Tesla is adding Atari games to the in-car display with next software update

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Tesla’s 9.0 vehicle software update will include several playable Atari games as new Easter eggs, according to CEO Elon Musk. He said that the update should be released in “about four weeks.” In a follow-up tweet, Musk said that he’s hoping to include Pole Position, Tempest, and Missile Command “in this release,” which obviously opens the door for more to be added in the future.

Pole Position’s controls will apparently be linked to the Tesla’s actual steering wheel — while the vehicle is stopped, Musk made clear. It goes without saying, but no one should be messing around with any of this Easter egg stuff when behind the wheel of a moving car.

Later on Wednesday, Musk put out a recruiting call for video game developers. “We want to make super fun games that integrate the center touch screen, phone, and car,” he tweeted. This effort might evolve beyond quirky Easter eggs before long, though it’s unknown how capable Teslas would be at running video games. There’s still sluggishness in parts of the UX as is.

A much bigger deal for Tesla owners is that, according to Musk, software version 9.0 will begin to enable “full self-driving features” in eligible vehicles. The new update might be discussed further during Tesla’s earnings call later today.

Tesla has added a number of hidden secrets to its car software through the years. These are just a few of them:

  • Mario-Kart-style rainbow road — or “psychedelic rainbow road” in Musk’s words — that replaces the gray road on the instrument cluster (and plays audio from the Saturday Night Live cowbell skit)
  • A color-shifting light show when the vehicle’s charging handle is pressed 10 times in quick succession
  • Transforming the on-screen Tesla into James Bond’s submarine car, which Elon Musk bought in 2013
  • Accessing a sketch pad on the Tesla’s primary display
  • A holiday-themed “Santa Mode” that replaced the on-screen Tesla with Santa driving his sleigh on icy roads
  • Displaying an owner’s Tesla (as a rover) on the surface of Mars

Last year, Tesla rolled out a way of accessing its Easter eggs with a few taps.