PS4 And PC Release Of TxK Blocked By Atari

Trouble in the arcade.

Jeff Minter, the creator of TxK, has taken to Twitter and his own website to accuse Atari of blocking the release of the psychedelic shooter on other platforms, including PC and PS4.

Minter describes TxK as a “distantly related sequel” to Tempest 2000 but Atari seem to disagree and are pursuing legal action against him. The reason behind all of this is made clear in a post on Minter’s website where he runs through a long list of the accusations sent his way by Atari, including that he “stole secrets and source code during his time working on Tempest 2000”.

He also states that he tried to convince Atari to let him use official Tempest branding for TxK ports but was met with nothing but “intransigence”. Atari have also insisted that TxK be removed from the PlayStation Vita store as he is making money from what they perceive to be their property.

A series of tweets indicate just how upset Minter is with Atari by saying how he “loved working for Atari” to then follow up by saying he “never one day imagined he would be savaged by its undead corpse”.

Atari are yet to comment on the matter.

Source: Twitter

UPDATE: Atari has released a statement to VentureBeat, stating that while there is no lawsuit, they have been in touch since release hoping that the matter would be resolved:

Atari values and protects its intellectual property and expects others to respect its copyrights and trademarks. When Llamasoft launched TxK in early 2014, Atari was surprised and dismayed by the very close similarities between TxK and the Tempest franchise. Atari was not alone in noticing the incredible likeness between the titles. Several major gaming outlets also remarked at the similarity of features and overall appearance of TxK to Tempest; one stated of TxK, “This is essentially Tempest.” There is no lawsuit. Atari has been in continuous contact with the developer since the game launched in hopes that the matter would be resolved.


  1. Sounds pretty harsh, poor guy.

  2. I feel so sorry for him, he’s clearly having a terrible time. Good on him for being open about it, looks like he’s getting a lot of public support and rightly so.

  3. While Minter is obviously a legend, and a PS4 port of TxK (or indeed anything else) would be a good opportunity to melt my eyeballs to the back of my skull…

    He’s been a bit stupid here. It’s obviously Tempest, he admits as much, the name is kind of a hint at it, and he even approached “Atari” about calling it such?

    And then wonders why they’re upset?

    On the other hand, “Atari” can piss off. There’s not much they can do about it, is there? You can’t claim copyright on such things, can you? Graphics and sound? Sure. But he’s not stolen those. The name Tempest is a trademark that “Atari” bought, but he’s not using that, so probably no issue there. The gameplay? Can’t do anything about that, otherwise every FPS since Doom (or earlier) would be screwed.

    They might have some claim that he had access to the source code for Tempest 2000, since he wrote it. And that would belong to “Atari”.

    Hopefully it’ll get sorted and we’ll get a PS4 version. Without any money going to this company calling themselves Atari.

  4. I like how they call it a franchise as if its a yearly release when it just gets put on retro compilations every few years.

  5. I like how Atari say there is no lawsuit, yet the letter they sent him asked for details of all sales and revenue and asked him to pay damages, so sounds very much like a lawsuit would be the next step.
    I have every sympathy with Jeff with him having worked on T2K, but the fact remains he didn’t create Tempest, and Atari owns the rights to it. Arguably, without T2K you would argue that the Tempest name would have disappeared into history.
    By his own record, Minter sold this game on the back of the Tempest name so he should really have known better.

    • That letter even states that the next step is a lawsuit. It says he’s got 14 days to agree to everything or they’ll issue legal proceedings.

      Well, actually it “invites” him to agree to it. Which sounds all cute and charming with no threat at all. Like a shark wearing a cute little hat at a jaunty angle.

      But that’s from June last year. So those 14 days are up and either they decided they hadn’t really got a case against him or they’re taking a long time about it (presumably bumping those legal costs up in the process)

  6. I wonder why Atari never blocked the release of t3k on the nuon? Hopefully they see sense & let this pass. Not sure JM would have made a fortune from the release of TxK on the vita, but if he hadn’t done such a great job of t2k on the jaguar, would anyone even be talking about tempest now??

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