The Golden Years of Atari, 1978 - 1981

Illustration for article titled The Golden Years of Atari, 1978 - 1981

Have time to waste on this lovely August Saturday? If you do, there's an appallingly expansive look at the history of Atari's early years (19 pages, plus one for citations) over at Gamasutra. This is actually a companion piece to the first Atari retrospective, which looked at the years from '71 to '77 (also clocking in at a mere 20 pages). It's stuffed with quotes, so the length isn't simply 'and then ... and then ... and then ....' Steve Fulton describes this period as one of the most exciting for Atari:

This four-year period — from 1977 to 1981 — contains some of the most exciting developments the company ever saw in its history: the rise of the 2600, the development of some of the company's most enduringly popular games (Centipede, Asteroids) and the development and release of its first home computing platforms. This comprehensive look back, filled with quotes from the original creators and other primary sources, offers a detailed peek into the company that popularized video gaming as the '70s turned into the '80s, and created the first viable market for home consoles.


If you've got the time, it's definitely worth a read — it's pretty comprehensive and some of the 'insider' insight is pretty interesting. Atari: The Golden Years — A History, 1978-1981 [Gamasutra]

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I remember my eldest sister winning one of these with a few

games in some instant win contest back in 1982 (McDonalds). She tooled around with it some, then lost interest (she was 30 at the time she won, and by then her kids weren't interested either), so she sold it to my mom, then I ended up with it. Played the hell out of Space Invaders, Pac-Man (yeah, I know...^_^) and Superman.

I still have an Atari 7800 and 12 games (most 2600 games, like Demon Attack, Midnight Magic Pinball and Phoenix). Ironically I have an Atari Flashback 2.0 that looks like a 2600 with the two joysticks and a TV game that looks and plays like the old paddlewheel controller. Still fire these up for a small taste of nostalgia...