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Legendary Atari developer Howard Scott Warshaw has denied being involved with ‘unreleased’ games currently being sold by Atari for up to $150.
Atari launched a new label called Atari XP this week, in which it plans to sell “never released and rare Atari games from the 1970s and 1980s”.
The company claims in its marketing that the titles were created by Howard Scott Warshaw, who is one of the most famous Atari game designers.
The first three games on the Atari XP site are:
- Saboteur, a “creative, multi-level shooter developed by Howard Scott Warshaw in 1983 but never released”
- Yars’ Return, a sequel to Yars’ Revenge “created by Howard Scott Warshaw and slated for release in 1983”
- Aquaventure, a game apparently designed in 1983 and attributed on the site to Howard Scott Warshaw
Atari is selling each game in two forms – a $49.99 standard cartridge, and a $149.99 ‘limited edition’ cartridge which comes with a poster, a printed manual, a collectible pin and badge and a certificate of authenticity.
However, VGC reached out to Howard Scott Warshaw, who confirmed to us that he had nothing to do with two of the three games being sold as his creations.
Warshaw confirmed to us that Saboteur was indeed his game. “I wrote Saboteur virtually in its entirety,” he says. “It was planned for release in 1984.”
However, Yars’ Return was not created by the designer and not “slated for release in 1983”, as the Atari XP site claims, he said.
“There was no Yars’ Revenge sequel planned for 1983 and I did not write one,” Warshaw told VGC. “Yars’ Return was Curt Vendel’s hack of my game many years later, and he deserves credit for it. I had nothing to do with it.”
A post on Atari’s Facebook page in 2020 even corroborates Warshaw’s claims, stating: “Did you know? Yars’ Return was initially released as homebrew, but would later be adopted into the official Atari library and released on the Atari Flashback 2 console in 2005!”
As for Aquaventure, which is also credited to Warshaw on the site, Warshaw tells us: “Aquaventure is something I never heard of or had anything to do with whatsoever. The idea that I’m the designer on it is totally false. Anyone who reads my Once Upon Atari book will know everything about my work at Atari and realise the truth about these games.”
Warshaw is known for designing one of the greatest games on the Atari system, the original Yars’ Revenge, as well as the critically acclaimed game adaptation of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
However, it’s Warshaw’s work as designed on the notorious Atari 2600 version of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – which he was only given five weeks to write – that he’s best known for. The game was such a commercial failure that unsold cartridges were buried in a landfill in New Mexico.
Despite this, Warshaw remains a legendary figure among Atari fans, so the opportunity to buy boxed cartridges of his unreleased games would be an enticing prospect for many fans of the console.
Unfortunately, it appears that, according to Warshaw, two of the three games being sold are not his work.