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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Atari's Reviving Classic Horror Game Alone in The Dark -- Watch the First TeaserGameSpot, August 31st
Atari is also developing a re-imagined version of Haunted House, a 1982 Atari 2600 game. Haunted House: Cryptic Graves is a first person single-player game where players must use psychic abilities to solve puzzles and fight spirits and monsters that...Read more
Same box, better graphics: improving performance within console generationsArs Technica, August 31st
Atari 2600 Later: Solaris (1986) Well after the video game crash of 1982, developer Douglas Neubauer was showing there was still life in the aging Atari 2600. The bright, gradient colors and smooth-scrolling pseudo-3D effects in this game really need...Read more
Local Briefs: 08-27-14Sentinel-Tribune, August 27th
Participants will be playing the original “Missile Command” video game on a vintage Atari 2600 game console. Gamers must be 18 or older and pay a $10 entrance fee. To participate, RSVP to Michael McMaster, education programs coordinator, at the ...Read more
Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, regrets having sold the company to Warner ...Load The Game, August 25th
Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, says that selling the company to Warner Communications in 1976 was a big mistake. He adds that this decision, though taken because they needed money to develop their own console (the Atari 2600), led the company to ...Read more
Atari's bringing back Haunted House and Alone in the Dark this fallPolygon, August 19th
Atari released the original Haunted House in 1982 for Atari 2600. A new game bearing that name was released for Windows PC, Wii and Xbox 360 in 2010. Earlier this year, mobile developer Kung Fu Factory released another Haunted House — a cartoonish ...Read more
Exclusive Q&A: Documentary Director Chinn on Upcoming Atari FilmFox Business, August 14th
I absolutely had the first generation Atari 2600. I remember the day my father brought it back to the house on a weekend. It was probably the most exciting moment in my life at that point. That was another contributing factor to produce the film. I'm...Read more
Atari Teams Up With Denny's To Create New Old Atari 2600 GamesMygamer.com, August 10th
Denny's restaurants and Atari have teamed up to create new Atari 2600 games. Well, to be clear, these are old Atari 2600 titles just re-skinned to provide a Denny's theme on mobile devices. If Pepsi can do it, why not Denny's? Hasteroids is Asteroids...Read more
Why We Dug AtariThe Atlantic, August 7th
Then there is the face of the “Atari Legend,” an Atari 2600 game called E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, which was subjected to merciless production constraints that resulted in its dubious reputation as the “worst game ever.” Many (mistakenly) hail the...Read more