Most information presented here is verifiable from public primary sources, such as magazine and newspaper articles, press releases, annual reports, and SEC filings. Except where stated, I have no special access to inside information.
Table of Contents:
Winter/Spring?: Ampex engineers and officemates Nolan K. Bushnell (research design engineer in the Ampex computer graphics department) and Ted Dabney (Ampex Video File unit, and previously about 6 years in the Ampex Military Products Group), along with computer programmer Larry Bryan, decided to form a partnership to design a commercially-viable coin-operated version of the computer game (popular in university and industrial labs since its 1962 release), Spacewar!. The three decided on Bryan's idea to call their partnership Syzygy. However, plans were immediately stymied by the high cost and large size of available computers.
September: First-year Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow began a six-month field experience program at Ampex, reporting to Nolan Bushnell.
Fall: Challenged by a concept proposed by Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney invented and implemented means of direct digital manipulation of elements on a television CRT video screen, without the use of a computer, creating an essential building block for a commercially-viable coin-operated Spacewar! game.
March: Ampex engineering student intern Steve Bristow concluded his 6-month field experience under Nolan Bushnell.
March: Nolan Bushnell departed Ampex and joined Nutting Associates (William G. Nutting (Bill Nutting) was president; Dave Ralston was director of sales) as chief engineer. (Previously, Nutting Associates had no in-house engineering capabilities.) Nutting Associates would provide the facilities for the commercialized coin-operated Spacewar! game to be developed by Bushnell and Ted Dabney and pay its manufacturing costs. Bushnell and Dabney would retain the rights to their game, licensing it to Nutting Associates for production in exchange for a 5% royalty on unit sales. Still employed at Ampex, Dabney would contribute to the Spacewar! project in his spare time.
Summer: Ted Dabney, previously of Ampex, joined his Spacewar! game development partner Nolan Bushnell at Nutting Associates.
January: Syzygy Co. was organized as a partnership by Nutting Assoicates engineers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. (72/73 Atari financial statement)
Summer: The Syzygy Spacewar! game was named Computer Space by Nutting Associates director of sales Dave Ralston. (source)
Summer: The first Computer Space test unit was located-tested by Nutting Associates at a Palo Alto CA restaurant and bar called the Dutch Goose. (source)
September: The coin-operated Galaxy Game (like Computer Space, a version of Spacewar!), incorporating a PDP-11/20 computer, a simple point plotting display interface, and a Hewlett Packard 1300A Electrostatic Display, plus coin acceptors and a walnut veneered enclosure, was installed in Tresidder Memorial Union at Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA. The Galaxy Game was designed, built, and programmed by Computer Recreations, Inc. (Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck).
October 15-17: Nutting Associates introduced Computer Space (original one-player version; all four prototype units, one each in red, white, blue, and yellow cabinets (source)), developed by Syzygy (Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney), at the Music Operators of America (MOA) show at the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago. (The MOA was the smaller half of the larger "Music and Amusement Machines Exposition," which also included the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) show that occupied both the Conrad Hilton Hotel and McCormick Place, Oct. 15-18.)
November: Nutting Associates shipped Computer Space (original one-player version), developed by Syzygy (Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney), the first commercial production coin-operated video arcade game.
March: Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow joined Nutting Associates, under chief engineer Nolan Bushnell. Bristow had previously held a position at Ampex, his second stint there, from 1970(Sept.?)-1971(March?).
May 24: Nutting Associates chief engineer Nolan Bushnell attended a public presentation of the Magnavox Odyssey in Burlingame, CA.
May: (after May 24) Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney departed from their positions at Nutting Associates. They would focus full-time on their partnership, Syzygy Co. Syzygy purchased the Nutting Associates coin-operated arcade game route operation. Nutting Associates engineer and Berkeley student Steve Bristow would be promoted to the position of chief engineer at the company.
May: (after May 24) Syzygy secured a game design contract with Bally: $4,000 per month for six months to develop a driving-based video game and a pinball machine, both of which would be manufactured and marketed by Bally if accepted.
May: (after May 24) Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney offered Ampex engineer Allan Alcorn (Al Alcorn) an engineering job with Syzygy for $1,000 per month, along with 10% of the stock in Syzygy. (Alcorn interview)
May/June: (after May 24) In preparing to incorporate, Bushnell and Dabney learned that the name Syzygy was already in use by another California company, so another name would be needed. Subsequently, in their incorporation application to the Office of the California Secretary of State, Bushnell and Dabney offered a prioritized list of three choices of names for the company: 1) Sente, 2) Atari, or 3) Hanne. They would learn of the final name when the incorporation process was completed. (source)
June 9: Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc. (dba Syzygy Co.) were executed by the company's first Directors: Nolan K. Bushnell, S. Fred Dabney (Ted Dabney), Paula N. Bushnell, Joan M. Dabney. The corporation was authorized to issue 75,000 shares of common stock valued at $1.00 each, for an aggregate value of $75,000. Atari, Inc. would be a continuance of Syzygy Co. Atari would issue 5,000 shares of common stock, for the total value of $5,000, as a component of the transfer of partnership assets in connection with the incorporation. The names and addresses of all four directors was given as: 1425 Blackstone Ave., San Jose, CA, USA (a private residence)
Atari dba Syzygy would occupy a 1700 square foot space at the Cole Complex in Santa Clara. Address: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA, USA
June: Engineer Allan Alcorn, previously of Ampex, arrived at Atari dba Syzygy (badge: "employee no. 003"). Alcorn would also gain an ownership stake in the company as a founding stockholder. (Alcorn interview)
June 26: (Mon.) Cynthia Villanueva (later: Cynthia Russell) arrived to work for Atari dba Syzygy (Bushnell/Dabney/Alcorn), hired as Bushnell's secretary (source).
June 27: (Tue.) The Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc. dba Syzygy Co. were filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of California.
June 28: (Wed.) Date of incorporation for Atari, Inc. dba Syzygy Co. (72/73 financial statement)
Summer: At Atari dba Syzygy, Al Alcorn focused on engineering what would become Pong. Alcorn understood the project to be for a major consumer product development contract for General Electric, but Nolan Bushnell had invented this assignment as practice for Alcorn before moving on to a more complex driving game for the (real) Bally contract. Ted Dabney focused on designing the pinball machine for the Bally contract, and also tended the coin-operated arcade game route operation.
September: Al Alcorn had created a working prototype of what would become Atari Pong in 3-months' development time. Still believing he was designing a major home consumer product for GE, Alcorn continued to work to make the game both more playable and more inexpensive to manufacture.
September 14-16: Atari dba Syzygy did not exhibit at the MOA show in Chicago.
November: The initial Pong prototype unit (red table-top model; conceived by Nolan Bushnell, engineered by Al Alcorn, cabinet by Ted Dabney), conceived as a home consumer product but modified for coin-operation, was location-tested at the Andy Capp's tavern in Sunnyvale, CA.
November/December?: Given the Pong prototype's popularity, Atari dba Syzygy determined to further engineer Pong as a coin-operated arcade game, hoping that Bally would agree to manufacture and market the game under the existing game development contract. In order to facilitate the design and construction of several prototype Pong units, Atari dba Syzygy expanded into a neighboring 1700 square foot space at the Cole Complex (2962 Scott Blvd.) in Santa Clara, resulting in a total space of 3400 square feet in which to work.
December: Atari dba Syzygy deployed the first of what would be 12 Pong prototype units (WSJ 3/18/74 for date). 10 units would be placed at locations along the Atari dba Syzygy coin-operated arcade route operation, and one unit would be delivered to Bally for consideration under the game development contract. One unit would be kept in-house at Atari dba Syzygy.
January?: Having invested $24,000 in Atari dba Syzygy, Bally declined to manufacture and market Pong, and would not provide further funding for the development of a driving-based coin-operated video game and a pinball machine.
January/February: Given the popularity of the Pong prototype units, but with no manufacturing/marketing partners forthcoming, Atari determined to manufacture and market Pong themselves. Al Alcorn would focus on sourcing printed circuit boards; Nolan Bushnell would focus on sourcing integrated circuits; Ted Dabney would focus on sourcing cabinets and TV sets. Atari would transition from doing business as Syzygy to doing business as Atari. Atari leased a vacant 10,000 square foot roller rink at: 1600 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA, USA.
Winter?: Engineers Larry Emmons and Steve Mayer, previously of Arvin Systems and earlier of Ampex, founded Cyan Engineering, located in Grass Valley, CA.
March 1: Retroactive date of record for Atari's repurchase of 2,000 shares of its issued and outstanding common stock at a cost of $250,000, buying out Ted Dabney's share of the company (see June/July 1973). This left 3,000 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. (72/73 financial statement)
March 3: Atari ran their
first print ad, for Pong ("PONG, The Wraps Are Coming Off, A TWO PLAYER Video
Skill Game from Atari Inc., Syzygy Engineered"), in the March 3, 1973
edition of Cash Box magazine (see RePlay Magazine July 1997
page Atari 9). Company address given: 1600 Martin
Ave., Santa Clara
March 8: Meeting of the board of directors of Atari. A 100 for 1 stock split was adopted, so that the total number of shares which the corporation was authorized to issue became 7,500,000, for an (unchanged) aggregate value of $75,000, now at $0.01 per share.
March: For-Play announced Rally, perhaps the first of the many unlicensed (yet legal) Pong clones.
March: Allied Leisure announced Paddle Battle, perhaps the most important Pong clone, perhaps eventually selling more units than Atari would sell units of Pong.
March 30: Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc., authorizing the 100 for 1 stock split adopted by the board of directors on March 8, was executed by Atari president Nolan K. Bushnell and Atari secretary Anthony F. Marincic (Fred Marincic).
April 1: William L. White (Bill White) joined Atari as VP Manufacturing to set up and run the Pong assembly at 1600 Martin Ave. (White's background was in finance, and he had earlier performed a financial audit of Atari, working with Atari head of finance Fred Marincic.) White would also gain an ownership stake in Atari as a founding stockholder. Bob Thompson (sp?) would be manufacturing floor manager under White.
April: Midway Mfg. Co. announced Winner, which would be built under license and with the co-operation of Atari (Syzygy Engineered).
May 19: Atari ran a whimsical ad mocking their competitors (competitors: "The One and Only Atari Band Wagon"; Atari: "We understand what WE'RE doing!" ) in the May 19 issue of Cash Box magazine (see RePlay Magazine July 1997 page Atari 10). Company address given: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara
June 2: Atari concluded their first fiscal year (11 months: June 28, 1972 - June 2, 1973) with $3.2 million in sales.
June: Engineer Stephen D. Bristow, previously chief engineer at Nutting Associates, joined Atari as an electrical engineer under Al Alcorn. Bristow would also gain an ownership stake in Atari as a founding stockholder. Atari employed about 70-80 people at this time.
June: New primary location for Atari, including their first professional manufacturing facility, 30,000 square feet at the Cadre Building: 14600 Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos, CA, USA
June?: Gilbert Williams (Gil Williams) joined Atari in manufacturing, reporting to Ted Dabney, who was now head of manufacturing. Bill White, initially hired to set up Pong manufacturing, would now serve as head of finance, replacing the departed Fred Marincic.
June?: John C. Wakefield, M.D. psychiatry, and brother-in-law of Nolan Bushnell, joined Atari as president, replacing Nolan Bushnell in that role. Bushnell would remain Atari chairman.
June?: Patrick Sanford Karns (Pat Karns) joined Atari as vice president of marketing.
June/July?: Atari co-founder Ted Dabney departed the company. Retroactive to March 1, 1973, Atari repurchased 2,000 shares of its issued and outstanding common stock from Dabney, for $250,000. Dabney also received ownership of a portion of Atari's coin-operated arcade game route operation. Gil Williams would replace Dabney as head of manufacturing.
Month?: Engineer Ron Milner joined Cyan Engineering.
July: Atari released their second video game, Space Race (designed by Al Alcorn).
August?: Atari established international operations (Europe), with Ronald F. Gordon (Ron Gordon) as International Marketing Director. Gordon would report to head of marketing Pat Karns.
August?: Hunter Electronics Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia released Barrel-Pong by Atari.
September: Atari released Pong Doubles. (Atari France title: Coupe Davis)
October: Atari created the wholly-owned subsidiary Kee Games which would appear to outsiders as an Atari rival. This would allow Atari to work with rival distributors who demanded exclusive products.
Joseph F. Keenan, previously of Applied Logic, was the new company's namesake, and was hired as president of Kee Games. Keenan would also gain an ownership stake in Atari, joining Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn as primary Atari founding stockholders.
Transferred from Atari to Kee Games: Steve Bristow as VP Engineering, Gil Williams as head of manufacturing, and Bill White as controller. Initial Kee Games location: 330 Mathew St., Santa Clara, CA, USA
At Atari: John Wakefield remained president, Al Alcorn remained head of engineering, Pat Karns remained head of marketing; Mr. Olsen/Olson (spelling and first name needed!) remained head of finance.
Nolan Bushnell remained Atari chairman/CEO.
October: Kee Games released their first game, Elimination! (designed by Steve Bristow).
October: Atari released Gotcha (designed by Al Alcorn) and released Gotcha Color, a limited-run color version of the game that used real color (rather than the colored cellophane overlays used to mimic color in other games)
Fall: Lyle V. Rains joined Kee Games as an Electronics Engineer/Game Designer.
Fall?: Japanese-American businessman Kenichi Takumi joined Atari to establish and serve as president of the new subsidiary, Atari Japan Corporation, based in Tokyo. Hideyuki Nakajima (Hide Nakajima; "HEE-day"), previously of Japan Art Paper Company, joined Atari Japan as general manager. Atari Japan would manufacture and sell Atari coin-operated video games in the Japanese market.
Fall?: Midway Manufacturing released Asteroid by Atari (licensed clone of Atari Space Race).
November 9-11: Atari featured Pong Doubles and Gotcha at the MOA show, Conrad Hilton Hotel, Chicago.
November 10: Nolan Bushnell owned 80% of Atari. (Business Week p. 212)
February: Atari released Superpong, and released Rebound.
Winter?: Eugene J. Lipkin (Gene Lipkin), previously of Allied Leisure, joined Atari to manage the remaining coin-operated arcade game route operation.
March: Kee Games released Spike (the same game as Rebound by Atari).
March: Atari released Quadrapong (the same game as Elimination! by Kee Games), and released Gran Trak 10 (Cyan Engineering/Atari).
March: Steve Ritchie joined Atari.
April: Kee Games released Formula K (the same game as Gran Trak 10 by Atari).
April: Atari released World Cup Football (upright and cocktail versions). (Atari France title: Coupe du Monde)
April 17: Report that Magnavox Co. had filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Federal District Court of Chicago against Atari Inc., Bally Manufacturing Corp., Empire Distributing Inc. (a Bally subsidiary), Chicago Dynamic Industries Inc., and Allied Leisure Inc. Magnavox alleged that the coin-operated arcade video games manufactured and distributed by the five companies infringed on patent rights associated with the Magnavox Odyssey home video game system. (WSJ, p.15; Merch Wk 4/22/74 p.9) The Magnavox patent originated with Ralph Baer of Sanders Associates.
Spring?: Gene Lipkin was promoted to vp for marketing at Atari, replacing the departed Pat Karns. Lipkin would also gain an ownership stake in the company, joining Nolan Bushnell, Al Alcorn, and Joe Keenan as primary Atari founding stockholders.
May: Atari Europe exclusively released the Pong "Cocktail Table" in two versions: Coup Franc or Quadrapong cocktail
June: Atari released Touch-Me.
Month?: Nakamura Manufacturing Ltd. of Japan (doing business as Namco since 1971), headed by Masaya Nakamura, agreed to help sell game machines for Atari Japan. Kenichi Takumi remained president of Atari Japan.
Month?: Engineer Bob Brown joined Atari, where he would become director of microelectronics.
Month?: Engineer Jay Miner joined Atari as a chip designer.
July: Kee Games released Twin Racer.
July: Atari released Trak 10.
August: Atari released Gran Trak 20 (the same game as Twin Racer by Kee Games), released Puppy Pong, and released Trak 20.
September: Atari released Dr. Pong.
October: Atari released Pin-Pong.
Fall?: Ron Gordon, Atari's vice president of international sales and marketing, would briefly additionally serve as president of Atari, following the departure of Atari president John Wakefield.
Fall: New location for Kee Games: 1280 Reamwood Ave., Sunnyvale, CA, USA
November: Kee Games introduced Tank (designed by Steve Bristow and Lyle Rains) at the MOA Show.
November: Kee Games released Tank.
November: Atari released Qwak.
November: Management and operations of Kee Games was merged into that of Atari.
The Kee Games brand would continue to be utilized on some games through early 1978.
The classic Atari management group consisting of Nolan Bushnell (chairman/CEO), Joe Keenan (president), Al Alcorn (vp research & development), Steve Bristow (vp engineering), Gene Lipkin (vp marketing), Gil Williams (vp manufacturing), and Bill White (vp finance), was now in place.
Also, Ron Gordon remained Atari's vice president of international sales and marketing.
January: Atari completed Dodgeball (minimal production/very rare, apparently).
January: Kee Games released Pursuit.
Winter: Atari established a Pinball Division, headed by Atari vp manufacturing Gil Williams. First two division hires would be: engineers Bob Jonesee (previously of Williams) and Steve Ritchie (internal transfer)
Winter/Spring?: Atari agreed to sell Atari Japan Corporation to Nakamura Manufacturing (dba Namco) for ¥296 million ($1.18 million), pending payment by October 1975. (Atari Japan president Kenichi Takumi had departed the company.)
February: Atari introduced the home consumer version of Pong at the American Toy Fair in New York. Atari Pong (home consumer version) designers/engineers: Harold Lee, Al Alcorn, Bob Brown
Winter/Spring: Atari/Kee Games new 65,000 square foot location: 2175 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA, USA
April: Kee Games released Indy 800 (up to 8 players).
April: Atari released Hi-Way (cockpit) (USA version of Highway) and Highway (upright cabinet) (Europe version of Hi-Way).
May: Kee Games completed Crossfire (minimal production/very rare, apparently), and released Tank II.
June: Atari released Anti-Aircraft (also known as Anti-Aircraft II, as in 2-players)
Month?: Frank Ballouz, previously of A.B. Dick, joined Atari as National Sales Manager.
July: Atari released Goal IV.
September: Atari released Shark Jaws by Horror Games (Atari).
The Horror Games label was reportedly used on Shark Jaws to help deflect potential legal issues with the unlicensed use of the Jaws movie tie-in.
October 2: Report that Atari was to supply Sears, Roebuck with between 50,000 and 200,000 under-$100 Pong-like home video game sets by Dec. 5 1975, final quantity to depend on the supply of chips ordered by Atari from three manufacturers. (Electronics p.35)
October: Atari released Steeplechase, released Crash 'N' Score (released as Stock-Car in Europe?), and released Jet Fighter (original upright version).
