Some Games From The 'Atari Video Game Graveyard' To Be Auctioned Off

September 11, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Earlier this week the Alamogordo City Council (Alamogordo, New Mexico) voted 7-0 to sell the 800 Atari games excavated as part of the Xbox Entertainment Studios documentary on Atari's video game graveyard earlier this year.

The City Council plans to auction off at least half of the 800 Atari games on eBay and on the council's web site. The games are currently under the watch of the Tularosa Basin Historical Society and being stored at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo.

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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

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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.

17 comments

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...

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Matthew Wilsonif they were serious, they would go to youtube. most youtube game reviewers tend to revew games as product, and tend leave social issues out of it.10/25/2014 - 1:42pm
quiknkoldif the gamergaters were serious, they'd realize that Kotaku and Polygon arent the only games in town, and that with the freedom of the internet, they could create their own websites and achieve the goals they are trying to achieve without arguement.10/25/2014 - 1:35pm
james_fudgehe should have called the police.10/25/2014 - 1:20pm
TechnogeekAt least my statement still holds if it does turn out to be a false flag.10/25/2014 - 1:03pm
NeenekoThough I admit, since doxxing and false flag where heavily used tactics of the GG supporters, while they are not historical tactics used by detractors, I am skeptical how much it is really 'both sides' doing it in any real volume.10/25/2014 - 1:01pm
NeenekoOne thing that makes all of this messy is 'false flag' is a serious concern here. It does not help that the original GG instigators were also known for doing elaborate false flags to discredit feminism themselves.10/25/2014 - 12:59pm
MechaCrashThe guy who got the knife is the one who advocated doxxing, by the way, and was getting court documents about Zoe Quinn so he could publicly post them. It doesn't make what happened to him right, but he deserves no sympathy.10/25/2014 - 12:42pm
TechnogeekNo, that's a pretty shitty thing to do and I fully support the responsible parties getting a visit from the relevant legal authorities.10/25/2014 - 12:17pm
Neo_DrKefkaSomeone anyone tell me how two wrongs somehow make a right? This is becoming exhausting and both sides are out of there minds!10/25/2014 - 11:40am
Neo_DrKefkaSo two GamerGate supporters received a knife and syringe in the mail today. The same GamerGate supporters who said how awful it was were seen in other tweets gathering lists and sending our similar threats or harassment to shut down the other side....10/25/2014 - 11:36am
NeenekoJust look at how interviews are handled. Media tends to pit someone who is at best a journalist, but usually entertainer, against an expert, and it is presented and percieved as if they are equals.10/25/2014 - 7:38am
Neeneko@MC - Focusing on perpetrator does nothing for prevention, the media and public lack the domain knowledge and event details to draw any useful conclusions. All we get are armchair risk experts.10/25/2014 - 7:36am
Neeneko@AE - no name or picture, I like it.10/25/2014 - 7:34am
PHX Corp@MW and AE The news media needs to stop promoting the Shooters. period10/25/2014 - 7:16am
Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
 

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