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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Talking Boards

Museum of Talking Boards

Prepare to enter the strange world of Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board game, which captured imaginations en masse… [read review or visit site]

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

This in-depth University of Waterloo virtual exhibit showcases vintage games in a variety of categories, from class… [read review or visit site]

Electronic Plastic

Electronic Plastic

From Tomy to Coleco to Mattel and Nintendo, check out this collection of over 660 handheld and tabletop videogames … [read review or visit site]

Pong Story

Pong Story

David Winter's tribute to early video games, and to Ralph H. Baer, 'inventor of the video game.' Offers a detailed … [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Atari 5200 Black Console (ntsc)Atari 1200xl Home Computer System In Original Box-works Coktel Vision's "bargon Attack" For The Atari St!Atari 2600 Game 118 Cartridge Bulk Lot Imagic Activision Parker Brothers ColecoColecovision Black Stationary System (ntsc) With Atari Adapter And 20 CartridgesAtari 2 Consoles Several Controllers And 25 Games Nice Clean ItemsLot Of 16 Vintage Cartridge For Atari 400 / 800/ Xl Computer Games PaddlesAtari 2600 Jr. Black Console With Controllers, And 50 Games!!!Atari 2600 System Lot Console,65 Games, Wireless Joysticks, Controllers And MoreHalo 2600 (atari 2600, 2010)Atari Jaguar Black Console (ntsc)Vintage James Bond 007 Atari 2600 GameAtari 2600 System Complete Joysticks Paddles 13 Games/w Instructions Tested Lynx Atari With Box + 6 Games + Sega Game Gear Handheld With Box + 4 Games WorksAtari Flashback 5 Classic Game ConsoleVintage Atari 400 Computer System In Original Box-works Atari 720 Nos Joystick Parts. New Old StockAtari Lynx Gray Color 16-bit Handheld Videogame System 1st Gen 5 Games Bundle Lot: Atari 2600 4 Switch System W/ Controllers & Joysticks + 23 Great GamesLot Of 85 Atari 2600 Coleco & Intellivision Games - Untested Inventory ClearoutAtari 2600 Console Lot Vader Flashback Board Controllers Bulk For Parts Repair Unopened Atari 2600 E.t. The Extra-terrestrial Game Cartridge12 Vintage Factory Sealed Atari 7800 Video Game Lot Ms Pac Man Donkey KongAtari 2600 Woodgrain Console + Huge Lot Of 40 Vintage GamesOmnitrend's "universe" For The Atari 800, 800xl And 1200xl! Lot Of 52 Original Atari 2600 / 7800 Game Games Loaded!!Huge Lot Of 38 Boxed Atari 2600 Games Most With Instructions Some Activision NrAtari 7800 Double Dragon Complete Cib - Mint Condition, Rare!Atari 2600 Woodgrain Console (ntsc) With 21 Games.4 ControllersAtari 2600 Coleco Front Line Frontline Complete Cib - Great Condition, Rare!Lot Of 40 Vintage Game Console Games Atari, And OthersClassic Atari Lynx Handheld Game System With 8 Games - Working ConditionLot Of 10 Atari Lynx Game Cartridges Xenophobe, Guanlet, Slimeword, Chips, Klax-2 Atari 2600 Black Console-assorted Games-for Parts-no Cord To See If WorkNos . Brand New In Box Genuine Atari 2600 Cx-30 Paddle Controllers - Rare Find Atari Flashback 2 Black Plug&play Tv Game (ntsc)Vintage Atari Cx 2600 A Woodgrain Video Computer System Console Lot Paddles PlusLot Of 10 Games Atari 400/800 Rx8025 Rx8021 Atari 5200 Black Console (ntsc)Atari 2600 Games, 54 Titles, Mario Bros, Adventure, Et, And Many More!Vintage Atari Xe Video Gaming Console/system-original Box, Complete With 5 GamesAtari Jaguar Black Console (ntsc)Atari Flashback 2 Game Console W/ 40 Built-in Games 2 Wireless Controllers New!Atari Lynx Model Pag-0201 In Box Box Is Near Mint, System For PartsAtari 400/800/xl/xe Computer Game Romox Cartridge Rare Sea ChaseVintage Atari Pong Video Game Console System Model No. C-100Lot Of 34 Coleco Vision / Atari 2600 Viideo Game CartridgesHuge Lot Of 46 Video Game Cartridges Atari And Colecovision Kangaroo Indy 500Atari 2600 Cx-2600 A Woodgrain Console Bundle - Games Paddles JoysticksAtari 2600 6 Switch Wood Grain Console Bundle; Games + Extras Great Gift NiceAtari 2600 Woodgrain Console #3, With Cords .... Free Shipping Original Atari 5200 Game Controller - All Buttons And Joystick Tested & WorkingDefective- Lot Of Three Atari SystemsAtari 400/800/xl/xe Computer Game Romox Cartridge Rare TopperAtari 1985 130xe 8 Bit Home Computer System 1027 Letter Quality Printer W/ BoxesAtari 2600 Video Game Console / System €Atari 400/800/xl Sio2pc Cable Free 6ft CableThe Seven Cities Of Gold Atari 400/800/xl/xe Electronic ArtsAtari 7800 F-14 Tomcat Complete Cib - Mint Condition, Rare!Atari Nintendo Old School 8-bit Christmas Wreath - Retro Gaming

