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Paulo Peccin

Thoughts about an idea for Javatari

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Hi guys!

 

This is Paulo, I'm the author of https://javatari.org, some of you already know the project. It is an online Atari 2600 emulator, that runs on the browser.

I would like to hear your opinions/thoughts/ideas about this:

 

Recently, I've been thinking of contacting Atari or maybe Activision (or some others) directly, to kind of present/offer Javatari to them.

 

I imagine that being capable of easily putting content on line would be of great value for them... They still own much of the games! 

They could be offering the games to be played online on their websites, or use this as part of a marketing thing, even monetize on the games somehow... They could be surfing this "retro" wave using Javatari, engaging the community, etc... I guess that a lot of people that are not techy enough to find roms and run emulators by themselves would love to simply go to Atari's website and play their old loved games.

 

I made the emulator, but I don't know very much about this whole community, and I don't participate in it very much, not even close to many of you guys around here!

 

What you guys think about this?

Any ideas or considerations?

 

Thank you very much!
Paulo

 

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I have doubts that Activision or Atari would find the ability to play Atari 2600 games within a browser as that valuable. Activision (and possibly Atari) have put out Anthologies on various platforms, GBA, PS2, PC (Steam). I don’t imagine that they broke more than a couple hundred thousand units. The market for Atari 2600 games is a niche market getting smaller by the day.

 

From a customers point of view, why would the care of the game is playing within the browser or on the PC? (Cross-platform advantaged, Safari(iOS) versus WinOS, as long as they implement HTML5 correctly).

 

https://support.activision.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/Unlocking-Activision-Anthology-Games/?l=en_US&c=Game_Title%3AActivision_Anthology&fs=RelatedArticle

 

Being able to play the old Atari games is interesting, but I think what people are looking for is the history around the games, developer notes, why the games were important. A lot of the new collections of classic games that are being restored for new platforms add a lot of extras to make wanting to play/own the games worth it.

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Since the license is AGPL, couldn't they just use it? Personally, I wouldn't want to deal with Atari or Activision as they exist today, both have become pretty bad. They're definitely no good at engaging the community. If they entertained the idea, I'd be suspicious of their motives. They'd obviously want a license that lets them close the source and add some kind of DRM to it. Maybe they'd pay well for such a license, or maybe they'll find something in the code that lets them claim IP ownership and take the whole project. I'd be less surprised by the latter, but I'm a skeptic.

 

P.S. I love what you've done. I likely never would have started playing with 2600 programming if it wasn't for 8-bit Workshop embedding javatari.

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I don't know.. I'm not a big fan of online gaming. And that would include games in browsers, emulated or not. Payment is always a hassle because it's usually saddled with points and needlessly confusing terms and conditions and exceptions. Minimum purchases too.  All that would have to be dealt away with somehow.

 

At this age I would want history and notes and interviews and insights on what my childhood favs so cool to begin with. Perhaps that ranks above playing the game itself.

 

It's very true that the VCS audience is shrinking despite their being 50 ways to access the games. Some proud parents may claim their kid absolutely loves any one single classic console. But, will that kid maintain interest for the next 25 years? Not likely. Not with all the stuff out there already. Not to mention it's an overcrowded market. Retro fatigue is setting in.

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I see tremendous potential with your browser based VM - I would have used it in Atari's iPhone Pong Challenge in 2012 if it was ready instead of the app VM apple was busy locking down because there's nothing to install and the emulation is excellent! 

 

Your VM is so transparent with the ability to link ROM's in the URL that it essentially turns all Atari games into phone games you can click to play - that's how I use it on my website. It's a very similar idea to my SQL VM that turns the iPhone into a development platform for SQL Server where the user just clicks a link and the phone transforms.

 

webVMforphonegames.thumb.JPG.175a7108373ab3f2aa55231a536c7ca9.JPG

http://RelationalFramework.com

 

What I can't figure out is what's the App store for?

 

Apple put a real browser on the phone and we can do anything with that ;)

 

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Guys thanks for your replies.

Thanks for the feedback, that is why I thought about hearing your opinions before doing anything.

But.... I should say I was expecting responses a little bit more to the positive side! 🙂

 

Some comments about what you said...

