Polycade partners with Atari to launch Web3 games and art collaboration

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Polycade has created a new kind of wall-mounted arcade machine and has launched a Web3 art collaboration with Atari called Polycade Limiteds.

Based in Portland, Oregon Polycade creates a cultural crossover collaboration between video games and art, orchestrated by Web3. Through the partnership, prominent contemporary artists will re-film original Atari games, which will be released as limited editions of “digital cartridges” for sale on the blockchain. The official launch will be celebrated to ComplexCon (November 19 to November 20) with a tournament.

There’s a sweet symmetry to this deal, as Polycade was founded by CEO Tyler Bushnell, son of Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, often called the father of video games.

“Atari is of course very close to our heart. And so it felt like a natural choice for launching our larger platform here,” Tyler Bushnell said in an interview with GamesBeat. “We’re actually launching a series of collaborations combining classic Atari Games with modern contemporary artists. And so what this will do is take classic games like Asteroids and see all the artwork redesigned by the artist.

Art by Shantell Martin gives a new face to Asteroids.

Polycade Limiteds will feature 12 artist collaborations, with each artist reimagining a classic Atari game such as Asteroids, Pong, Centipede, Missile Command and Breakout.

“It brings to life the artist’s vision for the game, but also, you know, honoring the original with the same gameplay,” said Tyler Bushnell. “The games will be playable through our website, including on all our machines, as well as through our downloadable desktop software.”

Every game that has been given a new skin is fully playable and redesigned with the artist’s vision: all graphics and backgrounds redesigned. Polycade Limiteds will kick off its first limited title with contemporary artist Shantell Martin re-filming the classic Atari game Asteroids.

The digital cartridge will contain three editions with the coin date of November 19, timed at ComplexCon. Sales of the Artist Edition will take place at nft.coinbase.com and the auction for the Gold Edition will begin on December 12. Digital cartridges are stored on the Ethereum Blockchain and a pre-buy and auction acceptance list to purchase will also be found on Polycade’s website.

The classic Asteroids and the new version of Shantell Martin, an employee of Polycade Limited.

“Shantell Martin’s black and white line art really embody the kinetic energy of asteroids,” said Tyler Bushnell. “Video games have influenced many traditional artists over the years, but the ability for them to make their mark on games and monetize their artistic creation was extremely difficult and expensive. Blockchain technology has allowed digital goods to behave like the physical collectibles usually produced by artists.”

Bushnell added: “Whether you’re a nostalgic gamer, collector or art lover, we’re excited to bring to market a new type of interactive, playable art that honors great video games and incredible artists by bringing them together, enabling transparent ownership is provided through our digital cartridges, and the gaming experience through tournaments and achievements.”

Owners can play on the Polycade website, Polycade’s downloadable software, and on any physical Polycade arcade machine, including in public places such as bars. Tyler Bushnell said he likes the utility that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can provide to make that possible.

Video games today have a physical cartridge, or media, associated with a specific piece of hardware to run it. Or digital media like on Steam. Both models have their own flaws and their own kind of bonuses, Tyler Bushnell said. You can resell the physical cartridge. He said that with digital goods, you can access them anywhere, they can’t be damaged and they can be updated.

Polycade’s arcade machine can hang on a wall. This is a special black version of Polycade Limiteds.

“We wanted to use both media and create a new one that represents the positive sides of both sides. So what we’re doing wouldn’t be possible, it wouldn’t be possible without blockchain technology,” said Tyler Bushnell. “The digital cartridge is an ERC -721 contract.”

If you own that digital cartridge and log in to the website, you can access the game, log into any of the slot machines and access the game.

“So it’s essentially your digital cartridge or deed of the game,” Tyler Bushnell said.

The digital cartridges will use a regular blockchain wallet, which will hold that digital cartridge. While some hardcore gamers don’t like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Tyler Bushnell said the project wouldn’t be possible without them. Polycade partnered with AtariX, the blockchain division of Atari.

Each redesign will be available in three editions — Artist, Silver, and Gold — with unique variations in each design. Artist Editions are limited to 1,000 digital copies, Silver Editions 10 digital copies, and the Gold Edition is limited to one digital copy with a physical Polycade machine designed by the artist.

“Polycade Limiteds embraces the spirit of ‘what’s old is new’ through the experience of playing Atari games reimagined by top artists. We’re excited to see these games played in the traditional format with a new Web3 twist,” Tyler Drewitz, Atari’s head of strategy and growth, said in a statement.

Martin is a visual artist, intuitive philosopher, culture facilitator, teacher, choreographer, songwriter and performer, and is the first artist to kick off the collaboration. She brings her large-scale black and white line art to the classic game Asteroids.

“I never imagined that the hours and hours I spent playing Asteroids as a kid would one day lead me to play my own version as an adult,” Martin said in a statement.

“We are culture buffs, collectors, gamers. I think if you look at the fashion, music, art industries, there’s a lot of crossovers and collaborations between all those media. But video games usually exist out there, or the collaborations are very superficial, like events and things like that,” he said. “You rarely see these collaborations that dig deep into the game. And then again, visual artists are never there. really succeeded in using video games as a medium for expression, allowing artists to leave their mark on a game they love while also showing fans of the game the title in a new light.”

The new Polycade Limiteds Asteroids in action.

In addition, New York street artist Buff Monster is the second artist collab. The game he will be reskinning has not yet been announced. Buff Monster’s art exudes pop art with bright colors and bold lines, which is especially evident in large-scale murals and paintings.

“Once you own one of these new titles, you can access it from all our slot machines, including those in bars and restaurants,” said Tyler Bushnell. “The arcade machines are essentially modern consoles. They can be placed in commercial or residential environments. You have a player account, you can log into the machines wherever they are, and your games will come with you.”

Founded in 2015, Polycade’s mission is to build community through gaming by combining the arcade social experience with modern games and technology. Users can experience Polycade through the Polycade Arcade Cabinet and the downloadable Polycade software. Polycade allows users to play games of any generation and use one interface to combine all their favorite platforms.

Polycade has about 1,000 machines on the market, including a few at Two-Bit Circus, a large arcade and amusement center owned by Tyler’s brother Brent Bushnell. Investors include Founders Fund, Wavemaker Partners, Gaingels and MVP All-Star Fund. It has six people.

Tyler Bushnell said some of the inspiration goes back to an event his sister, Alyssa Bushnell, was a part of at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It was about video games and art, and it stuck with the younger brother over time.

“Video games are very much art,” he said.

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