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JeffVav

Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 4?

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This is not a stealth marketing research thread, nor any form of official inquiry, just more of a personal curiosity:

 

For those who've been following the Atari Flashback Classics Volumes the past couple years, short of licensing third party content (Pitfall!, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Superman, etc.), is there anything you think would merit a Volume 4 of Atari Flashback Classics? 150 games is a lot of games, and covers pretty well all the mainstream brand-recognition titles. Volume 3 was already getting a bit more into hardcore collector territory. So, thinking about what's not been highlighted in Atari's legacy yet, I figure there's probably 7800, Lynx, Jaguar, some 400/800 games that didn't have 5200 equivalents, and a dozen or so more of the arcade games (mainly '70s, but a few later ones like Food Fight, Quantum, maybe Missile Command II).

 

Thoughts?

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It seems like diminishing returns at this point, as many of the "Atari" games I love are actually from Atari Games (Midway -> Warner), but someone's gotta release this for the Switch, and you're the most qualified to do it:

 

I, ROBOT

 

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Would it be possible to have some form of the early arcade games that use discrete logic? Outside of that, license Battlezone (arcade, 2600, and XE versions) and fill it out with more 5200 games and some 7800 games. I would think Lynx and Jaguar games would not be feasible.

 

What about Cloak and Dagger? That was released before the split right?

Edited by jeremiahjt

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Cloak and Dagger is a movie title, isn't it?



It would've been nice to have seen all the 2600 content that AtGames has secured for their plug and plays be brought to these compilations, such as Solaris for an Atari published example.



Battlezone in both arcade and 2600 form is missed, so it would be nice to see arrangements made to feature that even though it's officially licensed content now thanks to a very foolish decision a few years ago. And several good black & white microprocessor arcade games like Night Driver and Tank 8 got passed over as well, as did a few color games like you've mentioned (I was disappointed that Food Fight didn't make the cut for volume 3).



I understand the homebrew area is a tough one. Lots of fine arcade ports such as on the 7800, but they're unofficial and almost always require outside licensing since they're based on non-Atari SA owned properties. But two realistic efforts to include would've been Adventure II and Tempest for the 5200.



The former is an unofficial sequel to one of the best games on the 2600, which was produced with Atari's blessings (And the map designs I believe are featured in the 2600 game that Atari SA owns, lending some official status to it). The latter is a finished version of a holy grail for 5200 owners back in the day that was brought to completion by the original programmer.



I can't imagine that with fair terms, these wouldn't of been easy and economical to secure since both were produced out of love for this hobby. And on the off chance that the Atari 7800 was ever emulated (which is a tough one with only a handful of fully owned releases under Atari SA ownership), add in Bentley Bear from PacManPlus.



I also was disappointed to not see Tempest Tubes. That and arcade Battlezone keep the dust off my copy of Atari Anthology for the Xbox. So I'd of liked to have seen that, along with the similar Super Missile Attack hack for Missile Command.



I see some potential for a volume 4, especially if a Warner Brothers deal was ever worked out to add Atari Games arcade content to fill out another 50 game roster.


Edited by Atariboy

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Like I said, I don't think licensed games are likely. We can't even assume the licences AtGames secured necessarily extend to a console/PC context. For example, I'm quite certain the Activision licences would not.

 

If Atari Games titles were published, it'd undoubtedly be WB doing the publishing, not Atari.

 

Edit to add: Adventure II is already in Volume 3.

Edited by JeffVav
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Judging by leaderboards for Midway Arcade Origins on both the PS3 and 360, I sadly don't think Warner Brothers wants anything to do again with dedicated arcade compilations. So hopefully that content is or will become available for outside licensing, or at least makes a cameo in a different WB product again like happened on Lego Dimensions (Which I believe you guys handled the emulation for).

 

For Adventure 2, I'm talking about the Atari 8-bit homebrew that our own Cafeman developed. Not the Atari 2600 game that I believe was commissioned for the Atari Flashback 2, which based its map on this game.

 

 

And the finished version of Atari 5200 Tempest...

 

Edited by Atariboy
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Judging by leaderboards for Midway Arcade Origins on both the PS3 and 360, I sadly don't think Warner Brothers wants anything to do again with dedicated arcade compilations. So hopefully that content is or will become available for outside licensing, or at least makes a cameo in a different WB product again like happened on Lego Dimensions (Which I believe you guys handled the emulation for).