October: Atari agreed to sell the Atari Japan Corporation subsidiary to Nakamura Manufacturing Ltd. of Japan (doing business as Namco since 1971) for US$500,050. Nakamura Manufacturing would be the exclusive representative for Atari products in Japan for ten years. See: A History of the Former Atari Japan
October: Ron Gordon remained vice president of international sales and marketing at Atari.
Fall: Sears shipped Tele-Games Pong (#25796) by Atari. Sears ultimately ordered 150,000 Pong units from Atari in exchange for exclusivity through 1975. Sears Wishbook catalog price: $98.95
November?: At the MOA show Atari introduced Tank cocktail and Computer Portrait (released as Compugraph Foto in 1976), and also featured: Crash 'N' Score, Steeplechase, Jet Fighter, Shark JAWS
November 20: The Atari "fuji" logo design "consisting of a stylized representation of Mount Fujiyama" formally became a registered trademark of Atari, Inc.
December: Engineer Joe Decuir joined Cyan Engineering. (source)(source)
December: Atari released Jet Fighter Cocktail.
January: Atari released Stunt Cycle.
Winter: Gene N. Landrum, previously general manager of the consumer products division of National Semiconductor, joined Atari to establish a new Consumer division; Landrum would serve as the new division's president.
March: Atari (Consumer) hired DK Marketing (Donald D Kingsborough).
March: Mike Albaugh joined Atari as third programmer in coin-op.
March: Atari released Outlaw.
Winter/Spring: Atari shipped Pong (C-100; 2 players; same as Sears Tele-Games Pong).
Winter/Spring: Sears shipped Tele-Games Pong IV (#99717; 2-4 players) by Atari.
April: Kee Games released Tank 8 and released Quiz Show.
April: Atari released Breakout (original upright version).
Spring: Atari broke ground for a new campus of buildings at Sunnyvale's Moffett Park.
May: Kee Games released Indy 4 (four player version of Indy 800).
June: With the patent infringement lawsuit filed by Magnavox in April 1974 against Atari and several of Atari's competitors about to go to trial, Atari and Magnavox settled. Atari would pay Magnavox $100,000 per year to be a licensee of Magnavox video game patent technology. The Magnavox patent originated with Ralph Baer of Sanders Associates.
Month?: Atari Europe (Baume-les-dames, France) purchased the jukebox manufacturer, Elektro-Kicker, makers of the Jupiter jukeboxes.
Month?: Noah L. Anglin joined Atari as Engineering Manager. Anglin was previously a director of engineering at Memorex, and before that had been at IBM for 13 years. Steven Bristow remained Atari vp engineering.
Month?: Steve Calfee joined Atari as Sr. Microprocessor programmer.
Months?: Atari Europe released the jukebox models: Concerto 120, Rubis, and Rubis II.
July: Atari released Breakout Cocktail, released Cops n' Robbers, and released Flyball.
July: John Anderson became Atari assistant treasurer.
Summer?: Atari shipped Hockey Pong (C-121; 1-2 players; 4 game variations) and shipped Super Pong (C-140; 4 game variations; 2 players)
August: Atari released Le Mans.
August: Programmer Larry Kaplan joined Atari (Consumer) as a game designer.
August: Sears announced/promoted Tele-Games Pong, Hockey Pong (#99721) by Atari (same as Atari Hockey Pong C-121), Super Pong (#99736) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong C-140), and Super Pong IV (#99737) by Atari.
Summer/Fall: New hires at Atari (Consumer): Kerry Crosson would be Manager of New Consumer Products; Larry Wagner would hire and manage a (VCS) software programming group; Michael C. Shea (Mike Shea) would be vice president/director of marketing; Malcolm Kuhn would be vice president/director of sales.
September 7: Warner Communications, Inc. (WCI) announced it had signed a contract to purchase controlling interest in Atari, Inc. Warner exec vp Emanuel Gerard anticipated it would eventually acquire "all or virtually all" Atari shares for purchase price of approximately $28 million in cash and debt. The contract was subject to approval by at least 66.7% of each class of Atari shareholders and by the California Commissioner of Corporations. (WSJ, NYT, 9/8/76) Atari founding stockholders Nolan Bushnell ($15 million), Al Alcorn, Joe Keenan ($1 million), and Gene Lipkin would be the primary financial benefactors of the sale, as would Bill White and Steve Bristow.
October 1: Atari, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warner Communications, Inc. (WCI). One term of the sale was that Warner would fund one restaurant featuring Bushnell's concept of a novel mixture of games, pizza, and electronic animals. Another term of sale was that the former owners of Atari (including: Bushnell, Keenan, Alcorn, Lipkin) agreed not to engage in business in competition with the new Atari for seven years (through September 1983).
Bushnell continued as Atari Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Joe Keenan continued as Atari President and Co-Chief Executive Officer. Al Alcorn (vp research & development), Steve Bristow (vp engineering), Gil Williams (vp manufacturing), Gene Lipkin (marketing vp), and Bill White (vice-president of finance) would all continue in their roles with the company as well.
New corporate headquarters for Atari, in a complex called Moffett Park: 1265 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale, CA, USA
October: Atari released Night Driver (original upright version).
October: Electrical engineer David R. Stubben joined Atari.
Fall?: Sears shipped Tele-Games Speedway (#80017, Canada only) by Atari, and Tele-Games Speedway IV (#99748) by Atari.
Fall: Atari shipped Pong Doubles (C-160; 2-4 players; same as Tele-Games Pong IV #99717) and shipped Super Pong Ten (C-180; 1-4 players; 10 game variations)
Fall: First issue of Coin Connection, "Atari's official monthly newsletter."
Fall: Atari acquired Cyan Engineering (source), which included engineers Steven T. Mayer, Lawrence D. Emmons, Ronald E. Milner, Joseph C. Decuir. Steve Mayer would become Atari senior vp research & development.
October/November: At Atari, Carol Kantor was Manager of Marketing Services; Eddie Boasberg was Pinball Marketing Coordinator.
November: Atari established an Electronic Board Games division. Steve Bristow, previously Atari vp engineering (coin-operated games), became Atari VP Engineering, Electronic Board Game Division and Coin Operated Games.
November: Kee Games released Sprint 2.
November: Atari released F-1 by Namco (electro-mechanical / non-video), and released The Atarians, the first Atari pinball machine.
November 12-14: Atari exhibited at the MOA International Expo at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago. Games showed by Atari included: F-1. (On Nov. 13 MOA renamed itself to AMOA.)
November: Atari exhibited at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) show. Games showed by Atari included: F-1
December 21: John Anderson was promoted to vice president-administration at Atari.
December?: An Atari Theatre Kiosk was installed for the first time at the San Francisco Powell Street Station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System.
January 13-16: Atari introduced Video Music (C-240)(designed by Bob Brown) at the 5th annual Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Chicago (the last Winter CES held in Chicago). Kerry Crosson was Atari (Consumer) Manager of New Consumer Products.
January: Don Smith was manager of Customer Service at Atari (Coin-Op). Gil Williams remained division vp manufacturing and Pinball division manager.
January: Programmer Bob Whitehead joined Atari (Consumer) as a game designer. He was hired by Bob Brown.
January: Atari released Dominos (original 2-player upright version).
January 25-27: Represented by the Cherry Group (UK distributor) and by Atari Europe, Atari featured The Atarians, F-1, and Dominos, and also showed the Kiosk, Night Driver, Sprint 2, Breakout, Le Mans, and Indy 4, along with the Jupiter phonograph, at the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE), Alexandra Palace, London. Sue Elliot, with Atari since summer/fall 1973, was International Marketing Administrator at Atari (in place of the departed Ron Gordon).
February 6-8: Atari featured Dominos/4 and The Atarians, and also showed Sprint 2, Night Driver, Breakout, and Indy 4, at the Association of College Unions-International (ACUI) conference and show in San Diego.
February: Atari released Dominos/4.
February: Programmer Alan Miller joined Atari (Consumer) as a game designer.
February: Edward J. (Eddie) Boasberg was Operations Manager/Marketing Coordinator, Pinball Division at Atari.
Winter/Spring?: Atari shipped Super Pong Pro-Am (C-200; 1-2 players; 5 game variations) and Super Pong Pro-Am Ten (C-202; 1-4 players; 10 game variations); Sears shipped Tele-Games Super Pong IV (#99789) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong Pro-Am Ten).
March: Atari vp manufacturing Gil Williams remained Pinball Division Manager at Atari. Additional pinball division leaders included: Bob Russell, operations manager; Bob Kolbus, plant manager; Jim Uszack, manufacturing engineer
April: Atari released Triple Hunt (Hit the Bear, Witch Hunt, Raccoon Hunt), released Triple Hunt single cabinet, and released Sit Down Night Driver .
April: C. Marshall Caras, previously of Rowe International, joined Atari as Director of Marketing.
May: Atari released Sprint 8 (eight player version of Sprint 2).
May 16: Atari opened the initial "prototype" Pizza Time Theatre at 370 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose, California. The family pizza and entertainment concept featured the computer-animated characters Chuck E. Cheese, Crusty (the cat), Jasper T. Jowls (hillbilly country singing dog), Pasqually (Italian opera-singing chef), and The Warblettes (three soul-singing magpies). The project was the brainchild of Nolan K. Bushnell (Atari chairman); Gene N. Landrum was Atari Restaurant Operating Division General Manager.
June: At the 12th annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago, Atari introduced the Video Computer System (VCS), Video Pinball, Stunt Cycle, Tank II (never shipped), Ultra Pong, and Ultra Pong Doubles. For the VCS Atari introduced the Joystick Controller (CX10), Paddle Controllers (CX30), and the Driving Controller (CX20). Atari also introduced six Game Program cartridges for the VCS: Combat (to ship with the VCS), Indy 500, Space Mission (would ship as Star Ship), Video Olympics, Street Racer, Air-Sea Battle. Atari VCS designers: Jay Miner (MOS/LSI design), Joe Decuir (logic design), and Larry Wagner (software & systems architecture), based on original concept/prototype by Steve Mayer, Ron Milner, and Joe Decuir at Cyan Engineering.
June: Atari released Time 2000 (pinball), released Pool Shark, and released Drag Race.
Months?: Atari Europe released the Hit-Parade 108, Hit-Parade 144, Concerto 120, and Rustica 160 jukeboxes.
Month?: Atari Europe sold off its jukebox business, resulting in the creation of Europe Elèctronique SA. Or, was this a matter of Atari breaking ties with Atari Europe? It would be interesting to find details of these events..
July: Atari released Starship 1.
Summer: John Vurich, previously with National Semiconductor, joined Atari (Consumer) as new product manager (home computer product-planning manager).
August: John Ellis was Atari (Consumer) head of engineering. Bob Brown was Atari (Consumer) director of research. (Atari Inc. - Business is Fun, p. 500. www.ataribook.com)
September: Atari vp manufacturing Gil Williams remained general manager of the Pinball division at Atari.
September: Programmer David Crane joined Atari (Consumer) as a video game designer. He was hired by Alan Miller.
September: Kee Games released Super Bug.
September: Atari released 2 Game Module (cabinet that houses 2 games facing opposite directions), and released Airborne Avenger (pinball).
October 13-16: Atari exhibited at the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) Convention in Chicago.
October: Atari released Destroyer.
October 28-30: Atari exhibited at the Amusement & Music Operators of America (AMOA) Exposition in Chicago.
Fall: Atari shipped Video Pinball (C-380; box: "7 Great Games Featuring Breakout"), Stunt Cycle (SC-450), Ultra Pong (C-402S), and Ultra Pong Doubles (C-402D).
Fall?: Sears shipped Tele-Games Pinball Breakaway by Atari (same as Atari Video Pinball), Tele-Games Motocross by Atari (similar to Atari Stunt Cycle), Tele-Games Pong Sports II (#99707) by Atari (same as Atari Ultra Pong), and Tele-Games Pong Sports IV (#99708) by Atari (same as Atari Ultra Pong Doubles).
November: Atari shipped the Video Computer System (VCS). Box: "The Super System... with 10 to 50 dynamite game variations per Game Program." The VCS shipped with two Joystick Controllers (CX10), one pair of Paddle Controllers (CX30), and Combat. For the VCS Atari also shipped: Air-Sea Battle, Indy 500 (with two Driving Controllers (CX20)), Street Racer, Video Olympics
November: Sears shipped the Cartridge Tele-Games System Video Arcade by Atari (same as the Atari VCS). The Video Arcade shipped with Tank-Plus by Atari (same as Atari Combat), along with two Sears-branded joystick controllers and a pair of Sears-branded paddle controllers. Sears also shipped 4 other Video Arcade/VCS titles: Target Fun by Atari (same as Atari Air-Sea Battle), Race by Atari (with two Sears-branded driving controllers; same game as Atari Indy 500), Speedway II by Atari (same as Atari Street Racer), Pong Sports by Atari (same as Atari Video Olympics)
For several years Sears would proceed to publish Tele-Games versions of most Atari VCS titles, sometimes under the same title, sometimes under a different title. Here's Atarimania's list of Sears Tele-Games titles for the Video Arcade / Atari VCS.
November: Atari released Canyon Bomber.
November 19-21: Atari exhibited at the IAAPA Exposition in New Orleans. Atari introduced Sprint 4, Canyon Bomber, Ultra Tank and Wolf Pack (Wolf Pack was never released.), and also showed: Destroyer, Airborne Avenger, The Atarians, Time 2000
December 1: The Atari Electronic Board Games division was shut down, with no released products to its credit (see here for 3 prototype games). Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering, Electronic Board Game Division and Coin Operated Games, became Atari VP Engineering and Plant Manager Pinball Production.
December: Atari released Sprint 4 (four-player version of Sprint 2).
December: Michael C. Shea remained marketing director at Atari (Consumer).
January: At the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (the first held in Las Vegas) Atari introduced four new game programs (cartridges) for the VCS (for a total of 9 available): Star Ship (previously introduced as Space Mission), Surround, Basic Math, Blackjack. Atari also showed the VCS ($199.95), Stunt Cycle ($72.95), Ultra Pong ($42.95), Ultra Pong Doubles ($52.95), and Video Pinball ($89.95)
January: Atari released Sprint 1 (one-player version of Sprint 2).
January 24-26: Atari was represented by the Cherry Group, Atari distributor in Great Britain, at the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) at Alexandra Palace in London. Atari's Sky Raider and Tournament Table were introduced at the show. Also featured: 2 Game Module, Sprint 4, Ultra Tank, Destroyer, Sprint 1, Middle Earth, Starship 1, Super Bug. Previewed at the show: Competition 8 (never released).
February: Kee Games released Ultra Tank. This was the last release under the Kee Games label.
February 12-14: Atari exhibited at Show West '78 in San Diego, a trade show for movie theater owners.
February: Bill Bassett was appointed International Field Service Manager at Atari.
February: Atari released Middle Earth (pinball).
Winter?: Atari shipped a new version of the Joystick Controller (CX40) with new-production VCS systems; the original CX10 Joystick Controller was discontinued. Also, Atari shipped the VCS titles: Star Ship (Sears title: Outer Space), Surround (Sears title: Chase), Basic Math (Sears title: Math), Blackjack
Winter?: Sears shipped the Video Arcade/VCS titles: Outer Space by Atari (same as Atari Star Ship), Chase by Atari (same as Atari Surround), Math by Atari (same as Atari Basic Math), Blackjack by Atari (same as Atari Blackjack)
March: Raymond Edward Kassar (Ray Kassar), president of R.E. Kassar Corporation (a consulting business) and before that executive vice president, group vice president, and president of 3 divisions at fabric maker Burlington Industries, was hired by Atari as a consultant to top management. (see NYT 1/5/79 for date)
March: Atari released Sky Raider, and released Tournament Table (12 games: Breakout, Soccer I, Soccer II, Foozpong, Hockey I, Hockey II, Hockey III, Quadrapong, Handball, Volleyball, Basketball I, Basketball II)
Winter/Spring?: Gene Lipkin became vice president and general manager of the Atari Coin-Operated Games division (previously: Atari vp marketing).
April: Atari released Avalanche.
April: Atari Pinball game designer Steve Ritchie departed the company.
April: Atari announced the Keyboard Controllers (CX50) and announced 9 new VCS Game Programs (for a total of 18): Space War, Home Run, Outlaw, Breakout, Hunt & Score (for use with the new Keyboard Controllers), Code Breaker (for use with the new Keyboard Controllers), Hangman, Football (this version never released), Basketball
April 23-26: Atari and New Way Sales exhibited Atari games at the Canadian Restaurant-Hotel-Motel Show in Toronto, Canada, featuring: Middle Earth, Sky Raider
April 26-29: Lowen Automaten, Atari's distributor in Germany, had a display of Atari games at the International Coin Machine Exposition in Berlin, Germany, featuring: Middle Earth
Spring?: Ed Logg joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a video game designer.
May: Atari released Space War (Sears title: Space Combat) and Hangman (Sears title: Spelling) for the VCS.
May: George Simcock was director of software development at Atari (Consumer) (having replaced Larry Wagner, who would start an advanced R & D laboratory at Atari (under director of research Bob Brown?))(source)(source)
June: Atari released Fire Truck, and released Sky Diver.
June: Fred McCord was promoted to Field Service Manager at Atari.
June?: Atari displayed products at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, including: Avalanche, Sprint 1, Starship 1, Sky Raider, Tournament Table, Middle Earth, Airborne Avenger, The Atarians, 2 Game Module. Prototype game design concepts, Wall Unit and Game Booth were shown by Atari as well.
June 11-14: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari introduced the Game Brain (C-700; $115; never shipped), along with four new VCS titles: Basketball (previously announced in April), Capture the Flag (would ship as Flag Capture), The Maze (would eventually ship as Maze Craze), Wizard (never shipped)
June: Atari released the Keyboard Controllers (CX50) and released Home Run (Sears title: Baseball), Code Breaker (Sears title: Codebreaker) and Hunt & Score (Sears title: Memory Match) for the VCS.
June: Nolan Bushnell bought the Pizza Time Theatre restaurant and associated intellectual property (Chuck E. Cheese) from Atari for US$500,000, planning to enlist franchisees to establish additional locations. Atari retained minority ownership in Bushnell's new company, Pizza Time Theatre, Inc. Atari Consumer Division president and Restaurant Operating Division general manager Gene Landrum departed the company. (Landrum would be president of Pizza Time Theatre.) Bushnell would now serve as chairman of both Atari and Pizza Time Theatre. See: A History of the Former Atari Restaurant Operating Division
June 26-28: Atari's latest video and pinball games were on display at the Bowling Proprietor's trade show (BPAA), including: Fire Truck, Sky Diver, Avalanche, Sprint 4, Middle Earth
Month?: Atari released Outlaw (Sears title: Gunslinger) for the VCS.
