On 28 October, 1981, 17-year-old Kurt Sova departed his family home in Newburgh Heights, Ohio
to attend a Halloween party. Once he arrived, he was said to be one of the youngest in attendance and spent much of the night getting drunk. His friends said he was drinking far too much and had to be taken outside to get some fresh air and sober up. He was left outside while a friend went to retrieve his coat. However, when the friend returned, Sova was nowhere to be seen. Later on in the evening, Sova’s mother came to the apartment in search of her son but the occupant claimed they hadn’t thrown a party nor had they seen Sova. This claim was recanted once authorities were called. His body was discovered in a ravine near Sova’s family home the following week - he had a few minor cuts and bruises and was his shoes were missing. His cause of death could not be determined but his family refused to believe that he had died of natural causes. It was noted that his death was similar to 13-year-old Eugene Kvet, who was coincidentally an acquaintance of Sova.
So while scouring these back issues of Compute! I found a lot of knock-off games that used ‘Asteroids’ in the title. Mildly amusing to see some would-bes try and cash-in on popular titles of the day with little change to it all, outside of a few extra words or punctuation.
Turns out, Atari wasn’t amused, and released this message to any would-be programmers and pirates: that their titles are copyrighted, but they will gladly discuss licensing the names to any copycat to protect their brands.