Recent News: Atari Video Games

Source: Google News

One child held the evolution of gaming in his grasp
Boston Globe, December 20th

Baio laid out the schedule in his piece: “Start with the arcade classics and Atari 2600, from Asteroids to Zaxxon. After a year, move on to the 8-bit era with the NES and Sega classics. The next year, the SNES, Game Boy, and classic PC adventure games...Read more

How I Put Away My Atari 2600 and Learned to Love School Choice
Reason (blog), December 20th

I put away my beloved Atari 2600 and spent my summers studying Shakespeare's comedies. My parents were generous enough to hire a college drama student to give me private lessons, once a week, to teach me how to recite a monologue and improvise ...Read more

Unearthed ET Atari Cartridge Phones Home to Smithsonian
PC Magazine, December 17th

"The [E.T. Atari 2600] cartridge is one of the defining artifacts of the crash and of the era," Robarge wrote in the blog. "In addition to the crash, the cartridge can tell many stories: the ongoing challenge of making a good film to a video game...Read more

Welcome. An Atari ET Cartridge is Going to The Smithsonian Institution - IGN
IGN, December 16th

In 1982, after acquiring the license to create an E.T. game for the Atari 2600, Atari took a gamble. For the gamble to pay out, Atari needed to sell some four million cartridges to break even. Of the four million target, Atari actually sold around one...Read more

Father Makes Son Play Through Video Game History, Chronologically
Kotaku, December 10th

That's an Atari 2600 (VCS) and an Atari cart there. Atari 2600 Pac-Man looked nothing like this: oldtaku. View discussion >> · 2. That sure as hell isn't on the 2600. anacanapana. View discussion >>. For the last ten years, Andy Baio has been...Read more

ET For the Atari 2600
UConn Daily Campus, November 30th

In April of 2014, an excavation project in the Nevada desert unearthed over 700,000 copies of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” for the Atari 2600. What was this disaster, this mess that someone saw fit to publish and how did it end up in the desert? Thus...Read more

15 vintage Atari games based on movies
Death and Taxes, November 26th

“Shark JAWS” also established a tradition that the company carried over into its phenomenally popular Atari 2600 home video game system. Beginning with an official “Superman” cartridge in 1979, Atari created movie tie-in games throughout its early-'80s ...Read more

Buried Atari 2600 'E.T.' games are for sale on eBay
Mashable, November 5th

Remember those E.T. game cartridges that were uncovered in a New Mexico desert in April? Now they're on eBay. Decades of video game speculation was brought to an end earlier this year when a crew unearthed a bunch of Atari 2600 cartridges in ...Read more