July: Atari released Smokey Joe (one player version of Fire Truck).
July: Atari announced 3 new VCS Game Programs (and un-announced Football, for a total of 20): Brain Games, Slot Racers, Flag Capture (previously announced as Capture the Flag)
July: Atari released Slot Racers (Sears title: Maze) for the VCS.
August: Bill White, Atari executive since April 1973 and vp finance and CFO since the end of 1974, departed the company.
August: Kevin Hayes joined Atari Ireland (new subsidiary being set up by Atari vp manufacturing Gil Williams) as financial controller.
August: Atari released Brain Games, and Flag Capture (Sears title: Capture) for the VCS.
September: Atari released Super Breakout, and released Space Riders (pinball).
September: Atari announced the opening of Atari Ireland Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary and a manufacturing facility located in Tipperary, Ireland. The facility was set up and headed by Atari vp manufacturing Gil Williams. The Atari Ireland management team would also include Tommy Martinez and Phillip Stewart.
September: George Simcock remained Atari (Consumer) director of software development. (source)
September: Atari announced that Bob Betters, previously of Casper Instruments, had been hired as Manager of Customer Service at Atari Coin-Op (replacing the departed Don Smith).
October 1: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering and Plant Manager Pinball Production, became Atari VP Engineering, Consumer (and Home Computer) Division, replacing John Ellis who departed the company. Noah Anglin, previously Atari (Coin-Op) engineering manager, would now be Atari (Coin-Op) V.P., Engineering Manager, replacing Bristow in the role.
October: Atari released Atari Football.
Fall: Atari released Touch Me.
Fall: Dennis D. Groth, previously of Arthur Young & Co., joined Atari as vp finance and CFO, replacing the departed Bill White.
November 10-12: Atari exhibited at the AMOA in Chicago, using the theme "STARWORLD '78." Atari introduced Orbit, Subs, UFO (wall game), Hercules, and Monza (never released), and also showed: Atari Football, Space Riders, Super Breakout, Middle Earth, Sprint 2, Sit Down Night Driver, Starship 1, Smokey Joe, Fire Truck
November: Atari Ireland, as announced two months earlier, began production of video games in Tipperary.
November: Atari released Orbit.
November: Atari released Breakout (Sears title: Breakaway IV) for the VCS.
November?: Atari exhibited at the IAAPA, using the theme "STARWORLD '78." Atari introduced Orbit, Subs, UFO (wall game), Hercules, and Monza (never released), and also showed: Space Riders, Middle Earth, Atari Football, Super Breakout, Fire Truck Starship 1, Sit Down Night Driver, 2 Game Module
November: Ray Kassar, consulting for Atari since March 1978, became Atari President (replacing Joe Keenan) and CEO (replacing Nolan Bushnell and Joe Keenan as co-CEOs). Joe Keenan became Atari chairman of the board (replacing Nolan Bushnell) (see: Cumma press release 7 Jan 1984). Officially, Nolan Bushnell would continue to work with Atari as creative consultant / engineering consultant, but Bushnell's role with Atari was essentially finished.
December: Atari released Basketball for the VCS.
Atari sold 800,000 VCS units in 1978 (InfoWorld Nov 28, 1983 p. 157)
January 1?: Atari Engineer Joe Decuir departed the company.
January: Atari introduced the 400 and 800 Personal Computer Systems at the Winter CES in Las Vegas. While the 800 was shown production-ready, the 400 shown was pre-production mock-up Model No. C7000, see: http://mcurrent.name/atariads/intro400.htm. Atari 400/800 designers: Jay Miner (project chief engineer), Joe Decuir, Steve Mayer, Ron Milner, Francois Michel, George McCleod, Doug Neubauer, Scott Shiffman, Alan Miller, Howard Bornstein. Atari 400/800 Operating System lead designers/programmers: David Crane, Alan Miller, Larry Kaplan. The 800 would ship with 8K RAM (user-expandable in 8K or 16K increments to 48K) and retail for US$1,000; the 400 would come standard with 8K RAM and retail for US$500. The computers were scheduled to ship in limited quantities in August 1979, with full availability later in the fall. Also introduced: the 410 program recorder, 810 disk drive, and 820 printer. Software announced/previewed: BASIC, Basketball, Chess (would ship as: Computer Chess), Stock Market (game? never shipped), and "Computer Aided Instruction in over 20 subject areas, including Math, English, History, Literature, Economics, Psychology, Auto Mechanics and many others" (cassette courseware under development by Dorsett Educational Systems for Atari). Larry Kaplan served as the face/voice of the Atari computers presentation at the show. Coverage of the introduction of the Atari 400/800 from Creative Computing magazine: http://mcurrent.name/atari1979/
Also at the show, Atari introduced 8 new VCS titles, including: Football, Sky Diver, Superman, BASIC Programming, Video Chess, Backgammon. The suggested retail price for the VCS remained US$189. At Atari (Consumer), Michael Shea remained director of marketing; Donald Thompson was director of sales.
January: Atari (Consumer) manager, product planning (home computers) John Vurich departed the company.
January: Atari (Consumer) let go its entire research and development division, including Larry Wagner and director of research Bob Brown.
January: Ed Rotberg joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer.
January 23-25: Atari was represented by Cherry Leisure (UK) at the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) in London.
Winter: Don Kingsborough of DK Marketing joined Atari (Consumer) as executive vice president of sales and marketing, replacing Don Thomspon (ex-sales director) and Michael Shea (ex-marketing director)
February: Atari showed Touch Me at the 1979 Toy Fair in New York.
February: Ted M. Kahn began working with Atari as a consultant. Kahn would initiate and co-develop the educational marketing strategy for the 400/800.
February: Atari released Video Pinball.
Winter/Spring: Atari shipped the VCS titles: Football, Sky Diver (Sears title: Dare Diver)
March: Atari released Superman (pinball).
March 25-27: Atari exhibited at the Association of College Unions-International (ACUI) conference and show in Cincinnati. Atari introduced Superman and also showed: Space Riders, Video Pinball, Atari Football, Sprint 2, Super Breakout
April: Atari (Coin-Op) announced the promotion of Darl Davidson (previously: production manager of the printed circuit board facility; he had joined Atari in January 1977) to Manager of Customer Service (replacing the departed Bob Betters).
April: Atari released Hercules (pinball -- the largest pinball machine ever made (93" long, 39" wide, 83" high), and also the last Atari production pinball machine), and released Atari 4-Player Football.
Spring?: Peter N. Rosenthal joined Atari (Consumer) as Director of Marketing, Personal Computer Systems.
May 11-13: At the 4th West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco Atari again showed the Atari 400/800 computer systems, which were expected to ship within months.
May: Atari released Atari Basketball, and released Subs (2 players, 2 monitors).
June: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari again showed the Atari 400/800 computers, which were expected to ship within weeks. The retail price for the 400 system would be US$550 (up from US$500). The 410, 810, and 820 were again shown as well. Accessories introduced: 8K RAM Memory Module, 16K RAM Memory Module. ROM cartridges introduced: Educational System Master Cartridge, BASIC, Assembler Debug (would ship as: Assembler Editor), Basketball, Life (would ship as: Video Easel), Super Breakout, Music Composer, Super Bug (never shipped), Computer Chess. Educational System (later dubbed "Talk & Teach") cassettes introduced: U.S. History, U.S. Government, Supervisory Skills, World History, Basic Sociology, Counseling Procedures, Principles of Accounting, Physics, Great Classics, Business Communications, Basic Psychology, Effective Writing, Auto Mechanics (never shipped), Principles of Economics, Spelling, Basic Electricity, Basic Algebra. Other cassettes introduced: Guide to Basic Programming (would ship as: An Invitation to Programming 1: Fundamentals of BASIC Programming), BASIC Game Programs (never shipped). Diskettes introduced: Blank Diskettes (would ship as: 5 Diskettes), Disk File Manager (would ship as: Master Diskette).
Atari introduced the VCS titles (for a total of 32 available): Bowling, Canyon Bomber, Casino, Human Cannonball, Miniature Golf, Slot Machine. Don Kingsborough was director of sales and marketing for Atari (Consumer).
June: Liza Loop returned to Atari as a consultant/technical writer. She would write the original user manuals for the 400/800 computers.
June: Atari released Atari Baseball.
June: Atari released the VCS title Superman.
Month?: Charles S. Paul (Skip Paul) joined Atari as Senior Vice President & General Counsel. Paul was previously with the San Francisco law firm Cooley, Godward, Castro, Huddleson & Tatum for 3 years.
July: Atari released the VCS title BASIC Programming.
July: At the Coin-Operated Games Division of Atari, Gene Lipkin became President (previously: vice president and general manager), Frank Ballouz (previously: national sales manager) became Director of Marketing (replacing the departed C. Marshall Caras), Don Osborne (previously: western regional sales manager since January 1977) became National Sales Manager (replacing the promoted Frank Ballouz), and Sue Elliot became International Sales Manager (previously: international marketing administrator).
July: Bill Grubb joined Atari (Consumer) as VP Marketing & Sales (replacing Don Kingsborough, who returned to focus on his firm, DK Marketing).
July: Robert A. Hovee joined Atari (Consumer) as Vice President of Sales & Marketing for personal computers.
Summer?: For the VCS Atari released: Video Chess, Backgammon
August: Atari released Lunar Lander. Atari's first game to feature their QuadraScan vector monitor display system.
August: Atari received FCC Type I approval for the 400/800 computers, and also the 410 program recorder. The Atari 400/800 were the only personal computers to ever comply with this stringent requirement against any RF interference, before the FCC subsequently relaxed the rules.
August: Atari (Consumer) programmer / game designer Larry Kaplan departed the company.
September: Atari (Consumer) programmers / game designers David Crane, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead all departed the company. (Together the three would establish Activision the following month.)
Fall: Atari released for the VCS: Bowling, Canyon Bomber, Casino (Sears title: Poker Plus), Human Cannonball (Sears title: Cannon Man), Miniature Golf (Sears title: Arcade Golf), Slot Machine (Sears title: Slots)
September: Joe Keenan, Atari executive since 1973 and most recently Atari chairman since November 1978, announced his resignation from the company. Keenan would continue to work with Atari as consultant, but his role with the company was essentially finished. Keenan was named president and COO of Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell's Pizza Time Theatre, Inc.
September: Atari opened a factory in an unused building in the Farah Manufacturing plant at 5645 Beacon Ave, El Paso, TX. The location would manufacture home video game cartridges. (source)
September: Atari vp manufacturing Gil Williams, with the company since 1973 and most recently head of Atari Ireland since its inception in summer 1978, departed the company. Kevin Hayes, previously Atari Ireland financial controller, would be the new Atari Ireland managing director.
September: Chris Crawford joined Atari (Consumer) as a VCS game designer.
October: Programmer Lane Winner joined Atari.
October/November: Colette Weil was promoted to Manager of Marketing Research at Atari Coin-Op.
November: Atari shipped the 400/800 computers and the 410 program recorder.
November: Atari released Asteroids (original upright version). Asteroids was the first video game to allow players to personalize their high scores with their initials.
November?: Atari president and CEO Ray Kassar was appointed Atari chairman, replacing the departed Joe Keenan. Kassar was now Atari chairman and CEO.
November: Michael J. Moone (Mike Moone) became president of the Consumer Division at Atari (replacing the departed Gene Landrum).
November: Atari exhibited at the AMOA. Using the theme, "The Atari Adventure...the games of the future" Atari introduced Asteroids, Atari Soccer, and Monte Carlo, and also featured Lunar Lander, Atari 4-Player Football, Atari Baseball, Atari Football, Hercules.
November?: Atari exhibited at the IAAPA. Atari introduced Asteroids, Atari Soccer, and Monte Carlo, and also featured: Lunar Lander, Atari 4-Player Football, Atari Baseball, Atari Football, Hercules
December: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering, Consumer (and Home Computer) Division, became Atari VP Engineering, Consumer (Game) Division. A new Personal Computer Division would be split-off from the Consumer Division.
Four of the top ten money-making coin games of 1979 were by Atari: Atari Football, Sprint 2, Super Breakout, Video Pinball
January 1?: Conrad Jutson joined Atari (Personal Computer) as Vice President-Sales & Marketing, replacing Robert A. Hovee who departed the company.
January: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas, for the 400/800, Atari introduced the 825 printer, 830 modem, and 850 interface. 400/800 software titles introduced: 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Star Raiders, Personal Finance (never shipped as introduced; possibly eventually shipped as: Personal Financial Management System). Also, list prices for the 400 and 800 packages increased to US$630 and US$1,080 (up from US$550 and US$1,000).
For the VCS Atari introduced 6 new titles: Space Invaders (title licensed from Taito, notably the first such arrangement in the industry, and notably the first "killer application" for the VCS), Adventure, 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Golf, Night Driver, Circus Atari (for a total of 38 available; Basic Math was renamed Fun With Numbers; Hunt & Score was renamed A Game of Concentration.). Bill Grubb was vice president-marketing and sales for Atari (Consumer).
January?: For the 400/800 Atari shipped: 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Star Raiders
January: Atari (Consumer) programmer Chris Crawford transferred to the Personal Computer division (Applications group).
January: Atari released Space Invaders for the VCS and Circus Atari for the VCS.
January 17-19: Atari games were exhibited by Lowen/MSM at the IMA German Trade Association Show in Frankfurt, West Germany. Atari Soccer and Asteroids Cocktail Table were introduced. Also shown: Asteroids, Lunar Lander
January 29-31: At the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) at Alexandra Palace, London, Atari was represented by distributors Cherry Leisure and The Music Hire Group. Games displayed included Asteroids.
Winter?: Atari released Adventure for the VCS. Adventure contained the first Easter Egg known to appear in any video game.
Winter: For the 400/800 Atari shipped the 810 disk drive (with DOS I) and the 820 printer.
February: Paul Laughton, previously of Shepardson Microsystems, Inc. (SMI), joined Atari (Personal Computer) where he would be Manager, Software Development.
March 1: The Atari electronics sales company, headed by CEO Klaus Ollmann, was established in Hamburg West Germany as a subsidiary of WEA Music GmbH. (source)
March?: For the 400/800 Atari shipped: Music Composer
March 20-22: Atari exhibited at the Amusement Operators Exposition in New Orleans.
March 23-26: Atari exhibited at the Association of College Unions-International (ACUI) conference and show in Minneapolis. At the show Atari introduced Atari Soccer, and also featured: Asteroids, Atari Football, Atari Baseball
April: Atari released Asteroids Cocktail, released Atari Soccer, and released Monte Carlo.
April?: For the 400/800 Atari shipped: the Assembler Editor
April: Consultant/technical writer Liza Loop departed from Atari.
April: Lyle Rains, Atari (Coin-Op) Electronics Engineering and Game Development Manager, was named Director of Engineering for the division (replacing Noah Anglin in the role). Noah Anglin, previously Atari (Coin-Op) vp engineering manager, was now Atari (Coin-Op) Vice President of Engineering and Manufacturing (having absorbed the role of departed vp manufacturing Gil Williams)
April 18-20: Atari exhibited at the International Coin Machine Trade Show in New York City.
June 4: Joseph Robbins (Joe Robbins), most recently president of Empire Distributing Company, a division of Bally, Inc., was named Co-President of the Coin-Op Division of Atari, joining Gene Lipkin in that role.
June: Atari announced the appointment of Shane Breaks as International Marketing Director for the Coin-Operated Games Division of Atari. Breaks would be headquartered in Tipperary, Ireland. Sue Elliot remained International Sales Manager and would now report to Breaks.
June: Fred Gerson was named as Vice President, Finance for the Coin-Operated Games Division of Atari.
June: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering, Consumer (Game) Division, became Atari VP Advanced Technology. Michel Ebertin, previously consumer product development director at National Semiconductor, would join Atari (Consumer) as vice-president, engineering (replacing Bristow in the role).
June: Dona Bailey joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer.
June 15: At the Summer CES in Chicago, for the 400/800 Atari introduced: 815 dual disk drive with DOS 2.0D (never shipped), 822 printer, and Light Pen (CX70), and again featured the 825 printer, 830 modem, and 850 interface. Atari also announced 34 new 400/800 software packages, including: TeleLink I (previously: Terminal Emulator), The Atari Accountant series (by Arthur Young & Co.)--General Accounting System (never shipped); Accounts Receivable System (never shipped); Inventory Control Program (never shipped), the Investment Analysis series (by Control Data)--Bond Analysis; Stock Analysis; Stock Charting; Mortgage & Loan Analysis, Conversational French, Conversational German, Conversational Spanish, Space Invaders (title by Taito)(SoftSide Aug80). More: Biorhythm, Hangman, Kingdom, Blackjack, Mailing List, Energy Czar, Calculator, Touch Typing, Graph It. Previewed: Missile Command
Also, Atari modified the 800 computer package. The computer would now ship with 16K RAM (up from 8K); the 410 program recorder and Educational System Master Cartridge were removed from the package; the Atari BASIC Reference Manual was added to the package. The retail price remained US$1,080.
For the VCS Atari introduced: Maze Craze, Video Checkers, Dodge 'Em, Championship Soccer (later re-released as Pelé's Soccer). (Two VCS titles were dropped: Slot Machine and Star Ship, making a total of 40 titles available.)
June: Atari released Asteroids Cabaret (the introduction of the Cabaret mini-cabinet concept), and released Missile Command (original upright version). Missile Command was the first Atari game to default to 50 cents per play, rather than the standard 25 cents.
Month?: Erwin Lenowitz became Atari Vice President, Finance. Dennis Groth, previously Atari VP finance, would become Atari executive vice president and would remain chief financial officer.
July?: Atari filed suit (in San Francisco) against Activision, charging trademark violations and theft of trade secrets. (InfoWorld Aug.4)
Summer: For the 400/800 Atari shipped the 825 printer, 830 modem, and 850 interface.
August: Atari released Missile Command Cocktail.
August: Atari released Night Driver for the VCS.
August?: Atari products were displayed by distributor Leisure and Allied Industries at the Australian AMOA, including: Asteroids, Missile Command
September: Atari released Missile Command Cabaret and Missile Command sit-down versions.
September: Peter Rosenthal remained director of marketing for Atari computers.
September: Shane Breaks arrived at Atari Ireland to serve as International Director of Marketing (Coin-Op).
Fall: Atari released 3D-Tic-Tac-Toe and Golf for the VCS
Fall?: Sears released Tele-Games Steeplechase by Atari and Tele-Games Stellar Track by Atari.
Fall: For the 400/800 Atari shipped the 822 printer.
Fall: Gene Lipkin, Atari executive since 1974 and most recently co-president of the Coin-Operated Games Division since spring 1980, departed the company. The other co-president, Joe Robbins, would now be the sole President of the Coin-Operated Games Division.
October: Jose A. Valdes joined Atari as development engineer.