 

My experience is that companies really don't like licensing their content to someone else to publish on platforms that they themselves publish to. They'd rather sit on it on the chance that they might want to do something themselves some day, no matter how unlikely. e.g. I would bet Activision licensed to AtGames for the Flashback hardware because plug n' play hardware is not a space that Activision is in, but they would very likely not licence to Atari to publish to PS4/XB1/Switch/PC because that's a space they are in. Same would likely be the case for WB. e.g. if they'd licensed the games out, it may have blocked their idea to use them in Lego Dimensions, or for the Ready Player One promotion, etc. It's also a Catch-22 to approach any competing publisher about licensing their IP that they didn't seem to care about, because as soon as you express interest, they wonder what you know about its value that they don't, and take a second look and/or they start asking around internally whether they might do something with it and the answer they get is "maybe?", which stalls the whole thing. The best chance of getting an Atari Games compilation would be to lobby WB themselves.

 

Anyway, homebrews, maybe, since the author might be more amenable, but other publishers' IP is almost certainly a no-go. And, unfortunately, Battlezone is also legally "another publisher's IP" at this point. Just to show how strict that can be, notice how Math Gran Prix was removed from Atari's Greatest Hits on iOS after Atari sold it. (As a matter of public record, since it was part of the bankruptcy proceedings in 2013, Battlezone had a grandfather clause in its sale to Rebellion, but it was limited only to products that had previously shipped, which is why it stayed on iOS but never appeared anywhere else. Math Gran Prix didn't have that grandfathering clause and so it was out immediately.)

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It would be fun to to get all the "missing" stuff that is still owned by... whichever version of "Atari" we're dealing with at the moment. The Atari 800 and XE stuff, Lynx...

 

 

Just to show how strict that can be, notice how Math Gran Prix was removed from Atari's Greatest Hits on iOS after Atari sold it.

... Math Grand Prix was sold? Who bought that?

 

(Why, for that matter?)

Edited by DavidDayton

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It would be fun to to get all the "missing" stuff that is still owned by... whichever version of "Atari" we're dealing with at the moment. The Atari 800 and XE stuff, Lynx...

 

 

... Math Grand Prix was sold? Who bought that?

 

(Why, for that matter?)

 

Math Gran Prix was bought by Tommo Inc. There is a thread about it (albeit incorrectly titled): http://atariage.com/forums/topic/214738-math-gran-prix-bought-by-humongous/

 

Edit to add: I cannot answer the "why".

Edited by JeffVav
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When it comes to 1st party 2600 games that don’t require a license, there’s still Dark Chambers and Solaris that could be added. Besides those two, I’m not aware of anything else.

 

Their 1st party 7800 library is rather plentiful with the following titles:

 

Alien Brigade

Asteroids

BasketBrawl

Centipede

Dark Chambers

Desert Falcon

Fatal Run

Food Fight

Meltdown

Motor Psycho

Ninja Golf

Planet Smashers

Realsports Baseball

Scrapyard Dog

Sentinel

 

All the 7800 games above are listed in the latest IP catalog on Atari’s investor website.

 

The packaging of Barnyard Blaster (7800) only lists Atari Corp in the copyright so maybe that one too (though not listed in the IP catalog).

 

When it comes to the Jaguar, their IP catalog only list three games.

Tempest 2000

Missile Command 3D

Space War 2000 (prototype?)

 

I’m surprised they only have those three listed and not more. I went ahead and took a look at the packaging of several Jaguar titles (Fight For Life, Hover Strike, Trevor McFur, Club Drive & Cybermorph) and the copyrights only mention Atari Corp. Now, the current Atari isn’t the same as Atari Corp, but the IP would have transferred the same way as the others like Centipede, Pong, etc, etc, etc.

 

Maybe they only have IP listed they feel are worth mentioning. Or perhaps they never owned those particular Jaguar games to begin with. From what I remember, they only sold a few classic Atari IP in 2013. None of them were Jaguar titles.

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When it comes to 1st party 2600 games that don’t require a license, there’s still Dark Chambers and Solaris that could be added. Besides those two, I’m not aware of anything else.

 

Actually, Dark Chambers and Solaris do have licensing issues. Take a look at the fine print on the box scans in AtariAge.

 

Not sure how AtGames resolved the issue, but, like Activision, whatever they managed to do doesn't extend to Atari's console/desktop iterations.

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One game I’m missing is the original Breakout arcade game. There are probably more no-CPU games that are missing, but that one comes to mind. (Yes, I know Breakout and Super Breakout on the Atari 2600 are included in the first three volumes.)

