Atari

Atari SA (/æˈtɑːri/) is a French corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA.[1][2][3] The original Atari, Inc., founded in Sunnyvale, California in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, was a pioneer in arcade games, home video game consoles, and home computers. The company's products, such as Pong and the Atari 2600, helped define the electronic entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980s.

In 1984, as a result of the video game crash of 1983, the original Atari Inc. was split, and the arcade division was turned into Atari Games Inc.[4] Atari Games received the rights to use the logo and brand name with appended text "Games" on arcade games, as well as rights to the original 1972–1984 arcade hardware properties. The Atari Consumer Electronics Division properties were in turn sold to Jack Tramiel's Tramiel Technology Ltd., which then renamed itself to Atari Corporation.[5][6] In 1996, Atari Corporation reverse-merged with disk-drive manufacturer JT Storage (JTS),[7] becoming a division within the company. In 1998, Hasbro Interactive acquired all Atari Corporation related properties from JTS,[8] creating a new subsidiary, Atari Interactive.[9]

Infogrames Entertainment (IESA) bought Hasbro Interactive in 2001 and renamed it Infogrames Interactive, which intermittently published Atari branded titles. In 2003, it renamed the division Atari Interactive. Another IESA division, Infogrames Inc. (formerly GT Interactive[10]), changed its name to Atari Inc. the same year, licensing the Atari name and logo from its fellow subsidiary.[2][11][12]

In 2008, IESA completed its acquisition of Atari, Inc.'s outstanding stock, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.[13] IESA renamed itself Atari, SA in 2009. It sought bankruptcy protection under French law in January 2013.

Atari SA
S.A. (corporation)
IndustryConsumer electronics, video game
FoundedJune 28, 1972 as Atari, Inc.
1984 as Atari Corporation and Atari Games
1998 as Atari Interactive (division of Hasbro Interactive)
2003 as Atari Interactive (formerly Infogrames Interactive/Hasbro Interactive)
2003 as Atari Inc. (formerly Infogrames Inc./GT Interactive)
FounderNolan Bushnell
Headquarters,
Key people
Frédéric Chesnais (CEO)
Productsvideo games, consumer electronics

History

Atari Inc. (1972–1984)

In 1971, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded a small engineering company, Syzygy Engineering,[14] that designed and built Computer Space, the world's first commercially available arcade video game, for Nutting Associates. On June 27, 1972, the two incorporated Atari, Inc. and soon hired Al Alcorn as their first design engineer. Bushnell asked Alcorn to produce an arcade version of the Magnavox Odyssey's Tennis game,[15] which would be named Pong. While Bushnell incorporated Atari in June 1972, Syzygy Company was never formally incorporated. Before Atari's incorporation, Bushnell considered various terms from the game Go, eventually choosing atari, referencing a position in the game when a group of stones is imminently in danger of being taken by one's opponent. Atari was incorporated in the state of California on June 27, 1972.[16]

Atari-2600-Wood-4Sw-Set
The third version of the Atari Video Computer System sold from 1980 to 1982

In 1973, Atari secretly spawned a competitor called Kee Games, headed by Nolan's next door neighbor Joe Keenan, to circumvent pinball distributors' insistence on exclusive distribution deals; both Atari and Kee could market virtually the same game to different distributors, each getting an "exclusive" deal. Joe Keenan's management of the subsidiary led to him being promoted president of Atari that same year.[17]

In 1976, Bushnell, through Grass Valley, CA firm Cyan Engineering, started development of a flexible console that was capable of playing the four existing Atari games. The result was the Atari Video Computer System, or VCS (later renamed 2600 when the 5200 was released). The introductory price of $199 (equivalent to $876 in 2018) included a console, two joysticks, a pair of paddles, and the Combat game cartridge.[18] Bushnell knew he had another potential hit on his hands but bringing the machine to market would be extremely expensive. Looking for outside investors, Bushnell sold Atari to Warner Communications in 1976 for an estimated $28–32 million, using part of the money to buy the Folgers Mansion. Nolan continued to have disagreements with Warner Management over the direction of the company, the discontinuation of the pinball division, and most importantly, the notion of discontinuing the 2600. In 1978, Kee Games was disbanded.[19] In December of that year, Nolan Bushnell was fired following an argument with Manny Gerard. "[W]e started fighting like cats and dogs. And then the wheels came off that fall. Warner claimed they fired me," recalled Bushnell. "I say I quit. It was a mutual separation."[20]