October 21: Roger H. Badertscher was named president of the newly established Computer Division at Atari, which was split-off from the Consumer Electronics Division. Badertscher was previously vice president and general manager of the microprocessor division of Signetics, an electronics semiconductor manufacturer.
November: Atari exhibited at the 1980 AMOA Show in Chicago using the theme, "StarGate 80". Atari introduced Battlezone, and also featured Missile Command. Atari Asteroids received the Play Meter Award for video game excellence as the highest earning video game of 1980.
November: Atari released Battlezone (original standard upright version).
November/December?: Keith E. Schaefer joined Atari (Computer division) as National Sales Manager.
December: Atari released Battlezone Cabaret.
December?: At Atari (Personal Computer), Applications group programmer Chris Crawford (having completed Energy Czar and SCRAM) was promoted to supervisor of the Software Development Support Group.
December: Anton Bruehl, with Atari since 1979, had been promoted to president - International Consumer Division at Atari.
Atari reportedly lost $10 million on sales of computer equipment of $13
million in 1980 (InfoWorld 9/14/1981)
Atari had sold 35,000 400/800 computers through 1980. (source?)
January 5: Atari announced the Remote Control Video Computer System (2700; never shipped) and announced the Cosmos Programmable Game System (never shipped). For the Cosmos, Atari also announced 8 games (all never shipped): Superman, Football, Basketball, Outlaw, Sea Battle, Space Invaders (title by Taito), Road Runner, Asteroids. Asteroids was to ship with the system.
January 9-12: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari introduced the Remote Control Video Computer System (2700; never shipped; see Atarimuseum's 2700 page).
Atari announced that the list price for the 400 computer package with 8K RAM installed was reduced to US$499.95 (previously: US$630), and that the list price for the 16K RAM version of the 400 package would be US$630. For the 400/800 Atari introduced: Asteroids, Astrology (ultimately released via APX), Atari Word Processor, An Invitation to Programming 2, An Invitation to Programming 3, Missile Command, Personal Financial Management System, Personal Fitness Program (ultimately released via APX), PILOT, SCRAM (A Nuclear Reactor Simulation), Conversational Italian
Atari also introduced four new games for the VCS: Asteroids, Warlords, Video Pinball, Othello (Space War and Miniature Golf were dropped, bringing the total number of VCS titles available to 42).
January 12-15: At the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) at the Olympia in London, Atari was represented by U.K. distributors Music Hire Group and Ruffler & Deith. Atari Red Baron and Warlords (cocktail) were introduced at the show. Also displayed: Asteroids, Missile Command, Battlezone
January: Atari VP Research & Development Al Alcorn, with Atari since June 1972, departed the company. (source) (source) Steve Mayer remained Atari senior vp research & development.
January 22-25: Lowen Automaten and Nova Apparate, the two Atari distributors in West Germany, represented Atari (Coin-Op) at the international trade show in Frankfurt.
January: Atari introduced the Cosmos Programmable Game System (never shipped) at the New York Toy Fair. See Atarimuseum's Cosmos page.
Winter: For the 400/800 Atari released DOS II version 2.0S.
Winter: At Atari (Coin-Op): vp of engineering and manufacturing Noah Anglin departed the company. Lyle Rains, previously Engineering Director, would become Vice President of Engineering. Curt Russell would become Vice President of Manufacturing.
February: Atari (Consumer) VP for marketing and sales Bill Grubb departed the company.
February?: Mark Lutvak join Atari (Computer) as director of product marketing (product management). Peter Rosenthal, previously director of marketing, became director of business planning and development (new position).
March: Atari released Video Pinball for the VCS.
March: Atari (Coin-Op) named Frank Ballouz Vice President of Marketing (previously: director of marketing), and named Don Osborne Vice President of Sales (previously: national sales manager).
March: Atari (Coin-Op) announced plans to establish a Wood Shop in Milpitas CA, to be headed by plant manager Tom Thompson (with Atari since January 1981; previously of Ethan Allen furniture), to open summer 1981. Curt Russell was Vice President of Manufacturing at Atari (Coin-Op).
March: Software engineer Jim Tittsler joined Atari (Consumer). He was previously Director of Software Development at International Remote Imaging Systems.
March: The Atari Bradley Trainer ("Army Battlezone"; "MK-60"; never shipped) prototype was introduced at a worldwide U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) conference (held via satellite).
March 23: Atari introduced Asteroids Deluxe (standard upright, Cabaret, and cocktail cabinet models) in a national press conference at the Time and Life Building in New York City.
Spring: First issue of The Atari Connection, the glossy magazine published by the Atari Computer Division in support of the 400/800.
April 3-5: Atari Software Acquisition Program (ASAP) staff attended the 6th West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco, offering a grand prize of US$25,000 in cash and US$75,000 in Atari products to runners-up for Atari computer software authors. In order to qualify for the awards, programs would have to be accepted and sold through the soon-to-be-launched Atari Program Exchange. Bruce W. Irvine was vp software, Atari Computer Division.
April: Atari (Coin-Op) established an office in Tokyo Japan, tentatively titled "Atari Far East" and headed by manager of marketing and sales Rivington Hight, Jr. (Riv Hight), previously head of Taito Australia.
April 12-15: Atari (Coin-Op) featured Asteroids Deluxe and Battlezone at the Association of College Unions-International (ACUI) conference and show in San Francisco.
April: Atari released Asteroids Deluxe Cabaret (original release), released Warlords Upright, and released Warlords Cocktail.
April: Atari released Missile Command for the VCS.
April/May: Ashley Chamitoff (Al Chamitoff) was vice president of quality assurance at Atari Coin-Op.
May 4-7: At the National Computer Conference in Chicago, Atari announced that the 8K Atari 400 was being discontinued and that the price on the 16K version was being reduced to US$399 (was US$630); also, the 400 would no longer be sold with the Atari BASIC cartridge and the Atari BASIC: A Self-Teaching Guide book. Also introduced: Dow Jones Investment Evaluator, Atari Microsoft BASIC, Macro Assembler and Program-Text Editor
May: Atari launched the Atari Program Exchange (APX), a user-written software distribution unit within the Atari Computer Division. The APX concept had been the brain-child of Dale Yocam, and APX was guided by Fred Thorlin since its inception in February 1981. See http://www.atariarchives.org/APX/
May: Atari released Asteroids Deluxe Upright, released Asteroids Deluxe Cocktail, and released Red Baron Sitdown (original version).
May: Atari (Coin-Op) published The Book, compiled by Field Service staff.
June: Atari released Centipede (original Upright version), released Red Baron (upright version), and released Battlezone open face upright version.
June: Atari released Warlords for the VCS.
Month? James Alan Cook (Jamie Cook) joined Atari as Vice President and Counsel of Atari's Home Computer division.
Summer: Through their first Catalog, for the 400/800 APX introduced: Newspaper Route Management Program, The Computerized Card File, Text Formatter (FORMS), Lemonade, Mugwump, Avalanche, Outlaw/Howitzer, Preschool Games, Roman Checkers, Space Trek, Castle, Wizard's Gold, Sleazy Adventure, Alien Egg, Chinese Puzzle, Sultan's Palace, Anthill, Centurion, Tact Trek, Comedy Diskette, Graphics/Sound Demonstration, FIG FORTH (this version never shipped), Sound Editor, BASIC Program Compressor (MASHER), BASIC Cross-Reference Utility (XREF), BASIC Renumber Utility (RENUM), Disk Fixer (FIX), Variable Changer, Character Set Editor, Extended WSFN, Supersort. APX also introduced several hardware products: DE-9S with DE51218 Shell (controller plug), 5-pin DIN connector, 13-pin I/O plug, 13-pin I/O socket, DA-15P with DA110963-2 Shell (850 printer plug), DE-9P with DE110963-1 Shell (850 serial plug), 2716 EPROM cartridge
Summer?: Atari created the Atari Institute for Educational Action Research, which began awarding major grants of Atari home computer products, cash stipends, and/or consulting services to selected individuals and non-profit institutions or organizations interested in developing new educational uses for computers in schools, community programs, or in the home. Founded and directed by Dr. Ted M. Kahn, Ph.D. More than US$250,000 would be awarded in the program's first year.
Summer: By mid-1981 Atari had sold over 50,000 400/800 computers to date. (InfoWorld 9/14/1981)
Summer: The Atari 400/800 arrived in the UK. (Maplin News, June/Aug 1981)
July 10: Centipede (upright) became the first Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-approved coin-operated video game.
July: Atari released Centipede Cocktail 14", and released Centipede Cabaret.
July: Larry Plummer, previously General Manager, Computer Products at Heathkit, joined Atari (Home Computer) as Director of Engineering.
July/August: Atari released Asteroids for the VCS.
Summer/Fall: For the 400/800 Atari shipped the kits: The Communicator, The Entertainer, The Programmer, The Educator
August 3: Jewel Savadelis joined Atari (Consumer) as Product Manager, Video Software, a new marketing position created for her (source)(source) and reporting to Ron Stringari, Atari (Consumer) Vice President, Marketing. Stringari had replaced the departed Bill Grubb in the role; Stringari was previously at Sears for 16 years, where he had worked with Atari on marketing the VCS.
August?: In response to Atari's legal complaint, General Computer (GCC) of Boston received a restraining order from Judge Robert E. Keeton of the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, to temporarily prevent them from manufacturing, advertising or selling their Super Missile Attack kit (released June 1981) for Atari Missile Command. (Atari and GCC would settle, and GCC would go on to develop many products published by Atari including 2 coin-op games, the 7800 hardware platform, and numerous 2600, 5200, and 7800 games.)
September 10-12: Maplin Electronic Supplies exhibited the Atari 400/800 at the Personal Computer World Show at the Cunard Hotel, Hammersmith, London.
September: Atari released Centipede Cocktail 19".
September: Peter Rosenthal was director of business planning and development at Atari (Home Computer Division).
September: In the Atari Consumer division, Edward Jones was director of software development (having replaced the departed Howard Sels, who had replaced the departed George Simcock).
Fall: APX Catalog for the 400/800 introduced: Data Management System, Financial Asset Management System, Decision Maker, Banner Generator, Personal Fitness Program, Blackjack Tutor, Mapware, Video Math Flashcards, Dice Poker, 747 Landing Simulator, Eastern Front (1941), CodeCracker, Domination, Terry, Bumper Pool, Reversi, Minotaur, Lookahead, Babel, Wizard's Revenge, Chameleon CRT Terminal Emulator, Diskette Librarian, Disk Fixer (FIX) Rev. 2, BASIC Utility for Renumbering Programs (BURP), BASIC Utility Diskette, Screen Dump Utility, Load 'n Go, BLIS, Developer's Diskette. APX also announced their full software product line for sale via download from CompuServe MicroNET. One hardware product was modified: DE-9S with DE110963-1 Shell (controller plug)
October: Atari released Tempest Upright (original version). Atari's first game to feature their QuadraScan Color vector monitor display system.
October: Atari Consumer division product manager Jewel Savadelis additionally became acting director of software development for the division, replacing the departed Edward Jones. Michel Ebertin remained vice president, engineering for the division.
October 15: Atari (Coin-Op) hardware engineer Howard Belman, R&D manager Roger Hector, and senior staff engineer Ed Rotberg departed the company (to form Avid, Inc.; later known as: Videa).
October 29-31: Atari exhibited at the AMOA at the Conrad Hilton in Chicago, using the theme "The Atari Era." Atari introduced Tempest and featured Centipede at the show.
October 29-November 1: The Atari $50,000 World Championships (Centipede tournament) as part of the Tournament Games, Inc. (TGI) "$400,000 Weekend" at the Chicago Expocenter. Mariann Layne, Atari's Manager of Marketing Services, organized the Atari Tournament.
November 8-11: Atari exhibited Centipede and Tempest at the National Licensed Beverage Association (NLBA) Annual Convention and Trade Show in La Vegas.
November 12: The finals of the 1981 International Atari Asteroids Championships were held at the International Club in Washington, D.C. 16 finalists competed on Asteroids for the VCS, game number 6, difficulty A. The winner was 15-year-old Andy Breyer of Arlington Heights IL, who was presented a check for $5,000 from Atari chairman and CEO Ray Kassar. Second place went to Gary Wong, and third place to Dirk Mueller.
November: For the 400/800, Atari 810 disk drives began shipping with DOS II version 2.0S (replacing the original Atari DOS I).
December: Atari released Tempest Cocktail, and released Tempest Cabaret.
December: Chris Crawford, previously Atari (Home Computer) Software Development Support Group supervisor, became manager of Games Research in the new Atari Corporate Research unit (being established and headed by Alan Kay).
December 30: Atari said that it would cut the retail price for the 800 home computer (with 16K RAM) to US$899 from US$1,080.
Atari claimed to have sold 300,000 400/800 computers in 1981. (InfoWord 6/14/82 p.57)
January 6: Atari announced the publication, Atari Special Editions, a catalog of more than 400 products for the Atari computers from 117 vendors.
January 7-10: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari previewed the Supergame System / Video System "X" ($349; would ship as the 5200) along with 14 cartridges for the new system including: Super Breakout, Space Invaders (title by Taito), Missile Command, Asteroids (never shipped), Star Raiders, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Centipede, Galaxian (title by Namco), Pac-Man (title by Namco)
For the VCS Atari introduced 6 titles: Super Breakout, Haunted House, Pac-Man (title by Namco), Yars' Revenge, Defender,(title by Williams), Berzerk (title by Stern). Atari now offered 45 titles for the VCS. (VCS titles dropped: Blackjack, Flag Capture, Fun With Numbers, Surround)
For the 400/800 Atari introduced Pac-Man (title by Namco), Centipede, The Bookkeeper, and The Home Filing Manager. Space Invaders, previously released on cassette, was now re-released on cartridge. The APX title, Caverns of Mars would be the first APX title to be transferred into Atari's standard product line.
Ron Stringari remained Atari (Consumer) vice president of marketing.
January: George Kiss would join Atari (Consumer) as director of software development, replacing the departed Edward Jones. Jewel Savadelis, previously interim director of software development, returned to her primary role as director of marketing. Ron Stringari remained vice president of marketing.
January: Atari announced that Alan Kay had joined the company (late in 1981) as a vice president and Chief Scientist, a new post responsible for the new Atari Corporate Research unit. Kay was previously a Xerox Fellow at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
January: Atari released Super Breakout for the VCS.
January 16: At the first Atari Star Awards banquet, held at San Francisco's Maxwell's Plum restaurant in Ghiradelli Square, the Atari Softare Acquisition Program (ASAP) awarded the Star Award Grand Prize and US$25,000 to Fernando Herrera for his APX title, My First Alphabet. Star Award of Merit winners: Ronald Marcuse & Lynn Marcuse, Sheldon Leemon, Greg Christensen
January 18-21: At the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham England, with their own exhibition stand for the first time, Atari featured Tempest.
Winter: John S. Farrand joined Atari as president of International Operations for Coin-Op. Prior to joining Atari, Farrand spent 16 years at Music Hire Group, the 2nd largest private operating company in the World, based in England, where he eventually became president of the company.
Winter: Atari engineer / chip designer Jay Miner departed the company.
Winter: APX Catalog introduced for the 400/800: Bowler's Database, Family Cash Flow, Weekly Planner, Enhancements to Graph It, Hydraulic Program (HYSYS), Keyboard Organ, Morse Code Tutor, Player Piano, Atlas of Canada, Hickory Dickory, Letterman, Mathematic-Tac-Toe, My First Alphabet, Number Blast, Presidents of the United States, Quiz Master, Stereo 3-D Graphics Package, Attank!, Blackjack Casino, Block 'Em, Caverns of Mars, Dog Daze, Downhill, Memory Match, Pro Bowling, Reversi II, Solitaire, Source Code for Eastern Front (1941), Space Chase, Atari Program-Text Editor, Dsembler, Extended fig-FORTH, Insomnia (A Sound Editor), Instedit, Supersort Rev. 3, T: A Text Display Device, Ultimate Renumber Utility, Word Processing Diskette. APX sales via CompuServe MicroNET had been discontinued.
February: Atari announced that Kenneth K. Harkness (Ken Harkness) was the new President of the Coin-Operated Games Division. (replacing the departed Joe Robbins). Harkness was previously president and CEO of Revell, one of the largest toy companies in Europe. Before that, he spent ten years at the Racquet Sports Division of Wilson Sporting Goods, ultimately as president of the division.
February: Atari released Space Duel (original upright version).
February: Atari released Haunted House for the VCS.
February: New location for Atari Coin-Operated Games: 790 Sycamore Dr., Milpitas, CA, USA. By the end of summer 1982 most Coin-Op division operations would be located in Milpitas.
March 9: Atari announced the March 12-15 dedications marking the opening of two new manufacturing facilities in El Paso, Texas, and Fajardo, Puerto Rico, with a combined employment of 1400 people. In Texas Atari would open a $7 million home video game cartridge manufacturing plant at 11440 Pellicano Dr, El Paso, TX. The transition from the 5645 Beacon Ave location in El Paso had begun in August 1981. (source) Paul J. Malloy was Atari (Consumer Electronics) senior vice president of manufacturing and operations.
March: Atari released Pac-Man for the VCS.
March: Atari announced Atari Computer Camps. Linda Gordon was Atari vice-president of special projects.
March?: Alan S. Henricks, Paul J. Malloy, and Lee Moyer were each senior vice-presidents in the Atari Consumer Electronics Division, under division president Michael Moone. (WCI Annual Rpt 1981)
March: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Advanced Technology, became Atari VP Engineering, AtariTel Division.
Spring: For the 400/800 the APX Catalog introduced: Family Budget, Diskette Mailing List, Isopleth Map-Making Package, RPN Calculator Simulator, Advanced Musicsystem, Sketchpad, Cubbyholes, Musical Computer--The Music Tutor, Starware, Wordmaker, Block Buster, Atari Pascal Language System, Extended fig-FORTH Rev. 2, GTIA Demonstration Diskette, Instedit (Microsoft BASIC version), Keypad Controller, Speed-O-Disk. APX also introduced the book, De Re Atari.
Spring: Bruce Irvine remained Atari (Home Computer) vp software.
April 3: "Pac-Man Day". Atari arranged for Pac-Man to appear via life-sized costumes in 27 cities.
April: Atari (Coin-Op) announced that president of International Operations John Farrand was promoted to the additional role of executive vice president of the Coin Operated Games Division. Farrand would remain president of international operations as well. Ken Harkness remained president of the Coin-Op Division. Don Osborne, previously vice president of sales, was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing at Atari Coin-Op (replacing the departed Frank Ballouz as vp of marketing).
April 9: Atari (Coin-Op) Opened Atari Far East (Japan) Ltd. Rivington Hight, who had established the office in Tokyo in April 1981, would be president of Atari Far East. Shane Breaks was vice president of marketing and sales of the Atari (Coin-Op) International Division (previously: international director of marketing).
