Depending on your perspective on things, this will probably sound like either a surreal dream or a total nightmare. Diner franchise Denny’s has put out a free iOS and Android app that contains three Atari classics, Centipede, Asteroids, and Breakout, reskinned as food-themed games called Centipup, Hashteroids, and Take-Out.
The app is part of a larger effort to promote the diner’s limited time “Greatest Hits Remixed” menu that features classic Denny’s dishes such as Moons Over My Hammy and the Grand Slam. In the past, the diner has had a Middle-Earth themed promotion and has employed the Dog Whisperer to draw in Hispanic customers. This new campaign seems targeted at Generation Xers who grew up in the era of 1980s Atari games.
The remixed games replace the in-game sprites with ketchup bottles, strips of bacon, sunny-side-up eggs, hash browns and so on. Each game also features its own bizarre storyline:
Hashteroids — You’re aboard the SS Denny’s Condiment Transport ship and the mission is clear: deliver 40 tons of condiments to the 4th planet in sector 7d.
Centipup — Once upon a time, a young boy named Danny came across a bottle of syrup and with just a slight squeeze the bottle’s sticky contents had the power to turn anyone or anything into a fried egg.
Take-out — A wall made entirely of delicious Denny’s breakfast items appears blocking all the take-out orders from their rightful owners. The only way to feed customers is to break down that wall!
As far as Atari is concerned, this head-scratching collaboration is part of their new initiative to dig themselves out of the financial hole they have been in for quite some time. Now consisting of a shockingly low 15 employees, Atari filed for Chapter 11 in January 2013 and is now looking to other avenues for revenue, namely real-money gambling, social casinos, YouTube, and LGBT audiences.
Speaking to Polygon, Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais said that “Transforming our classic and beloved games into a retro, remixed promotion will be a natural way to expose our brand to a new generation and resonate with our long-time fans in a fun and unique way.”