Go Behind the Scenes with Jeff Minter on the Making of Akka Arrh
Insight into how this project came to be
Today, Atari has revealed a new behind-the-scenes video with legendary game designer Jeff Minter. In it, Minter discusses the recently launched Akka Arrh, the psychedelic, retro-inspired tube shooter based on an infamous Atari prototype from the early 80s.
Akka Arrh started out as a prototype project with only three known arcade cabinets in existence, one of which resided with a diehard collector for years. The title courted controversy when a gaming enthusiast got his hands on the ROMs, copied them and distributed them without permission. Jeff Minter, intrigued by the legendary game, decided to take the project under his wing and modernize it — with a few of his own eccentric twists.
Akka Arrh, despite its obvious retro influence, is not a traditional arcade game. “It’s not trying to throw you off every three minutes so you put another coin in the slot,” said Minter, commenting on the game’s more relaxed and casual pace.
Minter carefully approached retooling the gameplay, making sure he retained some of the game’s original mechanics while also adding accessibility features and making the gameplay more asymmetric and dynamic. When it came to the soundscape, Jeff explains, “I didn’t quite know what music I wanted to put into it, but then I decided I wanted to try some semi-generative stuff. It’s a tonal sequence which is generated by the enemies and by your actions as you shoot enemies, which gives each level a distinctive feel.”
While it took Minter a long time to put the pieces together that would ultimately become his version of Akka Arrh, he humbly explains that the game’s classic arcade feel and simplistic gameplay really are the heart of its charm. Influenced by the prolific works of game designer Eugene Jarvis, Minter explains that there is a certain aesthetic present at the roots of all of the games that he’s developed, and Akka Arrh brings it all together in a package that is both intriguing and utterly chaotic — all by design, of course.