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.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Talking Boards

Museum of Talking Boards

Prepare to enter the strange world of Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board game, which captured imaginations en masse… [read review or visit site]

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

This in-depth University of Waterloo virtual exhibit showcases vintage games in a variety of categories, from class… [read review or visit site]

Electronic Plastic

Electronic Plastic

From Tomy to Coleco to Mattel and Nintendo, check out this collection of over 660 handheld and tabletop videogames … [read review or visit site]

Pong Story

Pong Story

David Winter's tribute to early video games, and to Ralph H. Baer, 'inventor of the video game.' Offers a detailed … [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Atari Falcon 030 Vintage Computer W/ 14mb RamAtari Star Wars Arcade Control Yoke MameSega Genesis Nomad & Atari Lynx Ii Portable Game Console Bundle With Games**perfect Condition Atari Jaguar Black Console** ---- Less-than 30 Hours Usage!Atari Jaguar System And Cd Adapter Brand New In BoxAtari Jaguar With Cables And Controller + Boxed Hover StrikeRare Boxed Zak Mc Kracken Vintage Mint Atari St Sealed SoftwareAtari Lynx Ii Portable Color Entertainment System, Handheld, Gray 1991Vintage Atari 520st Computer And Accessories And Original Shipping CartonAtari 1200xlAtari Coin Op Tempest Arcade Game Cabinet Project Nice / Parts / As Is / NrAtari Lynx Gray Handheld - Rare , Great Condition , Lynx , RetroAtari 2600 Woodgrain Console (ntsc)Atari 7800 Black Console (ntsc) With 13 Games Ready To PlayAtari Computer Sc1224 & Atari 1040st Vintage 1987 Original Boxes Atari 7800 Pro System Console W/box - Original Oem Ac Adapter W/ Box + 7 GamesAtari 2600 Console Complete Huge Bundle Lot 40 Games Four-switch System *tested*Atari Xe System,game, Keyboard, Gun---complete Huge Atari 2600 Lot 57 Games 25 Cib No ReserveVintage Atari Cx 2600 A Video Computer System W/ 14 Games / Hard Case / Nice!!Lemmings (atari Lynx) Ultra Rare Complete In Box Portable Lemming Cib 1993 GameAtari Dig Cartridges Berzerk # 8689Atari 7800 Video Game Prosystem Console In Original Box + 24-game Bundle!Atari 7800 Video Game System In Box And Pole Position Ii Works Great!Atari Video Pinball Console C 380 Featuring Breakout And Ultra Pong DoublesAtari Dig Cartridges Defender #8749Atari 5200 *** Haunted House 2 3d OopAtari Xe Console, Games, Disk Drive, Disks, Cartridges, Original BoxAtari 400 800 Xl Xe Lot 30 Game Cartridges! Rares! All Tested! Topper, Star WarsAtari Dig Cartridges Defender # 8739Atari 1050 Drive In Box With Happy Enhancement And Custom Os - WarrantyAtari Dig Cartridges Berzerk # 8691Atari 5200 *** E.t. Phone Home *** Rare Xl ConvDesert Bus 2600 (atari 2600) - Brand New - Last OneAtari Dig Cartridges Warlords # 8704Large Lot Of 57 Vintage Atari Video Games Atari Asteroids Deluxe Arcade Machine Pcb / BoardMassive Atari Lot 1200xl & 810 Working 7 Controllers 5 Power Cords 11 ProgramsAtari 800 Home Computer W/ Atariartist Touch Tablet, Cx85 Keypad, +extra CartsAtari 2600 Jr. Console Bundled 60+ Games Working Free Shipping Pacman AsteroidsLiber809 From Cloud-9: The 6809 Microprocessor Upgrade For Atari 8-bit ComputersAtari 2600 Woodgrain Console & 60+ Games,free Shipping Tested + New Tv HookupAtari 520st Computer And Atari Sf354 DriveJaguar Atari Alien Vs Predator Atari 2600 Lot #1 - 66 Games - No Duplicates - Private Eye, Donkey Kong Jr.Vintage Lot Of Atari 2600 Game Consoles Controllers Ect Parts Or Repair UntestedAtari Dig Cartridges Centpede # 8720Atari Dig Cartridges Centpede # 8724Atari Dig Cartridges Centpede # 8734Atari Dig Carteidges Centpede # 8731Atari 2600 Woodgrain Console (ntsc)Atari 5200 *** Missile Command Plus ***Atari Dig Cartridges Missile Command # 8759Atari Dig Cartridges Warlords # 8703 Atari 2600 Loaner Cartridge -sorcererAtari 800 Computer + 410 Program Recorder + Cx85 Numeric Keypad + ManualsAtari Lynx 2 Ii System Bundle W/ Case, 8 Games, Gauntlet, Block Out, Klax, WorksAtari 2600 Lot Of 3 Games For Supercharger By StarpathAtari Dig Cartridges Centpede # 8717Atari 7800 Alien Brigade  vintage Video Game Sealed Rare

Recent News: Atari Video Games

Source: Google News

The Problems With Early Adoptions of New Hardware
FilmGamesEtc, May 24th

Ever since he found his mom's Atari 2600 under the TV when he was about four years old, the rest of his life was connected to gaming. His family got their first computer when he was five years old in 1991 - a 286, which was powerful enough to play ...Read more

The console needs to die and Nintendo should be the one to pull the trigger, May 24th

The late '70s brought with the Atari 2600 and an explosion of home gaming. In the '80s there was the video game crash, caused by an abundance of bad games, and then the rebirth of home gaming with the Nintendo Entertainment System. Single-handedly ...Read more

NES Getting Its Own Museum Exhibit to Celebrate 30th Anniversary
GameSpot, May 22nd

Iconic gaming console the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in North America thirty years ago in 1985. To mark the milestone, video game museum The Strong has announced that it will host a special exhibit dedicated to the system later this year...Read more

Phone Queue Wait Time Is Ideal Retro Games Time
Kotaku Australia, May 20th

Also because, according to the back of the Pac-Man Atari 2600 box, “it's your job to keep Pac-Man as happy as possible.”. Did you know Pac-Man was depressed? I didn't. In the meantime though, I've got to chase up my insurers yet again, and that means ...Read more

The return of pre-Internet games consoles such as the ZX Spectrum and the ...
Phys.Org, May 15th

Games consoles such as the Atari 2600 and the Commodore 64 have also been recently updated for 21st century gamers. Lecturer in Computer Games Technology in the Department of Computer Science, Dr Chris Child, who himself learned to program ...Read more

The Shining for the Atari 2600?
Dread Central, May 1st

I've been playing video games long before many of you first clutched your joysticks so I fondly remember off-market Atari 2600 games like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, and even the filthy Custer's Revenge! That's exactly why this latest game ...Read more

Riddle Me This: A Gadget. A Daredevil. PLAYMOBIL Toys. The ATARI 2600 ...
The Rock Father Magazine, April 29th

NETFLIX Stream Team I posted a picture on Instagram the other day that my wife and I had been joking about. As the girls had just been tucked-in the night before, Jen and I sat down to watch another episode of the breakthrough MARVEL smash DAREDEVIL ...Read more

AI masters 49 Atari 2600 games without instructions
Ars Technica, February 25th

Artificial intelligence, machines and software with the ability to think for themselves, can be used for a variety of applications ranging from military technology to everyday services like automated telephone systems. However, none of the systems that...Read more