Atari plans ‘expanded edition’ of its 50th anniversary anthology of 1980s console classics

Few words will put a catch in the throat of a Gen Xer like “Atari.” No matter how badly that brand has been botched since Warner Bros. bought out founder Nolan Bushnell and sent head-smacking mistakes like E.T. and Pac-Man to a New Mexico grave, it’s still the name that started home console gaming in the United States, and that accords a certain level of respect, if not deference, like the feelings 1990s kids have for Nintendo.

Where was I? Yes, Atari will be getting an Expanded Edition of its Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration, an anthology which launched in November 2022 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

That comprised well more than 100 games, actually, which included prototypes and unreleased concepts for the Atari VCS/2600 and Atari 5200, as well as catalog mainstays like Air-Sea Battle, Warlords and Outlaw; home adaptations of arcade quarter-eaters Asteroids and Missile Command; and pioneering concepts like Yars’ Revenge, and the Swordquest and RealSports series.

promotional card showing all the premiums available in the re-released Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration Expanded Edition launching Oct. 25, 2024promotional card showing all the premiums available in the re-released Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration Expanded Edition launching Oct. 25, 2024

Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration Expanded Edition launches with 39 more games this fall for all the platforms of the original anthology, for $39.99. The new lineup of games will also be available to owners of the original collection as premium DLC.

A steelbook edition gives collectors all the games on a disc plus several other premiums, including some miniaturized replicas of arcade cabinet marquees, art cards, and even a replica of the business card for Al Alcorn, creator of Pong, which was installed in late November at a Sunnyvale bar that is today the Rooster T. Feathers Comedy Club. (I know this because I used to bomb, badly, on Tuesday evenings in Rooster’s open-mic showcases.)

The 39 additional games will be segmented into two timelines: The Wider World of Atari, and The First Console War. The latter references Atari duking it out with Intellivision, a rivalry that ended only last month when Atari’s owners plucked the Intellivision IP off the scrap heap with Tommy Tallarico’s pie-in-the-sky Intellivision Amico still unreleased after seven years allegedly in development.

What’s in the Atari 50: Anniversary Celebration Expanded Edition?

Atari’s brand managers’ purchase of Intellivision gave them rights to some 200 games, which is probably the fuel for this expanded edition re-release. A statement on Tuesday mentioned that the Expanded Edition will include “both Atari and M Network games,” referencing the third-party publishing label for the 2600 that Mattel opened as the original console’s fortunes turned south.

Berzerk, Stern Electronics’ original maze-based run-n-gunner (pictured above) will also feature prominently. Atari acquired that property (and its sequel, Frenzy) back in 2023. It was one of the most faithful adaptations of an arcade game (absent synthesized voice files, of course) the 2600 had to offer.

Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration Expanded Edition will be released Oct. 25 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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