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Happy 40th Birthday Atari

Posted by Lisa Caplan on June 27th, 2012

It’s a tiny bit depressing that many of us here are older than Atari. Still as OG’s (original geeks) most of us equate the name with our and their glory years of gaming. Recently the former giant has been reinventing itself, having previously released their VCS catalog and a few arcade hits in a Greatest Hits package for iOS, and with more recent forays into the App Store like Circus Atari and Centipedes Origins. They are also winding up a contest for indie developers who took their original, maybe the original video game, PONG and remade it for iOS. The finalists have been announced and can be found here. The company turns 40 today and much of the recent flurry of activity is to celebrate the occasion.

The company was founded back in 1972 with PONG making their presense known to a new generation. Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, Dig Dug, Paper Boy and dozens of other arcade games became quarter-gobblers through the 70’s and 80’s, while the Atari 2600 defined the home console market.

The company is using the big day to announce a new partnership with Zynga to make mobile titles, freemium games we presume. That’s a dubious partnership, but one that should be interesting to follow. They are also holding a big giveaway, “40 Giveaways in 4 Days” which is open to US residents only, with details on Atari’s Facebook page.

We wish Atari many happy returns of the day, and look forward to a new generation getting to know them on iOS. Check out the nostalgic trailer and peek in the gallery to see a cool infographic on Atari's history.

Atari Unveils Pong Developer Challenge Finalists

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 27th, 2012

Since its launch at the start of the year, the Atari Pong Indie Developer Challenge has courted some controversy. Mostly down to the company's ownership of entered game ideas even for non-winners. That's something that's not going to be a huge issue for the following seven entrants, however. They've made it to the final!

Each of these developers is guaranteed a three-year revenue-sharing publishing agreement along with a cash price, which will be awarded based upon their final ranking. The first place winner is set to gain $50,000 for their contribution.

Here's the line up of games competing:

RetroPong from PegPeg
Up to four players can compete in this Pong game with each player starting with a number of lives. Single player brings with it a history mode.

Pong Tournament 2012 from Delusions
Offering crisp graphics, retro themed arenas for its round robin style tournament mode and multi touch functionality, this game should bring Pong to the 21st century.

Pong Evo from Island Officials
Introducing an unique power up system, 5 game types and visual flare, Pong Evo looks set to be quite a reboot.

Pong 4033 from Fishbowl Productions
Pong 4033 uses gestures rather than a paddle to control movement, along with a selection of power mods.

Pong World from zGames
Supplying new game modes, levels and upgradeable paddles with active and passive boosts, all added to the original game's core mechanics.

Fong from Eppy Game
No longer restricted to a sharp edged screen, Fong offers the Pong expeirence in a circlular arena with goal targets to aim at and emoting paddles.

Pong Tournament from MadRuse Games
Steal energy from your opponent to buy defensive upgrades and special abilities to help succeed in this Pong remix.

The winner will be announced August 2, having been selected in part by a celebrity judging panel made up of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Dave Castelnuovo, David Whatley, and Mike Schramm. All of the finalists will enjoy a commercial release.