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Atari has launched its Atari Capsule Collection of collectible nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which use blockchain technology to uniquely identify collectibles for Pong and Centipede.

The move capitalizes on the nostalgia for the classic video games and the new craze for NFTs, which enable the authentication of unique digital items.

In the past few months, NFTs have exploded in other applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Published by Animoca Brands and built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $230 million in sales, five months after going public to a worldwide audience. And an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Investors are pouring money into NFTs, and some of those investors are game fans.

“NFTs are the future of gaming because at some point gamers will realize that all of the money and time they invest in games are purely on a rental basis,” said Ibrahim El-Mouelhy, chief communications officer at Animoca, in an email to GamesBeat. “With NFTs, gamers will finally truly own their in-game assets, which also means that they can benefit from them in more ways than was previously possible with strictly controlled game content (for example, by trading these game assets on the open market). We see true digital ownership and play-to-earn as the future of gaming.”

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The collection commemorates video game pioneers — Dona Bailey (Centipede) and Al Alcorn (Pong) — who helped to pave the way for the industry and who were both heavily involved in the creation of this collection of rare retro-collectibles. The first item will go up for sale at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 30 with the final auction concluding on the evening of Friday, April 2.

This Atari Capsule Collection includes an assortment of collectibles across a broad range of price points in order to appeal to all Atari fans, Centipede and Pong fans, casual collectors, Quidd users, crypto collectors, investors, and digital museums.

Various companies collaborated to bring the Atari Capsule Collection to market: Quidd, Animoca Brands’ digital collectibles subsidiary; Blockparty, the artist-centric NFT marketplace; Harmony, the first proof-of-stake and sharding mainnet blockchain; and OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace.

The NFTs in the Atari Capsule Collection will be issued on the Ethereum and Harmony blockchains, guaranteeing their provenance, authenticity, and originality, and enabling Atari fans, premium art collectors, retro games enthusiasts, and crypto investors to own a piece of video game history.

Originally released in 1981, Centipede is a fixed shooter arcade game that became one of the most successful titles of its time, and one of the first to attract a significant female player base. Co-creator Dona Bailey is celebrated in this series of collectibles, which boasts the only physical item in the series.

Centipede: Dona Bailey

Above: Dona Bailey

Image Credit: Atari

Available for purchase are the following: Centipede Flagship (limited series of one), a restored and working original Centipede Coin-Op physical cabinet accompanied by one fully interactive, limited series of one digital Centipede Coin-Op cabinet NFT bearing the digital autograph of Dona Bailey.

The owner of this combined physical-digital piece will also receive a unique augmented reality experience Centipede Reality (Limited series of three): 3D NFTs featuring stylized, pixelated Centipede arcade sprites Centipede Artist’s Rendition (limited series of ten): 2D digital collectible NFTs of Centipede-inspired pixel art Centipede 2600 Cartridge Classic (limited series of twenty): 3D digital collectible NFTs of the original Centipede 2600 cartridge.

The first five cartridges purchased will be gold editions, and the remaining 15 will be the standard black cartridge.

Pong: Al Alcorn

Above: Al Alcorn, creator of Pong

Image Credit: Atari

First released in 1972 and originally created by Al Alcorn as a training exercise, Pong is the quintessential arcade game.

The massively popular commercial blockbuster paved the way for the $175 billion video game industry that we know today. The Pong installment of the Atari Capsule Collection offers the following products for purchase:

  • Pong Flagship (limited series of one): unique, fully interactive 3D NFT of the original Pong cabinet featuring a digital autograph from Al Alcorn
  • Pong First Quarter Relic (limited series of three): 3D NFT of the first quarter inserted into the first Pong arcade game at Andy Capp’s Bar in 1972, based on the actual physical quarter owned by Al Alcorn.
  • Pong Artist’s Rendition (limited series of ten): 2D digital collectible NFTs of Pong-inspired pixel art.

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