Development of a successor to the 2600 started as soon as it shipped. The original team estimated the 2600 had a lifespan of about three years; it then set forth to build the most powerful machine possible within that time frame. Mid-way into their effort the home computer revolution took off, leading to the addition of a keyboard and features to produce the Atari 800 and its smaller sibling, the 400. The new machines had some success when they finally became available in quantity in 1980. From this platform Atari released their next-generation game console in 1982, the Atari 5200. It was unsuccessful due to incompatibility with the 2600 game library, a small quantity of dedicated games, and notoriously unreliable controllers.

Under Warner and Atari's chairman and CEO, Raymond Kassar, the company achieved its greatest success, selling millions of 2600s and computers. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner's annual income and was the fastest growing company in US history at the time. However, it ran into problems in the early 1980s as interference from the New York-based Warner management increasingly affected daily operations. Its home computer, video game console, and arcade divisions operated independently and rarely cooperated. Faced with fierce competition and price wars in the game console and home computer markets, Atari was never able to duplicate the success of the 2600.

These problems were followed by the video game crash of 1983, with losses that totaled more than $500 million. Warner's stock price slid from $60 to $20, and the company began searching for a buyer for its troubled division. In 1983, Ray Kassar had resigned and executives involved in the Famicom merger lost track of negotiations, eventually killing the deal. With Atari's financial problems and the Famicom's runaway success in Japan after its July 16, 1983, release, Nintendo decided to remain independent.

Financial problems continued to mount and Kassar's successor, James J. Morgan, had less than a year in which to tackle the company's problems. He began a massive restructuring of the company and worked with Warner Communications in May 1984 to create "NATCO" (an acronym for New Atari Company). NATCO further streamlined the company's facilities, personnel, and spending. Unknown to James Morgan and the senior management of Atari, Warner had been in talks with Tramiel Technology to buy Atari's consumer electronics and home computer divisions. Negotiating until close to midnight on July 1, 1984, Jack Tramiel purchased Atari. Warner sold the home computing and game console divisions of Atari to Tramiel for $50 cash and $240 million in promissory notes and stocks, giving Warner a 20% stake in Atari Corporation[21] who then used it to create a new company under the name Atari Corporation. Warner retained the arcade division, continuing it under the name Atari Games, but sold it to Namco in 1985. Warner also sold the fledgling Ataritel to Mitsubishi.

The Atari logo was designed by George Opperman who was Atari's first in-house graphic designer. The design is known as "Fuji" for its resemblance to the Japanese mountain, although the design's origins are unrelated to it. Opperman designed the logo intending for the silhouette to look like the letter A as in Atari, and for its three "prongs" to resemble players and the midline of the "court" in company's first hit game, Pong.[22]

Atari Corporation (1984–1996)

Atari 1040STf
Atari ST

Under Tramiel's ownership, Atari Corp. used the remaining stock of game console inventory to keep the company afloat while they finished development on a 16/32-bit computer system, the Atari ST. ("ST" stands for "sixteen/thirty-two", referring to the machines' 16-bit bus and 32-bit processor core.) In April 1985, they released the first update to the 8-bit computer line — the Atari 65XE, the Atari XE series. June 1985 saw the release of the Atari 130XE; Atari User Groups received early sneak-preview samples of the new Atari 520ST's, and major retailer shipments hit store shelves in September 1985 of Atari's new 32-bit Atari ST computers. In 1986, Atari launched two consoles designed under Warner — the Atari 2600jr and the Atari 7800 console (which saw limited release in 1984). Atari rebounded, earning a $25 million profit that year.

In 1987, Atari acquired Federated Group for $67.3 million, securing shelf space in over 60 stores in California, Arizona, Texas and Kansas[23] at a time when major American electronics outlets were reluctant to carry Atari-branded computers, and two-thirds of Atari's PC production was sold in Europe.[24] The Federated Group (not related to Federated Department Stores) was sold to Silo in 1989.[25]

In 1989, Atari released the Atari Lynx, a handheld console with color graphics, to much fanfare. A shortage of parts kept the system from being released nationwide for the 1989 Christmas season, and the Lynx lost market share to Nintendo's Game Boy which, despite only having a black and white display, was cheaper, had better battery life and had much higher availability. Tramiel emphasized computers over game consoles but Atari's proprietary computer architecture and operating system fell victim to the success of the Wintel platform while the game market revived. In 1989, Atari Corp. sued Nintendo for $250 million, alleging it had an illegal monopoly.[26] Atari eventually lost the case when it was rejected by a US district court in 1992.[27]

In 1993, Atari positioned its Jaguar as the only 64-bit interactive media entertainment system available, but it sold poorly. It would be the last home console to be produced by Atari and the last to be produced by an American manufacturer until Microsoft's introduction of the Xbox in 2001.