April: Perry D. Odak, previously general manager of Jovan Inc., the fragrance and cosmetics company, became president of the new Consumer Products Group of Atari. The new Group consisted of the Consumer Electronics Division (still headed by Michael Moone) and the International Consumer Division (still headed by Anton Bruehl). Angelo M. Pezzani joined Atari as vice president and general counsel for the Consumer Products Group.
April: Jim Leiterman joined Atari Corporate Research as a research engineer.
April: Thomas M. McDonough joined Atari as senior vice president of sales and marketing in Atari's home computer division. (NYT 12/19/82) Conrad Jutson, previously Atari (Home Computer) VP Sales & Marketing, became Atari Corporate VP Planning.
April: Atari released Dig Dug by Namco (original Upright version and European upright versions), and released Space Duel Cocktail.
May: Atari released Yars' Revenge for the VCS.
May 22-26: Atari exhibited at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago.
May/June: First issue of Atari Age, "Atari's own official magazine for home video game fans." Steve Morgenstern, editor. Published by The Atari Club, "the official organization for Atari home video game players." Parker Jerrell was director of The Atari Club.
June 6-9: At the Summer CES in Chicago, Atari introduced the VCS titles: Demons to Diamonds, Math Gran Prix, Star Raiders with Video Touch Pad (CX21) controller, RealSports Baseball, RealSports Football, RealSports Volleyball, Frog Pond (never released), Combat Two / Fail Safe (never released), Raiders of the Lost Ark (to ship in December), and the SwordQuest series: EarthWorld (to ship in October), FireWorld, WaterWorld (to ship in 1983), AirWorld (to ship in 1983; never released)
For the 400/800 Atari introduced Atari Speed Reading, Music Tutor I (would ship as: AtariMusic I), Juggles' House (by The Learning Co.), Juggles' Rainbow (by The Learning Co.), TeleLink II (would ship as part of Communicator II only) and three new kits: Bookkeeper (including new CX85 Numerical Keypad), Communicator II (new 835 modem with TeleLink II), Home Manager. The APX title, My First Alphabet would be re-released as part of Atari's standard product line. Atari also twice announced new retail prices for the 400 computer: first US$349 (CC Oct82 p180), then US$299 (Merch Jul82 p43) (previously, US$399). Keith Schaefer was vice-president of sales for Atari's Home Computer division.
June 8: At the Summer CES in Chicago, Atari introduced the 5200 Home Entertainment System. Suggested retail price: US$299.95, to be available in October along with 10 game cartridges, with another 4 to be available by Christmas. The 14 5200 titles announced: Pac-Man (title by Namco), Super Breakout, Space Invaders (title by Taito), Asteroids (never released), Missile Command, Star Raiders, (RealSports) Baseball, (RealSports) Football, (RealSports) Soccer, Centipede, Qix (title by Taito), Defender (title by Williams), Galaxian (title by Namco), Tank (never released). Atari also introduced the 5200 Controller (CX52), the Pro-Line Trak-Ball Controller (CX53), announced a 5200 Voice Synthesizer module (never released), and announced an adapter to allow all VCS game cartridges to be played on the Atari 5200 (released as the VCS Cartridge Adapter (CX55)).
June: The Atari Coin-Operated Games Division began going by the name, Coin Games Division.
June: Atari released Kangaroo by Sun Electronics (standard Upright cabinet and "European" cabinet), released Dig Dug by Namco (Cocktail), released Dig Dug by Namco (Cabaret), and released Gravitar.
June: Atari released Defender (title by Williams Electronics) for the VCS.
June: Roger Badertscher resigned from his position as president of Atari's Home Computer Division.
Month?: Centuri released Tunnel Hunt by Atari.
Month?: John Hagel III, CEO of Sequoia Group, joined Atari as senior vice president for strategic planning.
Month?: Stephen Race joined Atari International as Vice President of Marketing and Communications (Director of International Marketing).
Month?: Gary J. Summers, most recently an independent consultant for several firms including Atari since 1981, joined Atari as Vice President and General Manager of the new Atari Semiconductor Group, which would proceed to construct the Atari Design Center. The Semiconductor Group would be responsible for design, test, and manufacturing of all LSI/VLSI components used by the Warner companies, including DRAM’s, SRAM’s, ROM’s, EPROM’s, Microprocessors and logic circuits.
Month?: Sears released Tele-Games Submarine Commander by Atari for the VCS.
Summer: Atari (Coin-Op) completed the transition of their operations to Milpitas CA. Division engineering was now headed by Lyle Rains, now vp of creative development (previously: vp of engineering), and Dan Van Elderen, who (like Rains) had also been at Atari since 1973, and was now vp of engineering (succeeding Lyle Rains in that role). Richard Maslana (Dick Maslana) would become Vice President of Operations (replacing Curt Russell as head of Coin-Op manufacturing).
Summer: APX Catalog introduced for the 400/800: Bowler's Database Rev. 2, Data Base/Report System, Family Vehicle Expense, Recipe Search 'n Save, Calculator, Astrology, Blackjack Tutor Rev. 1.1, Going to the Dogs, Algicalc, Elementary Biology (by MECC), Frogmaster, Instructional Computing Demonstration (by MECC), Metric and Problem Solving (by MECC), Music I--Terms & Notation (by MECC), Polycalc, Three R Math System, Block 'Em Rev. 2, Castle Rev. 1.1, Checker King, Galahad and the Holy Grail, Jax-O, Jukebox #1, The Midas Touch, Pushover, Rabbotz, Salmon Run, Seven Card Stud, BLIS Rev. 1.1, Cosmatic Atari Development Package, Insomnia (A Sound Editor) Rev. 1.1, Instedit Rev. 1.1, Microsoft BASIC Cross-Reference Utility, Player Generator, Utility Diskette II
Summer: First year of Atari Computer Camps, held at 3 locations: The University of San Diego (CA), The Asheville School (Asheville, NC), and East Stroudsburg State College (PA). (Camp was cancelled at the fourth announced site of Lakeland College in Sheboygan WI.) The camps were managed for Atari by Specialty Camps, Inc. Curriculum developed by Robert A. Kahn at Atari. Program overseen by Linda Gordon, Atari vice president for special projects.
July 12: Theodore N. Voss (Ted Voss), previously of Polaroid, joined Atari as senior vice president of advertising and marketing.
July 14: In what was believed to be the largest single order for home computers by a school system, Dade County, Fla., had placed an order for 426 Atari 800 Home Computers and peripherals. "This order brings the total number of Atari Home Computers in use in Dade County schools to approximately 650," said Thomas McDonough, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Atari's Home Computer Division.
July: Atari Corporate Research established the Atari Cambridge Research Laboratory in Cambridge MA. The lab's Director would be Cynthia Solomon, previously Vice President, Research & Development/Founder of Logo Computer Systems, Inc.
July: Chris Horseman joined Atari as V.P. for Software Engineering, Home Computer Division.
July: Les Player joined Atari International as UK Technical Services Manager.
July: Atari opened its first "Adventure" location, the Atari Video Adventure arcade at Marriott's Great America theme park in Santa Clara CA, featuring an arcade with all the latest coin video releases and a store with every Atari game and accessory. Dick Needleman was Atari special markets manager. (Scan & info from RePlay Magazine July 1997 p. Atari 24.)
July: Atari released Math Gran Prix and Demons to Diamonds for the VCS.
July 26: InfoWorld estimated between 250,000 and 300,000 Atari 400/800 computers had been sold to date.
August 11: Approximately 1,370 Atari Home Computers and peripherals, valued at more than $3 million, had been ordered by the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) under a competitive Request for Proposal, it was announced by Thomas M. McDonough, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Atari's Home Computer Division.
August: Atari released Berzerk for the VCS.
August: Atari announced the establishment, in New York City, of a new research laboratory dedicated to the exploration of microprocessor-based products in electronic publishing and transactional services for home computers. The Atari NY Lab would be headed by Steve Mayer, Atari senior vice president of research & development. The lab would also function as a focus for joint research projects with other subsidiaries of Warner Communications Inc. (source)(source)
August 15: Atari and McDonald's launched "Taste The Thrill Of Atari At McDonald's" joint promotion, to run through October 1982.
August 24: John C. Cavalier was named president of Atari's Home Computer Division (replacing the departed Roger Badertscher). Cavalier was previously vice president and general manager of American Can's Dixie and Dixie/Marathon unit, makers of consumer paper products.
September: The Atari Coin Games Division began going by the name, Coin Video Games Division.
September: For the VCS Atari released Star Raiders with Video Touch Pad (CX21) controller.
September: The recently-established Atari NY Lab was spun off from Atari to form WCI Labs Inc., a new sister subsidiary to Atari under Warner Communications Inc. Steve Mayer, previously Atari senior vice president research & development, departed Atari to serve as chairman and CEO of WCI Labs, as well as executive vice-president for strategic planning for Warner Communications.
September/October: Atari announced the appointment of division executive vice president John S. Farrand as the new president of the Coin Video Games Division (replacing the departed Ken Harkness).
October: Larry Kaplan, most recently with Hi-Toro (which he had co-founded in June 1982), re-joined Atari (Consumer) as vice-president of software.
October?: Atari released Fast Freddie by Kaneko Seisakusho (Europe only; released outside Europe by Kaneko as Fly-Boy).
October: Atari shipped the 5200 SuperSystem with 5200 Controller (CX52) and Super Breakout. Initial titles available separately included: Galaxian, Missile Command, Space Invaders, Star Raiders, RealSports Soccer, Pac-Man
Fall?: The game bundled with the 2600 was changed from Combat to Pac-Man.
Fall: APX Catalog introduced for the 400/800: Family Cash Flow Rev. 2, Message Display Program, Stock Management, Text Analyst, Calculus Demon, Counter, Easygrader, Flags of Europe, Math*UFO, Spelling Genie, Word Search Generator, Cribbage, Dog Daze Rev. 1.1, Mankala, Snark Hunt, Dunion's Debugging Tool (DDT), FORTH Turtle Graphics Plus, fun-FORTH, Keypad Controller Rev. 2, Mantis Boot Tape Development System, Mapmaker
Fall: The suggested retail price for the Atari 800 was US$679 with 48K RAM standard (previously: US$899/16K). The Atari 400 retail price was US$299 (previously, $349).
October: Atari released RealSports Baseball for the 2600 and released RealSports Volleyball for the 2600, and released SwordQuest: EarthWorld for the 2600.
October: Lee Henderson joined Atari as vice president of field sales for the home video game division. (NYT 12/19/82)
October 24-27: Atari (Coin Video Games) presented at the Congress of Recreation and Parks at the Commonwealth Convention Center, Louisville KY.
November: Atari purchased The Magna/Fun Company (established by James Ginsberg and Marc Rodstein in 1973), operator of 42 coin-operated video game rooms known as "Space Port" located throughout the U.S. The Magna/Fun Company would be renamed Atari Adventure Corp. Atari Adventure Corp. would continue to operate the "Space Port" locations, along with Atari's "Atari Video Adventure" location. Through 1983, Atari Adventure Corp. would open 5 new game rooms under the names "Space Port" or "Atari Adventure". (see WCI 10-K for 12/31/83) Jim Ginsberg, previously of The Magna/Fun Company, would remain with the unit as vice president of Atari Adventure Corp.
November: Atari released Millipede (original upright version), released Liberator, released Quantum (by GCC for Atari), released Pole Position by Namco (Upright), and released Pole Position by Namco (Sit-Down).
November: David N. Ruckert joined Atari (Consumer) as senior vice president of entertainment software marketing. Ruckert was previously vice president of marketing at the Bristol-Meyers Co. where he was employed for 16 years. Ron Stringari, previously Atari (Consumer) vp marketing, would become Atari (Consumer) vp of sales, merchandising and administration.
November: Dennis D. Groth was Atari executive vice president and chief financial officer.
November: Atari released Raiders of the Lost Ark for the 2600.
November: Atari announced that Alan B. Van Campen was the new Director of National Sales for the Coin Video Games Division. Van Campen was previously a regional sales manager with Kawasaki Motors.
November 15: For the 400/800 Atari announced Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior (titles by Nintendo). Keith Schaefer remained Atari (Home Computer) vp sales.
November 18-20: The Coin Games Division of Atari exhibited at AMOA '83 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago using the theme, "The Next Decade." Atari introduced: Liberator, Millipede, Pole Position by Namco
November 18-20: Atari (Coin Video Games) presented at IAAPA at Bartle Hall in Kansas City MO.
November 29: (InfoWorld) Atari announced the existence of a new division created to develop and manufacture a secret consumer-electronics product. The project had been directed by Atari vp finance Dennis Groth for the Advanced Products Group for 6-8 months so far. Peter Wensberg, previously of Polaroid, would head the new division.
December: For the 400/800 Atari shipped Galaxian (title by Namco) and Defender (title by Williams) in time for the holiday shopping season.
December: Thomas M. McDonough, senior vice president of sales and marketing in Atari's home computer division, departed the company. (NYT 12/19/82)
December: Lee Henderson, vice president of field sales for the Atari home video game division, departed the company. (NYT 12/19/82)
December 8: Atari announced that Perry Odak had departed as president of the Consumer Products Group. The vacant position would not be filled. Michael Moone, president of the domestic Consumer Electronics Division, and Anton Bruehl, president of the International Consumer Division, would now both report directly to chairman and CEO Ray Kassar.
December 8: Atari corporate parent Warner Communications (WCI) announced that current quarter sales earnings would be dramatically lower than Wall Street's expectations, citing a very sudden and severe slump in sales at Atari.
December 13: Atari introduced the 1200XL home computer (WCI Labs/Atari) at a press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The list price for the 1200XL would be "well under $1,000." 400/800/1200XL peripherals introduced: 1010 program recorder, 1020 printer/plotter, 1025 printer. Keith Schaefer was vp of sales and John Cavalier was president of Atari's Home Computer Division.
December: Atari released RealSports Football for the 2600, released E.T. for the 2600, released Defender (title by Williams Electronics) for the 5200, and released RealSports Football for the 5200.
December: Atari opened their second "Adventure" location, the Atari Adventure center in the "Seaports of the Pacific" waterfront shopping bazaar and entertainment attraction, Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CA. An underwater location below the dock. 64 games would be featured. Frank Verkich was the room's coordinator. Dick Reynolds was manager of operations for Atari Adventures. Distant view of the entrance.
Atari sold approximately 12 million 2600 VCS units in 1982, and the 400/800 led the home computer market in 1982. (InfoWorld Nov. 28, 1983, p. 157)
Atari sold 400,000 of its 400 and 800 computers in 1982, according to The Yankee Group, a Boston-based computer consulting firm, accounting for 17 percent of all home computer sales. (Washington Post 5/24/1983 pD7)
In 1982 Atari had peaked with over 5,000 workers in Silicon Valley, and US$323.3 million in profits on US$2 billion in sales.
January 1: The retail price for the Atari 800 (with 48K RAM, without Atari BASIC) was reduced from US$679 to US$499. The retail price for the Atari 400 was reduced from US$299 to US$199.
January 5: Bruce Entin was the new Atari vice president for press relations.
January 6-9: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas, Atari announced the 5200 titles: Countermeasure, Dig Dug (title by Namco), Jungle Hunt (title by Taito), Kangaroo (title by Sun Electronics), Pole Position (title by Namco), RealSports Basketball (never released), RealSports Tennis, Space Dungeon (title by Taito), Vanguard (title by Centuri)
For the 2600, Atari introduced: Pro-Line Trak-Ball Controller (CX22), Pro-Line Joystick (CX24), Remote Control Wireless Joysticks (CX42), Ms. Pac-Man (title by Namco), Centipede, Dig Dug (title by Namco), Jungle Hunt (title by Taito), Phoenix (title by Centuri), Vanguard (title by Centuri), Galaxian (title by Namco), RealSports Tennis, RealSports Soccer. Announced to ship later in 1983: Gravitar, SwordQuest: AirWorld (never released), Kangaroo (title by Sun Electronics). Atari introduced two Children's Computer Workshop (CCW; later: Sesame Street Library) games: Cookie Monster Munch, Alpha Beam (later: Alpha Beam with Ernie) along with the new Action Control Base (would ship as: Kid's Controller (CX23)). Future CCW titles announced: Oscar's Trash Race, Big Bird's Egg Catch, Grover's Music Maker (never released). Three future Disney titles were announced: Mickey and the Beanstalk (never released), Mickey and the Great Outdoors (never released), Dumbo Flies Home (later renamed Dumbo's Flying Circus; never released). Two future un-named Peanuts games were announced.
Also at the show Atari showed the 1200XL (and announced the retail price of $899), 1010, 1020, and 1025, introduced revised versions of the Programmer and Entertainer kits, introduced Qix (title by Taito), E.T. Phone Home!, Dig Dug (title by Namco), Donkey Kong (title by Nintendo), Family Finances (enhanced combination of the two APX titles, Family Cash Flow and Family Budget), Timewise, and AtariWriter, showed the recently-released Galaxian and Defender, and also announced the upcoming AtariMusic I (previously: Music Tutor I) and the first title in the Disney Educational Series, Mickey in the Great Outdoors. Caverns of Mars would be re-released on cartridge (previously: disk). The APX title, Eastern Front (1941) would be re-released in the main Atari product line (on cartridge).
January 10-13: Atari exhibited at the ATE in London, where it showed 5 games, including Pole Position, Millipede, and the introduction of the Europe-only Time Pilot by Konami.
January 15: At the 2nd Atari Star Awards banquet, held at San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel, Atari awarded the Star Award Grand Prize and US$25,000 to David Buehler for his APX title, Typo Attack. Star Special Award of Merit winners: Douglas Crockford, Harry Koons & Art Prag, Lee Actor. Keith Schaefer had been promoted to senior vice-president of sales for Atari's Home Computer Division (replacing the departed Thomas M. McDonough as head of computer sales).
January?: In the Atari Coin Video Games Division, Customer Service and Field Service were combined to form a new Technical Service Department. Darl Davidson was the new Director of Technical Service (previously: manager of customer service).\
January: Atari released Vanguard (GCC) for the 2600, and released Phoenix (GCC) for the 2600.
January 20: Logo Computer Systems, Inc. (LCSI) and Atari jointly announced Atari Logo for the 400/800/1200XL.January 31: Atari announced the appointment of Marcian E. Hoff Jr. (Ted Hoff), previously of Intel and "father of the microprocessor," as vice president of research and development, replacing the departed (to WCI Labs) Steve Mayer in the role.
Winter: The Atari Advance Games Group was formed, headed by Chris Horseman, VP for advanced games.
Winter: Harv Johnson became the new director of The Atari Club (replacing Parker Jerrell).
January/February?: A.J. Sekel joined Atari as a corporate spokesman.
