Yesterday, I read about Atari suing Tempest creator Jeff Minter and his company Llamasoft regarding his new Tempest-esque game TxK. Initially, I thought it to be incredibly stupid since, y’know, the man created Tempest and its sequel Tempest 2000. Of course, why would Atari, recently resurrected from its bankruptcy, want to control something they clearly don’t?
Well, there’s the little case of Mr. Minter’s new game looking and playing remarkably like his previous works – so much so, you’d swear you were looking at Tempest! Furthermore, it would seem by his statements that Mr. Minter thinks since he created Tempest, he owns the rights to it automatically. Just ask Wally Amos how that went when he tried to use the word “Amos” in what ultimately became known as NoName Cookies. That combined with how similar TxK looks and plays to the game its supposedly just ‘based’ off of, and you’ve got yourself an excellent, well-defensible reason to sue somebody.
In short, Jeff Minter seems like an otherwise well-meaning fellow who’s convinced himself into believing a lie and is refusing to think otherwise. I hope he shakes himself loose – because if he doesn’t, he’s gonna be sued profusely. And not by Douglas TenNapel.