Unwilling, or unable, to learn the lessons that Pixels sacrificed itself to teach the world, Atari has announced that it’s partnering with a production company to make movies based on the classic arcade titles Centipede and Missile Command. The long-lived video game brand—which, according to Wikipedia, is currently focused on “LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube”—is teaming up with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films to make the socially conscious, poker-focused viral video adaptations these 36-year-old titles deserve.
Centipede actually seems like a pretty easy slam dunk, movie-wise: Take some attractive soldiers, shove them in a tank, give ‘em a trackball, and aim them at the giant bug. (In any case, it seems like an easier sell than Monopoly, which Emmett/Furla/Oasis is also turning into a film.) Missile Command seems trickier, though. Centered on an unseen military officer desperately trying—and inevitably failing—to keep his or her home cities from being destroyed by an endless rain of bombs, it’s one of the grimmest arcade games ever made. (It doesn’t hurt that, when the end comes, it does so in the form of an ominously flashing Game Over screen that etched itself into the nightmares of many of the Cold War-era kids who played it.)
Still, if this new team-up can pull these first two movies off—while keeping things progressive and craps-based, as per Atari’s core values—it could lead to a bunch of other old Atari games getting the movie treatment. Just imagine it: Breakout, reimagined as a prison break movie. Pong, as a classic underdog sports comedy. They could even dip into the old Atari 2600 library and make an adaptation of E.T., transforming its heart-warming, landfill-filling action into the touching pai gow poker movie it was always meant to be.