“Atari was founded in 1972, but its crowning accomplishments in console gaming and computers were the Atari Video Computer System (or 2600) and the Atari 400/800 line of personal computers. 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. For more detail, be sure to read Gamasutra’s first Atari history article, which covers the period of 1971 to 1977 – the latter date being the year that the Atari VCS was first released.” That’s a grand total of 40 pages of detailed Atari history. Nice weekend reading for the fans.
Atari’s History, 1971-1981
About The Author
Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda
2008-08-24 10:21 pmhelf
god, judgen, I still want your Amiga
2008-08-25 5:18 pmAmigaRobbo
I’ve got a (standard) Falcon, it’s better than a ST, plugs straight into my flatscreen modern monitor, but the OS is still total TOS.
He also felt that the incipient Atari computer line needed to embrace outside developers, but the record company execs from Warner — who were used to completely controlling IP and the delivery medium for it — wanted to make the new computers completely closed to outside developers.
30 Years on and no change there, then.
My God, the memories.
A very enjoyable article. Thanks Thom!
2008-08-24 2:49 pmwakeupneo
Seconded! Great memories for me as the 2600 was my first intro to a ‘home’ video game system.
A long time ago, in a land not so far far away….I was once a ‘Combat’ master! Doop…doop-doop…doop…doop…..*ksshhhhhh*… Loved that game
I still own my Atari 130XE, everytime I see it inside its old box, a lot of memories and nostalgia come back.
I give my very first steps learning BASIC in such computers and I loved every new “PEEK” and “POKE” I learnt in such machines…
Ave Atari computers!
2008-08-24 1:04 amDoc Pain
I still own my Atari 130XE […]
Ave Atari computers!
Profundantur et omnia Atarium est. 🙂
Allthough Atari wasn’t my first computer, I liked the experience (different to the MS-DOS stuff at this time). Sadly, I don’t own any of the cool gaming equipment anymore, but I still have this fully working stuff:
– Atari 800 XE with cassette drive
– Atari 800 XL
– Atari 1040 (x 2)
– Atari Mega-ST
– Atari STM-124 monitor (x 3)
– Atari Megafile hard disk drive (x 3)
– Atari Megafile exchangable hard disk drive with media
– Atari Mega-ST keyboard
– Atari mouse (x 2)
So many Atariae. =^_^=
2008-08-24 1:49 amGoverna
My Atari collection (all fully working):
– 600XL + 1064 RAM expansion unit + XC12 cassette drive
– 1040 STFM
– 2600 VCS
– Lynx II
Boy sure brings back memories. Those are great Atari machine
Hope one day, Atari machine will be back !!!
2008-08-24 11:37 amKroc
For Atari to make a comeback they’d have to move into new territory.
Personally, I’d make iPhone ports in the short term to recoup some money, and then invest it in new R&D.
Me and my buddies played missile command till the wee hours of the night.. on of my friends ended up getting the actual arcade of it (disabled the coin op) and still toys with it today.
Biggest thing I remember about the Atari tho was we must have had unusually bad luck, because I went through controllers faster than my parents would buy them for me. So the new, I cant move left strategy made gaming harder.
Let the flame war begin. ;o)
I bet in the 90s, that would have started at huge flame war about which computer was the best. I always voted on Amiga. Despite no Galaxer i Dina Braxer, Grabben! But nowadays I use OpenSolaris and ZFS. :o)
“Somebody get this freaking duck away from me!”
I cut my teeth on 6502 assembly language programming with an Atari 800, thanks to the technical documents Atari published, as well as the source code listings of the ROM.
The 8-bit systems had a reasonably sophisticated operating system to which you could add (and remove) device drivers on the fly. Of course, there was only 52 KB available at any time, but you could switch the top 4 KB and keep data available, but out of sight until you needed it. Shepherdson, later Optimized Systems Software, did a great job on the DOS and 8 KB BASIC interpreter.
I always thought it said a lot about the hardware to see the same application or game title for Apple II and Atari machines but the 48 KB requirement of the Apple II diminished to only 16 KB on the Atari machines. Of course, the Amiga developers enjoyed a similar jolt from the hardware’s ability to manipulate graphics on the fly and more.
Too bad development is so boring these days.
I remember a time when you could go into a computer store and had the choice of (at the time) new PC computer along with Amiga 500, Atari ST, Apple II/GS and Mac and in the corner you still had the Commodore 128 that was still on sale.
So many choice, one was good for gaming (Amiga) but the Atari had more business software and could also game for less money. The Mac was cute but SO monochrome and costed too much.
And side by side, the lonely IBM with MS-DOS Text looked so ugly that (at the time) I wondered how could this thing sell…. Amiga/Atari/Mac all had nice GUI.
Nice memory. Today, we don’t have that kind of choice. It’s all about Intel/AMD and Windows/Linux/OSX. That’s all….
I have only owned the game systems, and all that know me they would tell you that i prefer Amiga and BeOS above all other so far. But I would like to try out the Falcon fully upgraded with the 110mhz 68k chip. Some people say its very enjoyable. So if anyone in Norrbotten read this and have a 68k falcon please let me know, then i can visit you for a demo. I can even bring my monstro Amiga to compare with your Atari. Its a 1200 amiga with blizzard ppc and a sbc intel M 1.8ghz intel. Would sure be interesting. I can also settle for some video footage or video of said Atari machine.