A Brief History of Atari Computer and Video Games: the home console market and the Atari Arcade Games.
For a very long time, Atari has engaged and have serious influence in the video game market. At the start, comes up with an innovation of video games, which include the home console market and the arcades. It also has the ability and capability to withstand the infamous crash of some video games. As it rises and becomes a famous brand for publishing. It later releases a brand new console which is first of its type in 20 years. In 2014 launches the Atari Casino project. Having considered the emergence of the original Atari VCS, it will be proper to give due consideration to the Atari’s history, and for that to be narrated in detail. It is vital to get it dated back to 1971.
The brainwork behind Atari is a graduate of the University of Utah that studies electrical electronics. He is passionate about Arcade games and in partnership with Syzygy to establish Ted Dabney. Ted Dabney is a company that has the sole aim of cloning a space war, and it can also be referred to as Computer Science. Dabney created the company that made the effort of looking for the manufacturing partner in Bushnell, but the stereotype. The moment after, the Nutting Associates were able to make computer sales, which can be said to be the first commercial slot. The outcome turns out to be a loss. When they get to discover the fact that Syzygy already has a name. they later turn out to use the name Atari that can be considered as a reference to a specific movement which is “GO.”
The first design Engineer they hired was Al Alcorn. He was the one that designed the Arcade version Oddesy’s Tennis game which Bushnell sited at Magnavox Profit Caravan. The game turns out to be legendary porn. Pong has been readily available a few months after the design. Unknowingly to Alcorn, this was just a test, and the development happens to be a test for him to get acquainted with the creation of video games since Alcorn was with no prior knowledge about the event. He went extra miles trying to create difficulties all in the name of the ball changing going by any part of the paddle that got hit. There is an increase in ball speed. Also, sound effects are being added. After all these changes, they concluded that it was ready for testing. So a prototype cabinet was built and arranged in the Andy Capp’s Tavern. Andy was the one making the supply of pinball machines, and they have both maintained a good relationship. The game turned out to be a hit and became popular, over time some technical issues set in because the slot machine makes an overflow with quarters. It was evident that they have something tangible and started the implementation of better and bigger plans.
The proper plans put in place was responsible for how Atari was able to get some popularity such that alongside Pong. The announcement was officially made on November, 29th 1972 thinking about the next step to take. After giving it a proper thought, they later conclude that they should create a new Pong Style game. Before long Atari later had a contract of making a video Arcade game with the company. By then it happens that they have to halt Pong, sources raves were created to ensure the contract was met. It is so much appealing that provision was made for you and your opponent to race on an asteroid field. Later the game turns out to be a flop and Midway forced Atari through some legal action. There was an issue that occurs, which is indicating that Atari has breached the contract earlier agreed on. What happened was that as the time of signing the contract, Atari offers Midway the game using the name Asteroids. Later Atari went behind the back in production of Space Race which is very much identical to Asteroid. Eventually, after going through all those issues, they then place their focus on what matters which is Pong. Few Pongs were released, each having its unique modification.
Varieties were released which include Pong Doubles. Quadrapong, PinPong, Ultra Pong, Super Pong, and some others. This led to the implementation of a game market as regards video slot. The video slots in which Atari was able to create different include arcades. Other productive developers try to imitate their action so as for them to as well stand a chance on capitalizing on the new market. Other games were as well released which include the Pong Clones such as World Cup, Gran Trak 10 and Gotcha. With the view to getting sneaky Atari makes provision for a competitor which is Kee Games by name. Also, with their neighbor known as Joe Keenan, because people were complaining about the Atari. After then, the partnership between Atari and Kee games attained a very high success, which later paves the way for more profit when the productions are made. Not quite long, Kee Games releases Quadrapong using the name Elimination for Example.
The innovation does not end with the production of Quadrapong, another fantastic idea was developed by Atari, in which you can access the video games right in your home. It happens that they were able to work on a home version of Pong. Observing the connection it has established with Sears to aid efficient distribution and marketing. On its release in 1975, it was met with so much popularity, and people rushed it. The outcome of this is that some other companies were going about with their own “Home Pong” rip-offs, it includes a small company called Nintendo, a Japanese toymaker. All these happenings later result in different versions of Home Pong being pumped. As time goes by, the market gets saturated by the “Pong Consoles.” Without minding the saturation, Bushnell is making a conscious effort to bring a revolution to the video game world.
Another innovation by Atari is a new home console, and this was achieved with the help of Cyan Engineering. Pong Consoles only make provision for a few games, the programming used to arrange the games in the Console is called Logic. The only thing is that this particular system is going to be CPU based, and there will be a chance of getting to play specialized Game Carts.
