Atari Games

Atari Games Corporation was an American producer of arcade games. It was originally the coin-operated arcade game division of Atari, Inc. and was split off into its own company in 1984.

Atari Games
IndustryArcade games, video games
FateMerged into and later closed by Midway Games.
FoundedJuly 1, 1984
DefunctMarch 1, 2003
HeadquartersMilpitas, California, U.S.
Key people
Ed Logg
ProductsGauntlet, Marble Madness, Paperboy
Number of employees
ParentWarner Communications (1984–1985)
Namco[a] (1985–1986)
Time Warner Interactive (1993–1996)
Midway Games (October 31, 1996 – March 1, 2003)


When the Atari Inc. division of Warner Communications lost $500 million in the first three quarters of 1983, its arcade coin-op division was the only one to make money.[1] In 1984 Warner sold the Atari Consumer division of Atari Inc. (which included the video game divisions) to Jack Tramiel (who named his company Atari Corporation), but retained the arcade coin-op division (Atari Coin), renaming it "Atari Games". The agreement between Tramiel and Warner Communications was that Atari Games must always include the "Games" after "Atari" on its logo and that Atari Games could not use the Atari brand at all in the consumer market (computers and home consoles). Atari Games retained most of the same employees and managers that had worked at the old Atari Inc. It was able to carry on with many of its projects from before the transition. Atari Corp., in contrast, froze projects and streamlined staff and operations. In 1985, the controlling interest of Atari Games was sold to Namco, who soon lost interest in operating an American subsidiary. In 1986 a group of employees bought Namco's share.

Atari Games continued to manufacture arcade games and units, and starting in 1987, also sold cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System under the Tengen brand name, including a version of Tetris. The companies exchanged a number of lawsuits in the late 1980s related to disputes over the rights to Tetris and Tengen's circumvention of Nintendo's lockout chip, which prevented third parties from creating unauthorized games. (Atari Games' legal battles with Nintendo should not be confused with those of its former parent company—Atari also exchanged lawsuits with Nintendo in the late 1980s and early 1990s.) The suit finally reached a settlement in 1994, with Atari Games paying Nintendo cash damages and use of several patent licenses.[2]

In 1989, Warner Communications merged with Time Inc., forming Time Warner. In 1993, Time Warner bought a controlling interest in Atari Games and made it a subsidiary of its Time Warner Interactive division. While Atari Games maintained its identity under the new ownership, its consumer division Tengen, on the other hand, had been removed from the map in favor of the Time Warner Interactive label.[3] In mid-1994 Atari Games, Tengen, and Time Warner Interactive Group were all consolidated as Time Warner Interactive.[4] In April 1996, after an unsuccessful bid by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari Games was sold to WMS Industries (owners of the Williams, and Bally/Midway arcade brands).[5][6] When Hasbro Interactive bought the remains of Atari Corporation, the console manufacturer, and resurrected the Atari name in the home software arena starting in late 1998, Atari Games was renamed Midway Games West by parent company Midway Games to avoid confusing two Atari brands shortly after the release of San Francisco Rush 2049 in late 1999. Midway left the arcade market to concentrate on home systems in 2001, ending at the same time Atari Games' influence in the arcade industry. Midway Games West produced games for home systems, but was disbanded by Midway in early 2003 after a slump in game sales, ending the existence of Atari Games.

Until 2009, Midway Games West still existed as a holding entity whose primary function was to be the copyright and trademark owner for its franchises. In July 2009, all of the intellectual property of Midway was sold to Warner Bros. Entertainment, ultimately bringing the Atari Games properties and history back to Warner one final time.[7] However, the entity still existed for legal reasons until October 2, 2013 when it was dissolved.

Arcade games developed by Atari Games

Unreleased prototypes


  1. ^ Warner Communications and its successor Time Warner continued to own minority interest in Atari Games after Warner sold controlling interest of the company to Namco. Warner did not fully divest itself of Atari Games until 1996.


  1. ^ Mace, Scott (1984-02-27). "Can Atari Bounce Back?". InfoWorld. p. 100. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Atari's Full-Court Press". GamePro (59). IDG. June 1994. p. 184.
  3. ^ "A History of AT Games / Atari Games / Midway Games West". Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  4. ^ "Time Warner's Family Reunion". GamePro (60). IDG. July 1994. p. 170.
  5. ^ "Tidbits...". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (82): 17. May 1996.
  6. ^ "Time Warner to Quit Game Business". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 15.
  7. ^ "exv2w1". Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  8. ^ "Freeze". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 89. Ziff Davis. December 1996. p. 150.

External links

Asterix at the Olympic Games (video game)

Asterix at the Olympic Games is an adventure sports video game for the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows and Nintendo DS developed by Étranges Libellules and published by Atari. It is loosely based on the comic with the same name and mostly based on the live action film. It was released in Europe on November 9, 2007 for the Windows, Wii, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS, followed by the UK release on February 29, 2008. The game also released on Xbox 360 in 2008.