By 1996, a series of successful lawsuits[28] had left Atari with millions of dollars in the bank, but the failure of the Lynx and Jaguar left Atari without a product to sell. Tramiel and his family also wanted out of the business. The result was a rapid succession of changes in ownership. In July 1996, Atari merged with JTS Inc., a short-lived maker of hard disk drives, to form JTS Corp.[29][30][31][32] Atari's role in the new company largely became that of holder for the Atari properties and minor support, and consequently the name largely disappeared from the market.

As a division of Hasbro (1998–2000)

In March 1998, JTS sold the Atari name and assets to Hasbro Interactive for $5 million—less than a fifth of what Warner Communications had paid 22 years earlier.[33] This transaction primarily involved the brand and intellectual property, which now fell under the Atari Interactive division of Hasbro Interactive. The brand name changed hands again in December 2000 when French software publisher Infogrames took over Hasbro Interactive.[34]

Infogrames/Atari SA (2001–present)

In October 2001, Infogrames (now Atari SA) announced that it was "reinventing" the Atari brand with the launch of three new games featuring a prominent Atari branding on their boxarts: Splashdown, MX Rider and TransWorld Surf.[35] Infogrames used Atari as a brand name for games aimed at 18–34 year olds. Other Infogrames games under the Atari name included V-Rally 3, Neverwinter Nights, Stuntman and Enter the Matrix.

On May 7, 2003, Infogrames had its majority-owned, but discrete US subsidiary Infogrames NA officially renamed Atari, Inc.,[36] renamed its European operations to Atari Europe but kept the original name of the main company Infogrames Entertainment. The original Atari holdings division purchased from Hasbro, Hasbro Interactive, was also made a separate corporate entity renamed as Atari Interactive.

On March 6, 2008, Infogrames made an offer to Atari Inc. to buy out all remaining public shares for a value of $1.68 per share, or $11 million total.[37] The offer would make Infogrames sole owner of Atari Inc., thus making it a privately held company.[38] On April 30, 2008, Atari Inc. announced its intentions to accept Infogrames' buyout offer and to merge with Infogrames.[39][40] On October 8, 2008, Infogrames completed its acquisition of Atari Inc., making it a wholly owned subsidiary.[13][41]

On December 9, 2008, Atari announced that it had acquired Cryptic Studios, a MMORPG developer.[42]

Namco Bandai purchased a 34% stake in Atari Europe on May 14, 2009, paving the way for its acquisition from Infogrames.[43] Atari had significant financial issues for several years prior, with losses in the tens of millions since 2005.[44]

In May 2009, Infogrames Entertainment SA, the parent company of Atari, and Atari Interactive, announced it would change its name to Atari SA.

In April 2010, Atari SA board member and former CEO David Gardner resigned. Original Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell joined the board as a representative for Blubay holdings.[45]

As of March 31, 2011, the board of directors consisted of Frank Dangeard, Jim Wilson, Tom Virden, Gene Davis and Alexandra Fichelson.[3]

On January 21, 2013, the four related companies Atari, Atari Interactive, Humongous, and California US Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.[46] All three Ataris emerged from bankruptcy one year later and the entering of the social casino gaming industry with Atari Casino.[47] Frederic Chesnais, who now heads all three companies, stated that their entire operations consist of a staff of 10 people.[48]

On June 22, 2014, Atari announced a new corporate strategy that would include a focus on "new audiences", specifically "LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube".[49]

