When someone thinks of video games, Atari is often the first name people think of. In gaming’s infancy Atari reigned supreme. The Atari 2600 hundred is responsible for popularizing home consoles. Atari was home to iconic titles such Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Pitfall. The company was a household name in the early 1980s. Fast forward to 2018 and Atari hardly even has a presence anymore. So what happened to the 80s video game icon? For one, they contributed heavily to the video game crash of 1983. They couldn’t recover from it. With the industry crash, Nintendo rose from the ashes to dominate the market for the remainder of the 1980s and early 1990s. Atari couldn’t compete with the likes of Nintendo and Sega. Financial problems led to the company getting bought out on several occasions. Which leads us to today.
The Atari of today is not the Atari of the early 1980s. They have become the equivalent of Steam developers who cobble together store-bought assets and call it a “game.” This version of Atari holds the licenses to the classic titles and outsources development to disreputable studios. It is rather sad seeing an iconic publisher in such a pathetic state. Like Konami, it would be better off if they ceased to exist. Asteroids Outpost was an attempt on making a space survival MMO that no one played. It was total trash and only was created to chase a trend. Haunted House was a broken, almost unplayable take on the indie horror scene. Yet again, another piss poor attempt to capitalize on popular indie trends. Perhaps Atari’s greatest sin was what they did to Alone In The Dark. Alone In The Dark was a pioneer of the survival horror genre. Without it, we wouldn’t have Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Then Alone In The Dark: Illumination was wrought upon the world. A co-op shooter in which you are neither alone or in the dark. Not to mention the game was barely functional and almost no one was playing, defeating the purpose of a co-op game.
Modern day Atari is in a pathetic state. You could hardly even call them Atari, they’re just using the name for brand recognition. They do not care about the legacy many of their titles hold. All they care about is how can they make a few bucks off of brand recognition alone. Atari has become one of the walking dead, mindlessly consuming the games that made them famous. As someone who cares about gaming’s history, it is incredibly saddening when iconic publishers go by the wayside. Maybe Atari will be bought out by someone who actually cares about video games.