even uglier when a pair of older, non-gaming couples were wrongly targeted for sharing games and, more recently, a Nazi porn movie.

Now, P2P advocacy site ZeroPaid reports that Atari has decided that waging war on consumers is bad business:

The lawsuit [against the older couple] was quickly dropped without comment by Atari, but the bad publicity still lingered and called into question the effectiveness of [law firm] Davenport Lyons' tactics.

Now it seems that Atari has decided to part ways with Davenport Lyons altogether, though it hasn't sworn off targeting file-sharers altogether.

Atari's legal department penned an email to UK website The Register, saying, "In relation to file-sharing, our position is that we always retain and reserve the right to protect our intellectual property from illegal copying and piracy. Whilst we are no longer working with Davenport Lyons, we continue to work with legal advisers to protect our rights."

GP: It's good to see that Phil Harrison has Atari focused on its future and not this kind of anti-consumer nonsense.

 
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MaskedPixelanteNah, I'm fine purple monkey dishwasher.07/28/2014 - 4:05pm
Sleaker@MP - I hope you didn't suffer a loss of your mental faculties attempting that.07/28/2014 - 3:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOK, so my brief research looking at GameFAQs forums (protip, don't do that if you wish to keep your sanity intact.), the 3DS doesn't have the power to run anything more powerful than the NES/GBC/GG AND run the 3DS system in the background.07/28/2014 - 11:01am
ZenMatthew, the 3DS already has GBA games in the form of the ambassador tittles. And I an just as curious about them not releasing them on there like they did the NES ones. I do like them on the Wii U as well, but seems weird. And where are the N64 games?07/28/2014 - 10:40am
james_fudgeNo. They already cut the price. Unless they release a new version that has a higher price point.07/28/2014 - 10:19am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, It most likely is. The question is whether Nintendo wants to do it.07/28/2014 - 10:12am
Matthew WilsonI am sure the 3ds im more then powerful enough to emulate a GBA game.07/28/2014 - 9:54am
Sleaker@IanC - while the processor is effectively the same or very similar, the issue is how they setup the peripheral hardware. It would probably require creating some kind of emulation for the 3DS to handle interfacing with the audio and input methods for GBA07/28/2014 - 9:30am
Sleaker@EZK - hmmm, that makes sense. I could have sworn I had played GB/GBC games on it too though (emud of course)07/28/2014 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, the DS has a built in GBA chipset in the system. That is why it played GBA games. The GBA had a seperate chipset for GB and GBColor games. The DS did not have that GB/GBC chipset and that is why the DS could not play GB and GBC games.07/28/2014 - 7:25am
IanCI dont think Nintendo ever gave reason why GBA games a reason why GBA games aren't on the 3DS eshop. The 3DS uses chips that are backwards compatable with the GBA ob GBA processor, after all.07/28/2014 - 6:46am
Sleakerhmmm that's odd I could play GBA games natively in my original DS.07/28/2014 - 1:39am
Matthew Wilsonbasically "we do not want to put these games on a system more then 10 people own" just joking07/27/2014 - 8:13pm
MaskedPixelanteSomething, something, the 3DS can't properly emulate GBA games and it was a massive struggle to get the ambassador games running properly.07/27/2014 - 8:06pm
Andrew EisenIdeally, you'd be able to play such games on either platform but until that time, I think Nintendo's using the exclusivity in an attempt to further drive Wii U sales.07/27/2014 - 7:21pm
Matthew WilsonI am kind of surprised games like battle network are not out on the 3ds.07/27/2014 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenWell, Mega Man 1 - 4, X and X2 are already on there and the first Battle Network is due out July 31st.07/27/2014 - 6:16pm
MaskedPixelanteDid Capcom ever give us a timeline for when they planned on putting the Megaman stuff on Wii U?07/27/2014 - 2:23pm
MaskedPixelanteIf by "distance themselves from Google Plus" you mean "forcing Google Plus integration in everything", then yes, they are distancing themselves from Google Plus.07/26/2014 - 12:20pm
MechaTama31I wish they would distance G+ from the Play Store, so I could leave reviews and comments again.07/26/2014 - 11:03am
 

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