Video Games: Atari celebrates its 50th anniversary

In June 1972, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded a company called Atari in Sunnyvale, California. This is the start of a revolution…

The founders are Americans, but the company name is Japanese. “Atari” is a pawn position in the game of “Go” that guarantees that the player will take some pawns from his opponent on the next move. “Atari” also means “to hit the target” in the language of the Land of the Rising Sun. The well-known company logo, though unrelated, was named “Fuji” in reference to the mountain.

Piece by piece

It was to develop the arcade equivalent of the tennis game Magnavox’s Odyssey that two men created Atari. The result was the classic, first popular video game: Pong. Three years later, the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) enters the market and will be renamed the Atari 2600. Again a success. But, because new money is needed, Bushnell sells the company to the Warner group in 1976 for about … 32 million US dollars. And the public relations group rubs its hands, the Atari division brings in a third of its revenue and is the fastest growing company in the United States. But the collapse of the video game industry in 1983 stopped this meteoric rise. Warner sold Atari’s electronics division to Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore (or the Commodore 64 firm), and retained Atari Games before selling it to Namco in 1985; in 1999 it would be permanently renamed Midway Games West Inc. before going out of business. But then who is hiding behind Atari today? Simply put, Infogrames acquired Hasbro Interactive in 2001 and thus became the owner of the Atari name and its various properties. Atari SA is now a French company whose subsidiaries are, among others, Atari Interactive and Atari Inc for North America… and it is known that Atari tried unsuccessfully to create an Atari virtual casino, but there is even an Atari Blockchain division. .

And games in all this?

Let’s forget about legal entities and their owners and focus on the names that made the brand famous. Because aside from Pong, which is still fun to play, if only to immerse yourself in a very “vintage” vibe, Atari is synonymous with great classics. In 1979, Asteroids fascinated players on both the consoles of the time and the arcades. And now a new “Recharged” version is available, including a visual update. Next year, the “gamer” must protect six cities from ballistic missile attacks in “Missile Command”. The demonic shooter “Centipede”, released in 1981, also received dust in 2021 called “Centipede: Reloaded”.

Other important moments in the history of the company, the games of the franchise “Roller Coaster Tycoon” or “Alone in the Dark”, “Dragon Ball Z” and even “Enter the Matrix”. Among the weirder games that can still be played for free online is Ninja Golf. Yes, you play golf, of course, but since you’re also a ninja, you’ll have to fight the enemies that swarm the course… including different types of prairie dogs. It’s nonsense, but it’s very funny.

50th full of “buns”

To celebrate a more than important anniversary, Atari decided to do something big. Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration will be released this winter and will feature over 90 titles from the company’s catalog, including arcade games and defunct consoles. In addition, the games will be presented in an interactive timeline that will also allow you to discover videos, interviews and historical archives.

And finally, let’s get rid of video games. LEGO lovers will be pleased to know that the VCS buildable, specially built for this anniversary, is available at a price that will surprise many.

Book of links

Atari: Pong official website: free, for Asteroids browsers: free, for Asteroids Recharged browsers “: for different platforms “Missile Command Recharged”: for different platforms “Centipede Recharged”: https: / / for different platforms Roller Coaster Tycoon Series: for different platforms Alone in the Dark Series: https:// multiplatform Dragon Ball Z Franchise: multiplatform Ninja Golf: https://www.retrogames .cz/play_1104-Atari7800.php?language=EN for browsers “Atari 50th Anniversary Celebration”: iversary-celebration for different platforms

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