On June 8, 2017 a short teaser video was released, promoting a new product;[50] and the following week CEO Fred Chesnais confirmed the company was developing a new games console – the hardware was stated to be based on PC technology, and still under development.[51] In mid July 2017 an Atari press release confirmed the existence of the aforementioned new hardware, referred to as the Ataribox. The box design was derived from early Atari designs (e.g. 2600) with a ribbed top surface, and a rise at the back of the console; two versions were announced: one with a traditional wood veneer front, and the other with a glass front. Connectivity options were revealed, including HDMI, USB (x4), and SD card – the console was said to support both classic and current games.[52] Also, according to an official company statement of June 22, 2017, the product was to be initially launched via a crowdfunding campaign in order to minimize any financial risk to the parent company.[53]

On September 26, 2017, Atari sent out a press release about the new "Atari VCS", which confirmed more details about the console. It will run a Linux operating system, with full access to the underlying OS, but it will have a custom interface designed for the TV.[54]

See also

References

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External links

Arcade system board

An arcade system board is a dedicated computer system created for the purpose of running video arcade games. Arcade system boards typically consist of a main system board with any number of supporting boards.

Asteroids (video game)

Asteroids is a space-themed multidirectional shooter arcade game designed by Lyle Rains, Ed Logg, and Dominic Walsh and released in November 1979 by Atari, Inc. The player controls a single spaceship in an asteroid field which is periodically traversed by flying saucers. The object of the game is to shoot and destroy the asteroids and saucers, while not colliding with either, or being hit by the saucers' counter-fire. The game becomes harder as the number of asteroids increases.

Asteroids was one of the first major hits of the golden age of arcade games; the game sold over 70,000 arcade cabinets and proved both popular with players and influential with developers. In the 1980s it was ported to Atari's home systems, and the Atari VCS version sold over three million copies. The game was widely imitated, and it directly influenced Defender, Gravitar, and many other video games.

Asteroids was conceived during a meeting between Logg and Rains, who decided to use hardware developed by Howard Delman, previously used for Lunar Lander. Based on an unfinished game titled Cosmos, and inspired by Spacewar!, Computer Space, and Space Invaders, the physics model, control scheme, and gameplay elements for Asteroids were derived from these earlier games and refined through trial and error. The game is rendered on a vector display in a two-dimensional view that wraps around both screen axes.

Atari, Inc.

Atari, Inc. was an American video game developer and home computer company founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Primarily responsible for the formation of the video arcade and modern video game industries, the company was closed and its assets split in 1984 as a direct result of the North American video game crash of 1983.

Atari, Inc. (Atari, SA subsidiary)

Atari, Inc. was founded in 1993 as GT Interactive Software Corp. In 1999, Infogrames Entertainment, SA acquired a controlling interest in GT Interactive, renaming it Infogrames, Inc. As part of Infogrames Entertainment's company-wide re-branding in May 2003, Infogrames, Inc. finally became known as Atari, Inc. On October 11, 2008, Infogrames completed its acquisition of Atari, Inc., making it a wholly owned subsidiary. On January 21, 2013, Atari, Inc. filed for bankruptcy, with President Jim Wilson stating plans to split off from parent Atari, SA.

Atari, SA

Atari, SA (formerly Infogrames Entertainment, SA) is a French holding company headquartered in Paris. Its subsidiaries include Atari Interactive and Atari, Inc. Because of continuing pressures upon the company, and difficulty finding investors, it sought bankruptcy protection under French law in January 2013; its subsidiaries in the United States have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as well. All three subsidiaries have since exited bankruptcy, and are all going through a vigorous turnaround campaign.

Atari 2600

The Atari 2600, originally sold as the Atari Video Computer System or Atari VCS until November 1982, is a home video game console from Atari, Inc. Released on September 11, 1977, it is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and games contained on ROM cartridges, a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F in 1976. This contrasts with the older model of having dedicated hardware that could play only those games that were physically built into the unit. The 2600 was bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a game cartridge: initially Combat, and later Pac-Man.The Atari VCS launched with nine cartridges offering simple, low-resolution games in 2 KiB cartridges. Disagreements over sales potential of the VCS led Bushnell to leave Atari in 1978. The system found its killer app with the port of Taito's Space Invaders in 1980 and became widely successful, leading to the creation of third-party game developers, notably Activision, and competition from other home console makers such as Mattel and later Coleco. By the end of its primary lifecycle in 1983-4, the 2600 was home to games with much more advanced visuals and gameplay than the system was designed for, such as scrolling platform adventure Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, which uses four times the ROM of the launch titles.Atari invested heavily in two games for the 2600, Pac-Man and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, that would become commercial failures and contributed to the video game crash of 1983. The 2600 was shelved as the industry recovered, while Warner sold off the home console division of Atari to Commodore CEO Jack Tramiel. The new Atari Corporation under Tramiel re-released a lower-cost version of the 2600 in 1986, as well as the Atari 7800 that was backwards compatible with the 2600. Atari dropped support for the Atari 2600 on January 1, 1992, after an estimated 30 million units were sold over the system's lifetime.