Later a perfect competitor came up known as the Fairchild Semiconductor, and it succeeded in giving Atari a tough time as it releases a Home Console that is CPU-based. Players will be given them ample opportunity to swap the games making use of the game carts. It is also be regarded as the Video Entertainment System which ensures the clear display on your television and the production of sound. This new development makes Atari become worried on the way to counter it. Those system makes use of the CPU combined with the ROM chip, coupled with a useful sound chip. All necessaries have been put in place, yet the release was still delayed. It is not even that there is no capability to raise sufficient capital to increase and ensure quick development. Bushnell became desperate and sold Atari to Warner communication in 1976 for $28 million, that amount is equivalent to $95 in 2018. They are having made the promise that everything is going to be alright in due time. Where everything got to change was when a chip designer Jay Miner was hired. He strived and made a conscious effort in turning the television interface adaptor to just a single chip. What jay Miner did was precisely what is needed to ensure Stella is out of the market. Later the system was named Atari Video Computer System (VCS) which is now in perfect competition with Fairchild’s VES.
Dismissal and Re-emergence and Pizza!
The inception of the Console was on September 11th, 1977, and its price was $199, which is equivalent to $800 in 2018. If you think that your X box or Playstation is still kind of expensive. The feature includes all hookups, and game cart labeled Combat and the now-classic controllers. Over 250,000 units were sold in 1977, what later came up was that people no longer have interest in the Pong Console and the sales of the VCS was not that fantastic. Close to 800,000 unit was produced in 1978, but it was only 550,000 that was sold. The reduction in sales brought about an argument between Warner and Bushnell, and it was severe to the extent that Bushnell had to leave the company. Kee later Games broke up, later bought is pet project which is the Pizza Time Theatre from Warner.
Now it is essential to take a closer look to Bushnell’s endeavor, as we have done justice to Atari’s history. What Bushnell had in mind was to ensure significant expansion to a larger percentage of the audience, most notably the children. This is simply because the majority of the arcade games are located in bars and pools. A significant reason why he decided to start a Pizza restaurant was that it is straightforward to make. Making Pizza is so quick, and it is kind of hard to screw up. The intention was to create a place that kids can go to play video games, eat Pizza and watch animatronics and most especially eat Pizza. The idea is what later pave the way for the establishment of the famous Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. This particular theatre is a place where most kids do go in the 1980s that exposes them to the world of video games. The activities of the kids are what Bushnell has dreamt of.
Now moving on to Atari. one of the staff hired then was working on a project, without being known to everyone it was believed that it would secure Atari VCS. This particular project was started by Warren Robinett, which was referred to as the Adventure. It can be considered as the first adventure game which gives players the chance to explore and move to all places. This new development serves as an eye-opener and offers insight to the developer. They now understand the fact that they are not limited to the usage of only one screen, and can make a simple arcade-style game. Also, it is currently serving as a clear indication showing that VCS is more better than Pong Console. With this, most developers now have the chance of designing advanced games.
Another thing that came up was Atari licensing Space Invaders, and it has been of great help as it increases the sales, in 1980 over 2 million units were sold. This happens to be the year Atari launched a more sophisticated VCS version, which is called Atari 2600. It happens to be the name everyone remembers the VCS by. What can be considered as the tangible difference is the fact that 2 of the switches were transferred right from the front straight to the back of the Console?
Have you played Atari today?
The Atari VCS has different versions, which is the reason why the whole of this section will be given to them
Looking at the year 1977-1980, the VCS version that was released was only two. “The Heavy Sixer” was the first one, heavy plastics were used to make, and it also has like 6 switches if you look at the front. Later the VCS moved its production process away from California, the product is now with thinner and lighter plastic, but there are still like 6 switches at the front.
In the period as mentioned above, up to 4 versions were released. The earlier mentioned include the VCS which has only 4 switches at the front and the Death Vader. This is similar to black plastic let alone a wood panel which is at the front. After the Atari 2800 came in, it happens to be a kind of remodeling of 2600, which is made for the Japanese market in 1983. It is the inclusion of 4 game ports rather than the 2600s 2. It includes the 4 games. Also, a new controller has now made the combination of the paddle controller and joystick to one. Having done all this, the system failed due to some technical itch made by the Nintendo Family Computer known as Famicom, the toy company earlier mentioned. The Atari 2600 Jr, it is the smaller version and cost-effective version of 2600, the release was made in 1986
Sears and Atari had a deal around this time, and the agreement was that the Sears could sell Atari consoles right in their stores. With the clause that Sears can release the versions made by them as well. This was what led to the release of the sears name, which includes, The Sears Tele-Games “Video Arcade,” Heavy Sixer and Light Sixer. All they do is just taking the consoles already made by Atari and now put their labels on them. Also the 2600 model and other versions of the Japanese exclusive 2800. Got released as “Sears Video Arcade II.”
