Atari just announced some actual new game titles this week. Well, “new” in the sense that they are “recharged” versions of classic Atari games: Breakout, Centipede, Black Widow, and Missile Command. That’s sort of new, right?
We’ve seen Breakout demoed for a while, but these others I haven’t heard about previously. They all feature vector-like wireframe graphics in neon colors that evoke vectorscan CRT graphics, much like the classic hit Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. I like the aesthetic.
It’s nice to have something interesting coming out of Atari after years of underwhelming-to-disappointing announcements regarding the VCS console project. It’s really good to finally see something new offered, this is what I would have wanted to see a lot sooner.
Curiously, these Recharged titles are not VCS exclusives — they are all available on Steam, the Epic Games store, Switch, XBox Series X/S, and Playstation 4+5. While I think this approach makes the most business sense — you want to put games in all markets to sell the most copies and maximize revenue, it seemingly undermines the “true believer” customers who invested in the VCS crowdfunding, only to find that they could have just bought the games on any other platform. I’m unclear but it may be that they will be available on the VCS sooner, but even if that’s the case, getting the games a few weeks earlier on a relatively expensive, less powerful hardware platform still doesn’t sell the VCS to me very strongly.
I’m most interested in the Black Widow: Recharged game, as this is the least well known classic Atari title out of the four, and therefore has the most potential to offer as a reboot.
I’ve been pretty critical of Atari for the past few years as the disappointments with the delays and inadequacies of the VCS have mounted, so it’s really nice to finally see something happening that looks like it might actually be cool.
Weirdly, although I’ve seen announcements from various videogame news sites about these titles, Atari’s own website looks like it’s only pushing Centipede: Recharged at the moment. Where’s the other games? Are they holding back so they can focus on each one at a time? Or is the Atari Recharged site just that hard to navigate?