While the classic company Atari has no shame when it comes to profiting off of legacy, from a venture in the hotel industry to their relatively newer consoles that provide access to the Atari VCS vault, their newest project appears more promising – and innovative.
Two days ago on June 16th, Atari released the trailer for their new game Atari Mania. While one might expect the usual “vault” of classics, maybe remastered with better graphics, Atari Mania promises a story. As “The Caretaker of the Atari Vault,” you are tasked with keeping watch over Atari’s many retro classics until, one night, a dead pixel appears. This sends the world into chaos, as traveling across the Vault reveals that many more games have begun to change and mutate, providing Atari Mania’s most interesting pitch. Rather than simply remastering older 4-bit games, Atari Mania seeks to alter the interaction that Atari fans have with their nostalgia, in addition to providing a new experience for anyone that might find the older, unchanged games a bit unwieldy. Atari CEO Wade Rosen put it best in the press release:
Atari Mania gives fans a way to re-engage with their favorite Atari games and characters, while also introducing a new generation to the games that launched the industry.
This way, gamers young and old are able to bond over a shared, new-but-nostalgic product, as Atari Mania promises over 150 “microgames” that combine countless Atari classics into newer, warped innovations on the older formulas. One of the most recognizable mash-ups glimpsed in the trailer (even for younger gamers) finds the player fending off Centipedes with a paddle from Pong. As players battle and solve their way through these mutated Atari creations, they will eventually come face to face with some exciting bosses, though those are being kept secret for release.
In a day and age where these (multi-)universal crossovers pop up around every corner, Atari Mania seems to promise a more refreshing take… using only the library of the Atari 2600. As a result, the game looks to be chock full of references and collectibles that will satisfy even the most devout Atari fans. Atari Mania will be available on PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, or the Atari VCS console later this summer.