HTML5 Atari Arcade Debuts
September 3, 2012

Microsoft Appeals To Nostalgia, Shows Off Atari Arcade

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

In either an attempt to drum up some excitement for Internet Explorer, new Microsoft tablets and Windows 8 or to simply revisit some beautiful nostalgia, Atari and Microsoft last week launched Atari Arcade, a free, HTML5-based way to play your favorite 80s-era pixelated video games.

Now, 8 classic video games, including Asteroids, Centipede, Combat, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Yars Revenge and Super Breakout are available online with touch support and even multi-player capabilities. Though those games will work on any modern browser, Microsoft would prefer you play these games in Internet Explorer or on one of their tablets.

Visit the site with anything other than Internet Explorer and you´ll be shown ads.

The arcade also does the dirty work of determining your device´s power, making the necessary adjustments between 2D and 3D to give you the best performance possible.

"If you run it on 17-inch screen or 7-inch screen you get a great experience, and the same code works on both," said Internet Explorer´s general manager Ryan Gavin, who spoke with PC Mag about the new, online arcade.

Save the slight preference towards Redmond, the arcade is a place of unity, allowing the use of both fingers and mice to control these beloved video game classics.

Given the opportunity to breathe new life into these games, the developers also took the opportunity to make a few cosmetic changes: these games aren´t identical to their 30-year old counterparts. There are the aforementioned 3D elements, as well as re-imagined characters, such as the round ball in Pong, which replaces the iconic square sphere.

Though these games have been given the modern treatment, the developers have been able to keep them lean, bringing them to your web browser in a 2MB package. According to PC Mag, most HTML5 pages coming in anywhere from 10 MB to 20 MB.

The two companies have also announced a toolkit for developers to build their own, free online games in HTML 5. Included in this kit are JavaScript libraries, actual source code samples and other software development tools. Should developers decide to take on this challenge, they can submit their games to Atari, who will then evaluate them. Should they be found worthy to be listed among the likes of Lunar Lander and Pong, Atari will host the games at Atari Arcade, and will also provide these developers with “revenue sharing opportunities.”

According to, the Atari Arcade team is sharing even more, behind-the-scenes work available at Git Hub.

Atari Arcade is the result of several months of hard work and re-imagining the way games can be played across a variety of platforms. According to Gavin, Microsoft chose this project to show what is possible with modern day web development; creating an advanced way for people to play these classic games without losing any of their original simplicity.

"The web can be far richer, more engaging, and have a more app-like experience than it does today," said Gavin.