A Rare Arcade Game Killed by an Atari Lawsuit Comes Back to Life After 25 Years

Maybe you're like me and never heard of 1980s arcade game Meteors. If you guessed that it was a clone of Asteroids, though, you'd be right. The coin-op arcade game stood at the center of a lawsuit aimed by Atari at competitor Amusement World.


Video game designer/scholar Ian Bogost runs down the impact of the court case in a blog post. Essentially, the landmark judicial decision ruled that Meteors didn't infringe on Asteroids because an idea can't be copyrighted. Amusement World won the lawsuit but was hit hard by financial repercussions and Meteors faded in the limbo of half-remembered games.

But Eric Holniker—son of Amusement World CEO Stephen Holniker—found one of a very few Meteors cabinets and powered up it this week. Watch the video and feast your eyes on a game that people haven't seen for more than two decades.

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Speaking of old forgotten Atari properties ...

If only Atari could get whatever rights to the game Food Fight (I believe that Jonathan Hurd, the game's original programmer mentioned to me several years ago at PAX East that it was mostly the game's title "Food Fight" itself that was owned as an intellectual property in other arenas) that would allow them to maybe revisit/update/make a sequel to the game for modern devices.