One of my fondest childhood memories is of dropping a token in the Battlezone machine in the side room of the pizza restaurant near our house, stepping up to the simulated periscope, grasping the joysticks and moving my green wireframe tank across the moonscape in search of other tanks, the random cubes they hid behind and UFOs. There’s no telling how much money I sank into that machine.
But now, thanks to last week’s site refresh at Atari.com, I have the opportunity to play Battlezone for free. In their new arcade, you can again guide your tank towards the mountainous horizon or try your hand at one of three other coin-op games, Asteroids, Crystal Castles or Lunar Lander, or a couple of 2600 carts, Adventure and Yars’ Revenge. What’s more, Atari will be teaming up with OMGPOP to bring Missile Command (in glorious multiplayer) to the arcade in early 2010.
The site also features exclusive merchandise, game downloads and forums, but the big draw are the classic games in the arcade. So why not head over now, pick up an arrow-shaped sword and seek out the enchanted chalice? It doesn’t get much more classically retro than an avatar that’s a square.