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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The evolution of the interface, from text through touchArs Technica, April 17th
The Osborn 1: two floppies, portable, and a built-in screen that you needed a magnifying glass to appreciate. John Timmer. This weekend, Ars staff is checking out the Vintage Computer Festival East (and you probably should, too, if you can). But two...Read more
Schadenfreude Fridays: The Atari 5200, the Console that Never (Should Have ...Anchor of Gold (blog), April 17th
Atari became the first name in home video games with their Video Computer System (later known as the 2600) , a console that took huge liberties with the concept of the Olympics by making half its events Pong-based in their groundbreaking 1977 release...Read more
The best gadgets of the 1970s - did you own any of these?Birmingham Mail, April 8th
With the Gadget Show Live at the NEC until Sunday, we take a nostalgic look at one of tech's golden eras. The decade heralded the arrival of the first digital watch, the Atari 2600 game system, which played the classic games Pac-Man and Space Invaders, ...Read more
Classic Activision Games of the Atari 2600: Pitfall!WTVY, Dothan, April 3rd
One of their hit games for the Atari 2600 was Pitfall! Pitfall! was designed by David Crane and released in 1982. In the game, the player controls Pitfall Harry through a variety of settings in the jungle--avoiding alligators, pits, and snakes and...Read more
Classic Activision Games of the Atari 2600: Kaboom!WTVY, Dothan, April 2nd
One of their hit games for the Atari 2600 was Kaboom! Created by Larry Kaplan, Kaboom! was released in 1981. In the game, players use the Atari 2600's paddle controller to catch bombs dropped by a criminal. The goal is to stop them reaching the bottom...Read more
Classic Activision Games of the Atari 2600: FreewayWTVY, Dothan, April 1st
One of their hit games for the Atari 2600 was Freeway. Freeway was developed by David Crane and released in 1981. In the game, players control a literal chicken trying to cross the road. The goal is to, of course, reach the other side. The reason why...Read more
Classic Activision Games of the Atari 2600: Keystone KapersWTVY, Dothan, March 31st
while avoiding obstacles, under the time limit. Each time Harry is caught by the player, the gameplay gets tougher with more obstacles like planes, shopping carts and radios. The game was also released on the Atari 5200, Colecovision and MSX platforms...Read more
Classic Activision Games of the Atari 2600: River RaidWTVY, Dothan, March 30th
One of their hit games for the Atari 2600 was River Raid. River Raid, released in 1982, was developed by Carol Shaw. In the game, the player controls an airplane flying above a river. That plane is used to shoot down enemy planes and ships, as well as ...Read more