Mon, 28 February 2022
Don't watch it, play it! In the late 1970s, Atari ushered in the gaming era! But throughout their history, the company had more turbulence than a game of Combat. This week we revisit their history and which games were the most influential on us. Live Pong and prosper!
What do Atari and Chuck E Cheese have to do with each other? What was the first standup Atari game, and why did it look like it belonged in The Sleeper house? These questions and more are answered as we look at the history of Atari.
Stranger Things season 4 is coming, but we will see an end to the series after season 5
Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County comic strip will be coming to Fox for an animated series
Make sure to check out Shua on the Saturday Matinee Podcast this week
What we’re Enjoying
Jay revisited a 1955 Spencer Tracy mystery movie called Bad Day at Black Rock. This intriguing tale of a one-armed stranger appearing in a small town with a secret is sure to give you a retro story to talk about. Shua has been trying to view all the best picture Oscar nominees before the broadcast of the awards on March 27.
In 1971, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney adapted a computer game called Spacewar, created in 1962 by Steve Russell. The new game, called Computer Space, may not have been the gigantic success that the men had hoped for, but it laid the groundwork for their new business, dubbed Atari.
Computer Space led to Pong, which found it’s way across the country with eight to ten thousand machines sprinkled throughout bars and restaurants.
Bushnell then took over the country and used their success to grow the company quickly (yet, with questionable business practices). One of his successes was the home console, which started appearing on shelves in the late 70s.
Plus, Bushnell expanded his business ideas by purchasing Pizza Time Theater and began putting his arcade cabinets in Chuck E Cheeses across the country. It was a crazy idea that worked for quite a while.
Bushnell, now just Chairman of the Board after selling Atari to Warner Communications for $28 million, hired an interesting (and not very well liked) character named Steve Jobs. Jobs had some innovative ideas, but had some of them developed by his friend Steve Wozniak in some pretty underhanded scenarios.
By the 1980s Atari had become the fastest-growing company in the history of our country. But the writing was on the wall; the video game industry, and especially Atari, was getting ready for a crash. In 1983, shortly after their disastrous release of the failed ET video game, Atari was posting huge losses and other companies quickly filled the void in the market.
Jay and Shua have some good memories of Atari games though, both at home and in arcades. And collectors still try to acquire a wide variety of their creations. Despite their shortcomings, Atari helped to create classics and inspire future generations in programming, designing, artwork, technology, and more!
Did you have an Atari? What were some games that stood out to you? Let us know. Come talk to us in the Discord channel or send us an email to email@example.com