Most information presented here is derived directly from public information sources produced and published in the original time period. Modern historical retrospectives, including books, oral histories, and especially websites, are utilized as little as possible.
Table of Contents:
October: 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, first met as a group to design a commercially-viable coin-operated version of the computer game (popular in university and industrial labs since its 1962 release), Spacewar!. (ataribook for date)
October/November: As they continued to meet, Bushnell/Dabney/Bryan decided on Bryan's idea to call their group Syzygy. However, enthusiasm for the group and its project waned due to the high cost and large size of available computers.
December: 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: First-year Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow concluded his first field internship experience (started September 1969) at Ampex, where he was assigned to Nolan Bushnell. (Zap! p21)
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.
June?: Ted Dabney departed Ampex to join Nolan Bushnell as an engineer at Nutting Associates.
January: Syzygy Co. was formally organized as a partnership by Nutting Associates engineers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. (72/73 Atari financial statement)
August: The first Computer Space test unit was location-tested by Nutting Associates at a Palo Alto CA restaurant and bar called the Dutch Goose. (source and ataribook for month)
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 Expo Seventy-One, the 1971 Music & Amusement Machines Exposition at Sherman House, Chicago, sponsored by Music Operators of America (MOA), the national association of the jukebox industry. (Cash Box)
November 9-12: Nutting Associates featured Computer Space at the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) sponsored Parks Show at the Sherman House Hotel, Chicago. (Cash Box)
November/December: Nutting Associates shipped Computer Space (NA-2010; original one-player version), developed by Syzygy (Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney), the first commercial production coin-operated video arcade game. (Cash Box 11/27/71 ad p54; 12/4/71 p45)
Spring?: Syzygy purchased a coin-operated arcade game route street operation (about 50 machines in about 20 locations -The Atari Book p88) from former Nutting Associates marketing director David Ralston.
April: 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. Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow would become Nutting Associates chief engineer, replacing the departed Bushnell and Dabney.
May: (after May 24) Syzygy secured an arcade development contract with Bally: $4,000 per month for six months to develop three products: a video game, a pinball machine, and some other arcade device. (source)
May/June: (after May 24) In preparing to incorporate Syzygy Co., 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 common stock valued at $5,000 and notes of $6,032 in exchange for the net partnership assets. The names and addresses of all four directors were given as a private residence: 1425 Blackstone Ave., San Jose, CA, USA
June 26?: (Monday) Atari dba Syzygy established a 1700 square foot office location at the Cole Complex: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA, USA
June 26: Cynthia Villanueva (later: Cynthia Russell) joined Atari dba Syzygy as its first paid employee, hired as Bushnell's secretary (source).
June 26?: Engineer Allan E. Alcorn, previously of Ampex, joined Atari dba Syzygy as Senior Staff Engineer, the second paid employee of the company. (Alcorn interview)
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)
June/July?: Doug Dabney (brother of company co-founder Ted Dabney) joined Atari dba Syzygy as its third paid employee. (The company now consisted of five people.)
Summer: At Atari dba Syzygy, Nolan Bushnell initially focused on designing a 2-player version of Computer Space for Nutting Associates. Ted Dabney focused on designing a pinball machine for the Bally contract, and also tended the Syzygy coin-operated arcade game route operation. 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.
August: The Atari dba Syzygy prototype Pong system (designed for the home consumer market) was experimentally modified for coin-operation and location-tested at the Andy Capp's tavern in Sunnyvale, CA.
September: Atari dba Syzygy built 12 coin-operated Pong prototype units, hoping that Bally would agree to manufacture and market the game in partial fulfillment of Atari's development contract for Bally. 10 units were deployed at locations along the Atari dba Syzygy coin-operated arcade route operation; one unit was delivered to Bally; one unit was kept in-house.
September 14-16: Atari dba Syzygy did not exhibit at All New Expo '72, the 1972 Music and Amusement Machines Exposition at the Conrad Hilton Hotel, Chicago, sponsored by Music Operators of America (MOA). Nutting Associates introduced 1 and 2 Player Computer Space (NOT the design by Syzygy's Nolan Bushnell with Nutting's Steve Bristow) at the show.