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Since this has been bumped, it would be nice to see these in one place

 

Tempest 2000

Tempest 3000

Tempest 4000

 

and maybe something other Jeff Minter stuff while we're at it, regardless of the Atari-ness if it of possible. 

 

I was recently thinking about a quote of JV with regards to "why are activision games on plug and plays but not software collections," and up it pops from a year ago. 
 

My comment about I, Robot stands. I would happily buy a conversion and an update with 100 new puzzle style levels. But alas, it will never be made. 

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Posted (edited)

While more arcade classics and such would be great to see, I wouldn't mind just seeing an all-in-one release for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. The biggest flaw by far with those versions has nothing to do with what's on the discs themselves, but rather that it's spread across three volumes.

 

I'd happily double dip on the PS4 (And buy the XB1 version) just to have all 150 games together on both platforms without the need of changing between games.

 

Of course if Atari SA/Code Mystics/AtGames wanted to toss in a few of the arcade games and such that have been mentioned in this thread as an added inducement, I wouldn't complain. ;)

Edited by Atariboy
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If there happens to be a Vol. 4, any chance those games could also be a DLC for Atari Vault as well for us Steam gamers?

 

I really liked the 5200 games that were included and would like to see some 7800 titles as well...

 

 

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On 3/12/2019 at 5:38 PM, bugcatcher88 said:

When it comes to the Jaguar, their IP catalog only list three games.

Tempest 2000

Missile Command 3D

Space War 2000 (prototype?)

 

I’m surprised they only have those three listed and not more. I went ahead and took a look at the packaging of several Jaguar titles (Fight For Life, Hover Strike, Trevor McFur, Club Drive & Cybermorph) and the copyrights only mention Atari Corp. Now, the current Atari isn’t the same as Atari Corp, but the IP would have transferred the same way as the others like Centipede, Pong, etc, etc, etc.

 

Interesting. I can see Cybermorph possibly having a licensing issue since ATD developed it, but the others were all done in-house.

 

They might have listed Tempest 2000, Missile Command 3D, and Space War 2000 since those were all based on earlier arcade or Atari 2600 games. They might not be aware that Fight For Life, Hover Strike, etc. were under the Atari umbrella...or they just don't care, since most of those games aren't highly recognizable outside of the Jaguar fan base.

 

On 3/7/2020 at 12:08 AM, Atariboy said:

While more arcade classics and such would be great to see, I wouldn't mind just seeing an all-in-one release for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. The biggest flaw by far with those versions has nothing to do with what's on the discs themselves, but rather that it's spread across three volumes.

 

I'd happily double dip on the PS4 (And buy the XB1 version) just to have all 150 games together on both platforms without the need of changing between games.

 

Of course if Atari SA/Code Mystics/AtGames wanted to toss in a few of the arcade games and such that have been mentioned in this thread as an added inducement, I wouldn't complain. ;)

 

Yes, I'd love to see this.

 

I bought Volumes 1 & 2 as digital downloads on PS4. Later, I bought the digital download of the unified collection on PS Vita, and even bought a physical copy of that through Limited Run Games. If they made a unified package for PS4, then I'd be inclined to purchase that. It would be especially nice if it could use the same online scoreboards as the existing (separated) versions.

 

For a possible "Volume 4", I'd like to see Food Fight and Quantum. I've always wondered why Food Fight never appeared on any of the Atari compilations over the years, as it was a relatively popular game. The only thing I can think of is possibly some issue with GCC. According to the post by @bugcatcher88 above, Atari recognizes that they own the IP.

 

I'd also like to see them work out a deal with Rebellion to get Battlezone in there, since that was a major Atari release.

 

Finally, I'd like to see them bring in Atari 7800 games. I was elated that they included some 5200 games into Volume 3 and the unified collection on Switch/Vita. Now it's high time that the 7800 got some love, too. The current Atari actually released an updated version of Ninja Golf for Android recently, so they are certainly conscious of the system and its games.

 

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Posted (edited)

I agree fully on Battlezone. Would be great to see inquiries made with Rebellion to see if it could be secured at a reasonable price. I know compilations have shoestring budgets and tight deadlines, so special effort for a single game is discouraged. But this one's important enough I think to justify at least exploring the options for future compilations. 

 

As for Food Fight, that one actually appeared on the Xbox 360's Game Room app. So I suspect it might require resources unique to it in order to get it emulated, where as Code Mystics seems to concentrate on hardware with the biggest bang for the buck where a single emulator core enables multiple games to be included. So perhaps that's why it was passed over for Atari Vault and the Flashback line rather than rights issues. 