Atari 5200

The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, commonly known as the Atari 5200, is a home video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari Inc. as a higher-end complementary console for the popular Atari 2600. The 5200 was created to compete with the Intellivision, but wound up more directly competing with the ColecoVision shortly after its release.The 5200's internal hardware is almost identical to that of Atari's 8-bit computers, although software is not directly compatible between the two systems. The 5200's controllers have an analog joystick and a numeric keypad along with start, pause, and reset buttons. The 360-degree non-centering joystick was touted as offering more control than the eight-way joystick controller offered with the Atari 2600.

On May 21, 1984, during a press conference at which the Atari 7800 was introduced, company executives revealed that the 5200 had been discontinued after just two years on the market. Total sales of the 5200 were reportedly in excess of 1 million units.

Atari 7800

The Atari 7800 ProSystem, or simply the Atari 7800, is a home video game console officially released by the Atari Corporation in 1986. It is almost fully backward-compatible with the Atari 2600, the first console to have backward compatibility without the use of additional modules. It was considered affordable at a price of US$140 (equivalent to $320 in 2018).

The 7800 has significantly improved graphics hardware over the 2600, but uses the same audio chip. It also shipped with a different model of joystick from the 2600-standard CX40.

The 1986 launch is sometimes referred to as a "re-release" or "relaunch" because the Atari 7800 had originally been announced on May 21, 1984, to replace Atari Inc.'s Atari 5200, but a general release was shelved due to the sale of the company.

Atari 8-bit family

The Atari 8-bit family is a series of 8-bit home computers introduced by Atari, Inc. in 1979 and manufactured until 1992. All of the machines in the family are technically similar and differ primarily in packaging. They are based on the MOS Technology 6502 CPU running at 1.79 MHz, and were the first home computers designed with custom co-processor chips. This architecture enabled graphics and sound capabilities that were more advanced than contemporary machines at the time of release, and gaming on the platform was a major draw. Star Raiders is considered the platform's killer app.

The original Atari 400 and 800 models launched with a series of plug-n-play peripherals that used the Atari SIO serial bus system, an early analog of the modern USB. To meet stringent FCC requirements, the early machines were enclosed in a cast aluminum block, which made them physically robust but expensive to produce. Over the following decade, the 400 and 800 were replaced by the XL series, then the XE. The XL and XE are much lighter in construction and less expensive to build, while also having Atari BASIC built-in and reducing the number of joystick ports from 4 to 2. The 130XE, released in 1985, increased the memory to 128K of bank-switched RAM.

The Atari 8-bit computer line sold two million units during its major production run between late 1979 and mid-1985. They were not only sold through dedicated computer retailers, but department stores such as Sears, using an in-store demo to attract customers. The primary competition in the worldwide market came several years later, when the Commodore 64 was introduced in 1982. This was the first computer to offer similar graphics performance, and went on to be the best selling computer of the 8-bit era. Atari also found a strong market in Eastern Europe and had something of a renaissance in the early 1990s as these countries joined a uniting Europe.

In 1992, Atari Corp. officially dropped all remaining support of the 8-bit line.

Atari Corporation

Atari Corporation was an American manufacturer of computers and video game consoles from 1984 to 1996. Atari Corp. was founded in July 1984 when Warner Communications sold the home computing and game console divisions of Atari, Inc. to Jack Tramiel. Its chief products were the Atari ST, Atari XE, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx, and Atari Jaguar. The company reverse merged with JTS Inc. in 1996, becoming a small division, which itself closed when JTS liquidated the IP to Hasbro Interactive in 1998.

Atari Flashback

The Atari Flashback is a series of dedicated consoles marketed by Atari, Inc. from 2004 to 2011. Since 2011, the consoles have been produced and marketed by AtGames under license from Atari. They are "plug and play" versions of the classic Atari 2600 and Atari 7800 consoles; rather than using ROM cartridges, the games are built-in.

