Saturday, April 22, 2017

Gaming Ads: Atari

While Ralph Baer and the Odyssey came first, most think of Nolan Bushnell and Atari when they think of the beginning of home video games due to the success of the company in the late '70s and early '80s. Atari was founded by Bushnell and Ted Dabney in 1972, the same year the Odyssey went on sale, but Atari did not release their first console until 1977. Before that occurred they made arcade and pinball games and were acquired by Time Warner, and not too long after that Nolan Bushnell left the company. The first Atari console was named the Video Computer System, or VCS, though it's best known as the 2600. Other consoles include the 5200, 7800, and Jaguar, plus they made home computers (400/800/ST/XE) and the Lynx handheld system.

To keep this somewhat brief, I'll just say the Jaguar and Lynx did not sell well and the Atari name and assets would eventually be acquired by Hasbro Interactive in 1998. Hasbro Interactive was then acquired by French company Infogrames in 2000. Infogrames used the Atari name as a publishing brand for a short time before making the decision to rename most of the Infogrames divisions to Atari in 2003 and the whole company in 2009. Atari also had a number of branches and subsidiaries over the years, including Tengen (1987), a publisher we'll take a look at much later. While Atari still exists today, after all of the changes its undergone it's obviously very different than the Atari of the '70s and '80s. It mostly deals in digital games now and leverages assets from its past, including those of classic Atari, Hasbro Interactive, and Infogrames.

For ads I've primarily got Lynx and Jaguar coverage due to the time they released and I included a couple ads from the aforementioned Hasbro Interactive days. I've got a few ads that predate those and hopefully I can find some more in the future as I explore more of my non-gaming sources.

Flickr album: Atari

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