Posts Tagged ‘Atari’

Have You Played… Top Spin?

topspin

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I had never seen a sweatier man.

Deep into the battle that would decide his fate and the way his story lived on or dwindled to nothing, my custom-built character was part-way between solid and fluid. A jelly of a man; a moist pink marshmallow on wobbly legs. He was coated in the shine of himself. A hero. A superhero. The Laminated Man.

Top Spin is a tennis game.

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Have You Played… Pit-Fighter?

pitfighter

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Has anyone made a fighting game more realistic than Pit-Fighter? Released in arcades in 1990 and to home computers a year later, it used actual people as the models for its characters, digitising them through some sort of sorcery and allowing them to punch and kick one another without causing actual bodily harm.

The realism wasn’t the best thing about Pit-Fighter though. That would be the spiteful people in the crowds who would clobber you or shove you back into the fight if you go too close.

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Yup, Tempest 4000 looks like a Jeff Minter game

“EAT ELECTRIC DEATH” declares Tempest 4000 as noises and colours and particles and numbers explode all over. Yup, that’s certainly what I’d expect from Jeff Minter’s return to the arcade shooter series. Minter was behind Tempest 2000 and 3000, Minterised remakes for Atari of the ’80s arcade game. But when he tried to make the similar TxK for himself, the creature wearing the skin of Atari sent in their lawyers and got the PC release shut down. I’m astonished that Minter and the creature are now working together but am delighted that Tempest action is coming to PC. Watch this: Read the rest of this entry »

“If you treat them as the enemy, it’s not going to be a good relationship.” Obsidian’s Feargus Urquhart on publishers

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Since its foundation in 2003, Obsidian Entertainment has worked with seven different publishers. Commencing with LucasArts on Knights of the Old Republic II, Obsidian has since signed contracts with Atari, SEGA, Bethesda, Square Enix, Ubisoft and most recently, Paradox Interactive. In fact, up until Pillars of Eternity [official site], every single game Obsidian had made was funded and distributed by a different publisher.

This is a highly unusual state of affairs, and has proved precarious more than once in the company’s history. But it has also provided Obsidian with a unique insight into how the world of publishing works, and how the relationship between developer and publisher has changed in the last couple of decades. This topic is especially pertinent today, as new methods of funding and distributing games have seen a significant shift in the power dynamic between developers and publishers.

I spoke to CEO Feargus Urquhart about how it all works (and doesn’t).

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Jeff Minter making Tempest 4000 for Atari

Jeff Minter is revisiting Tempest later this year in Tempest 4000, the creature wearing the skin of Atari announced today. This is mighty surprising, considering Minter has said the creature tried to kill his TxK, the Tempest-ish shooter he released in 2014. Their apparent reconciliation is definitely welcome news, mind. No one does loud, colourful, intense, and silly arcade action just like Minter. He was behind Tempest 2000, the widely-admired Tempest remake first released on Atari Jaguar, and has only grown more Minterly across the years through games including Space Giraffe and Polybius. Read the rest of this entry »

Scream If You’re Confused: RollerCoaster Tycoon World Launching Day Before Planet Coaster

The creature wearing the skin of Atari has announced astonishing plans to launch RollerCoaster Tycoon World [official site] next Wednesday, November 16th. It’s been on Steam early Access for seven months. The surprising part is: Frontier’s theme park sim Planet Coaster comes out the very next day, Thursday the 17th. Given that Planet Coaster looks the better game by far, it’s a bit silly. Perhaps the eyeholes on the creature’s skinsuit have slipped and it’s stumbling blind, groping in the dark, accidentally typing up announcements. We’ve all been there. Read the rest of this entry »

Rollercoaster Tycoon World Trailer Shows Mod Tools

Rollercoaster Tycoon World [official site] will have players create their own parks and rides in-game, of course, but it’ll also let people make brand new things outside the game. The theme park-building game will have simple tools to create new scenery objects and people and doodahs through a Unity plugin then share them over the Steam Workshop, a new trailer explains. Come see how that works below:

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Rollercoaster Tycoon World Stalls, Delayed To Next Year

It’s been a ride full of… (if I say “ups and downs” will you continuing reading, dear reader?) turbulence for Rollercoaster Tycoon World [official site]. Since it was first announced in 2014, it’s already been through three different developers and has long passed its original “early 2015” release window. It was then scheduled for a December 10th launch, however has now been pushed back to “early 2016”.

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Rollercoaster Tycoon World Is On Its Third Developer, But Finally Has A Release Date

ghost train?

The current inhabitants of the Atari skinsuit have finally stuck a release date on their latest attempt to revive beloved management sim/construction toyRollercoaster Tycoon. Series creator Chris Sawyer is sadly not involved in Rollercoaster Tycoon World [official site], which is the fourth game in the main series, and rather worryingly the project has been through three different developers since its announcement last year.
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Survived Horror – Alone In The Dark: Illumination Released

Alone in the Dark: Illumination [official site] is a curious name for a game that’ll have you neither alone nor really in the dark, but strange things happen when games carry papers plucked from the corpses of fallen franchises frozen on the battlefield of the industry. The shooter named after ye olde survival horror series launched last night with class-based shooty action and support for co-op with up to four players.

I suppose you are in the dark mostly, but there are lots of convenient fires and your guns do have flashlights.

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Asteroids Sandbox Survival Reimagining On Early Access

“This ain’t your grandpa’s Asteroids,” I wish the creature wrapped in the flesh of Atari would hiss. Sadly not. That’s the kind of line I’d like when a classic game becomes something so very, very modern. And what way to reinterpret the vintage space shoot ’em up could be any more modern than a multiplayer sandbox survival game? That’s Asteroids: Outpost [official site], you guys, and it has launched in that thoroughly modern manner: onto Steam Early Access.

