Atari classics getting adapted to board games

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Got to love those classic Atari games. As much as technology and gaming have changed, their legacy still lives with us even today. So much so that studios are interested in turning them into movie franchises, even if they have barely any semblance of a story. Well, the games are not just getting adapted to movies, but to another entertainment medium as well, this time as something that makes a lot more sense and resembles the games a lot more – board games.

Geek and Sundry reports that Atari and IDW Games are partnering together to bring many of those classic games to the tabletop format so they milk live on in a new generation. So far three games have been announced: Centipede, Asteroids, and Missile Command, but more are expected to come if these games prove to be successful.  IDW Games are no strangers to adapting other [properties to the tabletop market like Dead of Winter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past and Arcane Academy. All of which are fantastic games in their own right.

Jon Gilmour of IDW Games is quite excited about the venture and the gameplay opportunities that they offer up to the board game market:

We are trying to capture the joy and fun that many of us experienced playing these games. The most exciting thing to me, was being able to try to recapture some of what I (and the other designers) loved about these games as kids. It was great having conversations with so many people about what we all loved about these games, and how to turn that into a board game.

I’m not sure exactly how they intend to capture the magic of these games into a tabletop format. Part of what made these so popular was the newness of video games at the time and there wasn’t much else to play at the time. That’s a special magic that’s difficult to capture in an existing format. Still, the company is hopeful that the ideas they have will appeal to newcomers and not just excited nostalgia seekers.

Centipede is the closest to capturing the arcade experience, with some nice twists to it. Whereas Missile Command is definitely inspired by the game, and is not a port, but really echoes what the game did.

Centipede (which was made into a board game back in the 80’s) is the first game they are looking to finish up with a planned towards the end of this year in the US. I’m excited to see how these games turn out, even if I’m sceptical on if they will work as board games.

Would you be keen to play these Atari classics as a board game or should they just be left alone and remembered for the classics that they are?

Last Updated: May 11, 2017

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I’d rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

  • Sageville

    It will be interesting to see how they interpret the video game mechanics into a board game.

    When I see how that works, I may consider trying the board game.

    • miaau

      Yes, I too wonder HOW it will be accomplished. I get the WHY, trying to get nostalgia sales AND hopefully tap a new audience of youngsters, like 7 years old.

      • Sageville

        The main stumbling block would be creating that feeling of time pressure or panic, I doubt that’s achievable…

  • Original Heretic

    Thanks to this article, I’ve just added 5 different board games to my takealot wishlist. My nephew has just gotten into them, so I reckon I’ll be a good uncle and get him a cool one.

    • miaau

      We play two or three boardgames two or three times a year. Is sort of fun, friends and good times.

      Small child(s) make it a challenge though..

      Not gone much further than the basics, i.e. Settler of Catan with one expansion, the nice one. and two other pretty simple games.

      • Original Heretic

        It’s been SO long since I played cool board games. I think my most recent experience with something akin to it was playing Munchkin Cthulhu, and that was about 2 years ago.

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