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]

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 Jaguar Black Console (ntsc)tested W/ 5 Games (avp, Doom, Checkered Flag..)Atari Jaguar Cd And Console, Works! Plus 2 Controllers, 12 Games & More! NtscAtari 2600 Console & Nes Nintendo ConsoleSpace Duel Atari Color Vector Video Arcade Game !!!wow!!!!!!nice!!!!!!!!!!Atari Jaguar Cd Black Console (ntsc) - Working Condition - Blue LightningWico Command Controller With Two Joysticks For Atari 5200Atari Jaguar (ntsc) - Tempest 2000 & 1 Controller & Rca Video Cable BundleAtari 1040st Computer SystemAtari Jaguar Console Game Lot Extra Controler With Box Tempest 200 In BoxAtari 7800 Black Console Complete In Original Box W/manual Cleaned & Tested*Obelix Atari 2600 In Box With Instructions! Atari 2600 *rare Find* CompleteAtari 7800 Video Game System With Pole Position**huge** ( 600+ ) Atari Lot!! 2600 7800 And Commodore And IntellivisionAtari 2600 Woodgrain Console (ntsc) BundleColecovision System 2400 W/ Atari Expansion Module #1 & 10 Games Great ConditionVintage Atari 400/800 Xl/xe Computer Video Game Cartridges-15 Lot-original BoxesLot Of 15 Vintage Atari 400/800 Computer Video Games River Raid Buck Rogers MoreManiac Mansion ~ Atari St 520 1040 Mega Computers Lucasfilm Games Cib ~ RareVintage 1976 Atari C-240 Video Music SynthesizerAtari 5200 Boulder Dash Ii By First Star #81/100! Only 100 Made- Extremely Rare!Vintage Atari 5200 Bundle 2 Controllers 18 Games W/ Box- Rare Atari 7800 Console In Great Shape With 46 Games And Accessories + BoxThe Atari 130xe Personal ComputerHuge Atari 2600 Vcs Sears Tele-games Console Lot 19 Games Donkey Kong FroggerAtari 5200 Lot Trak-ball Controller, Accessories & Games BundleAtari - Lot Of 25 Games - 16 In Original Boxes - + Video Game Score BookAtari 800 Infocom Deadline Rare Original Folio Packaging In Shrinkwrap!Atari 400 Computer Lot, Computer Cosmetically Exceptional!Atari 2600 6 Switch Light Sixer Woodgrain Console - Working!! Atari Flashback 4 Black Console (ntsc)Road Blasters Atari Video Arcade Game !!!wow!!!!!Activision Game Patches Vintage Atari RetroVintage Atari Cx2600 Video Game Computer System Console And 12 Atari GamesAtari Lynx Console Vintage 1989 Rare!!!!!!!Atari Console And GamesBig Black Box Lot - 9 Titles Atari 400 800 Computer Vintage Complete Games Cib!Lot Of 33 Atari 2600 GamesAtari Jaguar Black Console (ntsc) With 3 GamesAtari 2600 Woodgrain Console Light Sixer,games,controllers, Power Adapter,rf AdaHyperdrome For The Atari Lynx NewAtari 5200 Boulder Dash By First Star #48/100! Only 100 Made- Extremely Rare!Atari 2600 Console With 34 Games, 2 Controllers, Ac Adapter Retro Gaming SystemAtari Lynx Desert StrikeAtari Computing - Icd R - Time 8 Piggyback Cartridge Atari 1050 Disk DriveAtari Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Pcb Non-working System 1 Huge!! Atari Cx 2600 Sunnyvale Ca Heavy Sixer In Box 1978 Manuals 22 Game BundleLot Of 15 Atari 5200 Games Boxes And Manuals As ListedAtari 5200 Black Console Bundle/system Lot 2 Port W/ 23 Video Game CartridgesAtari Jaguar Black Console (ntsc)Colecovision System (ntsc) With Atari Adapter, Racing Wheel And 13 GamesThe Atari 1050 Dual Density Disk DriveAtari Video Computer System Model Cx-2600a - New "box Never Opened" 1980Atari, 5200, 2600, Playstation, Intellivision, Xbox, Sega, Saturn, GenesisColecovision, 20 Games, Black Console, Atari Adapter Atari 7800 Black Console With 53 Games Star Wars Q-bert Dig Dug Ms Pac Man Taz +52 Various Atari Games, 3 Controllers And System (list Of Games Included)!Atari 2600 34 Game Lot Frogger Qbert Joust Star Raiders +touch Pad +4 JoysticksLot Of Eight Atari 2600 Game Cartridges2x Vintage 1980's Atari Branded Joysticks - Arcade Replacements - Great Shape

Recent News: Atari Video Games

Source: Google News

Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: happiest gaming memory
Metro, October 24th

My first ever gaming experience was an Atari 2600 at a friend's house at about the age of five or six. Moon Buggy was the game, I went home and told my parents how much I loved this new experience. I then began to pester them for 'a computer...Read more

See what you can do in Assassin's Creed: Unity's France
God is a Geek, October 23rd

Nick is an avid video game entusiast and has been since his mum first allowed him to play on the Atari 2600 she never touched. To this day he's had the pleasure of playing on a vast array of different gaming machines. He's a recovering WoW-holic and...Read more

More Than Survival: The Five Faces of Horror Gaming
Shacknews, October 23rd

The first game considered to be both of the horror genre and the survival horror sub-genre of games was the 1982 Atari 2600 release Haunted House. The game was crude, but the exploration and the fear of the unknown was there as well as the hallmark of ...Read more

Revisiting Spycraft: The Great Game
IGN, October 19th

Its early successes were closely tied to the console market, through machines like the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, and action-centric games in the early '80s like River Raid and Pitfall! The company had its eye – as it does today – on the broader...Read more

Parabéns Atari 2600: cinco factos sobre a consola clássica
GameOver, October 14th

São 37 anos de legado que marcaram a indústria dos videojogos, com uma consola que ficou na memória dos fãs veteranos de videojogos. O dia 14 de outubro marca o 37º aniversário da Atari 2600, a lendária consola de videojogos da Atari, que se ...Read more

History Lesson: The Atari 7800 - too little, too late?, October 5th

It was dirt cheap, ran hundreds of Atari 2600 games out of the box and had the attention of Atari's arcade arm, barely breaking a sweat as it towed coin-powered juggernauts into the living room. But when the competition has vital supporters locked down...Read more

10 of the best console games you'll probably never get to play (gallery)
VentureBeat, October 4th

The years 1977 through 1987 were a decade of now dusty old consoles: the Atari 2600, the Vectrex, and the ColecoVision are just a few. If you haven't heard of them, chances are you've also never played some of the classic games that populated arcades ...Read more

Domestic Dog Review: For your Atari dog simulation needs
TechnologyTell, September 26th

I have a hard time believing I typed the title that I typed, and yet, here we are. I am reviewing a game that is an Atari 2600 style domestic dog simulator. If you're curious as to what that means, it means almost exactly what you think it means. The...Read more