Another Asteroid Buzzes Earth

Posted on January 24, 2015

Asteroid2004BL86-16

On January 26, 2015, asteroid 2004 BL86 will pass 3 lunar distances from Earth — not nearly as harrowing as when 2005 YU55 zipped past in 2011, but still close enough to excite scientists, who will study the asteroid with microwaves.

microwaveThe asteroid should be close enough to Earth for amateur astronomers to see it with small telescopes and large binoculars, and for professional astronomers to reheat leftovers on the asteroid surface.

Download an animation of the flyby, and read more about it at NASA JPL’s website.

Check out other real asteroid news on AtariAsteroids.net.

Atari’s New Vision for Asteroids

Posted on September 03, 2014

asteroidz

Joystiq interviewed Atari CEO Fred Chesnais at PAX Prime 2014, where he explored his ideas for a modern-day Asteroids experience.

Says Chesnais: “For Asteroids, the initial game was – you remember the game – you get crushed by the asteroids. So what happens now? You land on the asteroid. And then what you have to do is you have to survive on the asteroid. So you can have an Asteroids game, which is basically a survival game in space.”

“You can have a survival game on an asteroid that combines crafting, space survival, PvP, PvE. And I think that’s very relevant in the current world when you have games like Day Z and Nether, that are doing very well on Steam. Just to give you an idea.”

Senior Product Lead Peter Banks says about Atari’s classics: “We’re not just bringing them back exactly as they were. We’re putting our 2014 glasses on: ‘What would this game be if we made it today?'”

When asked if his concept was stream of consciousness during the interview or an actual product in development, Chesnais says: “Coming soon. And I would play that game.”

“Stay tuned,” Banks adds.

Read the full article here.

Mensa Votes Asteroids Top Video Game

Posted on July 16, 2014

Mensa is the smart club, for people scoring in the top 2% on IQ tests. Their American branch recently polled its members to pick the top ten video games, and arcade Asteroids came in number one!

This comes as no surprise.

We spoke to a member of Mensa, who said, “It was quite a task fending off the powerful Legend of Zelda and Diablo II lobbies!”

Well done.

The full list is as follows:

1. Asteroids
2. Donkey Kong
3. Tetris
4. Ms. Pac-Man
5. Call of Duty 4
6. Bioshock
7. Super Mario Bros.
8. Diablo II
9. Chrono Trigger
10. The Legend of Zelda

Denny’s Ad Campaign Includes Hashteroids

Posted on July 01, 2014

Dennys Hashteroids

Denny’s has just released a remixed version of Asteroids — “Hashteroids” — where you shoot hash browns with a ketchup bottle spaceship.

The plot: “You’re aboard the SS Denny’s Condiment Transport ship and the mission is clear: deliver 40 tons of condiments to the 4th planet in sector 7d.”

Denny’s teamed up with Atari for their summer 2014 “Greatest Hits Remixed” campaign, creating food-based versions of Asteroids, Centipede, and Breakout on Denny’s mobile app. There will also be TV ads promoting the remixed menu.

The campaign was created by ad agency Erwin Penland, targeting parents who grew up in the ’80s. Read the full story at Advertising Age.

Atari Documents Acquired by Museum

Posted on July 01, 2014

Strong Museum of Play

Twenty-two palettes’ worth of documents from Atari’s heyday were recently acquired by the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG), housed at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY.

The “Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection, 1972-1999,” is a massive collection chronicling the development and production of virtually every Atari coin-operated game over that time period.

The material includes development binders and source code for Asteroids, beginning with developer Ed Logg’s handwritten notes on the control setup and sound effects.

The acquisition also includes Maze Invaders, a coin-op game which was assigned to Ed Logg and built in 1981, but never released.

For the full story of how ICHEG came by this mother lode, read Owen Good’s article at Polygon.com.

And for a brief history of Ed Logg and the birth of Asteroids, read this.

Atari To Enter Casino Gaming

Posted on April 02, 2014

As Atari emerges from bankruptcy, it will partner with FlowPlay to create the Atari Casino, using classic Atari properties (ie. Asteroids) as themes for social casino gaming.

