Would you play remakes of classic Atari games on your wrist for $149? Gameband and Atari sure hope you will. The two companies have teamed-up to launch a Kickstarter, hoping to lure classic gamers to their new wearable. The Android Marshmallow based device will launch with these games: Asteroids, Pong, Breakout, Centipede, Crystal Castles
This is what the Kickstarter page says about the Atari version of Gameband:
“Atari, who brought gaming into the living room, are working with us to bring it to your wrist. Rewriting classic titles like Pong, Centipede and more for our 1:1 1.63″ display, with flush glass format for easy swiping, Gameband Atari Edition comes in Atari Red, with a variety of straps that let you show your love for this timeless gaming legend. We’ll be adding mini-games as stretch goals and looking for your help & input to decide which titles to chose.”
It’s an interesting concept. I’ve never really wanted a “connected watch” but an “Atari” one seems interesting. I do wonder how these games will play without classic controls. We’ve already seen that adapting games from the 8-bit Atari era to mobile devices with touch and motion controls can be difficult for developers, and frustrating for users. Without a red-button CX-40 the games may be merely nostalgia fodder and nothing more.
This graphic of Asteroids in-action from the kickstarter page begs more questions than it answers. Asteroids is game of blisteringly precise controls. This is cute demo, but it looks that looks totally unplayable. If I were the folks at Gameband, I might start with games like Street Racer, Grand Prix, and Kaboom! that might be more easily altered to use an accelerometer/gyro combo as the control interface.
Still, the idea of an Atari watch in intriguing. I’d love to see some of the included apps (Calendar, Contacts, Phone Dialer, Weather, Alarm, Alexa (voice AI),Music player) launch with 8-bit Atari style interfaces and sounds, with the games being restricted to ones that work well with the interface. However, how do you sell “Street Racer” when people will want “Tempest”? This is a difficult project for Gameband, as nutty Atari fans like myself are hard to please. However, I do appreciate their attempt, and I wish them the best of luck doing this thing the right way,