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Atari is developing Centipede and Missile Command movies

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Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images

Old-school video games Centipede and Missile Command are making the leap from the arcade cabinet to the big screen: Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Atari are partnering to produce and finance two feature films based on the 8-bit shoot ’em up adventures over the next two years, the companies have announced.

Centipede tasks players with sniping waves of cascading insects, while the Cold War-inflected Missile Command involves protecting cities from raining ICBMs. Both games launched in 1980.

The films are in the early stages of development, with no word yet on plot details, writers, or directors. Randall Emmett and George Furla will produce.

Centipede and Missile Command are part of Atari’s unparalleled and rich library of popular games and we cannot wait to see these classic favorites come to life in the movies,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said in a statement.

While video game-based movies are common in Hollywood — other upcoming examples include Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft, and Tomb Raider — properties like Centipede and Missile Defense are less obvious candidates for adaptation because they don’t offer much in the way of story or characters. Then again, studios are increasingly trying to leverage recognizable intellectual property to help sell tickets, even if the source material isn’t narrative in nature. That strategy has produced hits (The Lego Movie) and flops (Battleship) and doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon.

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