PAX South 2016 – Atari Spotlight
Atari made a bold showing at PAX South 2016, showing off not one, not two, but three titles in the works. First off the truck was the upcoming Atari Vault, featuring one hundred classic Atari games. In an age where retro games are becoming increasingly popular, Atari has the distinct advantage of owning the rights to the original retro games, like Asteroids, Tempest, and more. While not currently available, the team promises full multiplayer, complete with online leaderboards for every game. That’s right; you can challenge people across the globe for that coveted top score. The UI was quite impressive as well, considering the amount of games included in the library, and offers cabinet and box art or a simple menu based system for ease of use.
The real joy for me, however, was seeing the development on Rollercoaster Tycoon World. Despite feedback that the game is not doing well, Atari has dealt with many of the complaints, and purposely have kept a lot of what they’re working on internal to ensure quality of the finished product. There have definitely been some significant changes from the first three games in the series, most notably in the graphics department. The game looks incredible, and the amount of detail provided is quite nice and gives the game a very unique aesthetic. Each of your guests has a lot more information now, making the park feel alive with a variety of people to please. Their needs and feelings are much more easy to understand, and the team has also focused on a hierarchy of needs. For example, a peep that is hungry and needs to use the bathroom will actually use the restroom first, before grabbing that bite to eat. Each peep also has their own set of three traits as well, which can range from the type of cuisine they prefer, to how intense they like to ride.
I was worried a bit at first about how the freeform development (think Cities XL) of roller coasters was going to work, especially since the first three games were stuck to a grid based system. After getting my hands on the game, though, it’s very, very impressive. And even though my first attempt at a coaster failed (curse you G-Forces!), the game provides a variety of tools for you to figure out what went wrong so you can fix it. All in all, with the team getting ready for the polishing stage, the game is in a very impressive state. I, for one, am looking forward to it.
While we had some technical difficulties with Pridefest, their recently launched LGBT supported title offers an entertaining mobile experience with bringing color and joy to an otherwise grey city you’re been put in charge of. You can check it out on either the Apple Store or Google Play, since it released on Wednesday (January 27).
All in all, there’s quite a bit to look forward to from Atari in the coming year. Atari Vault will offer a classic gaming experience with players across the world. Rollercoaster Tycoon World seeks to improve on a classic, with a huge variety of new features incoming to make it the preeminent amusement park simulator. Pridefest gives you the chance to brighten up a city through acceptance and tolerance. Look for more information on these games to come!
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