The History of Atari

The History of Atari

The History of Atari Incorporated

In the beginning before we had a true game console, two engineers were discussing plans to create an incredible game machine. Their names were Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. The company was called Syzygy Engineering, but later renamed to Atari in 1972. The name Atari was adapted from the game Go, a strategy game played by Japan for thousands of years, which was based on a point in the game when your stones are going to be seized by your opponent.

Much later they hired a man named Al Alcorn who began work on the first arcade version called Pong. It was a paddle game that actually utilized paddle controls to move a dot (blip) around on a small display.  Two bars on the left and right of the screen passed the “ball” back and forth. The goal was to knock it beyond the left or right side of the screen to score.

In 1973 sales at Atari reached a staggering 3.2 million dollars while waiting on a patent to be approved for the game Pong. The History of Atari was suddenly booming.

Atari's Logo Distribution

The next year, Nolan hired his neighbor Joe Keenan to come up with a plan target different distributors of pinball machines. This led to a great expansion of Atari’s logo evident on the newer machines they had created according to

The Atari VCS Console

Nolan Bushnell was busy creating a new console in 1976 that was able to emulate several of the games that were already becoming commonplace in the arcades they had in production. This was labeled the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) and much later renamed to the Atari 2600 for simplicity, set at $199. It came packaged with two joysticks, paddles, and the game cartridge Combat.

Atari and Warner Communications

In search of major investors Atari struck a deal with Warner Communications for a total purchase of the company at around close to $32 million dollars. Nolan had a lot of disputes with Warner though over the vision of the company, the pinball arcade units, and even removing the Atari 2600 from the market. Much later Nolan was terminated, but he considered it a voluntary quit.

The new company believed that the Atari 2600 could only last about 3 years so plans were underway to build a powerful computer instead of focusing heavily on the console. That was when they created a computer called the Atari 800 and another one known as the Atari 400. These systems were made famous by their video games and packed Basic programming that allowed a user to explore the machine with their own programs.