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Atari's U.S. operations hope to be bought and made private

Atari's U.S. operations filed for bankruptcy this week in an attempt to escape its French parent, Atari S.A.

Atari, which has been around for 41 years now, is famous for making video games like "Asteroids" and "Pong." However, the game maker has been in financial trouble for some time now.

In the early 2000s, Atari became closely associated with French company Infogrames. In 2003, the company changed its name to Atari S.A., and five years later, it acquired all of Atari's American gaming assets.

Atari attempted to stay relevant by offering mobile versions of its games for smartphones and tablets while also updating games like "Pong." But the parent company still struggled to stay profitable.

Part of the issue is Atari's dependence on BlueBay Asset Management for cash. BlueBay is a financial company in London, and on December 31, a $28 million credit facility with BlueBay failed to be maintained. This stopped Atari from releasing new games.

However, over the last two years, Atari S.A. did report profitable earnings for the first time in a decade. But these earnings were very low, at $11 million for the last two years. But revenue did fall 34 percent in 2012 and 43 percent in 2011.

Now, Atari and three of its affiliates have filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on Sunday. The U.S. operations hope to leave Atari S.A. and obtain a new buyer. This would take the company private.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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By Motoman on 1/22/2013 2:17:17 PM , Rating: 3
I actually had a Jaguar...was an impressive bit of kit for the time period. The problem though was that they couldn't get it out the door in time for the Christmas buying period that year, and they were so far in over their heads when it did finally get released that it just died.

So much about that system was so cool, but poor execution was it's...execution.

Lynx was cool too...not sure what killed it though, whether it was price or developer support or what. The one-and-only portable gaming device I ever bought was a Sega Nomad - which was laughable. It played regular Genesis games, which I thought would be awesome - but with the games being anti-optimized for the small screen, the sprites were so small that you could hardly play the games. And the play time was ridiculously bad...even with the extended-run battery pack on it, with like 8 AA batteries, it would only run for maybe 30 minutes.

I actually still have my Genesis somewhere...and a Base Converter for running Master System games. The only one of which I own is the original Phantasy Star. I'm pretty sure some day it'll be worth a billion dollars on eBay.

RE: :'(
By theapparition on 1/22/2013 3:26:31 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sure it will be worth a billion dollars sometime before Cartman travels to the future to play the Nintendo Wii.

But then again, a pack of chewing gum will also cost a billion, so I'm sure it will be worth to keep it as a family heirloom.

But on a serious note, the original Atari was awesome. And so was the Genesis. Do you have the 32X extender for that one as well.

RE: :'(
By Motoman on 1/22/2013 3:33:53 PM , Rating: 2
No...from what I recall that thing was just a gimmick. Didn't really make the Genesis a 32-bit system...and I don't remember there being very many titles for it either.

RE: :'(
By augiem on 1/22/2013 3:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
The 32X actually did have a 3D processor in it, albeit not very powerful. I remember renting one and playing some mech game. It wasn't very good either.

RE: :'(
By Alexvrb on 1/22/2013 11:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what you mean by that. It had 32-bit SH2 processors. It didn't have dedicated 3D graphics acceleration like the impending full 32-bit consoles, but for an add-on (and for the time) it was pretty impressive. It has a perfect port of Doom. There were a few other decent games for it, but most didn't really make good use of the hardware. In particular, the 2D graphics and raw CPU performance were good, and yet developers seemed fixated with poorly textured polys. If the next generation wasn't impending, you might have seen developers make better use of the hardware.

RE: :'(
By Motoman on 1/23/2013 11:26:16 AM , Rating: 2
Ultimately everything had to get processed through the Genesis unit itself, which was only 16-bit. I don't remember all the specifics of the thing at the time, but it boiled down to the Genesis base unit itself basically becoming a thunking layer.

RE: :'(
By augiem on 1/22/2013 3:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
I also had a Jaguar. "Impressive" isn't the word I would have used for it... Maybe "depressive"? That turned out to be the most embarassing and disappointing game purchases I can remember. Getting it out by Christmas would have done nothing to help the fact that the games were simply putrid and unplayable compared to anything you could get on the 16-bit consoles of the time or even the 8-bit gems from the previous generation. Just about the only game I can remember having any fun with was Club Drive, and that was just because me and my brothers would crack up laughing at the wild impossible physics and driving into broken areas of the world geometry which would freak out the engine.

"Avoigh the Ground..."

RE: :'(
By Motoman on 1/23/2013 11:28:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, the games weren't done either...and some of them were rushed out the door to the point where they were just terrible - like a supercross game I had.

Some though were the Aliens vs. Predator one. And I remember some odd kind of tile-flipping game that I think invovled pandas or something - XD It was weird, but innovative and cool at the same time.

The point being though not to knock the console itself for the lack of good games...the capabilities of the console were superb, but when everybody's schedules blew way past the holiday buying season, all development just stopped and everybody just threw whatever they had at the wall to see if it stuck.

It didn't.

RE: :'(
By ShaolinSoccer on 1/23/2013 1:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what games you played but I had fun with my Jaguar. Games like Theme Park, Iron Soldier, Rayman and Aliens vs Predator were a blast. There were many other games that were fun, too.

RE: :'(
By Alexvrb on 1/22/2013 11:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
Nomad was a nice idea, but it was ahead of its time. Instead of the Nomad, I always felt they should have released an improved (and backwards-compatible) Game Gear and priced it aggressively. Still, for anyone that likes to tinker, you could mod the Nomad for much better battery life and even install an improved display.

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