Atari buys the rights to over 100 retro games, threatens to bring back the worst mascot of the 90s

Bubsy 3D
(Image credit: Accolade/Atari)

Atari has announced that it has acquired the rights to over 100 PC and console games of the '80s and '90s including some real highs and lows, with the intent to create remasters, re-releases, and even new entries in these old series.

The company intends to "expand digital and physical distribution of the classic titles, create new games based on the IP, and explore brand and merchandising collaborations." We don't have the full list of titles that Atari has picked up, but they include games originally published by Accolade, Infogrames, and Microprose. Atari specifically calls out Bubsy, Hardball, and Demolition Racer, as well as the flight sims 1942: Pacific Air War, F-117A, and F-14 as titles now included in its catalog.

If you have an ironic love for bad games, the name Bubsy might particularly stand out. During the rush of mediocre mascot-driven platformers in the '90s that unsuccessfully competed against the likes of Mario and Sonic, Bubsy was not a standout, but the orange bobcat and his games have had surprising longevity. There were three games released across the SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, PC, and Atari Jaguar through the early '90s, and even an unsuccessful pilot for animated TV series.

The release of the infamous Bubsy 3D in 1996 seemed to put the series in the ground, but incredibly, over 20 years later, Bubsy got not just one, but two modern sequels: The Woolies Strike Back in 2017, and Paws on Fire! in 2019. Both of those games reviewed very poorly, but here we are in 2023 with Atari listing Bubsy among a number of "classic titles" and threatening to bring him back again for yet another ill-considered revival.

But really, I'm (mostly) joking here - any effort to make old games, even the bad ones, more accessible to modern audiences is a good one in my book.

Atari itself has a pretty bizarre history that's worth noting here. The company you're thinking of - the one that kickstarted video game consoles with the 2600 - was sold in 1984 following the big video game crash, and spent two decades bouncing around various owners, before winding up with Infogrames Entertainment in 2001. The company's been involved in a range of ventures over the past few years, ranging from the Atari VCS console to NFTs, but these days it has a big focus on "premium gaming." Atari recently announced its plans to acquire System Shock remake developer Nightdive Studios.

Get some real retro gaming going with the best Atari 2600 games of all time.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.