October: Bally cancelled their game development contract with Atari dba Syzygy, clearing the way for Atari to manufacture and market coin-operated Pong themselves.
November: 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 manufacture Pong units for commercial sale.
November 24: Nolan Bushnell filed for a U.S. patent for a "Video Image Positioning Control System for Amusement Device."
November 29: Atari dba Syzygy announced the release of Pong for sale commercially. (details wanted!)
December: Atari dba Syzygy shipped Pong (limited West Coast distribution only). (WSJ 3/18/74 for date)
January: Anthony F. (Fred) Marincic joined Atari dba Syzygy as secretary-treasurer (CFO). Marincic had previously worked at Fairchild M.O.D. Palo Alto, where he was division controller, and at Hewlett Packard where he served as division finance manager. (Cash Box 7/28/73 p45)
January?: Atari dba Syzygy contracted with Arvin Systems (and previously Ampex) engineers Steven T. Mayer and Lawrence D. Emmons for game circuits (ataribook p244); there were now eight people associated with Atari: Bushnell, Ted Dabney, Alcorn, Villanueva, Doug Dabney, Marincic, Mayer, Emmons
February: Atari dba Syzygy contract engineers Steve Mayer and Larry Emmons departed Arvin Systems to focus on their independent engineering/consulting business. (ataribook p245)
February: Atari leased a 10,000 square foot roller rink for expanded Pong production at: 1600 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA, USA
March 1: Atari co-founders Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney agreed to terms whereby Dabney would (gradually) sell his ownership stake in Atari back to the company. Dabney would remain Atari VP manufacturing and remain on the board of directors.
March 3: Atari ran a print ad for Pong ("PONG, The Wraps Are
Coming Off, A TWO PLAYER Video Skill Game from Atari Inc., Syzygy Engineered")
on page 68
in the March 3, 1973 edition of Cash Box magazine. 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: Midway Mfg. Co. (division of Bally) announced Winner, which would be built under license and with the co-operation of Atari (Syzygy Engineered), the inventor and developer of the game. (Cash Box 3/10/73 p56)
March: Atari announced the granting of a license to Midway Manufacturing Co., allowing Midway to produce its latest video game. Nolan Bushnell was Atari president and Ted Dabney was Atari VP. (Cash Box 3/17/73 p56)
March: For-Play Mfg. Corp. and A.C.A. Sales and Service announced the release of Rally, perhaps the first of the many unlicensed (yet legal) Atari Pong clones. (Cash Box 3/17/73 p55,57)
March: Allied Leisure announced the release of Paddle Battle (Cash Box 3/24/73 p58,59), perhaps the most important Atari Pong clone, perhaps eventually selling more units than Atari would sell units of Pong. Gene Lipkin was Allied Leisure sales director.
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), previously both an industrial engineer for Kennecott Copper and also auditor/consultant for Arthur Young & Co., and who had just performed an audit of Atari in that capacity, joined Atari as director of operations, to set up and run the Pong assembly at 1600 Martin Ave.
April: Atari's Pong went into national distribution. Ted Dabney was Atari VP production facilities; Al Alcorn was Atari chief engineer. (Cash Box 4/7/73 p104)
April: Midway Mfg. Co. (division of Bally) announced the release of Winner, built under license and with the co-operation of Atari (Syzygy Engineered), the inventor and developer of the game. (Cash Box 4/28/73)
May: Atari announced that Pat Karns had joined the company as national sales manager and director of marketing. Karns previously was a sales manager servicing major accounts for Cramer Electronics and Marshall Industries. Also, Atari corporate headquarters would move to larger facilities in Los Gatos, CA. Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president and Al Alcorn remained Atari chief engineer. (Cash Box 5/19/73 p59, 8/11/73, 4/26/75 p53)
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!" ) on page 60 in the May 19 issue of Cash Box magazine. Company address given: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara
May/June?: Ronald F. Gordon (Ron Gordon), previously of Muntz TV, joined Atari as International Marketing Director.
