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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Recent News: Atari Video Games

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Wish List – Indiana Jones
Game Informer, October 20th

The Indiana Jones franchise has seen some troubled video game entries. It hasn't even seen an entirely original installment since 2009's Staff of Kings, which failed to properly emulate any of Indy's inherent appeal. Each game either tarnishes Indy's...Read more

Chinese developers need to better identify the needs of their players
Gamasutra, October 20th

"If we have a look at the American players, they have a history that goes way back to the Atari 2600. They started at the age of arcades. Japanese players started back with the card games, after all Nintendo started out making card games. From the age...Read more

Videogame review: Alien: Isolation
Independent Online, October 20th

audience, “Alien: Isolation” offers a gruelling experience that might sap you in all of the right ways. - Washington Post. * Byrd is a Brooklyn-based writer who has been playing videogames since the days of the Atari 2600. Follow him on Twitter...Read more

The Road to Rochester: Little Green Army Men
Kidscreen, October 20th

Throughout October, Kidscreen will take a peek at each of this year's 12 nominees for the Toy Hall of Fame, located within the Strong Museum in Rochester, NY. Among its inductees are the Easy Bake Oven, skateboard and Atari 2600. Today, we look one at ...Read more

Revisiting Spycraft: The Great Game
IGN, October 19th

Its early successes were closely tied to the console market, through machines like the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, and action-centric games in the early '80s like River Raid and Pitfall! The company had its eye – as it does today – on the broader...Read more

Parabéns Atari 2600: os anúncios mais bizarros da consola
GameOver, October 14th

Os tempos eram outros e a forma de comunicar também. Será que hoje em dia estes anúncios vos fariam comprar a consola? Pela comemoração dos 37 anos da Atari 2600, a lendária e clássica consola da Atari, decidimos mostrar-vos os 10 anúncios ...Read more

Parabéns Atari 2600: cinco factos sobre a consola clássica
GameOver, October 14th

São 37 anos de legado que marcaram a indústria dos videojogos, com uma consola que ficou na memória dos fãs veteranos de videojogos. O dia 14 de outubro marca o 37º aniversário da Atari 2600, a lendária consola de videojogos da Atari, que se ...Read more

History Lesson: The Atari 7800 - too little, too late?
Computerandvideogames.com, October 5th

It was dirt cheap, ran hundreds of Atari 2600 games out of the box and had the attention of Atari's arcade arm, barely breaking a sweat as it towed coin-powered juggernauts into the living room. But when the competition has vital supporters locked down...Read more