Before blockchain, NFTs, metaverses, and indeed the internet, there was Atari. The company released iconic titles like Stink Y missile command and did much to pioneer today’s $200 billion video game industry. He may have lost market influence, but his nostalgic appeal and devoted following remain.
On Atari’s 50th anniversary, it partnered with modern electronic gaming company Polycade in a company called Polycade Limited that brings together the past, present, and future of gaming. In a fun twist, Polycade founder Tyler Bushnell is the son of Atari creator Nolan Bushnell, sometimes heralded as the father of video game.
As part of the collaboration, policeman it chose 12 contemporary artists to redesign the graphics and backgrounds of classic Atari games. These will be minted as NFTs called Digital Cartridges and sold on Coinbase’s NFT marketplace, with NFT holders able to play the games on the Polycade website, downloadable software, and physical Polycade machines.
Essentially, it’s a collaboration that marries the retro fun of the pre-Internet era with the convenience and proprietary values of Web3.
“We wanted to marry video games and contemporary art in a way that gave the artist as much freedom as possible to work in a medium that is traditionally very specialized,” Tyler Bushnell, CEO of Polycade, told Artnet News. “Blockchain technology adds an integrated layer of commerce, persistence, and verification.”
The first launch of Polycade Limiteds asteroids has been renovated by British artist Shantell Martin. In what Polycade calls a “reskin,” Martin’s signature black-and-white line art reimagines the game’s moving objects, screen borders, and also covers the limited-edition physical arcade machine the Oregon-based company is throwing.
“It’s great to see Asteroids in Shantell’s vision, her whimsical artwork and in-game word choice,” said Bushnell. “It’s a lot of fun to see and play the game in a different light.”
Scheduled for release on November 19 to coincide with ComplexCon in Long Beach, California, the digital cartridges will be minted in three increasingly rare editions: Artist (1,000 NFTs), Silver (10 NFTs), and Gold (one NFT).
asteroids by Shantell Martin is the only game that has been revealed so far, but it is the start of a larger project, Bushnell said, “bringing together the worlds of art and games in an interactive way.”
another celebration of business comes in the form of Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebrationa Digital Eclipse release that includes more than 90 games, including several previously unreleased prototypes, and is available on a large number of consoles.
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