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.

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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.

Word of the Day: Atari Democrat

October 10, 2008 -

Okay, so that's two words. But still...

Day of the Dreamweavers yesterday mentioned the term "Atari Democrat" and it is one that I'll confess to not having heard before. According to DotD, here's the definition:

...a phrase first popularized during the early 1980s, references both the video game company Atari and Democratic legislators who suggested that the support and development of high tech and related businesses would stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Wikipedia has more, including this definition from the Philadelphia Inquirer, circa 1984:

...a young liberal trying to push the party toward more involvement with high-tech solutions.
 

It seems to be primarily a 1980's term. Major examples include Al Gore (after all, he did invent the Internet).

GP: Under either definition, would Barack Obama qualify as an Atari Democrat? Of course, Atari is far from the powerhouse that it was in the eighties. Apple Democrat, perhaps?

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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