May/June?: Engineer Gilbert J. Williams (Gil Williams), previously of Ampex, joined Atari in manufacturing (under VP manufacturing Ted Dabney).
June 2: Atari concluded their first fiscal year (11 months: June 28, 1972 - June 2, 1973) with $3.2 million in sales.
June 2: Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president. (Cash Box 6/2/73)
June: Atari announced a new and improved version of Pong, featuring front access and heavy duty cabinet, and also announced their new 30,000 square foot location at the Cadre Building: 14600 Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos, CA, USA (Cash Box ad 6/9/73p57)
June: Atari VP manufacturing Ted Dabney departed the company, except for remaining on its board of directors. Dabney acquired the Syzygy coin-operated street operation from Atari as part of his departure, and he would base that operation out of space leased from Atari at Atari's 1600 Martin Ave. location. Dabney's new firm would be known as: Syzygy Game Company.
June: Atari announced that engineer Don Lang had joined the company as director of special projects. Al Alcorn was now Atari VP engineering (previously: chief engineer); Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president. (Cash Box 6/16/73; 6/23/73)
June: Engineer Stephen D. Bristow (previously chief engineer at Nutting Associates spring-fall 1972) joined Atari as an electrical engineer. Atari employed about 70-80 people at this time.
Spring/Summer?: Atari produced perhaps 20 novelty Pong In-A-Barrel units. (source)
July: Nutting Associates announced the release of 1 and 2-Player Computer Space (NOT the design by Syzygy's Nolan Bushnell with Nutting's Steve Bristow) (Cash Box 7/7/73)
July: Atari had established a United Kingdom manufacturing branch in London. (Cash Box 7/14/73)
July: Atari announced the release of Space Race. Pat Karns remained Atari national sales manager; Al Alcorn remained Atari VP engineering; Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president. Also, Bushnell and Karns were involved with setting up European distribution. (Cash Box 7/21/73 p39)
July: Atari announced the appointment of Anthony F. (Fred) Marincic as Atari VP finance. Atari now employed 180 people, and was privately held, with the majority stockholders being current employees. (Cash Box 7/28/73 p45)
Summer?: Atari contract engineers Steve Mayer and Larry Emmons partnered with Atari in tranforming their engineering/consulting business into the Atari research & development subsidiary Cyan Engineering, located in Grass Valley, CA. (Fun p245) Steve Mayer would be Cyan Engineering Senior Engineer, and would report to Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn.
August: Atari announced their completed move of all administration and manufacturing to the Cadre Building: 14600 Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos, CA, USA. Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president. (Cash Box 8/4/73 p48)
August: Atari announced international sales and distribution ("Atari Expands Worldwide!"); the ad pictured Pong, Pong In-A-Barrel, Space Race, and a novelty Pong fiberglass unit (never went into production). Ron Gordon was Atari International Marketing Director. (Cash Box 8/4/73 p49)
August: Atari announced the release of Space Race fiberglass units (reusing the cabinets first designed for Pong fiberglass), available in limited quantities. Pat Karns remained Atari national sales manager. (Cash Box 8/4/73 p50) Perhaps 50 such units would be made. (source)
August?: Atari/Syzygy and Hunter Electronics Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia released Barrel-Pong. (Australia)
August/September: John C. Wakefield, M.D. psychiatry, previously of the Levinson Institute (Cambridge MA), and brother-in-law of Nolan Bushnell, joined Atari as president (replacing Nolan Bushnell in the role) and board member. Bushnell would remain Atari chairman. Atari VP finance Fred Marincic had departed the company before Wakefield's arrival.