We’ll wait to see what happens before reporting further, but you can read about the announcement at one of these links:

http://www.casino.org/news/atari-to-enter-social-casino-gaming-market-with-flowplay

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/gaming/2014/03/26/atari-social-casino/6915065/

Space Rocks! Updates Asteroids for the Atari 2600

Posted on December 12, 2013

Space Rocks

Asteroids for the Atari 2600 is not the same thing as the arcade version. It’s got simplified gameplay and rasterized graphics. But Darrell Spice, Jr. has just created Space Rocks, a homebrew Atari game which brings arcade elements to the home console.

He explains: “Instead of the predominately up/down movement found in the original home version, Space Rocks features arcade like movement. The options menu lets you control the style of graphics (solid or ‘vector’), Magna-Mines (the ‘killer satellite’ from Asteroids Deluxe), friction (whether or not the ship will gradually slow down after thrust is removed) as well as other features.”

Space Rocks is as good as it sounds, and the player customizability is deep but intuitive. It was released at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo in October 2013 (pictured above), and available for purchase from AtariAge, as a dedicated cartridge with professional-looking packaging and artwork, for play on a real Atari 2600.

The final version of the game can also be downloaded for use with the Atari emulator Stella, or with a Harmony Cartridge for the 2600 via an SD card. The ROM is freely available in this discussion thread – to find it, take the very first link, for Release Candidate 7.

Spice explains that Space Rocks will not work with other Atari flash cartridges than Harmony, as “the game utilizes the ARM processor in the Harmony as a co-processor, similar to the DPC that’s found in Activision’s Pitfall II for the 2600.”

Darrell Spice, Jr. is actively involved with Atari Age and the homebrew scene. He says about the origin of Space Rocks:

“I was working on Frantic, a remake of Berzerk/Frenzy, when I wondered if the Kernel for Frantic could be used as a basis for a remake of Asteroids. TIA, the Atari’s video chip, is so primitive it only has enough information to draw a single scan line on the TV. The Kernel is the part of the program that updates TIA in real time, scan line by scan line, in order to create the display.

“The Kernel would have less to update, as Space Rocks doesn’t need the playfield (the chunky background graphics), so repositioning of the 2 sprites (yep, the 2600 only has 2 sprites) could be done more frequently than in Frantic. I thought that would result in result in less flicker, but wasn’t sure if it would be acceptable or not so I did up a quick test.

“I planned to return to work on Frantic after that, but like an earworm I couldn’t get the ideas for Space Rocks out of my head so I continued to work on it. I just wrapped up work on Stay Frosty 2, a new AtariAge holiday cart, so am taking a break from Atari projects and will most likely resume work on Frantic early next year.”

For more detailed development info about Space Rocks, visit Spice’s project blog:
http://atariage.com/forums/blog/blog-148/cat-120-space-rocks

And for Frantic:
http://atariage.com/forums/blog/blog-148/cat-59-frantic

Visit his website spiceware.org for more information.

Japan to Blast Asteroids

Posted on October 24, 2013

photo

Japan, the nation that brought us giant battle robots, has announced that it’s getting into the asteroid blasting game.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is going to launch a space cannon aboard the Hayabusa-2 space probe next year. In 2018, the cannon will arrive at asteroid 1999JU3, which orbits between Earth and Mars, and will shoot it with a metal bullet.

This mission will just punch a crater and collect dust for research: both on the what’s-in-the-asteroid front, as well as the save-the-planet end.

Kudos, Japan.

Asteroids: The Movie

Posted on August 19, 2013

Extremely Decent beats Hollywood to the punch.

Human Asteroids

Posted on May 30, 2013

Just when we thought there couldn’t be anything cooler in the world of Asteroids, there’s this:

It’s Human Asteroids, a project by Two Bit Circus for their proposed STEAM Carnival, designed to turn kids on to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

Human Asteroids uses a Microsoft Kinect to track the player in a rolling chair, who becomes the spaceship. Asteroids are projected on the ground with lasers, and the player fires with a smartphone.

The player in the video is Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari.

The STEAM Carnival has a Kickstarter campaign going until midnight on June 2, 2013. If successful (and at the time of writing, they’re close), they plan to take the Carnival on the road at several major west coast American cities.

[UPDATE] This story has been making the rounds today, and Two Bit Circus has just passed its fundraising goal of $100,000, with two days still to go.