The company known for serious office work has mashed up with Atari and ruined the productivity of your entire morning. Maybe afternoon as well.
In honor of forty years of gaming goodness, Atari partnered up recently with Microsoft and released, online for free, re-imagined versions of their classic games. Yes, forty years. I'm feeling pretty damn old now, too.
After you settle in at your office machine, let your coffee or tea simmer as you enjoy "re-imagined" versions of Asteroids, Centipede, Super Breakout, Yar's Revenge, Missile Command, Combat, Lunar Lander, and even Pong.
The games have more modern, updated graphics, as well as a bottom-up redesign using HTML5, which is supposed to mean they'll work just as well via mouse and keyboard on PC or Mac, or by touch on tablet or smart phone. Go ahead, give 'em a try...
Internet Explorer has released a glitzy introductory video highlighting the games release online...
I have to say that some of the games lack an intuitive interface, so make sure to visit the Game Info button before starting any game of interest. You'll want to know which keyboard keys to clack away on, especially with Asteroids.
Are you a game developer with a memory-filled soft spot for Atari? Then you might want to check out their Developer Center, where you can tap into their software development kit (SDK) and make your own Atari-based HTML 5 games!
If you want to learn more about the online Atari Arcade project, feast your eyes and ears here...
The games are buggy on tablets, as some (including Pong) require Flash, and others I couldn't get to work on my 7" tablet. I recommend sticking with your Mac or PC for the games.
One other gripe of mine? The Atari pages throw up what looks like ugly Adsense ads, unless you play in Internet Explorer. Seriously? Microsoft is worth almost $260 billion, and Atari's market cap although minor, is still roughly $35 million. Who thought it would be a good idea to break up an otherwise slick navigation scheme in Chrome and Firefox with white text ads for Google's Nexus 7?