September: Atari announced the release of Pong Doubles. (Atari France title: Coupe Davis). Pat Karns was Atari national sales manager and Al Alcorn was Atari VP engineering. (Cash Box 10/13/73 p49)
September: Atari would exhibit at the IMA Show in Düsseldorf, West Germany. (Cash Box 9/1/73 p46)
September 27-29: Atari staff attending the Japanese Trade Show in Tokyo included national sales manager Pat Karns, chairman Nolan Bushnell, president John Wakefield, and manager of industrial design George Faraco. (Cash Box 9/29/73)
September: At the secret direction of Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell, Joseph F. Keenan, previously of Applied Logic and IBM, founded Kee Games, Inc. The apparent Atari rival would be able to sell to distributors who wanted to sell products to compete with Atari products. Steve Bristow, previously Atari electrical engineer, would be Kee Games VP Engineering. Gil Williams, previously of Atari manufacturing, would be Kee Games VP manufacturing; Bill White, previously Atari director of operations, would be Kee Games Controller (CFO). Initial Kee Games location: 330 Mathew St., Santa Clara, CA, USA.
September/October?: Richard Mobilio (Dick Mobilio) joined Atari as VP marketing (previously: general manager, Intercontinental Sales Region at Hewlett-Packard).
September/October?: H. Leslie Oliver (Les Oliver), previously of Hewlett-Packard, joined Atari as VP finance and administration (CFO; replacing the departed Fred Marincic). (ataribook for title)
October 1: Steve Bristow, previously Atari electrical engineer, became Kee Games VP Engineering.
October: At Kee Games, Inc., Joe Keenan was president and Steve Bristow was VP engineering (Cash Box 10/6/73)
October: Atari announced the release of both Gotcha and 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)
October: Kee Games released their first game, Elimination!
Fall: Engineer Harold Lee, previously of Standard Microsystems (where he had learned chip design from Jay Miner), joined Atari as a production designer. (ataribook p149)
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?: Engineer Ron Milner joined Cyan Engineering.
Fall?: Midway Mfg. Co. (division of Bally) released Asteroid (licensed clone of Atari Space Race).
November 9-11: Atari featured Pong, Space Race, Pong Doubles, and introduced Gotcha at the 25th anniversary Expo '73, the Music and Amusement Machines Exposition sponsored by the MOA at the Conrad Hilton Hotel, Chicago. Atari showed three versions of Gotcha: black & white, tinted screen, or full color. (Cash Box 11/24/73) John Wakefield was Atari president and Dick Mobilio was newly-appointed Atari VP marketing. Pat Karns remained Atari national sales manager. (Cash Box 11/10/73p89)
November 10: Nolan Bushnell owned 80% of Atari. (Business Week p. 212)
November/December: Atari announced that engineer Lloyd A. Warman had joined the company as VP engineering (replacing Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn in the role). Warman was previously operations department manager in the Advanced Technology Division of Ampex. Atari also announced that Tony Seidel had joined the company as director of marketing communcations, reporting to Atari marketing VP Dick Mobilio. Seidel was previously marketing communications manager of Hewlett-Packard's Intercontinental Sales Region, Palo Alto. (Cash Box 2/23/74 p51; RefBkofCorpMan86p3317 for date) Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn would retain overall responsibility for research & development.
November/December: Engineer Lyle V. Rains joined Kee Games as an Electronics Engineer/Game Designer. He was hired by Kee Games VP Engineering Steve Bristow.
December: Kee Games announced a license agreement on their game Elimination! with Atari, whereby Atari would produce their own version of the game to be called Quadrapong. (Cash Box 12/15/73)
January: Atari announced the sale of the Syzygy name to Ted Dabney, who would operate as an independent company under the name of the Syzygy Game Company. (Cash Box 1/26/74)
February: Atari announced the release of Rebound, and announced the release of Superpong in limited production. Pat Karns remained Atari sales chief. (Cash Box 2/16/74 p51)
February: Kee Games announced Elimination!-Plus ("faster action with a four-bumper feature"). (Cash Box ad; Cash Box 3/2/74 p45) (Shipped???)