 

Well, I know that nowadays Atari is not a big company anymore, but are they "bad"? What you mean bad?

 

Regarding the potential of offering games online, I see a big difference here. Its much easier than downloading, installing and running an application on your computer.

Does the app support Windows? MacOS, iOS, Android, ChromeOS? What about Linux? If your are a kid or a family member, do you have rights to install apps on the computer to begin with?

What if you want do play them on a mobile device on the go? Does the app support that?

 

If I were Atari, I could offer all kinds of content about the classic games. Make a real definitive and official tribute to the games. They could have pages/articles about the games history, fun facts, videos or interviews with people involved, and also you could PLAY the game on the same place. They could use the savestates do show interesting, secret or hard to get parts on the games. They could host online competitions, etc..

They could offer the best library of info and tribute to the memory of the system.

 

There are several websites that offer that, and also allow you to play the games. But they are illegal. Those websites attract a lot of people! They make money through ads and so...

 

Atari could be the best of those sites, and all completely legal as they have the rights of all the software.

Who could offer and take advantage of online experiences better than the real owners of the games?

 

They have made 3 or 4 games play on the Tesla cars. And that was a huge marketing hit that had repercussions everywhere.

Wouldn't It be really cool if they allowed you to play ALL their 2600 games on the car?

There are already people putting Javatari and also WebMSX on the Teslas...


Nowadays, companies do anything to stay present on the news and social media.

Even TODAY, I saw a post from Atari on Twitter asking people to tell which of their classic games they could be able to finish, which they liked the most, etc...

 

You see? They are trying. They could be making much more engagement if they had a "Classic Atari Games Portal".

 

The list of possibilities is big.

 

Well, I know it is not totally easy to achieve.

But I thought it might be of some value for them.

 

Anymore thoughts?

Am I totally wrong or misunderstanding any of the possibilities above?

 

Thanks!

 

Edited by Paulo Peccin
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Yeah.  No.  Please do not contact Atari for anything at any time.  If they even smell you could be getting in the way of profiting from the brand it's over.   They don't have to win a lawsuit: they just have to drain your money with litigation.

 

I'd suggest adding the feature to obfuscate the ROM inside Javatari.  Maybe have a seperate version for people who would love to publish their 2600 games on the PC (for profit)

 

Also, make Javatari an add on / extension / wrapper for Unity and YoYo Games Game Maker.  I would definetly buy a license for something that embeds Javatari into a Unity or Game Maker project.

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13 minutes ago, Paulo Peccin said:

If I were Atari, I could offer all kinds of content about the classic games. Make a real definitive and official tribute to the games. They could have pages/articles about the games history, fun facts, videos or interviews with people involved, and also you could PLAY the game on the same place. They could use the savestates do show interesting, secret or hard to get parts on the games. They could host online competitions, etc..

They could offer the best library of info and tribute to the memory of the system.

I don't believe present-day atari is interested in that. Companies are ONLY interested in things retro and vintage if it makes good money.

 

13 minutes ago, Paulo Peccin said:

Nowadays, companies do anything to stay present on the news and social media.

I'm fairly certain the vaporware vcs they've been carrying on about for the past 2 years is one such thing. There's a 900+ page thread here about how it's a go nowhere product that exists as renders only.

 

And nobody I know of likes present-day atari anyways..

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1 hour ago, Gemintronic said:

I'd suggest adding the feature to obfuscate the ROM inside Javatari.  Maybe have a seperate version for people who would love to publish their 2600 games on the PC (for profit)

It's pretty much futile to obfuscate anything in Javascript, and even more in an open source project. By definition, a javascript application is distributed as source code, and all you need to easily reverse even minified and obfuscated Javascript is part of the browser debugging tools. No matter how elaborate your algorithm for obfuscating a ROM is, it can always be easily reversed by analyzing the JS program (or even easier by setting a breakpoint and grabbing the descrambled ROM directly on the browser console).

Edited by DirtyHairy
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2 minutes ago, DirtyHairy said:

It's pretty much futile to obfuscate anything in Javascript, and even more in an open source project. By definition, a javascript application is distributed as source code, and all you need to easily reverse even minified and obfuscated Javascript is part of the browser debugging tools. No matter how elaborate your algorithm for obfuscating a ROM is, it can always be easily reversed by analyzing the JS program (or even easier by setting a breakpoint and grabbing the descrambled ROM directly on the browser console).