 

Quantum was another GCC game and I believe AtGames has included that with their arcade cabinet, so that's another hint that there's not any lingering legal issues with GCC. I've never tried Quantum in MAME but have watched video of the cabinet and have my doubts the trackball control would translate well to an analog joystick, so I suspect that's why it has never appeared. But both PS4 and XB1 now support USB mouse/keyboard control, so perhaps it's time to give it a shot with a future collection.

 

Another game that apparently is an option for the future but got passed by with Atari Flashback Classics Volume 3, is Drag Race by Kee Games/Atari. That black & white classic didn't make the cut for that collection which included a nice slice of Atari's b&w arcade history, but has since appeared on the AtGames arcade cabinet. So it appears to be in the clear, legally. 

Edited by Atariboy
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Like others have said, I'd love to see Food Fight and Quantum and a discrete logic simulator so we could see all the games pre-1976.
I really wish they could do licensed games, as without them Atari history is not preserved. 

They also should own the 8-bit and 16-bit version of their own IP at the very least.

 

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I'd like Atari 400/800 stuff...  

 

(Or keyboard support for Star Raiders on the Switch...)

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Would be nice to see more 5200/7800 but honestly I don't care for these, slim pickings are prevalent due to licensing (imo) especially sprinkled with paddle games

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Posted (edited)
On 4/11/2020 at 4:36 PM, Atariboy said:

Quantum was another GCC game and I believe AtGames has included that with their arcade cabinet, so that's another hint that there's not any lingering legal issues with GCC. I've never tried Quantum in MAME but have watched video of the cabinet and have my doubts the trackball control would translate well to an analog joystick, so I suspect that's why it has never appeared. But both PS4 and XB1 now support USB mouse/keyboard control, so perhaps it's time to give it a shot with a future collection.

Centipede, Millipede, Missile Command and many other trackball games (Marble Madness) have appeared tons of times on

every system on the planet, conversions, ports, emulations, with joysticks only forever.

 

The lack of a trackball or poor trackball emulation via joystick, has never stopped a game from being ported over to a system.

 

later

-1

Edited by negative1

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Posted (edited)

I stand by my post.

 

While I've never actually played Quantum and grant that I could be mistaken, gameplay videos make me feel that it would be poorly suited for use with an analog stick. 

 

If that perception is wrong and it's actually playable and wouldn't just be filler, by all means include it in future compilations. The more classic arcade games that can officially see the light of day on modern gaming hardware, the better as far as I'm concerned. 

Edited by Atariboy

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8 hours ago, Atariboy said:

I stand by my post.

 

While I've never actually played Quantum and grant that I could be mistaken, gameplay videos make me feel that it would be poorly suited for use with an analog stick. 

 

If that perception is wrong and it's actually playable and wouldn't just be filler, by all means include it in future compilations. The more classic arcade games that can officially see the light of day on modern gaming hardware, the better as far as I'm concerned. 

The reason Quantum hasn't been ported is licensing issues, and also, its very obscure, and has no following.

Most people have no clue what the game is, or how to play it.

 

Its a very cool, obscure game though.

 

later

-1

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Actually, what would be neat is some Lynx software... and/or Jaguar.

 

How many Atari-owned, non-licensed Lynx and Jaguar games are there?

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Posted (edited)

Like I said, I really doubt it's licensing issues. I'd just about guarantee that Atari SA owns it lock, stock, and barrel. 

 

Quantum was part of the same deal as Food Fight was. Not only has Food Fight been officially released in emulated form in the past which suggests no licensing issues, but Quantum itself appeared on the AtGames arcade cabinet from last Fall. Since it's very difficult to picture AtGames putting in special effort to clear an obscure classic, I believe we can safely dismiss the claim of there being licensing issues with it.

 

Obviously obscurity is the biggest roadblock that has kept it away. While I believe it to be unlikely to be pleasant to play with a modern console controller, that wouldn't hold it back if it was a huge name with selling power like Missile Command. But between the obscurity, likely lack of playability with modern console controllers, and I believe hardware that lacks commonality with other Atari Inc arcade classics (It's a Motorola 68000 CPU versus the more standard 6502 in Atari's vector games, with I believe Food Fight being the only other pre Atari Games arcade release from Atari utilizing a 68000 CPU), it's a recipe for getting passed over.

 

Makes more sense to emulate more popular games, games more likely to successfully make the transition to modern controllers, and arcade hardware where the effort to code a single emulator core opens up a variety of titles.

Edited by Atariboy
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