My friends Seamus Blackley (co-creator of the Xbox) and Vanessa Burnham (author of Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984) have revealed their next project: Innovative Leisure. The company reunites the incredible talent behind numerous Atari arcade classics and brings them under one roof to create iOS games. Here’s an excerpt from an excellent story by VentureBeat’s “Dancing” Dean Takahashi:
“We are looking at the new arcade, and 99 cents on the iPhone is the new quarter,” Blackley (pictured above), president of the startup Innovative Leisure, said in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat. “People are playing on all these new devices and are finding the joy of the arcade games.”
The “Jedi Council” team includes Ed Rotberg, creator of the classic Atari game Battlezone; Owen Rubin, creator of Major Havoc and Space Duel; Rich Adam, creator of Gravitar and co-developer of Missile Command; Ed Logg, co-creator of Asteroids and Centipede; Dennis Koble, creator of Touch Me and Shooting Gallery; Tim Skelly, the only non-Atari veteran arcade game designer who worked for Cinematronics and created games such as Rip-Off; and Bruce Merrit, creator of Black Widow.
Innovative Leisure is so full of awesome that my head is on the verge of exploding. You can (but shouldn’t) ignore my personal biases for Seamus and Van; I adore both of them, so I’m obviously excited about their startup. You can’t ignore the talent and influence of the game creators working with them. This is the videogame equivalent of The Rat Pack getting back together to show the world their classic talents on a new medium. (Geeking out again.)
I’d love to hear what you think of Innovative Leisure. Are you excited by old-school Atari creators taking their talents to
South Beach the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch?