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Atari Acquires Rights to Stern Electronics Classic Arcade Games

Here's some interesting classic arcade news from last week. The new management of Atari, which lately has been focused on bringing new packages of and remakes of classic Atari arcade titles to market, announced that the Company has acquired the rights to twelve Stern Electronics classic arcade games. The most well-known of which are Berzerk and its sequel Frenzy.

The first reason that I find this move interesting is the fact that the games were the intellectual property of Stern Electronics. Stern Electronics was formed when Gary Stern's (Gary is the founder of today's Stern Pinball) father bought the remnants Chicago Coin in 1977. In addition to a number of classic arcade games, like aforementioned Berzerk, Stern Electronics produced a number of pinball machines over the years that are absolutely adored by many collectors today, such as Stars, Quicksilver, Seawitch, Cheetah, Star Gazer, Nine Ball, Catacomb, Viper, Big Game, Dragonfist and many more. There has been some debate lately about who actually owns the rights to all of those classic Stern Electronics pinball titles. The current theory is that the intellectual property for those games is owned jointly by Gary Stern and his ex-wife, but I have no idea if that's really the case. I view the fact that something actually happened with the video game assets of the old Stern Electronics as a major positive because at least it means that whoever owns the rights to all of these awesome classic games is at least willing to listen to offers for them. I'm not saying that anything is going to happen with these classic Stern pinball titles, but at least there's a chance that something might in the future (insert Dumb and Dumber "So you're saying there's a chance" meme here).

I think the move to buy classic arcade IP beyond original Atari games is a brilliant move by the current Atari company. It would be even more amazing if this move is the beginning of a mass consolidation of classic arcade titles under one roof. I love that the arcade industry's history is being embraced like this rather than just being allowed to sit and rot. If you haven't picked up a copy already, do yourself a favor and check out the amazing Atari 50 compilation of games that released late last year. It contains all sorts of fantastic history on the development of the games and the hobby.

Here's the full list of the twelve games that Atari just acquired the rights to according to the cool arcade news site Arcade Heroes (

  • Armored Car

  • Atomic Castle

  • Berzerk

  • Dark Planet

  • Frenzy

  • Great Guns

  • Lost Tomb

  • Major Blazer

  • Minefield

  • Moon War

  • Rescue

  • Tazz-Mania

Atari didn't acquire these titles just to sit on them, so look for them to be re-released on video game platforms in original form and as new "Recharged" games sometime in the future.


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