This morning we received the rough news that Atari has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While the press release points out that this is really a move to separate it from its parent company that is sucking it dry, the sale of all its assets includes the sale of both its logo and game titles Pong©, Centipede©, and Missile Command©.
Personally, I was a big fan of Kaboom!©, the game where you had to catch bombs dropped by a criminal in baskets. It used the Atari 2600 paddles, but it was an Activision title, not one of Atari‘s own. The truth is, the Atari we know and love so fondly hasn’t been the same since 1984. There were a number of splits, acquisitions, and sales that have lead it to where it is now. For that matter, the current company known as Atari was actually founded in 1993 under the name GT Interactive. Further acquisitions, mergers, and other legal maneuvering found them renamed as Atari Inc since 2003.
While Atari‘s past is cemented to those legendary game titles, the future of the company appears to lie in game development for mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. This shift in focus to the mobile platforms is not surprising, but again comes at a point a bit late in my opinion. While the logo and game titles will belong, once again, to someone else… the fact remains that Atari really hasn’t been Atari since 1984.
So if you’re mourning the loss of a digital pioneer, you’re only 29 years late.