Atari, Microsoft partner to offer eight classic games in HTML5

By Lee Kaelin on

As part of plans to celebrate Pong's 40th birthday, Atari and Microsoft have announced a partnership that will see the former's classic titles ported to HTML5 and showcase the latter's Internet Explorer 10 browser, set to ship with Windows 8.

To start, eight titles will be featured on the portal, all reimagined with HTML5 by the folks at gskinner.com: Asteroids, Centipede, Combat, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Yars Revenge, Pong, and Super Breakout. All of them have been optimized with IE10 in mind, but they will work equally well with most popular browsers.

All of the games feature touch support making them ideal for Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 devices. Adding to the nostalgia, multiplayer will let you compete against your friends online. Atari has promised to introduce more titles and while all the games are free, those accessing the arcade with browsers other than IE will see advertisements. 

"If you run it on 17-inch screen or 7-inch screen you get a great experience, and the same code works on both," said Ryan Gavin, Internet Explorer’s general manager. He added that "the web can be far richer, more engaging, and have a more app-like experience than it does today," and in keeping with the firms focus on ease of use, every game can be played using a mouse, keyboard or your fingers.

Microsoft is also keen to note that other optimizations have resulted in each game having a total footprint of around 2MB, about 10% the size of traditional HTML5 versions, vastly reducing page load times and enhancing overall performance. Not only that, but while you play it detects what device you're using and automatically adjusts between 2D and 3D elements and switches between 60 and 30 FPS in order to provide the best in-game performance.

Developers wishing to build their own HTML5 games can take advantage of a new suite of tools released by Microsoft, which include a software development kit, various JavaScript libraries, tutorials and working samples. Atari is also opening its doors to developers, allowing them to submit apps for inclusion in the Arcade, as well as offering revenue sharing opportunities.

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