Atari and Microsoft bring classic arcade games to browsers

Posted by Shane McGlaun

As a child of the 80s, I spent every moment I could in the arcade. One of my favorite games? Lunar Lander.

Maybe it sounds silly, but something about the horrible black and white graphics and the giant handle appealed to the science and gaming geek in me from a young age.

So I'm definitely stoked to learn that Atari is teaming up with Microsoft and HTML5 gurus at gskinner.com to bring some of its classic arcade games to Web browsers everywhere.

The browser-based games run on HTML 5 and are optimized for Internet Explorer 10. Microsoft's general manager for IE Ryan Gavin told TechCrunch that Atari's browser-based arcade include over 30 new HTML5 and CSS3 standards, including WebSockets, CSS3 media inquiries, font and text glow. The arcade also takes advantage of CSS3D transitions and animations.

Atari has big plans for its browser-based arcade, with over 100 games slated for the rather expansive library over the coming months. For starters, there are (currently) a handful of games, including classics such as Asteroids, Combat, Centipede, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Super Breakout, and Yar's Revenge. A number of the games are optimized for multitouch devices such as tablets and smartphones, specifically Missile Command - which  promises a pretty sweet touchscreen experience.

Several games will also support multiple players using WebSockets or SocketIO depending on the age of the browser. Indeed, as Gavin wrote in a blog post, "most modern, successful video game franchises are still inspired by Atari’s original creative concepts."

Thankfully, these browser-based games won't be exclusive to Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10. However, those playing the games on other operating systems and other browsers will have to look at ads. It's also very cool to see that Atari and its partners didn't build the tools needed to bring these classic games to browsers and keep it for themselves. Rather, the developers are making many of the tools used to bring the classic Atari titles to browsers available to the community, including code samples and a full SDK. The developers are also offering detailed information on how they created the games HTML 5, along with tutorials for coding browser-based games.