As soon as Atari has been made, the plans for the successor follows almost immediately. The thing is that the duration of years it was expected to last is 3 years before there will be a need to refresh. The name of the successor is “Super Stella.” In the cause of the production of the Super Stella, the electronics market boomed. The decision was reached that it will be an excellent idea if they take advantage of the boom. The conclusion reached was what led to the Atari 8-bit family; it ran from 1979-1992. Atari 400 and Atari 800 happens to be the first Atari computers designed in 1979. Numbers in the computer names correlate to the amount of RAM inside. Some are 400 having 4KB, while the others are 800 having 8KB. It was well-received, and also the coming of the Atari 5200 which can be seen has the half-brother. In November 1982, the Atari 5200 released was meant to be an higher-end version of 2600, it has a better graphics and a more sophisticated controller. It has 4 players port other two, additionally an advance one RF box which switches the TV to get the game displayed as at when they turn on the Console. By now, some thoughts will have probably been going on in your head. You might be wondering if this section is no longer for Atari Computers, why are we so particular about the Atari 5200. You are probably right with your answers, but the fact is that we made mention of the 5200 simply because that hardware present in the Console are identical, which is 400 and 800 computers. As the development started, the plan to enter the home computer market was now entirely made.
The sad thing about the Atari 5200 was that it was not successful because the systems do not support the 2600 library. The games made available for selection are small, terrible controller design and no advanced analog stick. Although as at the time it was released, it’s a great innovation, now it is no longer new. Provisions were made for the release of 5200 that has 2 controller ports. Also is an available adaptor used to play the Atari 2600 games with the inclusion of standard RF box. Atari 5100 was as well planned for which is relatively cheaper and smaller. All the above mentioned were more affordable and lower but was not released for the players to enjoy.
Moving back to home computer proper, over the years Atari was working assiduously trying to build their computer which is named Liz. On familiar ground, it should be 400 and 800, because those ideas were dropped to have just a model. It later ends up being the 1200XL which is designed with 1200 XL and also 64KB RAM. Even this then ended up in a wrong note for Atari, because it is in no way better than the Atari 800. Additionally, it is now expensive. Having experienced all this, they were forced to drop the price, and the 1200 XL was a total failure. Atari does not have any choice than to pick up the pieces and try coming up with another computer that will successfully replace the 400 and 800 computers. The new replacement gave birth to the 600 XL and 800 XL each respectively replacing the 400 and 1200 XL. It has the same look like the 1200 XL just that it is smaller when making juxtaposition. Additionally, there are two higher-end models which include 1400 XL, and 1450 XLD. The first comprises a voice synthesizer, while the former is with a floppy disk that is double-sided which also have an option of the second drive. The above mentioned are the shortcomings of Atari, which does not allow it to meet the demand of the customers. It looks like Atari was not fated to make sales on the computer
Computer by Tramiel
After it had suffered a loss on the home console and home computer markets. The cost being incurred on the parent company, which is Warner became too expensive. Atari was divided into 3 sections which include the video game, home computer, and the arcade division. These divisions were independent, and none of them is willing to cooperate. Since the cost is unbearable, Warner gave serious thought to the selling of Atari due to the continuous losses. Amidst this crisis, Jack Tramiel came into play, who is a WW2 camp survivor. He was also into the home computer business and had a company referred to as Commodore, and his products were the Commodore and Vic @0 computers. He later bought Atari Video game console and home computer in 1984, meanwhile, Atari Arcade division was acquired by other competitor named NAMCO.
After Tramiel bought Atari, it shut down all branches named Atari
This was able to hold his sway in the market considering the hardware it has earlier released before they were allowed to publish their product. The product that succeeds the 8-bit family is the Atari ST, which stands for both 16-bit bus and 32-bit processors. Some set of computers were as well released which can be referred to as XE series
It includes 12 machines in which most of them are of low price compare to some other competitors. It was able to make big sales due to its portability and relatively low price.
Atari IBM PC/MS-DOS Compatible
Then the company releases 2 computers under their ABC line. They include Atari ABC 386SX/DX, which has a faster processor and uses MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.0. The other computer was Atari N386SX Laptop which happens to be redesigned any SOTEC, a tech company from Japanese
Consoles by Tramiel
It does not only place its focus on the computer market but also makes a conscious effort in addressing the video game consoles. The actual year in which the Console was released in 1984 was California, and It was later faced with some issue to the sales agreement that happened between Tramiel and Warner. The video game consoles did not make much profit due to the perfect completion caused by Nintendo Entertainment
Without even done with consoles, Atari has decided against naming their video game consoles after cats. Which later led to the emergence of 3 products which include the Atari Panther”, Atari ST and the Atari Transporter work station
A conscious effort is made by Atari to fix the various problems they have encountered. But they were still left with no choice than to collaborate with JTS storage. This is due to some failures that have affected their reputation over time. Later JTS sold all the whole Atari corporation to Hasbro
Re-Emergence of a giant?
As at the time of writing this review, Atari is owned and controlled by Infogrames, and It was renamed Atari Inc, while the European section was referred to as Atari Europe. After some time Infogrames later renamed itself Atari SA.
2014 Atari casino Project
Atari has joined forces with specialists in the field of genuine casino cash games and made an astonishing accumulation of exemplary casino games with an Atari wind.