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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Translation Tuesday: Okinawa, Mon Amour by Betina GonzálezThe Guardian, December 1st
[Depicted, a later Atari 2600.] Photograph: Guardian. Oscar was another one of Miriam's unconditional admirers. He was a boy of indefinite age, the gardener's son. His eyes protruded and he walked a little stooped. I was afraid of him, or disgusted...Read more
Chris Crofton, Advice King: What Movies Should I See?Nashville Scene, December 1st
(who will sing first-wave feminist anthem “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” to Hank Solo), Hank Solo and his famous ape friend ChewingTobacco, Oboe wan Kenobi and his famous oboe and, of course, the two robots ColecoVision and Atari 2600...Read more
Two New DC Video Games Confirmed In DevelopmentCosmic Book News - Video Games (press release) (blog), November 30th
Gamma Attack for the Atari 2600 is the rarest video game of all time, with only one cartridge ever being produced. Its owner put it on eBay for $500,000. Did you know? "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" was not the band's first venture into gaming. In the '94...Read more
Harmony: One Atari 2600 Cartridge to Rule Them AllTechnabob (blog), November 30th
I love the art on old Atari 2600 cartridges and their boxes. However, if you want to play and collect all of the vintage console's games, but don't want to have to devote an entire room in your house to their storage, there is a solution. These days...Read more
This Old Tech: There's nothing like M.U.L.E. on an Atari 800 to bring a family ...PCWorld, November 25th
Released in 1979, Atari intended the 800 (and its junior sibling, the 400) to serve as both advanced follow-ups to its successful Atari 2600 game console and, in the case of the 800, as a competitor to the Apple II. But the Atari 2600 held its ground...Read more
The Harmony CartridgeBoing Boing, November 18th
When I first saw the Atari 2600 in 1979, I was completely floored. I wondered how those geniuses could fit so much fun into those tiny bricks of plastic. For each game, they only had 4k to work with and what was done with it was simply amazing. So much ...Read more
Gauntlet arcade game ported to Atari VCSBoing Boing, November 16th
There's even a certain irony to the production, as it's a hack of the Atari game Dark Chambers, which was built upon an early noncommercial effort Dandy, which was itself the inspiration for Gauntlet. Atari, according to legend, ultimately gave credit...Read more
Ask LH: How Can I Find Out How Much My Old Games Collection Is Worth?Lifehacker Australia, November 12th
Dear Lifehacker, I have a lot of Atari 2600 games and a few consoles that are still in working order. I would like to find out what they may be worth and how to sell them in a lot as I don't want to split them up. I also don't know if any are rare. Any...Read more