Atari games built into mobile device

A US toy maker is to sell a portable joypad with 10 classic Atari 2600 games built in

For video-gaming enthusiasts who don't wish to shell out hundreds of pounds for the latest console, there may be an alternative in the form of an upcoming $20 (£14) device for playing classic Atari 2600 games.

The "Atari 10-in-1 TV Games" device is a basic joypad with 10 built-in 8-bit Atari games and a standard ATV output cable allowing it to connect to any standard television. The device will join a similar product, launched last year, that plays Activision games.

The device includes classics such as Centipede, Asteroids, Missile Command, Battlezone, Adventure, Combat and four others, according to Jakks Pacific, which is making the device under licence from Infogrames Interactive, owner of the Atari intellectual property. It will retail under the brand of Jakks' Toymax International subsidiary.

The TV Games toy runs on four AA batteries, and doesn't require any other equipment besides a television.

The nostalgic appeal of classic videogames has proved enduring, even as console technology has grown powerful enough to render photorealistic 3D images. Midway, for example, has continued to port its classic games -- such as Defender and Joust -- to platforms like the Game Boy Advance and Dreamcast. The games maker is also planning to license its technology to Web sites, PDAs, mobile phones and interactive television.

British mobile phone developer IFone said last year it would work to put classic Atari games into mobile phones, and this year has announced deals with Ericsson and Vodafone to deliver games.

Atari enthusiasts have also devoted themselves to retrofitting the old wood-panelled consoles in a variety of ways, from making one into a Game Boy-like handheld to building one into the dashboard of a 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco.

France-based Infogrames Entertainment purchased Hasbro Interactive (now Infogrames Interactive) last year, and with it the Atari software rights.

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