Atari is auctioning off a full-sized vintage 'Centipede' arcade set, along with digital memorabilia

Centipede arcade marquee (1) (1)Atari.
  • Atari is auctioning off 5 digital collectibles and a physical “Centipede” arcade game.
  • The gaming brand is making pushes to stay relevant, with forthcoming hotels and a cryptocurrency.
  • The “Centipede” winner also gets an autograph and phone call from the game’s creator.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Classic video game giant Atari is selling original drawings and autographs, along with a vintage Centipede arcade game, in an online auction. This is an Animoca Brands and Quidd project. Animoca Brands is the partner of Atari and organized the drop, and the pieces will be sold on digital assets marketplace Blockparty.

The collection came with a mandate from Atari to center Atari 2600 and Centipede in the project, leaving designers to decide how to tell the story of classic games in a digital marketplace. The resulting five-piece collection is made up of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are unique digital files certified to be authentic by Blockparty. NFTs can be things like artwork, tickets, and virtual objects. 

Centipede (1)Atari.

There are a few reasons to release this auction now, Blockparty CEO Vladislav Ginzburg told Insider in a phone interview. While NFTs were first mostly attractive to people already immersed in the world of cryptocurrency, a recognizable brand like Atari “feels real” and “draws an overlap,” for outsiders to enter the market.

You “don’t have to be a crypto person to identify with Atari,” Ginzburg said. But, many crypto enthusiasts do have strong association with Atari, “because it’s such a natively digital life,” making it the ideal brand to help the technology cross over to average users.

Centipede screen dark 2000x2000 (1)Atari.

The drop is part of a larger move on Atari’s part to stay relevant to younger consumers who don’t necessarily have that nostalgic connection. In October 2020, it launched the Atari token using Ethereum blockchain, which is automatically connected with the brand’s new VCS console. That same month, strategy organization GSD Group released renderings of Atari hotels planned for Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, with six other locations slated. 

Centipede control panel 2000x2000 (1)Atari.

While NFTs play heavily in the crypto world, Ginzburg emphasized that customers will be able to bid using credit cards and other familiar payment methods. 

The pieces available are the physical Centipede game, an AI Pong cabinet, a 3D digital Centipede, an artist rendition of Centipede, and an NFT of an original Centipede 2600 cartridge.

Centipede atari logo 2000x2000 (1)Atari.

The game is set to free play, so the winner can actually use it to play Centipede, but the vintage arcade cabinet also comes with AR features.

“Why put [it] on a computer screen when we can embrace the traditional, nostalgic relic of arcade cabinet,” Ginzburg told Insider.

Centipede screen and marquee 2000x2000 (1)Atari.

Dedicated fans will find all the key details they remember, even including a slot to put in quarters and a vintage manual.

Centipede manualsAtari.

The winner will have the unique chance to play as two centipedes playing Pong, an homage to two of Atari’s most popular games. The cabinet also includes a signature from Dona Bailey, the engineer credited with Centipede, and the buyer will  get a phone interview with Bailey, which will be sent digitally to the arcade game.

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