The systems are powered by an AC adapter (included), come with a pair of joystick controllers, and use standard composite video and monaural audio RCA connectors to connect to a television.

Atari Jaguar

The Atari Jaguar is a home video game console that was developed by Atari Corporation. The console is the sixth programmable console to be developed under the Atari brand, originally released in North America in November 1993. It is also the last Atari console to use physical media. Controversially, Atari marketed the Jaguar as being the first 64-bit video game console, while competing with the existing 16-bit consoles (Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System) and the 32-bit 3DO Interactive Multiplayer platform (which launched the same year).

Development on the Atari Jaguar started in the early 1990s by Flare Technology. The console was released to test markets in New York City and San Francisco in November 1993 and to the general public in 1994. The Jaguar shipped with Cybermorph as the pack-in game.The multi-chip architecture, hardware bugs, and lacking developer support tools made game development difficult. Underwhelming sales further contributed to the console's lack of third-party support. This, in addition to the lack of internal development at Atari, led to a games library comprising only 50 licensed titles + another 13 games on the Jaguar CD.

Atari attempted to extend the lifespan of the system with the Atari Jaguar CD add-on and marketing the Jaguar as the low-cost next generation console, with a price tag over $100 less than any of its competitors. With the release of the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation in 1995, sales of the Jaguar continued to fall, ultimately selling no more than 250,000 units before it was discontinued in 1996. The commercial failure of the Jaguar prompted Atari to leave the video game console market.

After Hasbro Interactive bought out Atari in the late 1990s, the patents to the Jaguar were released into the public domain, with the console being declared an open platform. Since then, the Jaguar has gained a cult following, with a developer base that produces homebrew games for the console.

Atari Lynx

The Atari Lynx is a 16-bit handheld game console that was released by Atari Corporation in September 1989 in North America, and in Europe and Japan in 1990. It was the world's first handheld electronic game with a color LCD. It was also notable for its advanced graphics and ambidextrous layout. The Lynx competed with the Game Boy (released two months earlier), as well as the Game Gear and TurboExpress, both released the following year. It was discontinued in 1996.

Atari ST

The Atari ST is a line of home computers from Atari Corporation and the successor to the Atari 8-bit family. The initial ST model, the 520ST, saw limited release in April–June 1985 and was widely available in July. The Atari ST is the first personal computer to come with a bitmapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released in February 1985. The 1040ST, released in 1986, is the first personal computer to ship with a megabyte of RAM in the base configuration and also the first with a cost-per-kilobyte of less than US$1.The Atari ST is part of a mid-1980s generation of home computers that have 16 or 32-bit processors, 256 KB or more of RAM, and mouse-controlled graphical user interfaces. This generation includes the Macintosh, Commodore Amiga, Apple IIGS, and, in certain markets, the Acorn Archimedes. "ST" officially stands for "Sixteen/Thirty-two", which refers to the Motorola 68000's 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internals.

The ST was sold with either Atari's color monitor or the less expensive monochrome monitor. The system's two color graphics modes are only available on the former while the highest-resolution mode needs the monochrome monitor.

In some markets, particularly Germany, the machine gained a strong foothold as a small business machine for CAD and desktop publishing work. Thanks to its built-in MIDI ports, the ST enjoyed success for running music-sequencer software and as a controller of musical instruments among amateurs and well-known musicians alike.

The ST was superseded by the Atari STE, Atari TT, Atari MEGA STE, and Falcon computers.

Breakout (video game)

Breakout is an arcade game developed and published by Atari, Inc., and released on May 13, 1976. It was conceptualized by Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow, influenced by the seminal 1972 Atari arcade game Pong, and built by Steve Wozniak, aided by Steve Jobs.

Breakout was the basis and inspiration for certain aspects of the Apple II personal computer. In 1978, the game was ported to the Atari 2600 and a sequel was made, Super Breakout, which four years later became the "pack-in game" for the Atari 5200 console. Breakout spawned an entire genre of Breakout clones, and the concept found new legs with Taito's 1986 Arkanoid, which itself spawned dozens of imitators.

