Retrocon 2024

Atari Classics 'Missile Command' And 'Centipede' To Receive Movie Adaptations

Deadline is reporting that Atari and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films are teaming to bring two classic video games to the big screen. City-protecting Missile Command and bug-blasting Centipede will be produced by Randall Emmett and George Furla (Lone SurvivorRambo 2008, End of Watch.)

No further details were given on the story of either film, but it would be safe to assume that both will be science fiction in nature. The original Missile Command instruction booklet came with an interesting narrative:

Aliens from the planet of Krytol have begun an attack on the planet Zardon. The Krytolians are warriors out to destroy and seize the planet of Zardon. Zardon is the last of the peaceful planets. The Zardonians are skillful and hardworking people. Their cities are built-up and rich in resources. It is truly a planet void of crime and violence. Zardon has built a powerful defense system. Several antiballistic missile bases have been established within the cities of Zardon. The Zardonians are ready for this attack, and are prepared to fight to save their cities. As base commander it is your responsibility to protect and defend six cities on the planet of Zardon. The Krytolians have begun firing interplanetary ballistic missiles. They are aiming at your cities and missile bases. Your only defense is to fire back with antiballistic missiles. But watch out, the Krytolians are sly, they also have cruise missiles. Cruise missiles look like satellites, but they are just as deadly as the interplanetary ballistic missiles. Use your antiballistic missiles (ABMs) to stop the enemy before your happy and harmonious planet is destroyed.

Atari even broadened the story in 1982 with a 12" Missile Command LP album released on Kid Stuff Records. The game's creator Dave Theurer has said the original concept was geared toward the cold war of the '80s and the potential threat of Russia attacking the USA.

Centipede is one of Atari's most successful games for both the arcade and home consoles. The original game manual told of an Enchanted Forest Story:

Once upon a time in a misty, enchanted forest, there lived a colony of good elves. These elves had a major problem, though. There prized mushroom garden was infested with pests--a giant Centipede, a posoin-spreading scorpion, a mischief-making spider, and a pesky flea. The good elves tried everything they could to rid their garden of these bugs. But nothing worked. One day, an elf named Oliver was hacking away at a poisoned mushroom in the garden. Suddenly, he saw an unusual stick gleaming in the dirt. Just as Oliver picked up the stick, a spider jumped out from behind a mushroom and rushed at him. When Oliver waved his hands wildly to try to scare the spider away, sparks flew from his stick and the spider disappeared! "How did that happen?" Oliver wondered out load. "Could this be a magic wand?" Soon Oliver had another chance to try the wand. When the scorpion scurried across a row of mushroom, poisoning every mushroom it touched, Oliver pointed the wand at the scorpion and shouted, "Be gone!" Instantly, the scorpion disappeared and the poisoned mushrooms were transformed back into normal mushrooms. "This is great! This is the tool we need to clean up our mushroom garden!" Oliver shouted ecstatically. With his new found magic wand, Oliver hid behind a mushroom. "OK, you great big Centipede," he said. "Come out whever you are. I'm ready for you now!"

Atari also released a 1983 comic book similar to the narrative in the manual, but again, who knows if any of this will be kept in the adapation. As much as I love the fact that movies are being adapted from Atari games, I've got to say my expectations aren't very high. There isn't really much to build from and unless you are putting the actual games in the movie like Pixels, I can foresee something like what Hasbro did with Battleship. I hope these film will at least be infused with nostalgia or even set in the '80s. Otherwise, I hope maybe we can get some proper Atari action figures out of the deal.

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