Atari Is Remaking A Secret Game It Scrapped In 1982 For Being Way Too Difficult

Screenshot from Atari's remade Akkh Arrh game.
You're in rare company if you ever played Akka Arrh, a short-lived and ultra-rare arcade cabinet prototype that Atari released to a small test market in 1982. Now 40 years later, Atari is remaking the game to play on PC and modern consoles, including the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and of course the Atari VCS for an early 2023 release.

The reason Akka Arrh never graduated from prototype status is because Atari scrapped the game after players found it too difficult. Incidentally, the same trait has become a selling point four decade years later, with FromSoftware receiving acclaim for popular titles like Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Elden Ring, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

In that respect, Akka Arrh may have been ahead of its time. And not necessarily by a lot—Capcom's Mega Man games challenged gamers from the late 1980s onward, while titles like Battletoads and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) often make the cut on lists of the most difficult games of all time.

According to Atari, only three Akka Arrh arcade cabinets are known to still exist. Soon, however, it will be accessible to millions of players with updated graphics. Here's a preview...

Described as a "chaotic explosion of synthwave madness," Akka Arrh comes from the creative mind of Jeff Minter who has created nearly 100 games for various platforms spanning back to the Sinclair ZX80. Among them are several remakes, including Tempest 2000 and Defender 2000 for the Jaguar. HIs most recent release is Moose Life, which released to Steam in 2004 and the PlayStation 4 in 2021.

"Akka Arrh completely encapsulates creator Jeff Minter’s sense of humor, his love of psychedelic color and light, and his ability to create pure arcade bliss. A frenzied kaleidoscope of neon insanity, Akka Arrh brings back the arcade experience with a vengeance," Atari says.

There are two game modes in Akka Arrh, with players being able to start from the beginning and work their way through 50 levels, or pick up where they left off (via game saves) to reach the end. In addition, Atari says it is making the game more accessible by adding a toggle to the visual effects in case anyone needs to turn them off (presumably for anyone sensitive to seizures from flashing lights).