In Breakout, a layer of bricks lines the top third of the screen and the goal is to destroy them all. A ball moves straight around the screen, bouncing off the top and two sides of the screen. When a brick is hit, the ball bounces back and the brick is destroyed. The player loses a turn when the ball touches the bottom of the screen; to prevent this from happening, the player has a horizontally movable paddle to bounce the ball upward, keeping it in play.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (video game)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (also referred to as E.T.) is a 1982 adventure video game developed and published by Atari, Inc. for the Atari 2600 video game console. It is based on the film of the same name, and was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw. The objective of the game is to guide the eponymous character through various screens in a cubic world to collect three pieces of an interplanetary telephone that will allow him to contact his home planet.

Warshaw intended the game to be an innovative adaptation of the film, and Atari thought it would achieve high sales figures based on its connection with the film, which was extremely popular throughout the world. Negotiations to secure the rights to make the game ended in late July 1982, giving Warshaw only 5 and a half weeks to develop the game in time for the 1982 Christmas season. The final release was critically panned, with nearly every aspect of the game facing heavy criticism. E.T. is often cited as one of the worst video games of all time and one of the biggest commercial failures in video game history. It is cited as a major contributing factor to the video game industry crash of 1983, and has been frequently referenced and mocked in popular culture as a cautionary tale about the dangers of rushed game development and studio interference.

In what was initially deemed an urban legend, reports from 1983 stated that as a result of overproduction and returns, millions of unsold cartridges were secretly buried in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill and covered with a layer of concrete. In April 2014, diggers hired to investigate the claim confirmed that the Alamogordo landfill contained many E.T. cartridges, among other games. James Heller, the former Atari manager who was in charge of the burial, was also at the excavation and admitted to the Associated Press that 728,000 cartridges of various games were buried.

Mario Bros.

Mario Bros. is a platform game published and developed for arcades by Nintendo in 1983. It was created by Shigeru Miyamoto. It has been featured as a minigame in the Super Mario Advance series and numerous other games. Mario Bros. has been re-released for the Wii's, Nintendo 3DS's, and Wii U's Virtual Console services in Japan, North America, Europe and Australia.

In the game, Mario is portrayed as an Italian-American plumber who, along with his brother Luigi, has to defeat creatures that have been coming from the sewers. The gameplay focuses on Mario and Luigi exterminating the creatures by flipping them on their backs and kicking them away. The original versions of Mario Bros.—the arcade version and the Family Computer/Nintendo Entertainment System (FC/NES) version—were received positively by critics.

Pong

Pong is one of the earliest arcade video games. It is a table tennis sports game featuring simple two-dimensional graphics. The game was originally manufactured by Atari, which released it in 1972. Allan Alcorn created Pong as a training exercise assigned to him by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell based the idea on an electronic ping-pong game included in the Magnavox Odyssey; Magnavox later sued Atari for patent infringement. Bushnell and Atari co-founder Ted Dabney were surprised by the quality of Alcorn's work and decided to manufacture the game.

Pong was the first commercially successful video game, which helped to establish the video game industry along with the first home console, the Magnavox Odyssey. Soon after its release, several companies began producing games that copied its gameplay, and eventually released new types of games. As a result, Atari encouraged its staff to produce more innovative games. The company released several sequels which built upon the original's gameplay by adding new features. During the 1975 Christmas season, Atari released a home version of Pong exclusively through Sears retail stores. It also was a commercial success and led to numerous copies. The game has been remade on numerous home and portable platforms following its release. Pong is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. due to its cultural impact.

Video game crash of 1983

The video game crash of 1983 (known as the Atari shock in Japan) was a large-scale recession in the video game industry that occurred from 1983 to 1985, primarily in North America. The crash was attributed to several factors, including market saturation in the number of game consoles and available games, and waning interest in console games in favor of personal computers. Revenues peaked at around $3.2 billion in 1983, then fell to around $100 million by 1985 (a drop of almost 97 percent). The crash was a serious event which abruptly ended what is retrospectively considered the second generation of console video gaming in North America.

Lasting about two years, the crash shook the then-booming industry, and led to the bankruptcy of several companies producing home computers and video game consoles in the region. Analysts of the time expressed doubts about the long-term viability of video game consoles and software. The North American video game console industry eventually recovered a few years later, mostly due to the widespread success of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985; Nintendo designed the NES as the Western branding for its Famicom console originally released in 1983 in order to avoid the missteps which caused the 1983 crash and avoid the stigma which video games had at that time.

Atari hardware
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