We talk a lot about Atari and there are uncompromising truths. It was one of the pioneering and innovative companies in the gamer industry, betting on different game formats and more commercial consoles, with the possibility of using cartridges and thus moving massively to the format that we knew there a few years ago, in which exchanging Games were daily bread and part of a social custom. Of this today there is little, or perhaps nothing, and the company is strongly oriented towards new technological trends, losing its roots. The company celebrates half a century on June 27. Here, some milestones that have marked its history.
It was a few bills, but it served as a kickstart to start one of the industry stories player More exciting. It was in 1972 when Nolan Bushnell Yes ted dabney they founded Atari, but the former had spent at least a decade watching his fellow electrical engineering students at the University of Utah live engrossed in a video game on faculty computers. It was something simple, without too many mechanical requirements or in its development, but it required them to be in front of a computer at university, while they could do it at home. It went a bit further, but it seemed like a good alternative for paddling around.
Some time later, while working in an electronic company, he continued his fascination and attempts in the sector and created his first video game, without good results. It was then that a decade after observing his classmates at university, he decided with about 250 US dollars at the time to found his own company and this would lead him to be one of the emblems of the 80s. and one of the creators of most relevant video games of that era. Of course, the road was far from having begun. This was the cornerstone of the company, which years later would launch some of its most iconic consoles.
It’s no lie to say that Atari was a pioneer in the world of game consoles. But they weren’t the first. in 1966 Ralph Baer started with the development of your project “Brown Box”two years later the patent application was filed and in 1971 he was allowed to Magnavox for production a year later. So the same year that Bushnell and Dabney founded Atari in June, in September their first competition officially appeared on the market, the Magnavox Odyssey. We may not remember it much, but it was one of his video games that marked Atari’s first steps.
As competition in the industry is fierce and anything goes, the electrical engineer asked Allan Alcorn, one of his associates, to make a video game based on “Tennis” from the Odyssey. The result was published in November of the same year and had versions arcadian and for the house, under a name that has gone down in history: “Pong”. Alcorn’s version celebrates, like his company, five decades this year. The situation led the two companies to clash legally, since Bushnell was able to see a sample of his “Tennis” beforehand in the offices of Magnavox. The result did not favor Atari, but its mark was left to posterity.
Today, finding a copy of the “Breakout” video game -and all its variants- is not difficult. Of course, it is much more difficult to find sites or databases where all the credits are correctly attributed. The title, very similar to the already traditional “Arkanoid” of the mid-80s, was conceptualized by Bushnell and Steve Bristow, in its corresponding simplicity very close to “Pong”. Basically, it was a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, which served as a racket for a ball, which destroyed as many blocks as it appeared at the top of the screen. That yes, behind the name of the company’s founder were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs build the video game and program it.
It was 1974. Jobs had initially been commissioned, but the salary was close to $750, an additional $100 for each chip he removed to make production cheaper, and so he asked for help in Wozniak and they built one of the company’s biggest successes. And the founder of Apple emerged victorious. According to his biography, they eliminated about 50 tokens and 45 remained from the original model and therefore the income was higher. Regardless of how this propelled Atari forward, there were betrayals. The original deal was to split the $750, which he did, but Jobs no longer gave Wozniak the discounted token dollars, which his partner discovered years later. Even the latter confessed to having cried when he learned of this. Two years later, the two founders of Apple.
Sometimes business success can be clouded by the desire for growth and increased sales. And much more for one of the best times of the year: Christmas. In June 1982 it premiered in major theaters “ET the Alien”, with a very good reception and an overall collection that far exceeds the initial budget. Everything indicated that the idea could be a success and that remained to be seen. Atari has signed a contract with Steven Spielberg to make a video game of the film for its Atari 2600 – the company’s best known model -. Three months were given from the signing, until the release of the final product for Christmas of that year, with campaigns in all possible media, the traditional press and television spots. It was a real promise, and with which the company sought to reach as many homes as possible. But the result was another.
First, Atari users were accustomed to more adventure and action video games, with immediate results, accumulating points or more interactive titles, with the possibility of interacting with family, among other factors. Second, and this is what started to build a bumpy road, “ET” was far from it. If the film is already a sci-fi adventure without filming or anything usual at the time, the video game couldn’t be either.
More about Think digital
The result was somewhat understated, with an alien investigating different hallways, walking, and browsing through various maps. If he fell, yes, sometimes the game would freeze and it would be difficult for users to get the character moving again. This in an eternal circle, in which there seemed to be no way out. But the embarrassment came later. Buyers began to angrily return previously purchased copies, and word of mouth caught on. Years later, in 2013, hundreds of copies appeared in a landfill in Mexico, buried and others crushed. They were the ones who weren’t sold, rejected by their audience. The analysis, looking back, is that the public wasn’t prepared for something like this and it’s not that the product was bad.
If in the mid-1970s the company was taken over by Warner Bros, and at the end of that decade Nolan Bushnell was fired from the company he founded, the crisis has not yet deepened. The reassignment of Arcade’s “Pac-Man” to his Atari 2600 and the release of “ET the Extra-Terrestrial” were hard but manageable blows. A year later came the great crisis in the video game industry, which led WB to sell the personal computer division to Commodore, its old nemesis. At the same time, he kept the video games until 1985, when he sold them to Namco.
What followed was only token games, but they meant constant losses. The launch of AtariLynx in the late 1980s, taking on Nintendo’s Game Boy, and the Jaguar in the 90s, which were going up against the Sony Play Station and the Sega Saturn, it was the drops that broke the camel’s back, and all of a sudden led the company to cease production of physical consoles, and that ‘she headed for a gradual withdrawal, from where today they return.
A few years ago, and in the middle of the boom of mini consoles, the company announced its Atari VCSand what is a the comeback of their older devices, but with sleeker designs and built-in games. But that’s not all. Obviously, with the appearance of new technologies, the company has joined other new trends.
In recent years, he has announced his interest in getting into the field of online casinos and is already venturing into the field with his atari tokenwith blockchain technology and which has already been tested in Decentralized with live event included. On top of that, he also launched a whole collection of NFTs based on his main classics with his Atari capsule collectionamong other things.
But that’s only in the digital world. Just as Nintendo launched its “Super Nintendo World” in Tokyo earlier this year, the former Bushnell company launched a project a few years ago to raise a hotel chainin which customers can stay and play the company’s classics and less classics.
It’s about being a good spectator. It was 1982 and Ridley Scott delivered his vision of a dystopian 2019 in “Blade Runner”. Some brands remained, like Coca-Cola or Budweiser, but there was also Atari. Undoubtedly, at this time, the tech brand was still in the months leading up to its big meltdown, and also before the strife in the industry a year later.
Although after that came the whole debacle of the company founded by Bushnell, and in the 90s you would think that it had all but disappeared from the world map of gamers, it remained in the fiction. Even, for the 2019 of our time, for the premiere of “Blade Runner 2049”, despite the crises and conflicts, in the present of Rick Deckard, Atari was still a giant.
#years #Atari #Rise #fall #resurgence #Tercera