February: William G. Arkush (Bill Arkush) was an Atari engineering executive. Arkush was design engineer for color video games and educational seminar leader. Pat Karns remained Atari sales chief. (Cash Box 3/2/74 p45)
February 19: Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell was granted United States Patent 3,793,483 (filed November 24, 1972) for a "Video Image Positioning Control System for Amusement Device." "The granting of this patent, in effect, recognizes Atari as the originator of the video game, as this circuitry is essential for video game operation," Bushnell stated. (Cash Box 3/30/73)
February 28: Atari introduced Gran Trak 10 (Cyan Engineering/Atari) at an event for distributors held at company headquarters. Nolan Bushnell remained Atari chairman; Pat Karns remained Atari sales manager. (Cash Box 3/16/74 p58)
March: Kee Games released Spike (the same game as Rebound by Atari).
March: Atari released Quadrapong (the same game as Elimination! by Kee Games)
March: Atari released Gran Trak 10 (sample quantities only; it would take Atari several months to successfully ramp up production). Nolan Bushnell remained Atari chairman; Pat Karns remained Atari sales manager. (Cash Box 3/23/74)
March: Ted Dabney departed from the Atari board of directors, cutting his final ties with the company he co-founded.
March: Steve Ritchie joined Atari.
March: Atari announced that T.C. Grunau had joined the company as president of Atari (Canada) Ltd. Grunau was previously general manager of Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. (Cash Box 3/16/74 p58)
Winter/Spring?: 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.
April: Kee Games released Formula K (the same game as Gran Trak 10 by Atari).
April: In Europe, Atari released two versions of the same game: World Cup (by Löwen-Automaten in West Germany; upright and cocktail versions) and Coupe du Monde (by Sovoda S.A. "Atari France"; cocktail configuration only).
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.
April: Atari announced it was shipping Gran Trak 10 in quantity. Pat Karns remained Atari national sales manager. (Cash Box 5/4/74)
April/May?: Atari president John Wakefield departed the company. Following a very brief temporary stint as Atari president by Atari international marketing director Ron Gordon, Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell would return to the role of Atari president.
May: Atari Europe (France) released Coup Franc ("Pong Cocktail"), and also made the same cabinet available configured as Quadrapong.
May 31: The third Atari Game Center officially opened on the terrace level at BayFair Regional Shopping Center, E. 14th St. at 155th Ave., San Leandro CA. The Atari built and designed facility was 1300 square feet and included 16 games (including Atari's own Pong, Gotcha, Reboud, and Gran Track 10). Atari already operated Centers at San Jose and Orange County. While the first two locations featured free-standing floor units, the BayFair Center video games would "be esthetically packaged, built into a coordinated rustic decor." Allan H. Perris was Atari VP real estate. John Stover, previously employed at the Orange County location, would be the resident manager. Nolan Bushnell was Atari president. (Cash Box 5/11/74, 6/8/74, and newspaper ad)
June: Atari announced the release of Touch-Me.
June 22-26: Atari introduced Dr. Pong and Puppy Pong at the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association held at McCormick Place, Chicago. Atari would market the table-top-size video games to physicians, dentists, psychiatrists, and hospitals. An optional second electronics board swap-in for either game would change the Pong game to a vollyball game; an optional bookcase/stand would be offered for Dr. Pong. Nolan Bushnell was Atari president. (Cash Box 7/6/74)
June: Executives Nolan Bushnell, Dick Mobilio and Pat Karns all remained with Atari. (Cash Box 6/29/74)
July: Kee Games released Twin Racer.
July: Atari announced the release of Trak 10.
July: Atari announced that Gran Trak 10 would now have a free play feature. Pat Karns remained Atari national sales manager. (Cash Box 7/20/74)
July: Kee Games announced that Formula K would now have a free play feature (won for a score of 20 points). The cabinet design was revised as well. Joe Keenan remained Kee Games president. (Cash Box 7/27/74)
July: 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.) (Cash Box 8/24/74 for date)
August: Atari released Gran Trak 20 (the same game as Twin Racer by Kee Games), released Puppy Pong (marketed for professional offices and waiting rooms) and released Trak 20.
