The LGBTQ friendly Pridefest is in Atari’s DNA, about connecting and being social


Atari’s free-to-play Pridefest is currently available on Android in Australia and New Zealand ahead of a worldwide release on both iOS and Android. Stevivor sat down with Atari’s CEO, Frederic Chesnais, and COO, Todd Shallbetter, to discuss the game.

Pridefest puts gamers in the shoes of a town’s Mayor as it turns grey. The Mayor’s job, over 40 story missions, is to bring colour and joy back through design and, of course, fabulous pride parades. Obviously very LGBTQ friendly, the title has been featured at New York’s actual Pride Parade and at gaming conventions like GaymerX, which is getting its own Australian version next year.

Moreover, Pridefest — alongside titles like Haunted House and Alone in the Dark — are being used to revitalise the well-known Atari brand. To Frederic Chesnais, that’s a secondary concern.

“It’s not a brand move, releasing this game – it’s something I just wanted to do,” Chesnais began. “I would have done it with or without the Atari brand.

Pridefest is something that we at Atari have always wanted to do. It’s part of our DNA to always find something new. To make something for the community; to find another way to find friends,” he said. “To bring something that is not only fun, but contributes to discussion in the community.

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Chesnais is referring to Pridefest‘s social aspects, allowing players to meet and chat with others, in-game.

“You can play and participate,” he began, “but if you want, you can also interact with the community. If you’re in a big city, you might not care, but those in the small towns have a way to reach out and speak to others as well.”

Todd Shallbetter wholeheartedly agreed. “Isolation — social isolation more importantly — is important to address,” he said.

“It circles back to our brand identity. As Atari went through gaming and we at the forefront of the innovation of gaming, it’s always been about bringing people together,” Shallbetter said. “Games like Pong and Asteroids brought people together, head-to-head. They brought people from different circles that mightn’t have ever interacted before, together.”

“Atari’s always been an inclusive community — and that’s partially why we’re serving the LGBTQ community — but more than that it’s because we want people to connect,” he mused. “And make friends. And be social.”

Pridefest can be downloaded here on Android for those in Australia and New Zealand. We’ll keep you informed as to when the title becomes available on iOS and in other regions of the world.

Update: Pridefest is now available on iOS in both Australia and New Zealand.