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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Get a PS4 With Bloodborne, The Last of Us, $20 Gift Card for $400GameSpot, March 28th
Because by all accounts, the game is otherwise near perfection. So I cannot wait to play it. If your first system was an Atari 2600, you should be more forgiving. Those older games make me appreciate everything I play in each passing generation. And...Read more
National Videogame Arcade: Appreciating games of the past to inspire games ...The Independent, March 27th
Not only does it contain examples of old consoles dating back to the 1970s, it has a cassette deck - the frustrating likes of which have caused much premature balding - and a copy of the atrocious E.T. for the Atari 2600 which had escaped being sent to...Read more
Going Mobile: Nintendo's New EvolutionPaste Magazine, March 26th
our collective '80s-hair back. What happened next? Well, Nintendo continued chasing after the largest possible audience, releasing their big hit where the most people could find it: on Atari's VCS, soon to be called the Atari 2600. And then the...Read more
Atari devs dissect Yars' Revenge, Adventure, Atari's woesArs Technica, March 14th
In the fall of 1977, the 26-year-old Robinett was hired at Atari, where he debuted by producing the 2600's Slot Racers—a rudimentary racing game with a gun mechanic. For his next game, he wanted to create something much more inspired, so he turned to ...Read more
How One Man Invented the Console Adventure GameWired, March 13th
I am of course describing the epochal game Adventure that Warren Robinett created in 1979 for the Atari 2600 console. Robinett was 26 when he programmed the game, entirely by himself, on an HP 1611A microprocessor. It looks low-res and dated now, but ...Read more
Amazing artifacts from the rise and fall of Atari, the first great video game ...Business Insider, March 6th
"Atari" used to be synonymous with video games — the Atari 2600 console wasn't the first home video game system (that was the Magnavox Odyssey), but it was the one that brought it into most people's living rooms. But the video game market crashed in ...Read more
Google Team Programmed Machines to “Play” Atari 2600 Video GamesYour Single Source for News, March 1st
The team programmed machines to “play” Atari 2600 video games. And, guess what: the algorithm used in these experiments artificially “learned” how to play these games a “more than 75 percent of the level of a professional human player,” according to...Read more
AI masters 49 Atari 2600 games without instructionsArs 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