You could soon stay in a video-game themed hotel that features gaming consoles in every room, retro arcade games, speakeasies, and futuristic, cyberpunk designs

  • Video game company Atari announced plans to open eight gaming-themed hotels around the US starting in 2022.
  • Insider spoke with Napoleon Smith III, managing partner of the GSD Group, a hotel management company working with Atari on the design.
  • He said the hotels aim to merge nostalgia with cutting-edge technology.
  • The hotels may have gaming arcades, digital paneling that will reflect people's avatars instead of their reflection, Esports multiplexes, and pop-culture-themed bars and immersive restaurants.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Pong, Centipede, RollerCoaster Tycoon: You might remember these Atari games from your childhood — or at the very least from binge-watching "Stranger Things" on Netflix.

The famous video game company now wants to take you back to the future and has announced plans to open eight nostalgic but futuristic video game-themed Atari Hotels across the US.

The first hotel is set to open in Las Vegas in 2022, according to Napoleon Smith III, managing partner of the GSD Group, a hotel management company working with Atari.

A second hotel is slated to open shortly after in Phoenix, followed by more hotels in Chicago; Denver; Seattle; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and San Jose, California.

The hotel resembles the Atari logo.

Smith told Insider that he credits Atari with first getting people to immerse themselves in entertainment, rather than just watch it, and recalled entire families of all generations playing together with Atari consoles.

That nostalgia is what the hotels aim to tap into — but with cutting-edge technology.

Smith described the Atari Hotels design as "the nostalgia to where you can almost feel at home, but a home from the future, 'Jetsons' style," and said the hotel's vibe will be "cyberpunk and retro-cool. We want the future, but like what the 1980s thought of the future."

Smith said that the gaming industry is massive — bigger than music and TV — but that there's still no lifestyle space for gamers 

Hotels will have cutting-edge technology.
GSD Group/Gensler

The global video games market is projected to grow to $293 billion by 2027. 

"Gaming is a lifestyle, and gamers have no way of really experiencing their lifestyle when they're outside their home," Smith told Insider.

He noted that Comic-Con sells out so quickly every year, which shows him that thirst for this sort of space exists. 

"This is a place where nerds can let their nerd flag fly," he said.

Hotel rooms will have all the games, hookups, and consoles a gamer could need

Smith describes the hotels' aesthetic as "cyberpunk and retro-cool."
GSD Group/Gensler

As to how to get gamers off of their own couches and into a hotel, Smith compared playing video games at home to fishing in a pond and playing at an Atari hotel to deep-sea fishing.

He said that Atari hotels will provide all of the top-of-the-line equipment a gamer could possibly need.

"We'll have the technology," he said, citing high-speed bandwidth, multiple low-latency TV screens, and even lighting setups for Twitch.

However, the Atari hotels aren't looking to attract only gamers — Smith said the rooms will appeal to everyone — nor do they want gamers to stay in their rooms all day.

Atari hotels will be interactive and immersive in their entirety

The hotels are meant to be fun and for families as well as gamers.
GSD Group/Gensler

"We want you to come in and feel like you're seeing the world that you see in the movies and seeing the world you see in video games," Smith said.

He cited interactive and immersive experiences throughout hotels, such as gaming arcades, digital paneling that will reflect people's avatars instead of their reflection, go-kart tracks that look like they're straight out of a video game, and an Esports multiplex.

For adults, Smith said there will be nightclubs, speakeasies, and pop-culture-themed bars, but also immersive restaurants for the whole family similar to a Chuck E. Cheese.

"It's definitely a place for gamers, but it's also for families. We always believe that a family that plays together stays together," he said, citing a dearth of truly family-friendly spots in Vegas. "We really want to bring some stuff that you only see in games to life."

He said the hotels are going for a "synthetic reality" vibe, which he described as the blurring of the lines between games and reality. According to Smith, the hotels are working with Meow Wolf, a company that creates immersive art installations, to make every part of the hotel experiential in some way. 

"As you're walking through the space, everything is going to have some kind of gamification and fun to it," he said.

"I think we [as a society] went too far digital in our entertainment, and now people are clamoring for something tactile, something that they can touch and be a part of," he said, attributing this to the initial success of attractions such as those created by Meow Wolf.

Unlike most hotels that have restaurants and entertainment on the bottom floors and lodging in the rest, Smith said Atari hotels will have entertainment across floors

"This is a place where nerds can let their nerd flag fly," said Smith.

Built to have two towers framing a sort of gulf, similar to a cruise ship, he said the middle will be where most of the action is concentrated and predicts that guests will prefer rooms facing inwards.

He compared the design to "The Fifth Element" movie, describing "a city within" with a "very dystopian, future-modern 'Blade Runner' kind of fun look."

"We want to see how much fun we can make one place for families and people who just want to feel that kid at heart that they've forgotten for a while," Smith said. "I think it's kind of needed, especially after what we've gone through this past year."

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