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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Review: Warlords for Xbox Live ArcadeTechnologyTell, March 6th
Long, long ago on the Atari 2600 there was a game called Warlords. It took Breakout – style gameplay and added a multiplayer element. It owed a bit to Pong as well. Ah, the things Atari could do with a long blip and a couple of smaller blips back in...Read more
Create a retro game console with the Raspberry PiCNET (blog), March 6th
The Retro Pie supports ROMs, which are essentially a digital copy of a game, for the Atari 2600, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, MAME, NeoGeo, Sega Master System, Sega Megadrive, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and PlayStation, among a ...Read more
Q/A with Grand Theft Auto's War CorrespondentPortland Monthly, March 6th
Are you an avid gamer? I have been a gamer ever since getting an Atari 2600 in the late 70s. It is a hobby that has stuck with me almost my whole life. I have been a GTA fan since GTAIII—the first of the 3D generation titles was released on the...Read more
A Fake Driving Game I Made Up Years Ago Fooled CrackedJalopnik, March 6th
I made the ad years ago as part of a tribute to the old Atari 2600 I worked on with my old comedy group, in my life before the glamourous, drugs/sex/cars world of auto journalism. The ad was for a combination Atari cartridge/8-track of a racing game...Read more
The Hardest Games We've Ever PlayedIGN, March 5th
We asked IGN's editors to share their thoughts on the hardest game they've ever played. Answers range from Atari 2600 adventure games to modern action RPGs and roguelikes. It turns out gamers have been tossing controllers in frustration for over three ...Read more
Developer "Demade" "Halo 2600" Going Into Smithsonian CollectionComplex.com, February 28th
So called reboots, remakes all spruce up a fan favorites or put a fresh coat of paint on a much-loved but dated classic. But what happens when a developer “demakes” a game? Programmer Ed Fries demade Halo into an Atari 2600 version and you can play it ...Read more
Interview with Ed Fries, creator of Halo 2600Boing Boing, February 28th
In 2010, Ed Fries, a former Microsoft VP of game publishing, programmed an Atari 2600 version of Halo. The game, titled Halo 2600, has now been added to the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Smithsonian magazine interviewed Fries:...Read more
Flappy Bird mania continues with Atari 2600 version now available.Here Is The City, February 13th
One of the oldest games consoles ever gets its own version of the addictive Flappy Bird game. The unofficial home-brew game cunningly titled 'Flappo Bird' is now available on the ancient, wooden look early 80's console, the Atari 2600. Whilst it looks ...Read more