Veteran Game Designer Cancelling Ports After Atari Legal Challenge

Veteran Game Designer Cancelling Ports After Atari Legal Challenge

If you were looking forward to playing Jeff Minter's Tempest-inspired TxK on a platform besides Vita, keep waiting. For now, Minter is relenting to Atari's demands.

Minter revealed yesterday that Atari had been hassling him about TxK, claiming the Tempest 2000 designer was infringing on Atari's copyrights with TxK. When the news spread, the two went back-and-forth through various public statements. It didn't paint a pretty picture, and suggested Minter and Atari weren't merely a few emails away from coming up with a deal.

While it's possible things could change, Minter told me today he's backing off any future ports. Previously, Minter had been planning versions of TxK for PC, PlayStation 4, Android and VR.

"I don't think there's much left to be done, given that I cannot release the ports," he said over email. "TxK on the Vita has run its course and only a trickle comes in per month, not really worth changing the status quo there really."

Minter said TxK on Vita only earns him a few dollars every month right now.

"There's no money left from its earnings for 'Atari' to try to take; that got used up during the time it took to make the ports," he said. "In fact we are now running on money borrowed against the release of one of the ports that we will have somehow to pay back out of any future project's earnings."

It's possible Atari could come after the one version of TxK that's out there, and bring TxK down from PlayStation Network. While Minter doesn't expect that to happen, he didn't rule it out.

"Common sense doesn't seem to have played much of a part in their actions thus far," he said.

Since issuing an initial public statement, Atari has not responded to my requests for comment.

For now, Minter has to look beyond TxK. Unless things change, the project is now dead.

"Atari through their actions have damaged us quite enough already, far more than they claim we damaged them," he said. "I expect them to leave us the hell alone now."


    Can we start referring to the current iteration of Atari as "Atari"? Or maybe "The undead, shambling horde brutally fucking what remains of a once-proud company"?

      Except they're not really the remains of Atari. The corpse of Atari was bought by Tramiel, which was then "reverse-merged with disk-drive manufacturer JT Storage." JTS's Atari-related properties were then bought by Hasbro, which was then bought out by Infogrames, which then renamed itself as Atari.

      So the current Atari is more like a second cousin of the original (four degrees of separation).

      Any relation to the original Atari is almost accidental. Unfortunately, Infogrames DOES have that IP.

      And the resemblance of TxK to Tempest is pretty obvious on the face of it; even the ship is the same basic shape. I might prefer that they not sue, but I can't honestly say that, as owners of the Tempest IP, they have no right to do so.

      How about "the loopy armadillo wearing the preserved skin of the formerly puppeteered corpse of the artist once known as Atari"?

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