Industry Noose: R.I.P., THQ, Atari Sinking… Who’s Next?

THQ_logo_distress atari_logo_trouble

Ugh. I hate being right, but I’ve been around for one big industry crash, the slow death of the popular arcade scene and too many recent studio closures and other big to small bumps that make it somewhat sad to be a gamer for so damn long. If you think this mobile and tablet junk will “save” things, welll…. it won’t if the industry keeps trying to sell a business model and services as “product” and goes on forgetting CONTENT (and quality) is king.  Well, as I predicted (but was hoping would never happen despite the writing all over the wall for years), THQ has gone the 3DO and Midway route, with some major IP assets sold off to assorted publishers and others still in some sort of limbo state for the moment. Atari seems to be headed to a third or fourth demise, filing for Chapter 11 and hoping for a split from Infogrames and some savior with deep pockets who can throw money at a problem that may not be able to be solved even with so many classic IP at stake.

I’m not sure they’ll be around in a few months, but I have a suggestion on how they can at least go down fighting the good gamer fight:a SPACE LORDS. Kickstarter!

OK, I’m nuts, but it might just work under the right hands. Get the original ported to mobile and portables and a remake with online play done up and go the free MMO route (with an offline co-op mode so ANYONE can play). Get it out cheap as a Vita and 3DS download (no more than $10 – $15), add new maps every week or so and get people in on what was a stellar space combat experience that drew in players of all skill levels back when it was released. Every other Atari classic has gotten nearly every which way but Sunday as a 2D or 3D remake for nearly everything that can play a game. Yeah, I wrote up a nice remembrance of this never-emulated arcade hit last year, but I think if someone very wisely get the point of bringing this back and enough people hop on board the bandwagon, the Atari name just might live on in some other form than in all those logo T-shirts you see the hipsters wearing (and the tribute sites that are popping up as I type this).

Hmmm. I guess I may as well pick up one of those “retro” Atari Flashback plug ‘n play consoles, as I got rid of my 2600 and a ton of games many years back and yup, I do miss a bunch of those hits. Yeah, I have a Stella emulator on a hard drive here, but it’s not quite the same as plopping on the living room floor in front of the TV or hopping into bed to veg out on a Combat or Adventure marathon… good times!

4 thoughts on “Industry Noose: R.I.P., THQ, Atari Sinking… Who’s Next?

  1. Great piece. I think I’ve taken the last 25 years of my video game life for granted. What made me 100% happy back then I’ll never get back. Sadly, I agree with you, the industry is evolving and contentless gaming is upon us. So, I’ll wait around for those few sprinkles of awesome, redefine a new 100% happiness with gaming-even if it’s not the same….cause in another 10-20 years the stage may be a lot worse.

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    • Well, “evolving” might be the wrong word, as we’re in the era of a certain group of people wanting free or cheap games and the market trying too hard to meet that demand while ignoring some of us who don’t mind paying for quality. There an old saying that goes “If you never pay for something, you don’t know its true value” and that’s holding true for a good chunk of today’s games (none of which will work if they’re tied to the internet and you can’t get online or don’t want to ALWAYS be “social” or “mobile” with what you’re playing…

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      • Yeah evolving may be the wrong word…stalled perhaps? I hope all software developers remember the gamers who helped make an industry and use little company fun money to please the casual FTP wack-a-dos. It saddens me that developers feel the need to incorporate multiplayer into every game now. I hope, for instance, the next God of War doesn’t take a step back in the campaign for the sake of adding multiplayer.

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      • We’ll see, but from the industry sites I read, it’s almost like watching lemming running towards a cliff with BIG grins on their faces. These guys need to think of the gamers NOT going along with every goofball bit of tech they’re coming up with because it takes away from the simpler plug ‘n play experience that will never become obsolete like some tablet or phone that requires replacing on a yearly basis (well, if you’re trapped into believing your device is suddenly “old” because a new one with five more functions is coming)…

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