Interviews
Grant Skinner – Atari Arcade

By Jorge Figueiredo - September 19th, 2012

aai-1

The launch of Internet Explorer 10 is approaching and the festivities have already begun with the unveiling of the Atari Arcade. Basically, it is a modern version of 8 different Atari classics (think Pong, Centipede, Missile Command, etc.). The new versions will be brought to the web in HTML5 and will have capabilities like multi-touch; they will also have multi-player.

Grant Skinner is an outside developer brought in by Atari and Internet Explorer to develop the site. We were lucky enough to get some answers to a few of our questions.

TT: Why choose Internet Explorer 10 as a delivery platform for these? While HTML5 is not confined to IE, the push seems strong for IE as the browser of choice.

GS: The Microsoft IE team was a full partner on this project, so there’s obviously going to be a bias toward suggesting IE as the browser of choice, but they were very committed to ensuring the games could be played on any major modern browser.

The MSIE team is very passionate about proving and enabling the future of rich experiences (like games) on the open web, as well as having an obvious love of games themselves. MS has also chosen to take a conservative approach to what they add to IE, focusing on standards that are final (or close). This makes IE a safe choice for building complex experiences that need to be deployed to multiple environments, because there’s less chance of injecting a dependency on a browser specific API.

Finally, the new Windows 8 multi-touch tablets are very fun devices to build and play this type of content on, so it was a great fit there as well.

aai-2
Lookin’ good, Asteroids!

Given how many people are obsessed with yesteryear, what was behind the decision to “remake” the games?

It was a very tricky balance. We wanted to preserve the essential soul of the games, but enhance them in a way that made sense for the modern web. We wanted gamers who grew up with Atari to feel that the games had been treated with respect and retained the core game-play, but we also wanted to update the interaction and art to take advantage of modern capabilities. It’s impossible to make everyone happy, but I’m really pleased with the end result.

How many of these are planned? Given that you have a library of 100 games, it is only natural to assume that you will do more!

There’s a ton of other awesome games we would love to work on, and we’re definitely hoping to do more in the future! We’re also really hoping we inspire other developers to use the SDK and CreateJS to build games and submit them to Atari for inclusion on the arcade.

What is your favourite game?

It’s hard to pick just one. I love the art in Yars, I have a lot of nostalgic love for Lunar Lander (and love the multi-player experience we added to it), and the multi-player mayhem of Combat is just a ton of fun.

Thanks for answering our questions, Grant! I hope our readers enjoy the games!

Comment away!

Please keep it clean. Unnecessary cursing will be removed.

Article comments by non-staff members do not necessarily reflect the views of Toronto Thumbs.