Bad weather is often annoying in video games, but in 1983 Activision released a racing game for the Atari 2600 based entirely on the concept of driving in horrible conditions. It was called Enduro and on May 5, 2011 you’ll be able to check it out on the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. That's, like, soon!

Enduro, just to be clear, is an actual racing game. The goal is always to pass other cars and “win” the opportunity to participate in the next race. The weather hook is a random element, but also a defining one: as you race, you’ll encounter snow, fog, and rain, all of which have an effect on the pace at which you can race.

For example, when it’s snowing, it’s not wise to put the pedal on the floor, as you’ll no doubt cause a wreck as you lose control.

Developer Nemo Games is responsible for this iOS port of Enduro. For the most part, it appears as if the studio is keeping the game generally as is: the visuals look on par with the original, and the stiff, Atari-age movement is still very much “in.”

The controls, however, are receiving an upgrade. Now, you’ll be able to tilt your device to move the car left or right on the road. Previously, you had to use a joystick.

Enduro saw its last re-release in July 2010 on Microsoft’s Game Room for Xbox LIVE Arcade and Games for Windows LIVE. Before this, it was released as part of the disc-based Activision Anthology collection in 2002.

These two little fact nuggets are leading me to an uncomfortable question: Does Nemo own the digital rights to this game? If so, how did it obtain them? Less than a year ago, at least, Atari or Activision were able to put out a digital version of the game on a new platform -- or, at least, strike a deal with Microsoft for the port.

The answer is that Nemo hasn't been given the rights or OK to release an iOS port of Enduro. In an e-mail exchange (I asked if it had the IP), a representative told us "We saw other Atari 2600 games on the App Store and we believe that they are without IP. We didn’t claim that we have the IP, so we recreate Enduro for 2600 lovers... but, no, we don’t have IP!"

But if whoever owns the IP come a knockin', Nemo will take it down. "And we hope that people don't get mad at us because of doing so," the representative said. "We'd instantly remove the app if we're told by the owner of the stuff." So... there's that.

  • Charles Albert

    I know that there is a lot of room for retro, but this is really viable? Launch a game exacly like it was 30 years ago without ANY IMPROVEMENT WHATSOEVER? At least give it a graphic retouch, something 8-bit or 16-bit like, but THIS? I can't understand.

    • Dmarcoot

      Because players my age like the nostalgia of it. This game is so primitive, that to improve it would make it something else altogether,

    • Soul of Wit

      It's all about nostalgia. This was a favorite of mine back in the 2600 days. I enjoy minimalist things, in general. I know younger people who see "retro" as an enjoyable casual experience. They might prefer the latest 3-D wonder game, but they also like a palate cleanser, if you will. Games like this are something to change things up, before moving on to the next cutting edge game.

    • Dave

      Most of the time one of these retro games gets posted, it gets 2 or 3 replies at most, one of which is usually from another TA writer like Blake. So with popularity like that, it's easy to see why these keep making the front page...

      • Eli Hodapp

        Our retro stories are actually quite popular, they attract a different crowd of people who don't usually seem compelled to comment. In fact, our most viewed story as of late had to do with the new Atari emulator. This might have to do with retro folks being an older crowd who don't feel compelled to post that they think something is lame which is how stories that aren't that cool get tons of comments. 😉

      • Dave

        Comparing one of the most popular game systems of all times re-releasing it's entire catalogue to a story like this is apples and oranges, Eli, and you know that. And for the record, I was alive when the 2600 came out, and even owned a copy of ET, but I've moved on.

      • Eli Hodapp

        The point is, don't judge the popularity of stories based on the amount of comments they receive.

  • Ecco6t9

    Activision owns the rights, based on River Raid,Sea Quest,Kaboom being up on the iOS store they don't seem to mind.

    Either that or Activision likes to forget anything they made before 2000.

  • Anonymous

    I don't see why Brad seems surprised by this. The same developer did similar games for Freeway (chicken crossing the road), Bermuda (a River Raid clone), and Atlantis -- which itself got a writeup on the Touch Arcade front page.

    As a chronologically advanced touch arcade fan, I say don't ever stop with the retro reviews. Oldies in my pocket are a major reason why I love my iPhone.

    Oh, and Nemo's ports are good stuff, all cheap, fun, universal. But I thought he was taking on Demon Attack next?

  • Stan Winstone

    Yeah that's not Atari- Activision will definitely bust them right off the store.

  • Alan Leishman

    Lame! iphone sucks man. Android for the win dude etc, etc. (just to make you feel popular :-D)

  • Matthew Seidl

    It's unfortunate that you decided to help them make money off the fruits of someone else's efforts by posting this review.

  • Chris Reed

    Hey, we read old books, watch old movies, listen to old tunes...why?   Because they were great and still are.  Bringing these games which brighten our memories to iphone is great.  Its up to us whether we buy them...

  • Rondun91

    hell rerelease the atari 2600 if u wanna go that far