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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How do cars end up in games?Top Gear, December 12th
Back in the good old Atari 2600 days, replicating a car in a computer game was a simple matter. A vaguely vehicle-shaped blob formed of a few dozen blocky pixels, and a buzzy 'engine note' soundtrack that rose and fell with no relation to your speed?...Read more
Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryearRegister, December 12th
The cool kids up the road, however, had an Atari VCS, later renamed the 2600. To a late 1970s kid, those silver switches, the fake wood and the whole design seemed glamorously American. This was the future, in your living room, and if you didn't have a ...Read more
Don't forget to talk to kids about the video games you're buying themTampabay.com, December 11th
These aren't the good old days of the NES or Atari 2600 we're dealing with here. The notion that violent video games are a detriment to children's mental development or affect kids' behavior continues to be a focus of debate. Results between one study...Read more
Xbox One sales reach 2 million units, now in dead heat with PS4GameSpot, December 11th
Microsoft announced today that Xbox One worldwide sales have reached more than 2 million consoles, bringing the company's new system nearly on par with Sony's PlayStation 4, which has sold 2.1 million consoles as of last week. The 2 million Xbox One ...Read more
Geek Madness Console Wars: Xbox vs. Sega Dreamcast; Nintendo Wii vs. PS3GeekWire, December 10th
In the biggest win of the weekend, the Atari 7800 and its compatibility for Atari 2600 games helped give the console an easy victory over the Magnavox Odyssey. Up next is a tough Sweet 16 match with Nintendo's Super NES. Nintendo GameBoy — 59% ...Read more
The PS4 we all really want: A homage to the Atari VCSPocket-lint.com, December 2nd
Taking his design inspirations from the Atari VCS (otherwise known as the Atari 2600) games machine from the 70s, his Photoshop transformation of the new console is quite staggering. Adding faux teak panelling at the front and some of the Atari...Read more
These Atarti 2600 action figures are made from cannibalized GI Joe partsPolygon, November 25th
Humor writer Dan Polydoris cannibalized the body parts of several G.I. Joe action figures to make a suite of custom figures based on classic Activision games for the Atari 2600, as shown on Chicago Toy Collector. Figures showcased on the site include a ...Read more
Atari 2600 Action Figures Pays Homage To Activision's HeroesUbergizmo, November 22nd
With the release of a new generation of video game consoles, we think it's best to reflect on all the joys previous generations gave us along the way. The Atari 2600 was a video game console we're sure many of us have fond memories of, which is why we ...Read more