I agree.  It would prevent the laziest of pirates though.  Sometimes that's enough.

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Sorry if we all sound like naysayers. It's not the nature of the idea that's bad; it's the current nature of the companies that you want to work with that's the issue.

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10 hours ago, Paulo Peccin said:

They could be making much more engagement if they had a "Classic Atari Games Portal".

To piggyback onto what other people are saying...

 

I don't think that the current owners of the atari trademarks want to do the things that you are suggesting.  It seems that they are really more focused on suing people than developing new or enhancing existing properties.  There's also a lot of evidence that all of the other actions that they are involved in are more about trying to raise the company's profile in the hopes that someone would buy them out.

 

so what seems like a no-brainer to someone who loves the old atari and likes to imagine it healthy again is not really on the agenda of the current owners.

 

If you think that you want to do business with people like that, or want people like that to have access to your personal creation, then by all means, go ahead.  But as a random internet guy who had an atari in the late 70s and early 80s and who really enjoys seeing the community here do it's thing, it's not what I would recommend for you as a creator. 

 

Your efforts, your product and your enthusiasm deserve better.

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Well... I'm confused.

Really don't know what to do.

 

At the same time that I would love to try something with Javatari, like offering the platform to the companies and seeing the emulator put to good use, I also do fear the possibility that Atari somehow does not like the way Javatari uses their name and logo. Of course I did everything respectfully, as a tribute for the love and memory of the platform. It would be really sad if they get angry and sue me or anything.

 

I know they are not the same company anymore, that they are small at the moment. But bad really? Why you guys think that?

Yes, I now little about them nowadays. Are they really suing anyone? Are they involved in lawsuits recently?

 

Did anybody reading this have any bad experience dealing with them?

 

Paulo

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4 hours ago, Paulo Peccin said:

At the same time that I would love to try something with Javatari, like offering the platform to the companies and seeing the emulator put to good use, I also do fear the possibility that Atari somehow does not like the way Javatari uses their name and logo. Of course I did everything respectfully, as a tribute for the love and memory of the platform. It would be really sad if they get angry and sue me or anything.

This has nothing to do with a company being "good" or "bad". Companies are not moral entities, they are businesses. What they decide about an idea you present to them (provided you manage to reach through to someone who is in a position to care) is directly connected to the revenue it generates and to the implications that it has on their business. I have a hard time to imagine how running retro games that are freely available on the internet in an emulator that is equally freely available can be made into a working business model. Most likely, you won't get any response at all. Less likely, you'll get a thanks-but-no-thanks. Worst case, you'll get sued for using the Atari logo (I know that they have been picky about that one on other occasions). I don't think there is a realistic chance for anything else. Jm2c.

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They sued Nestle in 2017 (settled in 2018) because Nestle made a commercial based on Breakout https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nestle-atari/nestle-atari-settle-lawsuit-over-kit-kat-campaign-idUSKBN1FE24R. And sued Target over "Foot Pong" in 2018 https://news.bloomberglaw.com/ip-law/atari-sues-target-over-pong . 

 

IMO, best to keep things low key as, as mentioned above, Atari may well claim infringement at best. Particularly with their offering of the Atari Vault and Antstream with their upcoming(?) VCS. Why offer something free when they can sell an "Unconsole" as well. 

 

 

 

 

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Ok guys! Thanks for all the replies.

Those are all valuable opinions and insights, I will consider all of them carefully!

 

Paulo

 

 

 

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On 10/23/2019 at 12:16 PM, Paulo Peccin said:

Regarding the potential of offering games online, I see a big difference here. Its much easier than downloading, installing and running an application on your computer.

Sure it's easier. But then you have nothing "permanent". Everything is online, fleeting, and at the mercy of your online connection. And nice practical comfortable controllers aren't really an option here.

 

Back in the day we had much to do when stuck inside because of bad weather. It was Atari, Intellivision, Commodore 64, Apple II, board games, stamp collecting, watching superhero cartoons, experimenting with electronics and chemistry sets, reading, playing with slot cars or whatever games were advertised during Saturday Morning Cartoons. Not to mention drawing, Spirographs, Lite-Brite, action figures and their associated playsets. Especially electronic handheld games and chess and so much more!