Atari () is a brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA. 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. 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 Tramel Technology Ltd., which then renamed itself to Atari Corporation. In 1996, Atari Corporation reverse-merged with disk-drive manufacturer JT Storage (JTS), becoming a division within the company. In 1998, Hasbro Interactive acquired all Atari Corporation related properties from JTS, creating a new subsidiary, Atari Interactive.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), changed its name to Atari Inc. the same year, licensing the Atari name and logo from its fellow subsidiary.In 2008, IESA completed its acquisition of Atari, Inc.'s outstanding stock, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. IESA renamed itself Atari, SA in 2009. It sought bankruptcy protection under French law in January 2013.

Atari Games Corp. v. Nintendo of America Inc.

Atari Games Corp. v. Nintendo of America Inc., 975 F.2d 832 (Fed. Cir. 1992), is a United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit case, in which the court held that Atari Games engaged in copyright infringement by copying Nintendo's lock-out system, the 10NES. The 10NES was designed to prevent Nintendo's video game console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), from accepting unauthorized game cartridges. Atari, after unsuccessful attempts to reverse engineer the lock-out system, obtained an unauthorized copy of the source code from the Copyright Office and used it to create its 10NES replica, the Rabbit. The case involved copyright infringement claims by Nintendo and a defense based on fair use and copyright misuse by Atari.The Federal Circuit declared that Nintendo was likely to prove that Atari made unauthorized verbatim copies of the 10NES program and affirmed the imposition of a preliminary injunction by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, preventing Atari from exploiting Nintendo's copyrighted code. The Federal Circuit, however, disagreed with the district court on the matter of reverse engineering and held that the intermediate copying of the 10NES object code incurred during the examination of the microchip itself was fair use. Atari's copyright misuse defense was precluded by the doctrine of unclean hands, as Atari had lied to the Copyright Office to obtain an unauthorized copy of the 10NES.

Basic Math (video game)

Basic Math (a.k.a. Fun With Numbers) is an educational cartridge for the Video Computer System (later called the Atari 2600) developed by Gary Palmer of Atari, Inc.. The game was one of the nine launch titles offered when the Atari 2600 went on sale in September 1977.

Malibu Bikini Volleyball

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Namco Limited (株式会社ナムコ, Kabushiki gaisha Namuko) is a brand and corporate name used from 1971 to 2018 by two Japanese companies in the businesses of video games, game centers and theme parks. The name continues to be used outside of Japan by the subsidiary Namco USA.

The original Namco Ltd. was founded in 1955 as Nakamura Seisakusho and changed its name to Nakamura Manufacturing in 1959. In 1971, Nakamura Manufacturing launched the Namco brand which became the company's name in 1977. In 2006, Namco absorbed the video game division of its sister company Bandai and formally renamed itself Namco Bandai Games. The same day, its existing amusement division split to form a new company called Namco Ltd which was subsequently renamed Bandai Namco Amusement Inc. in 2018.

Namco was a front-runner during the golden age of arcade video games. Pac-Man went on to become the best-selling arcade game in history and an international popular culture icon. Namco is also known for creating successful franchises such as Galaxian, Dig Dug, Xevious, Ridge Racer, Tekken, Ace Combat, Soulcalibur and Tales.

Superman (Atari 2600)

Superman is an action adventure game for the Atari 2600 designed by John Dunn and published by Atari, Inc. in 1979. It was one of the first single-player games for the system and one of the earliest licensed video games. Superman was built using the prototype code for Warren Robinett's Adventure, and ended up being published before Adventure was finished. Retro Gamer credits it among action-adventure games as the "first to utilize multiple screens as playing area".

Surround (video game)

Surround is a video game programmed by Alan Miller and published by Atari, Inc. for the Atari Video Computer System (later known as the Atari 2600). It was one of the nine Atari VCS launch titles released in September 1977. Surround is an unofficial port of the arcade game Blockade, released the previous year by Gremlin. As such, it is the first home console version of the game that would become widely known across many platforms as Snake. As with other early Atari games, it was licensed to Sears, which released it under the name Chase.

Taz (video game)

Taz is a video game developed and released by Atari, Inc. in 1983 for the Atari 2600. It features the Looney Tunes character the Tasmanian Devil in a food frenzy. Within the game, Taz only appears as a tornado. The same game was released outside the United States as Asterix, with the character Asterix instead of Taz.

Tengen (company)

Tengen was an American video game publisher and developer that was created by the arcade game manufacturer Atari Games and focused on computer and console games.

Time Warner Interactive

Time Warner Interactive (Group) (TWI) was a studio within Time Warner which developed video games. It was formed in 1993 after Time Warner bought a controlling interest in Atari Games, and was active until 1996 when WMS Industries bought the company. This studio was previously known as Tengen, the consumer division of Atari Games. Atari Games, would continue to operate under their own name until 1996, when both it and Time Warner Interactive, were brought by WMS Industries. (owners of the Williams, and Bally/Midway arcade brands), and renamed Midway Games West, in 1999. Time Warner Interactive, was responsible for games, such as Rise of the Robots, Primal Rage and T-MEK.

Time Warner also bought the UK publisher Renegade Software in 1995 and kept it independent as Warner Interactive Entertainment. Both subsidiaries were short-lived: Time Warner Interactive was formed from the Atari Games acquisition in 1993 and sold to WMS Industries on March 29, 1996, while Warner Interactive Entertainment existed only two years before being sold to GT Interactive in 1997.

Transformers (2004 video game)

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