Atari and Microsoft have teamed up to release eight classic games that are completely playable inside your browser. As long as you're capable of using HTML 5 (like the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer and a handful of mobile versions), you'll be able to play Asteroids, Combat, Centipede, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Super Breakout and Yar's Revenge in one tab, while you check Facebook and do other important stuff in another.
...how does Microsoft get involved in all this? It's all part of trying to tidy up the image of poor Internet Explorer. While the games are completely playable in other browsers, it's only through Internet Explorer that the experience is ad-free.
The games also promote just how powerful HTML5 content really can be.
Jim Wilson, CEO of Atari explains:
Atari and Microsoft have had a long and successful history on Xbox LIVE and in the digital space. The reimagined Atari Arcade expands this partnership in a new direction, in keeping with our current digital strategy, making it easier than ever for gamers around the world to access our renowned franchises, through the power and flexibility of an HTML5 based platform.
Microsoft is also pleased, as Ryan Gavin, general manager, Internet Explorer adds:
We were excited to work with a gaming legend, Atari, to bring their classic arcade games to life on the web with Internet Explorer. Atari Arcade demonstrates what’s possible when you couple HTML5 along with a fast and fluid browser that is perfect for touch, which is precisely what you get with Internet Explorer 10. Now together with Internet Explorer and HTML5, we get to see some of our favorite games jump into the next generation of gaming on the web – which is pretty fantastic.
This new partnership was prompted by Atari, who approached Microsoft to figure out a nifty way of celebrating Pong's 40th anniversary, while marketing Atari games to a new generation. This new arcade is the result - games that have multiplayer options, Facebook tie-ins and are even optimised for touch play if you load 'em up on your tablet or smartphone.
The best bit of all of this? You can jump online and play all of these games right now, via http://atari.com/arcade. Just remember - there's probably things you should be doing today.
I like video games and music and cups of tea and noodles and beagles and colour-cycling LEDs.
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