February 9: At the 80th annual American Toy Fair in New York, Atari announced the My First Computer (later, The Graduate; it never shipped) add-on for the 2600. My First Computer would include 8K RAM, expandable to 32K, and would sell for under $90. It and about a dozen programs would be available beginning in the fall. "We think this is the missing link between Atari video games and the home computer," Michael J. Moone, president of the company's consumer electronics division, said. (NYT Feb 10, 1983, pg. D4.)
February: Ron Stringari remained Atari (Consumer) vp of sales, merchandising and administration.
February: Atari announced that they were now shipping Visicalc (by Visicorp; previously released by Personal Software/Visicorp) for the 400/800/1200XL.
February: Atari released Xevious by Namco, released Black Widow, and released Millipede (cocktail version).
February: Atari released Ms. Pac-Man (GCC) for the 2600 and SwordQuest: FireWorld for the 2600, released Centipede for the 5200, and released Countermeasure for the 5200.
February?: Atari released Popeye by Nintendo (Europe only).
February 22: Atari announced 1,700 layoffs as part of a shift to consolidate manufacturing overseas, mainly in Hong Kong and Taiwan. All the layoffs would take place in the Silicon Valley (Calif.), where Atari employed about 7,000 of its 11,000 worldwide total. 600 workers in the home computer and video game divisions were immediately laid off; 1,100 would follow in July. The Coin Video Games Division would not be affected.
February 25: The Glaziers and Glass Workers Union, an AFL-CIO affiliate that had been working with Atari production workers in San Jose to organize, charged the company with shifting its jobs overseas to avoid unionization and announced it would file an injunction with the National Labor Relations Board to block additional layoffs.
Winter/Spring: "Computers: Expressway to Tomorrow" was an Atari-produced assembly program for junior and senior high schools in the U.S., offering both entertainment and computer education using films, slides, music, and a live host to explore the role of computers in society.
March 1: Elaine Shirley became Atari Coin Video Games Division Customer Service Manager (previously: office and materials manager), replacing the promoted Darl Davidson.
March: Atari shipped the 1200XL, suggested retail price US$899.
March: The Atari Coin Video Games Division announced the appointment of Jerry Marcus, previously president of Bally Midwest Distributing Company, as Executive Vice President of Sales. Don Osborne, previously vp of sales and marketing, was now vice president of marketing. Shane Breaks remained Vice President of International Marketing and Sales.
March: Atari released Food Fight (by GCC for Atari).
March: Richard Glosman, previously director of media and programming at Bristol-Myers, joined Atari.
March: Atari (Consumer) vp for software Larry Kaplan, who had been in the role for 6 months, departed the company.
March: Atari released Centipede (GCC) for the 2600, released Crazy Climber for the 2600 (title by Nihon Bussan; released exclusively to Atari Club members), and released Qix (GCC) for the 5200.
March 17: Atari announced the new division, AtariTel, developing upcoming consumer telecommunications products. The president of the new AtariTel was Peter C. Wensberg. Prior to joining AtariTel, Wensberg served as executive vice president and director of technical and industrial photography at Polaroid Corporation.
March 18-20: At the 8th Annual West Coast Computer Faire at the Brooks Convention Hall and Civic Center in San Francisco, for the 400/800/1200XL, Atari featured Dig Dug, E.T. Phone Home!, Qix, and AtariWriter, and introduced Atari Logo.
Spring?: Opening of the third and final phase of the Atari Video Adventure attraction at Marriott's Great America theme park in Santa Clara CA, featuring a "video kaleidoscope", Computer Painting, Tone Tunnel, and more. (scan from Atari Age July/Aug 1983 p.7)
Spring: APX Catalog introduced for the 400/800/1200XL: Atspeller, Typit, Fingerspelling, Escape to Equatus, Math Mission, My Spelling Easel, Teasers by Tobbs, Three R Math Classroom Kit, Catterpiggle, Diggerbonk, Getaway!, Impact, Microsailing, Chameleon CRT Terminal Emulator (New Version), Hex-A-Bug
Spring?: For the 400/800/1200XL Atari shipped the 1010 program recorder, 1020 printer/plotter, and 1025 printer.
April 7: Atari, Inc. filed suit in Santa Clara Superior Court against Nolan Bushnell and Joe Keenan for violation of the non-competition agreement, to expire October 1, 1983, that was a component of the 1976 sale of Atari by Bushnell and Keenan to Warner Communications. Atari claimed that Bushnell's public comments regarding the new Sente Technologies division of Pizza Time Theatre, and his business purchases (Videa Inc.) were attempts to lure customers from Atari, a violation of the agreement.
April?: Atari (Coin) exhibited at Amusement Operators Exposition (AOE) '83 in Chicago, Atari's first exposure at the annual show. Atari introduced the already-released Xevious by Namco and Food Fight, and also showed Pole Position and Millipede.
April?: Atari changed the pack-in game for the 5200 from Super Breakout to Pac-Man.
April: Atari released Galaxian (GCC), RealSports Tennis (GCC), and RealSports Soccer for the 2600, and released RealSports Baseball and RealSports Tennis for the 5200.
April: Atari (Home Computer) Software Development Manager Paul Laughton departed the company.
April: Alan Van Campen remained National Sales Director at the Atari Coin Video Games Division
April: Atari announced that Michael Moone would no longer serve as president of the Consumer Electronics Division, as the division would soon be consolidated with the Home Computer Division.
April/May: Atari purchased DK Marketing, and Donald Kingsborough rejoined Atari (Consumer) as executive vice president (replacing the departed Atari (Consumer) vp of sales, merchandising and administration Ron Stringari).
April/May: Bruce Entin joined Atari as vice president for press relations (corporate communications / spokesperson), replacing company spokesman A.J. Sekel, who had been in the role since winter 1983.
May: Atari released Arabian by Sun Electronics, released Star Wars Standup, released Star Wars Cockpit, and released Food Fight cocktail.
May: Atari released Vanguard (GCC) for the 5200.
May: The retail price for the Atari 400 was reduced from US$199 to US$99.
May: Fred Simon joined Atari (Home Computer) in a marketing capacity (replacing the departed Thomas M. McDonough as head of computer marketing). Simon was previously with Walt Disney Productions.
May: Philip Restaino joined Atari (Consumer) in a marketing capacity. He was previously with the Bristol-Meyers Co.
May 20: Atari announced plans to lay off, as of May 27, an additional 225 workers beyond the 1,700 that was announced on Feb. 22. Atari had about 5,000 employees in California and in manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Hong Kong and El Paso, Tex. The El Paso location would transition from manufacturing home video game cartridges to "remanufacturing" (repairing faulty merchandise returned by vendors). (source; AP 5/21/83)
May?: Atari (Home Computer) vice president, product and business planning (strategic planning) Peter Rosenthal departed the company, as did director of product marketing (product management) Mark Lutvak.
May?: Conrad Jutson, previously Atari vp corporate planning, became vp sales for computers for Atari (replacing executive vice president for sales and distribution Keith Schaefer who departed the company).
May 26: Atari and Nolan Bushnell announced they had reached an out-of-court settlement of Atari's lawsuit aimed at postponing Bushnell's return to the video game market. The agreement gave Atari the sole right to develop home versions of all arcade video games developed by the Sente Technologies division of Bushnell's Pizza Time Theatre. No dollar value to the agreement was announced.
June 1: Atari announced the (re-)consolidation of the Home Computer Division and the Consumer Electronics (home video games) Division. There would now be three Divisions for both home computers and home video games, each reporting directly to Atari chairman and chief executive Raymond Kassar:
(Product divisions unaffected by the changes: Coin-Operated Games and AtariTel)
June 5-8: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari introduced the 600XL, 800XL, 1400XL and 1450XLD home computers (the 1400XL/1450XLD never shipped; see Atarimuseum's 1400XL and 1450XLD pages). The 400/800 were announced discontinued. The 600XL/800XL would retail for US$199/$299.
For the 600XL/800XL/1400XL/1450XLD Atari introduced: 1050 disk drive with DOS III (later: DOS 3), 1027 printer, 1030 modem with ModemLink, Touch Tablet (CX77) with graphics tablet cassette program (would ship as: AtariArtist on cartridge), Trak-Ball controller (CX80), featured the Remote Control Wireless Joysticks, and previewed/announced: CP/M Module with CP/M 2.2 (or: CP/M Add-On module; later: 1060; never shipped), Expansion Box (later: 1090 XL Expansion System; never shipped), Light Pen (CX75), Super Controller Joystick (CX60; same as Pro-Line Joystick (CX24); later: CX24 (part number to be shared with the Pro-Line Joystick); never shipped using the Super Controller name). All-In-One-Pak kits introduced/previewed: Programming System, Entertainment System (never shipped), Writing System (shipped as: AtariWriter System), Atari Accountant (never shipped), Home Manager (never shipped), Arcade Champ, BASIC Tutor I. Software introduced: Paint (by Capital Children's Museum), Microsoft BASIC II, Tennis, Soccer (never shipped), Football, Pole Position (title by Namco), Joust (title by Williams), Donkey Kong Junior (title by Nintendo), Ms. Pac-Man (title by Namco), Pengo (title by Sega), AtariMusic I: Notes and Steps, AtariMusic II: Major Scales and Keys. Software announced/previewed: Robotron: 2084 (title by Williams), Superman III (never shipped), Battlezone (title would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1988), Tempest (never shipped), Xevious (title by Namco; never shipped), Peter Pan's Daring Journey (Disney; alternate: Peter Pan's Daring Escape; later: Captain Hook's Revenge; never shipped), Mysteries of Wonderland (Disney; never shipped). Atari also announced AIMS (Atari Instructional Material Service; later: Atari Learning Systems) and announced under AIMS: the Math Arcademics series (Arcademic Skill Builders series by DLM; never shipped), Atari Sentences (never shipped), the ScienceLab series (later: AtariLab Science Series; developed by Dickinson College) including AtariLab Starter Set with Temperature Module, AtariLab Light Module (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1985), AtariLab Timekeeper Module (never shipped), AtariLab Lie Detector Module (never shipped), AtariLab Reaction Time Module (never shipped), AtariLab Heartbeat Module (never shipped), AtariLab Biofeedback Module (proposed; never shipped), AtariLab Mechanics Module (proposed; never shipped), and a multi-program Trigonometry and Algebra course from CONDUIT (University of Iowa; later: Conduit Algebra, Green Globs and Other Trig Diversions; both never shipped). Finally, Atari also introduced Alan Alda as spokesperson for Atari computers, in an arrangement to extend for the next 5 years.
For the 2600 Atari introduced: The Graduate (previously announced in Feb. as "My First Computer"); 6 peripherals for The Graduate: I/O Module+8K RAM, Printer, Modem, 16K RAM, Cassette, Micro Disk (wafertape); and 9 software titles for The Graduate: Typo Attack, Monkey up a Tree, Donkey Kong (title by Nintendo), Robotron: 2084 (title by Williams), Stargate (title by Williams), Sport Goofy, Caverns of Mars, Introduction to Programming, Children's Introduction to Programming. The Graduate and associated hardware and software all never shipped. See Atari's publicity photo for The Graduate (Creative Computing 9/83 p.202), and also see Atarimuseum's CX3000 page.
Jeffrey A. Heimbuck was senior vice president for marketing hardware for video games and computers. A.J. Sekel remained an Atari corporate spokesman.
Also for the 2600 Atari introduced the Pro-Line Space Age Joystick (CX43) and announced: Pole Position (title by Namco), RealSports Basketball (never released), Donald Duck's Speedboat (never released), Dumbo's Flying Circus (never released), Sorcerer's Apprentice, Joust (title by Williams), Krull, Moon Patrol (title by Irem), Good Luck Charlie Brown (never released), Snoopy and the Red Baron, Miss Piggy's Wedding (never released), Pigs In Space and the 2600 Voice Commander (never released).
For the 5200 Atari announced: Joust (title by Williams), Moon Patrol (title by Irem), Pengo (title by Sega), Robotron: 2084 (title by Williams), Ms. Pac-Man (title by Namco), Tempest (never released), Sport Goofy (never released)
Atari also launched Atari Publishing (later: AtariSoft), a new label that would publish software titles for non-Atari systems. Atari Publishing titles announced: Centipede (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A), Defender (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A; title by Williams), Dig-Dug (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A; title by Namco), Donkey Kong (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A; title by Nintendo), Pac-Man (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A; title by Namco), Stargate (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64 (version never released), VIC-20 (version never released); title by Williams), Robotron: 2084 (C-64, VIC-20; title by Williams), Picnic Paranoia (TI-99/4A; title by Synapse), Protector (TI-99/4A; actual title: Protector II; cartridge label would incorrectly read: Protector; title by Synapse), Shamus (TI-99/4A; title by Synapse), Slime (TI-99/4A; later: Super Storm; title by Synapse; never released). The games would ship on cartridge for the TI, VIC, and 64, and on disk for the Apple and IBM.
June: For the 5200, Atari shipped the the Pro-Line Trak-Ball Controller (CX53).
June 27: Atari opened their first Atari Center, an educational computing concept, at The Oaks Shopping Center in Cupertino, CA. Atari Centers were operated by the Picodyne Corporation (Dean Brown, president) with Atari providing funding and advertising. Alan O'Neill was the contract manager of Atari Centers. Sara Armstrong, director of the Terra Nuova Montessori School in Hayward CA, would be director of the Cupertino Atari Center.
June 28: The San Francisco Chronicle reported Atari was laying off about 1,000 Silicon Valley white-collar employees, reducing Atari's Silicon Valley workforce to 4,000, down from about 7,000 at the start of the year.
June/July: Atari released Jungle Hunt (GCC) for the 2600 and released Kangaroo (GCC) for the 2600.
Month?: Atari released Dragon's Lair and Space Ace both by Magicom, licensed from Cinematronics (both Europe only), and released Mazer Blazer by Stern Electronics (Europe only)
Summer: APX Catalog introduced for the 600XL/800XL/1400XL/1450XLD: Home Inventory, Home Loan Analysis, Strategic Financial Ratio Analysis, Drawit, Piano Tuner, Video Kaleidoscope, Circuit Lab, Morsecode Master, Punctuation Put-on, Three R Math Home System, Wordgo, The Bean Machine, Bootleg, Can't Quit, Dandy, Ennumereight, Smasher. APX also introduced the 48K RAM Expansion Kit (for the 400 computer, 8K or 16K versions).
Summer: For the 600XL/800XL/1400XL/1450XLD Atari shipped the 1050 disk drive, with DOS II version 2.0S.
Summer: Second year of Atari Computer Camps, held at seven sites nationwide (U.S.): Greenfield MA, Faribault MN, East Stroudsburg PA, Asheville NC, Glencoe MD, Danville CA, and San Diego CA.
Summer: The new manager of The Atari Club was Jules Yingling (replacing Harv Johnson).
July 2: The second Atari Center opened at the corner of Fifth Ave. and 48th St. in Manhattan. Educator Seth Greenberg would be manager of the Manhattan Atari Center.
July 7: Warner Communications announced that Atari chairman Ray Kassar had resigned, to be replaced by James J. Morgan. Morgan was previously executive vice president of Philip Morris USA, handling the company's US$4.3 billion cigarette operations. Until Morgan's arrival, Emanuel Gerard would serve as interim chairman and CEO.
July: Atari released Crystal Castles (original upright version).
July: Atari released Atari Video Cube for the 2600 (GCC; released exclusively to Atari Club members; later (1984) slightly altered as released as: Rubik's Cube), released the Pro-Line Trak-Ball Controller (CX22), and released the VCS Cartridge Adaptor (CX55) for the 5200.
July: Atari (Coin Video Games) and the Young & Rubicam advertising agency received a CLIO Award in the Cinema Advertising Category for "Dig Dug Screenvision" which played in major first-run theaters nationwide during the summer of 1982.
July/August?: Atari released Pole Position (GCC) for the 2600.
August: Atari released Battlezone (GCC) for the 2600, and released Kangaroo (GCC) and Jungle Hunt for the 5200.
August: Atari marketing director Jewel Savadelis departed the company.
August?: At Atari (Coin), Frank Becker became National Field Service Manager (previously: regional field service manager) (replacing the departed Fred McCord).
September 6: James Morgan arrived at Atari as chairman and CEO.
September 8: Peter Wensberg had departed from his position as president of the AtariTel division of Atari. Work on the AtariTel product line would continue under general manager Richard Mier who was promoted from AtariTel vp of marketing.
Sept83-June84: The "Catch On to Computers" program, a joint effort between Atari and General Foods' Post Cereals, offered Atari computers, equipment, and educational software to schools for collecting Post cereal proof-of-purchase points over the 1983-1984 school year.
September: Ted Kahn stepped down as executive director of the Atari Institute for Educational Action Research. More than US$1 million worth of computers, software, and cash stipends had been awarded to over 100 nonprofit organizations since the program's founding in 1981.
September: Atari International (U.K.) announced The Lone Raider for the 600XL/800XL/1400XL/1450XLD
September: The Atari 800 (with 48K RAM, without Atari BASIC) would now retail for US$165 while supplies lasted.
September: Atari released Krull for the 2600, released the Kid's Controller (CX23) for the 2600, released Cookie Monster Munch for the 2600, released Alpha Beam with Ernie for the 2600, released Pole Position (GCC) for the 5200, released Jung Hunt (title by Taito) for the 5200, released Space Dungeon for the 5200, and released Ms. Pac-Man for the 5200.
September 23: The two Atari Center locations both closed at the end of the 90-day trial period for the program.
September/October: Atari announced Mario Bros. (title by Nintendo) for both the 2600 and 5200.
Fall: APX Catalog introduced for the 600XL/800XL/1400XL/1450XLD: Atspeller Rev. 2, AtariWriter Printer Drivers, Color Alignment Generator, Advanced Fingerspelling, Excalibur, Musical Pilot, Puzzler, Ringmaster, Spelling Genie Rev. 2.0, Ion Roadway, Kangaroo (GCC; title by Sun Electronics), Moon Marauder, Saratoga, Space War, Cartoonist, Eastern Front (1941) Scenario Editor, Eastern Front Scenarios 1942/1943/1944, Mathlib for Deep Blue C
Fall: For the 600XL/800XL/1400XL/1450XLD Atari shipped the Communicator II kit (with the new 835 modem) and the 1027 printer.
Fall: Atari shipped the 2800, an updated form of the 2600, in Japan only.
Fall: Sears shipped the Tele-Games Video Arcade II by Atari (same as the Atari 2800).
Fall?: (by October) Atari (Coin-Op) Vice President of Operations (manufacturing) Dick Maslana departed the company.
October 7: Atari Products Co. president John Cavalier departed the company.
