Akka Arrh (found prototype of unreleased Atari arcade game; 1982)
Date found: 24 Apr 2019 (leak) / 11 Nov 2022 (official release)
Found by: Anonymous (leak) and Atari (official release)
Akka Arrh is an unreleased prototype arcade game made by Atari's Mike Hally and Dave Ralston. The name Akka Arrh is a play on words for Also Known As Another Ralston Hally production. The arcade game was shown in 1982 to a small test market. However, the test market was unsuccessful as those that played Akka Arrh considered the game to be too difficult. This caused Atari to cancel Akka Arrh in support of other Atari arcade games at the time.
For one thousand years, the galaxy lived in peace thanks to the Atarian Federation. However, that peace would come to a halt when the evil Jorzon and his forces attacked, leaving the galaxy in despair. A turret called the Sentinel must use an ancient star cannon called Akka Arrh which must be used to defeat Jorzon and restore peace to the galaxy.
In Akka Arrh, the player controls the Sentinel which is fixed in the center of the screen surrounded by a black octagonal field. The game uses a trackball to target enemies, similar to Missile Command. The player has to shoot all of the enemies outside of the octagonal field. If one or more of the enemies enter the octagonal field, the player can be able to zoom in on the screen to shoot the enemies in the octagonal field and zoom back out to shoot at advancing enemies.
Because Akka Arrh was only released to a small test market, only three arcade cabinets of Akka Arrh were known to exist. Since the arcade cabinets were rare and valuable, the people that owned each of the three arcade units respectively have refused to dump the Akka Arrh ROM online. This resulted in Akka Arrh being unseen to the public for years ever since the game's test-market release. The only time that one of the three Akka Arrh cabinets was shown to the public in recent years was in a celebratory arcade game show called California Extreme at Hyatt Regency Santa Clara in 2012.
On April 15th, 2019, MAMEWorld Forums user Smitdogg, who is the CEO of an arcade preservation group called The Dumping Union, uploaded four images of Akka Arrh on the MAMEWorld Forums, saying that The Dumping Union has received a ROM dump of Akka Arrh. According to Smitdogg, the ROM was given to The Dumping Union by an anonymous dumper.
On April 24th, 2019, the MAME 0.209 update was released which allowed the arcade emulator MAME to play the Akka Arrh ROM online.
On November 11th, 2022, Atari officially released the game as part of their Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration collection. It is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox One consoles.
With Akka Arrh now playable on MAME, people online started to wonder how the anonymous dumper got their hands on the Akka Arrh ROM in the first place. Considering the game's rarity and the owners of the three existing arcade cabinets refusing to dump Akka Arrh online, people started to believe that the Akka Arrh ROM was stolen from one of the existing Akka Arrh arcade cabinets.
One user on the MAMEWorld Forums named atariscott claimed to know an incident regarding Akka Arrh. In the MAMEWorld Forums, atariscott reports that a collector who owned one of the three Akka Arrh arcade cabinets had a technician fix some of the collector's games. The technician was then able to copy Akka Arrh into a ROM without the collector's permission. The Akka Arrh arcade cabinet was not broken and not one of the games the technician was told to fix. As a result, the collector had to look through months of security footage to see if he could catch the technician stealing the Akka Arrh ROM. However, some people online are skeptical about the story's validity.
The YouTube channel Hot Take uploaded a YouTube video with Shane from Rerez and Adam discussing the possibility of atariscott's story not being true, especially when considering the time and risk it would take for someone to extract a ROM file from an arcade machine without destroying it. It has not been verified as to whether the Akka Arrh ROM was stolen or just dumped online by one of the owners of the three existing arcade cabinets. Either way, the Akka Arrh ROM is now available to the public and can be played through MAME.
- News article from Ars Technica about Akka Arrh and the controversy surrounding the game.
- Screenshots of Akka Arrh uploaded by Smitdogg as part of Dumping Union News on the MAMEWorld Forums.
- Screenshots of Akka Arrh listed on a category of "unMAMEd Atari Games"
- Syfy Wire article on the leaked Akka Arrh ROM.
- News on the MAME 0.209 update that allows support for the Akka Arrh ROM.
- The post made by MAMEWorld Forums user atariscott surrounding the controversy about the Akka Arrh ROM.
- Gamers Classified article on the Akka Arrh ROM and the controversy surrounding Akka Arrh being dumped online.
- Shane and Adam of Rerez and Hot Take discussing the Akka Arrh controversy.