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
Elliot Avedon Games Museum
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Atari Video Games
Source: Google News
National Toy Hall of Fame Inductees Over the YearsABC News, November 27th
Atari 2600 game system. Kite. Raggedy Andy. ———. 2006: Easy-Bake Oven. Lionel trains. ———. 2005: Candy Land. Cardboard box. Jack-in-the-box. ———. 2004: G.I. Joe. Rocking horse. Scrabble. ———. 2003: Alphabet blocks. Checkers. ———. 2002:...Read more
15 vintage Atari games based on moviesDeath and Taxes, November 26th
“Shark JAWS” also established a tradition that the company carried over into its phenomenally popular Atari 2600 home video game system. Beginning with an official “Superman” cartridge in 1979, Atari created movie tie-in games throughout its early-'80s ...Read more
Achievement Unlocked: What if Pac Man for Atari 2600 were released today?Digital Trends, November 21st
A clever new video imagines what Pac Man for the Atari 2600, originally released in 1982, would look like if the industry worked back then like it does today. Related: Pixelation nation: Here's a review of the early history of video game graphics. Day...Read more
Xbox Documentary on Atari's Lost 'E.T.' Games Debuts for FreeVariety, November 20th
The hour-long film chronicles the rise and fall of Atari by literally uncovering the truth of what happened to millions of unsold “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” videogame cartridges in 1983. Around 792,000 of the Atari 2600 cartridges were discovered...Read more
Excavated E.T. Atari Games Make $37K In Initial AuctionsCinema Blend, November 18th
It looks like there's still a bit of money to be made in the E.T. license, so long as you don't mind said money being made on filthy, recently unearthed copies of the property's ill-fated Atari 2600 video game. The results of a recent auction featuring...Read more
Welcome. Atari's New Mexico Landfill Cartridges Rake in $37000 on eBay - IGNIGN, November 16th
By Jenna Pitcher The auction of the Atari 2600 games unearthed from the Old Alamogordo Landfill generated $37,000 USD in total when it ended last Thursday, with one title attracting more than $1,500. A hundred of the 1,300 Atari cartridges unearthed...Read more
Flop Atari 2600 ET cartridges now fetching price of gold at eBay auction: Why?Tech Times, November 8th
The entire star of the show, however, is Howard Scott Warshaw's game version of Steven Spielberg's film "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" for the Atari 2600, which was so widely derided that Atari decided to dump hundreds of thousands of unsold copies along...Read more
Buried Atari 2600 'E.T.' games are for sale on eBayMashable, November 5th
Remember those E.T. game cartridges that were uncovered in a New Mexico desert in April? Now they're on eBay. Decades of video game speculation was brought to an end earlier this year when a crew unearthed a bunch of Atari 2600 cartridges in ...Read more