That’s right folks. Yet again, Atari is staging a comeback into the gaming world. In their heyday, Atari were the number one brand – pumping out awesome arcade games. Many of us are old enough to remember hours and hours of our misspent youth in arcades desperately trying to creep up the Asteroids leaderboard or dodging pixelated assailants in Centipede. Or perhaps you were lucky enough to play these classic games on the Atari 2600, (which, incidentally, made it into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2007), or perhaps you came to Atari retro gaming a little later, with the plug-n-play Atari Flashback consoles.
Regardless of when or how you first experienced the joys of retro Atari gaming, if you loved it, you’ll be super excited by the pending launch of the Atari Vault. 100 of the most popular Atari games are included in what Matthew Lambunka, a game producer for Atari, describes as a “virtual arcade”.
He promises obsessive attention to detail with Atari Vault, with exact digital replicas of, for example, the original Pong cabinet from the ’70s, rendered in three dimensions. This zealous attention to detail and true-to-its-roots attitude is what makes Atari Vault so far superior to the previous Atari Greatest Hits releases.
The planned 100 games are set to be the definitive modern editions, oozing with nostalgic history but supercharged with the inclusion of cutting edge technology, including Unity 5 emulation framework. But the ROMs, Lambunka tells us, are the same ones as the originals from 40 years ago.
So, the aspect ratio perfectly preserved, you get the artwork from the original cabinets flanking left and right, and in the center, your gameplay area. Yes, you can play with a joystick, if you want a truly retro experience, or you can play with a modern gamepad or – if you love all things Steam, you can use a Steam controller. These last two options give you more precise control than clunky joysticks ever could – but they do take something away from the retro feel. So it entirely depends on your preferences.
To complete the old-school feel, many games include the original menu overlays, along with original box artwork, promotional materials, and game manuals. You also have access to many of the original arcade cabinet settings – like difficulty, session duration, and speed. For ease of use, with the Steam controller, you’ll also get game-specific profiles.
We don’t have a definitive release date for you yet – possibly Spring for most of us, and Autumn for those in Australia.