SHARING AMERICA'S TECH NEWS FROM THE VALLEY TO THE ALLEY
Storied video game maker and electronic music pioneer enters Chapter 11, hopes for a bonus round
by Philip Sherburne (courtesy spin-Previously published January 2013)
Call it an arcade fire sale: iconic video game maker Atari is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, reports Forbes. That could mean that the troubled company is just about out of bonus lives, even though a press release from Atari Inc. stresses that the relief petition seeks to save the company “from the structural financial encumbrances of their French parent holding company… and secure independent capital for future growth.”
Despite the lasting impact of games like Pong, Asteroids, and Centipede — not to mention cult classics like Yar’s Revenge — Atari was always best known as a maker of consoles. Perhaps for that reason, samples of Atari products turn up far less frequently in popular music, unlike Midway’s Pac Man franchise or Taito’s Space Invaders. (Check out SPIN’s list of 50 rap songs based on video game samples.)
Nevertheless, Atari’s demise would be a sad day for the music world; without them, we wouldn’t have Crystal Castles or Midnight Magic, both named for popular Atari games — nor, of course, the Ataris, the German 8-bit dancehall reggae label Jahtari, or Atari Teenage Riot. At least digital hardcore will never die (although your 2600 probably did a long time ago.) Kaboom!