Atari May Plunder Its Classics for Remakes

By  |  Friday, July 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

Atari’s not the company it used to be — literally, it’s been swallowed up by a succession of larger companies since the 1980s — but it can still milk name recognition and classic video games.

The company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Infogrames, is remaking the Atari 2600 classic Haunted House, and a couple of listings on Gamefly suggest that Centipede and Star Raiders remakes could be next.

Given the timing, this wouldn’t surprise me. E3 was crowded with remakes of well-known or in some cases forgotten video game franchises. Fondly remembered games like Goldeneye and NBA Jam are being brought back to life, while franchises that never really went away, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat, are going back to their 2D roots. These are safe bets in the midst of a¬†games industry slump. If Atari wants to jump on the nostalgia train, now’s the time.

The difference between Atari’s remakes and the examples I saw at E3 is that Atari’s games are so old, there’s very little to build from. Haunted House could be a great game, but it’s impossible to say whether the remake is faithful to the original, because the original is so primitive. If Star Raiders gets remade, it’ll probably resemble Wing Commander more than anything else.

Basically, I feel the same way about Atari’s games as I do about the upcoming surge of movies based on very old video games. They won’t necessarily be bad, but they’re just blank slates with recognizable names.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. ecco6t9 Says:

    I thought this would be a great idea 9 years ago when the GBA hit, glad to see it finally happen.

  2. dholyer Says:

    I loved Star Raiders when it came with my first computer a Atari 800. When they re-author it I'd say do it in JAVA so any browser can play it, and please give it better resolution than 320×244. (I think that limitation was due to the Antic and Pokey chips that came from the Atari 2600 game machine.

    But still for 1979 and 4K of code it was a great 3D like space environment, great for using those Photon Torpedos. In other word modernize the Graphics environment, it does not need the glitz of all these new weapons/toys. You have Gigs of space not Atari's limited ROM chip size. Maybe even make a Movie to promote it's rebirth.