In the late 1970s and early ’80s, the toy most coveted by kids was the Atari 2600 Video Computer System. While the graphics seem rudimentary by today’s near photo-realistic 3D gaming standards, when the VCS was released for Christmas of 1977, it was revolutionary to be able to interact with your TV set in such a way.
In fact, Atari set the whole video-game craze in motion with its 1972 coin-operated arcade game Pong. Even though Nutting Associates technically produced the first arcade computer game, 1971’s Computer Space, no one paid attention to this new form of entertainment until the game’s creator, Nolan Bushnell, formed a new company of his own called Atari and released Pong. During the arcade years that followed, Atari made several coin-operated hits: Breakout, Atari Football, Asteroids, Battlezone, Missile Command, Centipede, Dig Dug, Pole Position, Marble Madness, Gauntlet, and even Star Wars.
Atari also did not introduce the first home video-gaming console, but it did make the most successful one of the era. Kids would cram around TVs in rec rooms, fighting over the black joysticks with red fire buttons, playing games like Canyon Bomber, Adventure, Kaboom!, Superman, Spike’s Peak, Barnstorming, Yars’ Revenge, and Pitfall! Atari churned out hundreds of game cartridges, including some of popular coin-operated machine titles like its own Pong and Midway’s Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, as well as games based on movies.
At the height of its success in 1982, Atari introduced the new 5200 system. Even though the company was advertising its games during prime Saturday morning cartoon time, Atari now faced tough competition from the Commodore 64 and ColecoVision. Atari faded out of fashion by 1985, when the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was introduced.
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System Overload. // The National Videogame Museum Is Slated For A December ...Central Track, October 12th
Upon its opening, the space will also feature pumped-in Muzak and a counter of game consoles ranging from the Atari 2600 to the PS3. Those systems will rotate in and out, allowing for hands-on play of yesteryear's biggest hits and failures. A first...Read more
5 Movie Directors Who Need to Make a Video GameThe Cheat Sheet, October 12th
The Atari 2600 game E.T. is one of the worst pieces of software ever to land on store shelves, but he's had a hand in hits like Medal of Honor and the infectiously fun Wii game Boom Blox. It's doubtful Spielberg took a very hands-on approach to any of...Read more
#TBT Drama swirls around video game darling Atari in 1983Silicon Valley Business Journal, October 1st
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Atari was a Silicon Valley darling. It literally created the modern video arcade industry with Pong in 1972 and the Nolan Bushnell-led company invaded the living room with the Atari VCS (later renamed the Atari 2600) in 1977...Read more
Stella 4.6.5 Multi-Platform and Free Atari 2600 VCS Emulator Officially ReleasedSoftpedia News, September 27th
The developers of the Stella open-source, cross-platform, and free Atari 2600 VCS emulator software for GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X operating systems, have announced the release of Stella 4.6.5. According to the release notes (attached ...Read more
The Ubiquitous Atari Punk ConsoleHackaday, September 17th
originally simply named “Sound Synthesizer”, the circuit gained it's more recent popularity when re-dubbed the “Atari Punk Console” by Kaustic Machines. The circuit however doesn't bear much relation to the Atari 2600 which didn't contain a 555...Read more
Atari 'tomb' now a treasure troveThe Columbian, September 13th
The games weren't worth all that much in their own right, Rick Weis, who has collected about 2,000 cartridges for Atari 2600 games, said in an email. They're fairly common titles, most worth $5 or so. But the cartridges ballooned in value as collectors...Read more
Daily News staff shares favorite Atari 2600 gamesNew York Daily News, August 31st
The legend of the discarded Atari 2600 games is more than just an urban legend—it's a jackpot. The Alamogordo News reported that 881 Atari cartridges of the classic flop "E.T." game were discovered in an excavation in New Mexico. Several other games ...Read more
Hilariously Deceptive Atari 2600 Box ArtYahoo Tech, August 14th
The Atari 2600 remains a beloved video game system. Countless old-school geeks grew up entranced by its sturdy joystick, faux-wood paneling, and of course, wealth of legendary games. But we were also suckered into buying tons of cartridges that came ...Read more