October 10: Atari announced the appointment of David Ruckert, previously senior vice president of entertainment software marketing, as senior vice president for Atari products management (replacing the departed John Cavalier as head of Atari Products Co.). Fred Simon was named senior vice president of computer marketing. Philip Restaino was named Atari vice president of games marketing (game hardware and games for Atari hardware). Linda Gordon remained senior vice president of education. Jeffrey Heimbuck, formerly responsible for the marketing of hardware for video games and computers, had departed the company. Rick Glosman was named vice president of media (advertising).
October: Atari shipped the 600XL, retail price US$199.
October: Publication date of Review: A Catalog of Atari Learning Systems. Earlier: AIMS (Atari Instructional Material Service). Introduced/announced: Spelling in Context 1, Spelling in Context 2, Spelling in Context 3, Spelling in Context 4, Spelling in Context 5, Spelling in Context 6, Spelling in Context 7, Spelling in Context 8, Math Facts and Games, Concentration, Division Drill, Atari Sentences (previously announced by Atari under AIMS; never released), AtariLab Starter Set with Temperature Module (previously introduced by Atari under AIMS), U.S. Geography/Check Marc (Geo Terms series by Marc Ed), U.S. Geography/High Marc (Geo Terms series by Marc Ed), Secret Formula elementary (by Mind Movers), Secret Formula intermediate (by Mind Movers), Secret Formula advanced (by Mind Movers), Introducing--Peter and the Wolf (never shipped), Screen Maker, Player Maker, Alien Addition (Arcademics by DLM; never shipped), Meteor Multiplication (Arcademics by DLM; never shipped), Demolition Division (Arcademics by DLM; never shipped), Alligator Mix (Arcademics by DLM; never shipped), Minus Mission (Arcademics by DLM; never shipped), Dragon Mix (Arcademics by DLM; never shipped), Phone Home (never shipped), Name Rondo (never shipped), Create a Rondo (never shipped), Instructional Computing Demonstration (previously released by APX), Music I (Terms & Notations) (by MECC; previously released by APX), Music II (Rhythm & Pitch) (by MECC; previously released by APX), Music III/Scales & Chords (by MECC; previously released by APX), Elementary Biology (by MECC; previously released by APX), Earth Science (by MECC; previously released by APX), Geography (by MECC; previously released by APX), Prefixes (by MECC; previously released by APX), Metric & Problem Solving (by MECC; previously released by APX), The Market Place (by MECC; previously released by APX), Basic Arithmetic (by MECC), Graphing (by MECC), Pre-Reading (by MECC), Counting (by MECC), Expeditions (by MECC), Spelling Bee (by MECC), Word Games (by MECC). Titles expected to ship winter/spring 1984: AtariLab Light Module (previously introduced by Atari under AIMS), Atari PLATO (later: The Learning Phone; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Atari Pascal (Version 2.0)(never shipped), Atari Super PILOT (never shipped). Announced for future release: AtariLab Curriculum Modules: Temperature and Light (later: LabMate; never shipped), AtariWriter Curriculum Guide (never shipped), Conduit Algebra (never shipped), Green Globs and Other Trig Diversions (later: Green Globs; never shipped), Swarthmore Trig (never shipped). Linda Gordon, previously responsible for educational marketing of Atari computers, was now head of the new Atari Learning Systems division. Software talent recruiting would be headed by Dorothy Deringer, previously program officer at the National Science Foundation.
October: Atari released Dig Dug for both the 2600 (GCC) and 5200 (GCC), released Joust for both the 2600 (GCC) and 5200 (GCC), released Gravitar for the 2600 (released exclusively to Atari Club members), released Moon Patrol (GCC) for the 2600, released SwordQuest: WaterWorld for the 2600, and released Sorcerer's Apprentice for the 2600.
October 21: Atari said that it was delaying the making and marketing of its two higher-priced computer models, the 1400XL and the 1450XLD. The machines would not ship until late December, after the Christmas selling season, and then only in limited quantities. (WSJ 10/24/1983 p.5)
October 21-23: TariCon '83, "the world's first Atari-only computer convention," was scheduled by MACE, Michigan Atari Computer Enthusiasts, at the Southfield Civic Center Pavillion, Southfield, Michigan. The even did not come together as planned, but TariCon '84 would be successfully held August 1984.
October 24: Report that plans at Atari to introduced a new computer model, the Atari 1600, had recently been canceled by Atari CEO James Morgan. (WSJ 10/24/1983 p.5)
October 26: Atari held a news conference at the Parklane Hotel in New York to mark the first releases under the AtariSoft label (previously: Atari Publishing). New titles/releases not previously announced: Robotron: 2084 (Apple II, IBM PC, TI-99/4A (version never released); title by Williams), Stargate (TI-99/4A; never released), Super Storm (TI-99/4A; previously: Slime; never released), Galaxian (ColecoVision; title by Namco), Centipede (ColecoVision, Intellivision), Defender (ColecoVision, Intellivision), Pac-Man (Intellivision; title by Namco). Fred Simon was senior vice president of computer hardware and software marketing for Atari.
October 28-30: Atari introduced TX-1 (by Tazmi via Namco), Pole Position II by Namco, and Major Havoc at the 35th Annual AMOA International Exposition of Games and Music in New Orleans. (Atari was unable to introduce Firefox as planned, it was not quite ready.)
November 2: Report that Atari announced that because of production snags in Hong Kong, it would be able to fill only 60 per cent of its Christmas orders for the 600XL and the 800XL. Atari also reiterated that it would ship the 1400XL and the 1450XLD in limited quantities in late December and more widely after the first of the year. (WSJ 11/2/1983 p.2)
November 9: Atari said it would raise the prices of its home computers and video game consoles by between 17 percent and 29 percent, effective Jan. 1, 1984. The increases would raise the dealer price on the 600XL to $180, from $140. The dealer price of the 800XL would rise to $280, from $240. Dealer prices of the 2600 Video Computer System would rise to $99 from $95, while the 5200 SuperSystem would climb to $150 from $146.
November: Atari opened their third "Adventure" location, the "first" Atari Adventure family entertainment center at the Northwest Plaza shopping center located St. Ann MO (suburban St. Louis MO). (scan from Atari Age Nov83/Feb84 p.11) The 8,000 square foot location was planned as the corporate prototype for a nationwide roll-out. Store design by Bill Poon & Company Architects. The location combined a traditional video game arcade (about 40 machines), a new video game technology display area, and a Computer Learning Center: a hands-on public computer classroom/lab featuring Atari 1200XL computers and a full-time instructor. Barnie Sullivan / Barry Sullivan was vice president of the Atari Adventure division (having replaced the departed Jim Ginsberg). (report1)(report2)(report3)(report4)
November: Atari released Major Havoc (full name: The Adventures of Major Havoc), released Pole Position II by Namco, and released Crystal Castles cocktail.
November: Atari shipped the 800XL, retail price US$299.
November/December: Atari released: Pigs in Space for the 2600, Quadrun for the 2600 (released exclusively to Atari Club members), Snoopy and the Red Baron for the 2600, Big Bird's Egg Catch for the 2600, Mario Bros. for the 2600, Moon Patrol for the 5200, Pengo for the 5200, Robotron: 2084 for the 5200, Berzerk for the 5200
December 13: In an open letter posted to the Atari SIG on CompuServe, addressed to Atari users from Atari Chairman and CEO Jim Morgan, Morgan described the Atari he had inherited as being "in way over its head with a computer product line as inclusive as the 600XL, 800XL, 1400XL, 1450XLD, and 1600." Morgan announced the formation of "a group led by Ted Hoff and Alan Kay which is chartered to define our next generation of computers...In the meantime, we will have to keep our product line rather restricted to broadly saleable products." (M.A.C.E. Journal v4n2/3 Feb/Mar 1984 p.2; see also CC May84p193)
December 22: Atari announced the donation of more than $50,000 worth of video game consoles and game cartridges to children's hospitals nationwide, and more than $15,000 worth of video games to the Santa Clara County YMCA for recreational purposes and to help fund the development of four new centers in the county in 1984. Dennis Groth was Atari senior vice president and chief of staff.
December/January: Atari released Mario Bros. for the 5200.
"Atari sold roughly 250,000 of its 800 series computers last year" - Time magazine, July 16, 1984
In 1983 Atari lost US$539 million on sales of US$1.1 billion.
January 1: Atari (Coin-Op) vice president of marketing Don Osborne passed away.
January 1: The retail price for the Atari 600XL was increased from $199 to $239, and the retail price for the Atari 800XL was increased from $299 to US$339.
January 1: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering, AtariTel Division, became Atari VP Engineering Computer Division and Atari Fellow.
January: Atari released Firefox Upright (original version).
January 7-10: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas, under the AtariSoft label, Atari introduced/announced 7 titles: Galaxian (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20; title by Namco), Joust (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64 (version never released), VIC-20 (version never released), TI-99/4A (version never released); title by Williams), Battlezone (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20), Pole Position (Apple II (version never released), IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A; title by Namco), Ms. Pac-Man (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A; title by Namco), Moon Patrol (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A; title by Irem), Jungle Hunt (Apple II, IBM PC, C-64, VIC-20, TI-99/4A, ColecoVision; title by Taito)
For the 2600 Atari introduced/featured: Millipede, Xevious (title by Namco; never shipped), Jungle Hunt, Kangaroo, Mario Bros., Taz, Dig Dug, Moon Patrol, Pole Position, Joust, Battlezone; and announced: Pengo (title by Sega), Choplifter! (title by Brøderbund; never shipped), Stargate (title by Williams), Crystal Castles, Donkey Kong Junior (title by Nintendo; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1987), Sea Sentinel (later: Aquaventure; never shipped)
For the 5200 Atari introduced/featured: Millipede (never shipped), Joust, Dig Dug, Mario Bros., Kangaroo, Xevious (title by Namco; never shipped), Berzerk, RealSports Baseball, Pole Position, Jungle Hunt, Moon Patrol, Choplifter! (title by Brøderbund), Pengo, Robotron: 2084; and announced: Stargate (title by Williams; never shipped), Crystal Castles (never shipped), Donkey Kong Junior (title by Nintendo; never shipped),
For the 600XL/800XL/1450XLD Atari featured the Touch Tablet with AtariArtist, featured the Light Pen (CX75) with AtariGraphics, and introduced the 1064 memory module for the 600XL. The unshipped 1450XLD computer and the 1090 XL Expansion System were again shown, but Atari confirmed that the unshipped 1400XL computer and 1060 CP/M Module were both cancelled. Entertainment titles introduced/featured: Millipede (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1985), Joust, Dig Dug, Jungle Hunt (title by Taito), Pole Position, Moon Patrol (title by Irem), Pengo, Crystal Castle (would be shipped by Atari Corp. as Crystal Castles in 1988), Donkey Kong Junior, Mario Bros. (title by Nintendo; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1988), Robotron: 2084. Other software introduced or announced: DOS 3 (for the 1050 disk drive; previously: DOS III), Atari Translator, Sky Writer, SynFile+ (previously introduced by Synapse; would be shipped by Synapse), SynCalc (previously introduced by Synapse; would be shipped by Synapse), SynTrend (previously introduced by Synapse; would be shipped by Synapse), The Legacy (Atari Advanced Games Group; later: Final Legacy; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1985), Typo Attack (previously released by APX), Captain Hook's Revenge (by Disney; never shipped), Berzerk (title by Stern; never shipped), Pop'R Spell (never shipped), and in the Atari Music Learning Series: AtariMusic I, AtariMusic II. Atari Learning Systems announced: AtariLab Robotics Module (proposed; never shipped), AtariLab Nuclear Radiation Module (proposed; never shipped)
January 14: At San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel, Atari awarded the third annual Atari Star Award and US$25,000 to Mark Reid for his APX title, Getaway!. Other Finalists: James Burton, R. Stanley Kistler, Gregor Novak. Fred Simon remained Atari senior vice-president of computer hardware and software marketing.
January: Atari opened their fourth "Adventure" location, the second Atari Adventure family entertainment center, at Crestwood Plaza in Crestwood MO (suburban St. Louis MO). A 2-story location, using the same concept as the area's Northwest Plaza Atari Adventure location.
January 23: Atari chairman and CEO James Morgan announced another organizational realignment at Atari. John Farrand, previously Atari (Coin-Op) president, would now be president of Atari as well as president and COO of Atari Products Co. (each new positions). Skip Paul, previously Atari senior vp & general counsel, was named Atari (Coin-Op) president. The Coin-Op division would now be part of Atari Products Co., which was now responsible for coin-op games, home consumer systems/games, and home computer/software. Steve Calfee, previously Atari Products Co. vp game design, was named senior vice president for entertainment software. New structure:
There would be 15 officers of Atari, including all of the above but Calfee. Additional officers: Theodore Voss, senior vp advertising; Arthur Gemmell, senior vp administration; Richard Mier, vp and general manager of AtariTel; John Hagel, vp strategic planning; Sol Kershner, vp and chief accounting officer. Officer position vacant at this time: general counsel (previously: Skip Paul)
Atari also announced that three of its scientists now held the new title of ''Atari Fellow'' which was now the highest ranking technical position in the company. Namely: Alan Kay (previously: chief scientist), Steve Bristow (now VP Engineering Computer Division and Atari Fellow), and Lyle Rains (previously: vp of creative development, Coin-Op division)
Winter: APX Catalog introduced for the 600XL/800XL/1450XLD: Equestrian, Mastermatch, Atspeller (for AtariWriter), Bellum, Burgers!, Chambers of Zorp, Character Fun, Dragon Quest or A Twist in the Tail, Numberland Nightwatch, Raid on Graviton, Rush Hour, Weakon, National Flags, Dog Daze Deluxe
Winter: For the 600XL/800XL/1450XLD, Atari shipped the 1030 modem (ModemLink built-in), shipped the Touch Tablet (CX77; with AtariArtist and DOS 2.0S), and began shipping the 1050 disk drive with DOS 3 (replacing DOS 2.0S).
February: Atari 5200 production ended.
February: Steve Bristow, Atari VP Engineering Computer Division and Atari Fellow, with Atari since June 1973, departed the company. Following Bristow's departure, Atari Products Co. svp engineering Dave Stubben would become an Atari Fellow. (Alan Kay and Lyle Rains would remain Atari Fellows as well).
February: Atari released Firefox Cockpit.
February 21-23: The first Softcon trade show was held at the Superdome in New Orleans. Atari featured their latest AtariSoft titles, including: Joust, Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man, Jungle Hunt. Fred Simon was head of Atari software and hardware marketing.
Winter/Spring: Steven Chiaramonte, with Atari since 1974, became Atari (Coin-Op) vp, CFO, replacing Fred Gerson who departed the company.
March: Atari released TX-1 (by Tazmi via Namco), released Cloak & Dagger Kit (conversion kit for the Williams units Defender, Stargate, Robotron: 2084, or Joust), and released The Adventures of Major Havoc Action Pac conversion kits: Major Havoc Kit "A" for Tempest units, or Major Havoc Kit "B" for Space Duel, Gravitar, or Black Widow units.
March: Atari released Millipede for the 2600, and released Oscar's Trash Race for the 2600.
March: Atari VP finance Erwin N. Lenowitz departed the company.
March: Fred Thorlin, director of APX since its 1982 inception, left Atari.
March: Atari (Home Computer) director of engineering Larry Plummer departed the company.
March 20: Atari announced it had signed a licensing agreement with ME-TA Elektronik VE TICARET A.S. of Turkey that would permit ME-TA to manufacture and distribute Atari's 2600 Video Computer System and game cartridges. Anton Bruehl remained president of the international division of Atari.
March 22-25: At the 9th West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco, APX introduced what turned out to be their last release for the 600XL/800XL/1450XLD, Bumpomov's Dogs. See: http://graychang.megabyet.net/cnc/bumpomov/broderbund_letter.shtml
March 24: Atari said it was laying off about 200 white-collar workers from its Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters in an effort to ''focus our marketing and development efforts.'' Layoffs would include manager of games research Chris Crawford and the entire Games Research Group (which had operated under Alan Kay), as well as research engineer Jim Leiterman. The company also said it had decided to cease its direct-mail software sales operations (APX).
March/April?: Atari Products Co. executive VP of sales Don Kingsborough departed the company.
March/April: Final published issue of Atari Age, the official publication of The Atari Club. In this issue Atari announced Zoo Keeper (title by Taito; never shipped) for the 2600.
April 2: Atari Products Co. and Ted Hoff announced the promotion of Chris Jeffers to vice president, product development (previously: manager of administration for corporate research). (Update)
April: Atari released Crystal Castles for the 2600 and released Taz for the 2600.
April: The Atari Cambridge Research Laboratory (Cambridge MA), directed by Cynthia Solomon since its inception in July 1982, was shut down.
April: (mid-month) "Atari Fellow" Alan Kay resigned from the company. He had been Atari chief scientist since late 1981.
Spring: Atari (Coin-Op) shut down their Milpitas manufacturing facility. Coin-Op manufacturing would be fulfilled by various west coast contractors for Atari.
Spring: For the 600XL/800XL/1450XLD Atari shipped the CX75 Light Pen with AtariGraphics.
Spring?: Atari released: Kangaroo by Sun Electronics kit (details wanted!) and released Millipede Action Pac conversion kit for Dig Dug, Kangaroo, or Arabian units.
May 8: In an elaborate press event, Atari/Lucasfilm introduced Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus!, both developed by Lucasfilm Games, to be published by Atari for the 5200 and on cartridge for Atari XL computers, and also by AtariSoft for IBM, Apple, and Commodore computers. (Atari/Commodore and Apple II computer disk versions would be shipped by Epyx (U.S.) and Activision (UK) in 1985; 5200 versions would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986; XE cartridge versions would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1988; IBM version never released) Joel Oberman was Atari director of games marketing. Fred Simon remained Atari senior vice-president of computer hardware and software marketing.
May 21: Atari announced the 7800 ProSystem (GCC), to ship in July (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in May 1986), and announced 13 games for the 7800: 3-D Asteroids (later known as: Deluxe Asteroids; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986 as: Asteroids), Ballblazer (by Lucasfilm; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1988), Centipede (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Desert Falcon (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1987), Dig Dug (title by Namco; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Food Fight (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Galaga (title by Namco; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Joust (title by Williams; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Ms. Pac-Man (title by Namco; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Pole Position II (title by Namco; planned to be built-in to production systems beginning in Sept.; would be shipped with the 7800 (but not built-in) by Atari Corp. in 1986), Rescue on Fractalus! (by Lucasfilm; never released), Robotron: 2084 (title by Williams; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Xevious (title by Namco; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986). Atari also announced the 7800 High Score Cartridge (never released) and the 7800 Computer Keyboard (4K of RAM, expandable to 20K; never released). Atari additionally announced a 7800 ProSystem Adapter for the 5200 (never released).
May 22: Atari disclosed that the 5200 was no longer in production. More than 1 million 5200's had been sold to date. (Washington Post, May 22, 1984, C3)
May/June: Atari released Pengo for the 2600, and released Choplifter! (GCC) for the 5200.
