Holy joystick! Atari classics land on iOS devices

Say goodbye to jean pockets full of quarters. A massive collection of coveted classic Atari games--including old familiars such as Pong, Asteroids, Missile Command, and Battlezone--is now officially available for iOS devices.

Atari's Greatest Hits features a mesmerizing amount of nostalgia in one app. One hundred classic games are available, grouped in packs of three and four that are available as a 99-cent in-app purchase.

For those of you suffering from a severe 8-bit addiction, a $14.99 package contains 100 classic arcade and Atari 2600 titles. You'll squeal when you see the retro-riffic black-and-white option for the Atari 2600 games, which transports you to the glory days of gray scale.

If only I could go back in time to the mid-'70s and show this to someone waiting in a 60-person line to play Pong.

Born nearly 40 years ago, Atari became a true pioneer in the arcade and home video game industry and sold tens of millions of Atari 2600 consoles worldwide. Anything Atari is retro gaming goodness, and naturally the name carries above-average expectations.

I gave the game collection a spin an iPhone 4 and iPad 2, and the experience differed greatly depending on the device. … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1443: Google's Double Rainbow Strategy (Podcast)

"Hey, Buzz Crew ..." Google seems to be building out a version of Chrome OS for tablets, which we're calling their "double rainbow" strategy: it breaks your brain. Plus, what Epsilon knew about their social phishing vulnerabilities, and when they knew it. Samsung cuts tablet pricing again, why we're never using Pandora again until we get an email from Tim Westergren, and a seriously old-school hacker story. --Molly

Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (640x360)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180)RSS (640x360)Read more

Commodore unveils images of the all-new C64

It may be 29 years later, but I can still remember looking at what was about to be my Commodore 64, up on a shelf at a Long's Drugs near my father's house.

This wasn't my first computer--that had been a Commodore Vic-20, a machine with the same body as the C64 but with just 2 kilobytes of memory. I can recall using that little machine with my old friend to write the most elementary little BASIC programs:

10 print "hello" 20 goto 10

But then it was time to upgrade. I'd inherited a tiny bit of money, and off to the drugstore I went. I knew what I wanted. Commodore's all-new C64 was on every geek's wish list, and I was no different. What would I do with it? I wasn't sure. But I had to have it.

And have it I did. Bringing the beige machine home--along with its fantastic innovation, the stand-alone floppy disc drive--was one of the best days of my childhood, and over the years, I used that computer for everything: homework, playing games, joining my first bulletin board systems and, yes, downloading pirated games at what I think must have been 300-baud speeds.

Now, a new version of Commodore, the company, seems ready to re-introduce the Commodore 64. At least, it's putting out a modern computer built inside the familiar-looking plastic case. It has an all-new operating system, yet the company promises that the OS is backward-compatible, meaning that if you still have a copy of "Pooyan" or "Kilowatt," you might be able to run it. … Read more

Xbox 360 dons an Atari suit, sings Bee Gees

Benjamin J. Heckendorn, better known as Ben Heck, likes a challenge. The host of the appropriately named Ben Heck Show is known as a modding master with a penchant for reworking gaming consoles. His latest conquest involved combining an Xbox 360 with a 1977 Atari 2600 console.

If you're too young to remember what an Atari console looks like, think of it as a brownish rectangular box with an angular lump on top. When you put your ear up to it, you can hear the distant sound of the Bee Gees. It's a far cry from the glowing, futuristic design of the latest Xbox.

OK, Heck didn't literally smoosh an Xbox into an old Atari console. That's almost too much awesome to comprehend. He instead took the look and feel of the iconic '70s console and wrapped it lovingly around a deconstructed Xbox and Asus LCD screen to create a big brown and black mutant Xbox/Atari laptop.… Read more

Crave 37: That '70s steampunk show (podcast)

Donald and Eric take a trip back through time, or maybe to an alternate Jules Verne-inspired future. Wherever they are, the gadgets are distinctly retro and lovingly hacked together. Even old Jedi master Yoda seems a little different. Plus, a burglar alarm that will blast you in the face.

Subscribe in iTunes SD VideoSubscribe in RSS SD VideoRead more

Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell on the future of software (Q&A)

Whether you know him by name, you almost certainly have firsthand experience with some of Nolan Bushnell's work. He's known by many as the father of video games, since he created Pong and co-founded Atari. And he may have played a role in one of your birthdays because he started the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain.

Without question, Bushnell left an indelible mark on the 1970s and 1980s.

But in later years he wasn't finished as an entrepreneur, though his more recent accomplishments haven't risen to the level of his earlier career. In 2005, he launched … Read more

Xbox Live Game Room brings back the classic 25-cent arcade

LAS VEGAS--While it was great to get some solid hands-on time playing PS3 in 3D, Microsoft debuted something for the Xbox 360 that we'll actually be able to play in late March; not to mention it's much more practical, too.

Xbox Live Game Room essentially allows you to create your own arcade, offering titles from many classic developers such as Atari, Intellivison, and Konami. When the service goes live in late March, 30 titles will be immediately available, with five to seven new games being released each week.

There's no dashboard update required for Game Room; you'… Read more

Wrapping up Speeds and Feeds, part 3: Ruggedness

As I continue to wind down Speeds and Feeds, I picked ruggedness as the topic for part 3.

In part 2 of this wrap-up series, I on Tuesday discussed reliability, suggesting that an increasing portion of the transistor budget in personal computers should be used to avoid, detect, and recover from hardware, software, and data errors.

Ruggedness, the ability of a PC to survive adverse physical conditions, complements reliability by further increasing the practical availability of a PC to do useful work.

As with efficiency in power management (part 1's topic), this is an area where PCs can learn … Read more

Ghostbusters: Best film-to-game yet, or just a bunch of hype?

Delayed for years, a high-profile game originally to be published by Sierra and now in the hands of Atari has finally become reality: a Ghostbusters video game for the Xbox 360 and PS3 that's actually billed as a sequel to the movies.

Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and voiced by nearly the entire cast of both films, it's not lacking in official Ghostbusters cred. The question is, how does it play? Reviews have been generally solid, but our intra-office discussions among the CNET editors' gaming roundtable have been just this side of heated. We're presenting our sometimes-conflicting views, and leaving it up to you to sort out who's right. Give us your opinion in the comments section below. Also, be sure to check out our exclusive trailer featuring many of the phantasms you'll encounter in the game!… Read more

Game not over: Wallets made from game carts

I'm a sucker for geek nostalgia. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you are, too. Or you know someone who is.

Enterprising Etsy seller NilesZ repurposes old Atari cartridges into wallets. Yep, that's right. You just pop it open, and your stuff is inside. He estimates that each wallet--made almost entirely from the original cartridge--holds 6 to 8 credit cards and 15 to 20 bills.

He offers a fair variety of cartridges to choose from, with varying prices. I noticed that there aren't any wallets made from third-party games for sale, which is … Read more