You may now count Atari among the classic video game systems to find a home in the iOS App Store.
Atari Greatest Hits should be available for the iPhone and iPad sometime this evening for U.S. users. The app includes Pong for free, and includes 99 games from the Atari 2600 and arcade system for purchase. Games are sold in bundles of three or four for $1 each, or $15 for the entire collection. A handful of games include local multiplayer over Bluetooth.
Some of the classics include Yars’ Revenge, Super Breakout, Centipede and Missile Command. I’m saddened but not surprised that Activision’s Atari games, such as Pitfall and River Raid, aren’t on the list. No Pac-Man or E.T., either, but that’s probably for the best.
This isn’t Atari’s first endeavor in the iPhone App Store. The publisher has previously launched modern-looking versions of Centipede, Missile Command and Super Breakout, but the games in Greatest Hits are the actual old-school versions. It’s also Atari’s first store within a store, joining Commodore 64 and VH1 Classic Presents: Intellivision in the iPhone’s roster of classic video game emulators.
I wouldn’t expect to see an Android version. As we learned from the Kongregate debacle, in which Google temporarily removed a Flash game portal from the Android Market, stores within stores are one way to run afoul of Market policy. But that shouldn’t be a problem for Android users, who are free to purchase a third-party Atari emulator and play the console’s entire catalog without paying a dime to Atari. Makes sense to me.