June 1: Atari executive vp Dennis Groth became president of Atari International, replacing Anton Bruehl who departed the company. Steven Chiaramonte, previously Atari (Coin-Op) vp and CFO, would be vp finance for Atari International.
June 1: Atari said it had begun another major round of layoffs. Industry reports put the figure at 800 to 1,000, nearly half of the headquarters staff. Atari was also withdrawing from a joint manufacturing venture in Hong Kong with Wong Electronics, which was 51 percent owned by the company. Atari said Wong would end production of the 800XL home computer, which it had supplied to Atari. Company officials said that the move was an effort to consolidate operations in Taiwan.
June 3-6: At the 18th International Summer CES in Chicago:
Atari introduced the MindLink System (never shipped), to be available for the 2600, 7800, and 600XL/800XL computers; packages would include: headband, two infrared sensors, and a software package. 3 initial software packages for the unit were planned: an adventure game, Bionic Breakthrough (version of Breakout), and a relaxation biofeedback program.
For the 2600 Atari announced: Gremlins, Track & Field (with Track & Field Controller; title by Konami; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1985), The Last Starfighter (never shipped), Jr. Pac-Man (title by Bally-Midway; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Midnight Magic (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Dr. Salk's Peek-a-Boo (never released), Elevator Action (title by Taito; never released), Garfield (never released)
For the 5200 Atari announced Gremlins (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1987) as well as the 7800 ProSystem Adapter (never released), and again promised Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus!.
For the 7800 (not yet shipped; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in May 1986) Atari featured the 13 titles introduced on May 21: 3-D Asteroids (would shipped by Atari Corp. as: Asteroids), Ballblazer, Centipede, Desert Falcon, Dig Dug, Food Fight, Galaga, Joust, Ms. Pac-Man, Pole Position II, Rescue on Fractalus! (never released), Robotron: 2084, Xevious. Peek-a-Boo was a planned future release for the 7800 (never released). Atari also featured the 7800 High Score Cartridge (never released) and the 7800 Computer Keyboard (4K of RAM, expandable to 20K; never released). For the 7800 Computer Keyboard Atari introduced: Atari Terminal, AtariLab, Typing Tutor, The Word Processor, BASIC
Philip C. Restaino remained senior vice president for games marketing.
Atari announced that they would introduce a new, un-named, high-end computer ("1650XLD"; never shipped), reportedly for under $1000, to ship fall 1984. The machine would resemble the canceled 1450XLD; it would have 64K RAM, modem, speech synthesis chip, and built-in double-sided, double density 352K disk drive; it would be fully compatible with the Atari 600XL/800XL, and would also be "70 to 80 percent compatible" with the IBM PC; telecommunications software and a mini-database called The Grapevine would be built in. Also again featured: the 1090 XL Expansion System.
For the 600XL/800XL Atari introduced: Proofreader (for AtariWriter; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1985), Track & Field (with Track & Field Controller; title by Konami; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1985), Crystal Castles (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1988), The Last Starfighter (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986 as: Star Raiders II), Jr. Pac-Man (title by Bally-Midway; never shipped), Hobgoblin (Atari Advanced Games Group; never shipped), Elevator Action (title by Taito; never shipped), Gremlins (never shipped), Pole Position II (title by Namco; never shipped), Letter Tutor (never shipped), Word Tutor (never shipped), and in the new Futuremakers series: This Is Ground Control (never shipped), Through the Star Bridge (never shipped). Also again featured: SynFile+, SynCalc, SynTrend, Final Legacy (previously: Legacy), Ballblazer, Rescue on Fractalus!
Atari Learning Systems would now publish for multiple computer platforms, and introduced: Find It! (Atari XL, C-64, Apple II, IBM PC; never shipped), Green Globs (Atari XL, Apple II; never shipped), Yaacov Agam's Interactive Painting (Atari XL, IBM PC; never shipped), First Aid... The ABC of CPR (Atari XL; never shipped), Simulated Computer II (Atari XL, C-64; never shipped), Telly Turtle (Atari XL, C-64, Apple II, IBM PC/PCjr; never shipped), Wheeler Dealer (Atari XL, C-64, Apple II, IBM PC/PCjr; never shipped), AtariLab Starter Set (versions for Apple II, C-64; never shipped), LabMate Home Edition Ages 9-13 (book for AtariLab Starter Set; never shipped), LabMate Home Edition Ages 14-15 (book for AtariLab Starter Set; never shipped), LabMate School Edition Elementary (books for AtariLab Starter Set; never shipped), LabMate School Edition Jr. High (books for AtariLab Starter Set; never shipped), LabMate School Edition High School (books for AtariLab Starter Set; never shipped), The Learning Phone (previously: Atari PLATO; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), Escape ("interpreting graphs the fun way"; platform(s) unspecified; never shipped)
Under the AtariSoft label, Atari introduced/announced: Gremlins (C-64, IBM PC, Apple II), Track & Field with Arcade Controller (C-64, Apple II, IBM PC version never released; title by Konami), Crystal Castles (IBM PC, Apple II, C-64 versions never released), Donkey Kong Junior (IBM PC, Apple II, C-64 versions never released; title by Nintendo), Mario Bros. (Apple II, C-64, IBM PC versions never released; title by Nintendo), Typo Attack (IBM PC, Apple II, IBM PCjr, C-64 and VIC-20 versions never released). And several of the earlier AtariSoft titles were newly announced for the IBM PCjr (PCjr versions never released): Ms. Pac-Man (title by Namco), Centipede, Donkey Kong (title by Nintendo), Moon Patrol (title by Irem)
June: Atari released I, Robot.
June: For the 2600 Atari released: Stargate (title by Williams Electronics), Gremlins
June: Atari shipped the 7800 in small quantities in certain limited test-markets. Packages included two Pro-Line Joysticks and Pole Position II.
June?: Atari shipped the Trak-Ball controller (CX80). Box/Packaging were for the Atari, Inc. International Division.
June: Atari employed about 1,200 people. (Atari User May 1988)
Month?: Exidy released the Max-A-Flex coin-operated arcade conversion system, along with four games for the system, all by First Star Software: Astro Chase, Boulder Dash, Bristles, Flip and Flop. The Exidy Max-A-Flex utilized an embedded Atari 600XL system. See MyAtari article.
Months?: Atari opened more Atari Adventure locations: in the Olympic section at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas NV ("This 2,000 square foot area contained over 60 electronic and video games."); at The Riviera, Las Vegas NV; and at Gwinnett Place Mall, Duluth GA
June 29: Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), Atari's video game advertising agency, was abruptly told by their client to shelve an Atari commercial shoot. "They put a halt to everything," said a DDB spokesperson. (AdWeek July 9, 1984)
July 1-August 25: Third and final year of Atari Computer Camps. Camps were held at two locations: "Camp Atari-Poconos" (East Stroudsburg State College) in East Stroudsburg PA, and "Camp Atari-New England" (Stoneleigh-Burnham School) in Greenfield MA. Patricia Tubbs was Project Manager at Atari.
July 2: In a deal consummated in New York City at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning, July 2, effective Saturday June 30, the assets of the Atari home computer and home video game businesses were sold by Warner Communications to Tramel Technology Ltd., which had been formed on May 17, 1984 by its chairman and CEO Jack Tramiel (pronounced truh-MELL), the founder and former president of Commodore International. The transaction included the rights to the "Atari" name and "Fuji" logo, with Warner Communications retaining exclusive license to use the Atari name and trademark in coin-operated arcade environments. Tramiel also gained the intellectual property rights to all existing Atari arcade games, with Warner Communications retaining exclusive license to those properties in coin-operated arcade environments. Tramel Technology would adopt the new name, Atari Corp. See: A History of Atari Corp. / Atari Interactive
Warner received no cash, but received US$240 million in long-term notes and warrants for a 32 percent interest in Tramiel's new venture. Tramiel, in return, received warrants giving him the right to purchase one million shares of Warner common stock at US$22 a share.
Atari Games, Inc. location: 1272 Borregas Ave, Sunnyvale, CA, USA. John Farrand would continue as president and COO of Atari Games, Inc.
Charles "Skip" Paul would continue as president of the Coin-Operated Games division, which would now operate as "Atari Games" as stipulated in the terms of the sale. Also continuing with the Coin-Op division would be: Lyle Rains as vp creative development, Dave Stubben as senior vp engineering, and Dan Van Elderen as vp engineering.
July 6: Atari Games, Inc. chairman and CEO James Morgan would be "taking a leave of several months'' according to WCI. (He did not return.)
July 13: Warner Communications announced the sale of 78% of its WCI Labs subsidiary (internal co-developer of the Atari XL computers) to WCI Labs' management. As a result of the transaction, which was made effective retroactive to June 1, 1984, a new privately held company, the Take One Company, was formed, with Steve Mayer remaining as chairman and chief executive. Warner Communications initially retained 22% ownership of Take One.
Summer: At Atari Games (Coin-Op), Kevin Hayes, previously managing director of Atari Ireland, became the new vp of manufacturing, as the division re-established its own manufacturing capabilities.
Summer: At Atari Games (Coin-Op), Shane Breaks, previously vp of international marketing and sales, became the new head of sales, following the departure of executive vp of sales Jerry Marcus.
August 20: Steve Wolfson was director of Atari Adventure Corp. (having replaced the departed Barnie Sullivan / Barry Sullivan) (The Capital Times, Madison WI)
Summer/Fall?: The Atari Adventure at the Northwest Plaza in St. Ann MO was closed.
September: Atari Games, Inc. released Return of the Jedi.
September: Charles "Skip" Paul departed as president of the Coin-Operated Games division of Atari Games, Inc. Atari Games, Inc. president John Farrand would now additionally serve as president of the Coin-Operated Games Division.
September: Atari Games, Inc. repurchased certain accounts receivable from Atari Corp. for US$10.1 million in cash.
Fall: Atari Games, Inc. released Crowns Golf by Sega (Europe only).
December: Atari Games, Inc. released Marble Madness (System I hardware platform).
December?: Roy L. Elkins, who headed the AtariTel videophone project at Atari, sought financing from sources outside WCI to continue the work. Stan Zawadowicz, acting on behalf of MEDAMA, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric (of Japan), bought the patent rights, engineering designs and prototypes for the AtariTel Videophone from WCI, and pulled together the original engineering team, including Elkins, to complete the development work. See: A History of the Former Atari Videophone Project
February 6: Reports of WCI announcement that Namco Ltd. of Japan would acquire the assets of the Coin-Operated Games division of its Atari Games, Inc. unit. (NYT) Namco established Atari Games Corp. WCI would retain minority ownership (40%) in Atari Games Corp. See: A History of Atari Games / Midway Games West
Atari Games, Inc. adopted the new name, Atari Holdings, Inc.
John Farrand remained President and Chief Operating Officer of Atari Holdings, which now consisted primarily of Atari Adventure Corp. and its 47 coin-operated video games rooms operating as "Space Port" or "Atari Adventure". (NYT for #)
February/March: Atari Holdings President and Chief Operating Officer John Farrand departed the company (to serve as president and CEO of Panavision, which was sold by Warner Communications in March 1985).
March: Atari Adventure Corp operated, throughout the U.S., 46 coin-operated video game rooms, which were expected to be sold in 1985. (WCI 10-K for 1984)
April: With its significant minority stake in the company, Atari Holdings entered into a court approved settlement in the bankruptcy proceedings of Pizza Time Theatre, Inc.
May: Showbiz Pizza Place, Inc. purchased substantially all of the operating assets of Pizza Time Theatre, including all Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre locations. Showbiz Pizza Place issued 4,000,000 shares of Showbiz Pizza Place Common Stock and 500,000 shares of Showbiz Pizza Place Preferred Stock to the creditors of Pizza Time Theatre. As a result, Atari Holdings, an unsecured creditor of Pizza Time Theatre, received 121,551 shares of Showbiz Pizza Place Common Stock and 16,011 shares of Showbiz Pizza Place Preferred Stock.
Showbiz Pizza Place, Inc. adopted the new name, Showbiz Pizza Time, Inc.
July: A group of New York and California investors, Adventure Properties Ltd., bought the string of 44 Space Port video arcades from Atari Holdings Inc., for an undisclosed price. The arcade chain, which has its headquarters in Huntingdon Valley, was [previously] an independent company called Magna/Fun Corp. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, (PA), July 12, 1985, Page D13) "Atari Adventure" locations were included in the transaction. See: A History of the Former Atari Adventure Corp.
August: As a result of a stock buyback by Showbiz Pizza Time, the 16,011 shares of Showbiz Pizza Time Preferred Stock held by Atari Holdings that had previously constituted 3.6% of the outstanding Showbiz Pizza Time Preferred Stock now represented 32.3% of the outstanding Showbiz Pizza Time Preferred Stock.
August 29: Atari Corp. and Warner Communications (WCI) agreed that, in consideration for: the net assets Atari Corp. acquired in the July 1984 transaction; accrued interest on the purchase obligation at 17%; and the repayment of WCI's $24.7 million advanced to Atari Corp., including accrued interest thereon at 10.5%, Atari Corp. would issue to WCI 7,100,000 shares of Atari Corp. Common Stock, and would pay to WCI approximately $36.1 million, upon consummation of a public offering of Atari Corp. Common Stock. The IPO would occur on November 7.
November 7: Initial public offering of shares of Atari Corp. common stock on the American Stock Exchange, under ticker symbol ATC. Atari Corp. sold US$50.6 million worth of stock, or 4.5 million shares at US$11.25 each. As agreed on Aug. 29, 1986, Warner Communications thereupon beneficially acquired 7,100,000 shares of Atari Corp. Common Stock and received approximately $36.1 million. Jack Tramiel and his associates retained collective controlling ownership of Atari Corp.
June 19: A 2-for-1 split of Atari Corp. Common Stock was effected in the form of a 100% common stock dividend distributed to all Atari Corp. shareholders. As a result, WCI now owned 14,200,000 shares of Atari Corp. Common Stock.
October 17: Associated entities of WCI (comprised of AIL Holdings Limited, AIL Ireland Limited, Atari International Hong Kong Ltd. ("AIHK"), WEA Musik Neue Medien and Elektronik GmbH ("WEA Musik") approved the transfer of the 14,200,000 shares of Atari Corp. Common Stock they collectively owned to Atari Holdings, Inc.
October 18: Atari Holdings, Inc. declared a dividend of the 14,200,000 shares of Atari Corp. Common Stock to its parent WCI, completing the two-day stock-shuffling maneuver at WCI.
July 25: Time, Inc. acquired controlling interest (59.3%) in Warner Communications, Inc. (WCI). Upon the purchase, Time was renamed Time Warner Inc., and WCI became a unit of Time Warner.
August 30: Atari-related holdings of the newly-merged Time Warner still included:
Atari Games Corp., the privately-held coin and home video game company: approximately 40 percent
Showbiz Pizza Time Inc., the Irving, Texas, restaurant, entertainment and coin-operated game concern: 32.3 percent or 16,011 class A preferred shares
Atari Corp., the Sunnyvale, Calif., computer game and software company: 24.6 percent or 14.2 million common shares
October 19: Showbiz Pizza Time effected a one-for-ten reverse stock split of Showbiz Pizza Time Common Stock.
October: (after Oct. 19) Atari Holdings sold the entire 12,551 shares of Showbiz
Pizza Time Common Stock it held (as adjusted by the October 19 reverse stock split) for an
aggregate sales price of $138,645 in open market transactions. (Atari Holdings still held 16,011 shares of Showbiz
Pizza Time Preferred Stock.)
January 10: Time Warner, already holding controlling interest in Warner Communications Inc., now acquired 100% ownership of WCI.
June 26: Atari Games (on behalf of Time Warner) announced that it would repurchase the entire 43.8% share of the company held by one of its two largest outside shareholders, Namco America. In return, Namco would receive ownership of Atari Games' Atari Operations subsidiary, which operated more than 40 video game arcades in the Western and Southeastern U.S. See: A History of the Former Atari Operations
The controlling majority shareholder after the transaction, with about an 80% share of the company, would be Warner Communications, itself now a unit of Time Warner Inc. See: Atari Games, a division of Time Warner
June 26, 1992: Atari Holdings, Inc., including its minority-interest 16,011 shares of Showbiz Pizza Time Preferred Stock, was merged with and into its parent company, the Warner Communications Inc. unit of Time Warner Inc.
Atari-related holdings of Time Warner included:
Showbiz Pizza Time Inc., the Irving, Texas, restaurant, entertainment and coin-operated game concern: 32.3 percent or 16,011 class A preferred shares
Atari Corp., the Sunnyvale, Calif., computer game and software company: 24.6 percent or 14.2 million common shares
Atari Games Corp., the privately-held coin and home video game company: approximately 80 percent
March 24: Atari Corp. announced that it would sell 1.5 million shares of its common stock to Time Warner Inc. at a price of $8.50 per share for an aggregate investment of $12.8 million. The transaction would increase Time Warner's interest in Atari Corp. from approximately 25% to approximately 27%.
Month?: The Atari Games employee-owners group, led by president Hide Nakajima, sold their 21% share in the company to the Warner Communications unit of Time Warner, already the owner of the other 79% share. Atari Games became a wholly-owned (100%) subsidiary of the Warner Communications unit of Time Warner.
April 11: Time Warner Interactive Group, Atari Games and Tengen announced plans to integrate their operations and operate under the common name, Time Warner Interactive.
Use of the Tengen brand would be discontinued in favor of the Time Warner
The Atari Games brand (as developer/manufacturer) would be used side-by-side with the Time Warner Interactive brand (as publisher/distributor) for coin-operated releases.
March 29: Williams Interactive, Inc., a subsidiary of WMS Industries, Inc., acquired the entire 100% of Atari Games owned by the Warner Communications unit of Time Warner. See: Atari Games, a division of WMS Industries
Atari-related holdings of Time Warner still included:
Showbiz Pizza Time Inc., the Irving, Texas, restaurant, entertainment and coin-operated game concern: 16,011 class A preferred shares
Atari Corp., the Sunnyvale, Calif., computer game and software company: approx. 27 percent or 15.7 million common shares
June 25: ShowBiz Pizza Time, Inc. adopted the new name, CEC Entertainment, Inc. Time Warner still held its minority-interest 16,011 shares of CEC Entertainment Preferred Stock.
January 11: AOL purchased Time Warner, forming AOL Time Warner
October 16: AOL Time Warner adopted the new name, Time Warner Inc.
October 31: In response to CEC Entertainment's Notice of Redemption dated September 26, 2003, Time Warner surrendered their 16,011 shares of CEC Preferred Stock for an aggregate redemption price of $60.42 per share, or approximately $967,000.
Last updated: 2013.04.30
2013.03.18 St. Louis detail corrections, thanks mgabrys
2012.08.22 Quantum, Food Fight, & TX-1 developers, thanks Vernon Brooks