 

And it was all physical, and that's the way we remember it! I don't feel that this "online stuff" mixes with the old stuff too well. And because of that incongruity it doesn't have the nostalgic pull.

 

People bitch and complain emulation isn't real, isn't physical, isn't collectable.. Online stuff is even further removed.

 

On 10/23/2019 at 12:16 PM, Paulo Peccin said:

Does the app support Windows? MacOS, iOS, Android, ChromeOS? What about Linux? If your are a kid or a family member, do you have rights to install apps on the computer to begin with?

What if you want do play them on a mobile device on the go? Does the app support that?

If one goes the stand-alone route none of that really matters. It's a one-time deal where you get the hardware (about $100 for an R-Pi setup or off-lease i3/i5) and either learn to DIY or have a tech buddy help you out. And it becomes rewarding too!

 

You now have something physical, a small box that can play hundreds and thousands of games. It's not unlike the toys of yesteryear now. You can take it out of a small storage container or box, plug it in like a console, and play. Just like a console of yesterday. It becomes a permanent (as much as things go) fixture in your toybox.

 

Being "online" encourages a feeling of everything being temporary. That's not what physical hardware, real genuine vintage hardware or modern host/emulation stuff, is about. Not the way we remember it.

 

On 10/23/2019 at 12:16 PM, Paulo Peccin said:

If I were Atari, I could offer all kinds of content about the classic games. Make a real definitive and official tribute to the games. They could have pages/articles about the games history, fun facts, videos or interviews with people involved, and also you could PLAY the game on the same place. They could use the savestates do show interesting, secret or hard to get parts on the games. They could host online competitions, etc..

They could offer the best library of info and tribute to the memory of the system.

Creating and curating and presenting that content will take a lot of effort. I'm not sure present day atari or any other company wants to go that route. Besides, AtariAge has got the one-up on that. Even some of the original programmers pop in here from time to time. Not to mention the new breed of homebrewers!

 

On 10/23/2019 at 12:16 PM, Paulo Peccin said:

They have made 3 or 4 games play on the Tesla cars. And that was a huge marketing hit that had repercussions everywhere.

Everywhere? That's an exaggeration. Millions upon millions of people had no idea they were doing that. Only vocal minorities of the enthusiast crowds did.

 

On 10/23/2019 at 12:16 PM, Paulo Peccin said:

Wouldn't It be really cool if they allowed you to play ALL their 2600 games on the car?

No. I use my cars for what they are best at, hauling my ass from A to B.

 

As a kid I rigged up my VCS to the cigarette lighter socket in old Chevy and dragged the incredibly heavy battery powered 9" B/W television set into the back seat. I was playing Combat and Flag Capture in the car! Utterly and totally amazing! Nothing else like it in town!

 

Today? Meh..

 

On 10/23/2019 at 12:16 PM, Paulo Peccin said:

Well, I know it is not totally easy to achieve.

But I thought it might be of some value for them.

 

Anymore thoughts?

Am I totally wrong or misunderstanding any of the possibilities above?

 

Thanks!

I don't believe present-day atari is the right group to work with. They're only interested in trying to raise their own visibility, perhaps hoping for a buyout. Or only interested in doing the minimum to get by. Whatever the situation is, they are NOT the dynamic and artistic Atari of the 70's and 80's.

 

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I just wanted to say thanks for your development work on Javatari, it's a great bit of software and I've been using it a lot recently, I love that I can get a page to open straight up into a running, configured 2600 program.

 

Personally I think you should be looking to the future rather than the past (and I know that's sometimes a bone of contention on here with ARM games etc). What I'd love to see are more novel ways of using the emulator on the web, while keeping it true to the capabilities and character of the default 2600. I've not used them yet, but the online multiplayer features sound great, I'd love to see more linking features like a ROM linked internet. Just use a virtual acoustic coupler modem and joystick outputs (who knew!?) to keep everyone happy ;)

 

I do understand why some people are protective of the original hardware and constraints, and it's important, but I think expanding on what is possible is an equally valid course of conservation, please keep developing and updating Javatari!

 

 

 

 

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