Tesla Autopilot V9 Transforms the Car Screen Into the Coolest Atari Arcade

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Tesla’s new software update is rolling out to its three vehicles, and early testers are going hands-on with an array of classic retro games. CEO Elon Musk has made good on his promise to include a set of Atari games with update version nine, which also brings a series of changes to the semi-autonomous Autopilot driving mode and a cleaner user interface.

The release bundles three retro Atari games:

  • Missile Command. This 1980 arcade game saw two players alternating, using three buttons and a trackball to defend a series of cities against missile attacks.
  • Lunar Lander. This 1979 arcade game saw one player landing a spaceship on the moon through a monochrome display, a rather fitting tribute to SpaceX’s efforts to send robots to the moon in 2020.
  • Centipede. This 1980 arcade game saw two players taking turns to destroy a centipede by firing a gun at the segments of the insect, with a full color display depicting all the action.

Watch the games in action here:

Tesla has a habit of making references to tech-pop culture. The cars include a “Ludicrous Mode” as a reference to the ‘80s sci-fi spoof Spaceballs, while the upcoming second-generation Roadster offers a “Plaid Mode” that references the same movie. A series of hidden easter eggs also enables users to transform their user interface into something from a kart racing game.

Musk announced back in May that the Model S, X and 3 will include a series of fun games that use the center touchscreen console for controls, prompting a flurry of suggestions around games that could fit in the car’s control system. Suggestions included Fortnite, Deus Ex and Crazy Taxi. Musk announced in August that version nine would include Atari games, suggesting Tesla had received approval from the company itself.

The list differs slightly from what Musk was hoping to include back in August. He wrote on Twitter that the company was aiming to Tempest and Pole Position alongside Missile Command, with the latter game linked to the steering wheel for the ultimate retro control experience. Perhaps with Autopilot 10, expected to also offer the first signs of full autonomous driving, Pole Position could make its debut.

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