“Welcome to the new gold rush” is its wholly unironic slogan. Oh, go on, that’ll do. Atari are only getting started with weird takes on old games too.

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Eat Electric Death: Atari Trying To Block Jeff Minter’s TxK

Yeah, Atari.

Jeff Minter has been making tip-top arcade shooters for a good thirty years now, including classics like Space Giraffe, Gridrunner, Revenge of the Mutant Camels, and Tempest 2000. That last one is coming back to bite him in the bottom.

TxK [official site] is his latest loud and colourful and silly and exciting shooter, and I’ve been waiting patiently for the PC port since its Vita debut last year. That port is now scrapped, thanks to the terrible creature wearing the skin of Atari. Minter says the publishers of Tempest 2000 claim that TxK is ripping it off, and he can’t afford a legal battle to defend it.

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Catnap Over: Blade Kitten Ep 2 Released After Four Years

The second episode of a mostly-forgotten episodic game being released over four years after it was nearly finished, and after its makers mostly closed, is the sort of weird game news that makes me trill “Ooh! Weird!” So: Blade Kitten [official site] Episode 2 came out yesterday. Ooh! Weird!

“Episode 2 was nearly completed 9 months ago then was put on indefinite hold because Atari didn’t want to publish it,” developers Krome Studios explained way back in July 2011. “We are looking at other avenues to release Episode 2.” It took them a while.

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Asteroids: Outpost Is Atari’s Multiplayer Craft-O-Surviver

I don’t enjoy being cynical or tearing into things, so news that the shambling husk of Atari is slapping the Asteroids name on a multiplayer craft-o-build-a-surviver only leaves me tired. It’s named Asteroids: Outpost [official site]. Words like “We’re paying homage to the original Asteroids by incorporating classic features such as asteroid blasting capabilities, while introducing a completely new premise and gameplay” from Atari CEO Fred Chesnais make me tired. And yes, these pictures are all concept art. I’m so tired.

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Together Alone In The Dark

Whoever’s currently wearing the withered Atari skinsuit plans to release a new Alone In The Dark game before year’s end, and whether the fact they’re only putting out the first trailer now is a sign of confidence or otherwise is for looser tongues than mine to speculate about. I’m too preoccupied with the distinct absence of alone time in Alone In the Dark: Illumination, given it’s a four player co-op monster shooter. I guess Together In The Dark sounded too spicy? I’d have gone for Foursome In The Dark myself.

Other naming crimes include that Illumination is being developed by a studio named Pure FPS. I can clearly see the player characters’ shoulders, so that’s a damned dirty lie.
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Atari Are All Alone In The Dark Haunted House

Perhaps Atari is being meta. That’s my theory. Two old, undesirable game series returning, both about things that should be dead coming back to life. Again. It’s awfully clever.

So it is that we have yet another attempt to revive the never-good Alone In The Dark, and the Atari 2600 cartridge game, Haunted House. Both now have their first trailers, below. Neither seeming to have much to do with Atari’s recent declaration that it was to focus on the extraordinarily specific choice of making “LGBT and social casino” games.

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Atari Reviving Alone In The Dark & RollerCoaster Tycoon

They go up-tiddly-up-up, they go down-tiddly-down-down.

Atari today is not the company behind the Atari 2600 and Atari ST of The Good Old Days. The name and the brands it owns have been passed around for years in oh so many buyouts and licensing deals. Atari today is a tiny company subsisting on marrow sucked from the corpses of its faded brands; in March it employed only ten people. However, they do still have some big (or once-big) names to sling around.

This week Atari announced new Alone in the Dark and Rollercoaster Tycoon games. And, sure, a new Haunted House too, I guess, whatever.

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Minimum Stomps Onto Early Access

Minimum. Maximum. Beats per minute.

Funny how games get passed around sometimes. After TimeGate Studios took over a lot of development on Alien: Colonial Marines from Gearbox, well, it was a bit of a mess for everyone involved. When TimeGate went bankrupt last year (CM wasn’t their only problem, mind) they were still working on Minimum, and so publishers Atari drafted Human Head Studios to finish it up. (Human Head, in turn, may or may not have had Prey 2 taken away and given to Arkane.)

The MOBA-ish multiplayer shooter is nearing the finish line at Human Head though, as last night the beta launched onto Steam Early Access at £14.99.

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Un-Blocked: Minimum Still Exists, Hosting Beta Weekend

Minimum is not the reason TimeGate dropped off the face of the earth. Not by a long shot. That would be a series of unfortunate events (and decisions) that forced the partial Aliens: Colonial Marines developer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and close up shop. It was kind of an implosion. Among others, a jilted pizza place was involved. One would assume, then, that its final project, Minecraft-influenced shooter Minimum, ended up as collateral, given that Atari now owns the license and dubiously discarded Prey 2 steward Human Head is on development duties. What does all of that mean for the game, though? You can find out this weekend.

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Keeping Track: Roller Coaster Tycoon 4

Last week’s announcement of Roller Coaster Tycoon 4 for mobile devices caused a great deal of despair in my private headspace. I have fond memories of the first two entries in the series (none at all of the third for some reason) and the trailer for the fourth, which you can see below, didn’t inspire confidence. Speaking to Digital Spy, Atari’s Anthony Chien confirmed that a new PC Roller Coaster Tycoon is also due by the end of the year: “We can’t share that much, but [PC] will definitely be a completely different game…There’s a lot of diehard RC fans that want a PC experience, they want all different sorts of things.” That’s the good news. The (potentially) bad news comes later. The PC version will be an “online multiplayer experience”.

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