August: Atari announced it was shipping Trak 10. (Cash Box 8/17/74)
August 22-23: A major Atari service school was held at distributor C. A. Robinson in Los Angeles. Atari president Nolan Bushnell, national sales manager Pat Karns, service manager Bill Arkush, and field engineer Doug Hughes led the event on behalf of Atari, along with Jim Sneed and Jim Heller of Kurz-Kasch Electronic House of Dayton OH. (Cash Box 8/17/74, 9/7/74)
August 21: Eugene J. Lipkin (Gene Lipkin), previously Allied Leisure national sales director, joined Atari's arcade division. (Cash Box 8/24/74)
August/September: Atari production designer Harold Lee departed the company. (ataribook p149)
September: Atari contracted with recently-departed production designer Harold Lee through his new engineering firm, MOS Sorcery, to lead an effort to design a chip that would form the basis for a consumer-market Pong system. Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn headed the project. (ataribook p151-152)
September: Atari released Dr. Pong (marketed for professional offices and waiting rooms).
September: Gary Bradley joined Atari as promotion director. Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president and Pat Karns remained Atari sales director. (Cash Box 9/14/74)
September: The Atari Game Center at Bayfair in San Leandro CA remained open. (newspaper ad)
September: Atari announced the acquisition of Kee Games, Inc. Joseph Keenan, founder and president of Kee Games, would now be Atari president. Nolan Bushnell would remain Atari chairman. (Cash Box 9/21/74) Pat Karns would be national director of sales for both Atari and Kee Games. (Cash Box 9/28/74) Gil Williams, previously Kee Games director of manufacturing, would become Kee Games president. (Vending Times Dec74 p38) Bill White, previously Kee Games controller, would become Atari VP finance (CFO; replacing Leslie Oliver who would depart the company).
October 1: Atari shipped Touch-Me. Pat Karns was Atari sales manager. (Cash Box 9/28/74; 10/19/74 p31)
October: Atari released Pin-Pong. Pat Karns was Atari sales manager. (Cash Box 11/9/74)
October: John B. Anderson joined Atari as cash manager.
Fall: Atari, in conjunction with Kurz Kasch, held a series of five service schools led by Atari service manager Bill Arkush. The schools dealt with jukeboxes, video games, pin games, and arcade pieces of all manufactures. Locations: Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco. More were planned for the East in 1975. (Vending Times)
Fall: Engineer Robert J. Brown (Bob Brown) joined Atari, hired by Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn to produce a test program for the Pong chip under development by MOS Sorcery engineer Harold Lee and Alcorn for the consumer market Pong system project.
November 1-3: Atari (of Los Gatos) introduced Qwak and featured Touch-Me, and Atari's Kee Games unit (of Santa Clara) introduced Tank at the 1974 MOA Music and Amusement Machines Exposition at the Conrad Hilton Hotel, Chicago. Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell, Atari president Joe Keenan, Kee Games president Gil Williams, and Atari/Kee VP sales Pat Karns represented Atari and Kee Games at the show. (Cash Box 11/2/74, 11/16/74; Vending Times Dec74 p38)
November: Steve Bristow, previously Kee Games VP engineering, became Atari VP engineering (coin operated games), replacing Lloyd Warman in the role. Lloyd Warman would become VP operations (previously: VP engineering). Al Alcorn remained Atari VP engineering (research & development).
November: New location for Atari's Kee Games unit: 1280 Reamwood Ave., Sunnyvale, CA, USA
January: Atari completed Dodgeball (minimal production/very rare, apparently).
January: Atari's Kee Games unit released Pursuit. This was the last Kee Games release before the Atari subsidiary was fully merged into Atari.
Winter?: Atari established a Pinball Division, headed by Gil Williams (previously: Kee Games president). First two division hires would be: engineers Bob Jonesee (previously of Williams) and Steve Ritchie (internal transfer)
February 1: Gene Lipkin, previously of Atari's arcade division, became Atari VP marketing. Lipkin would have overall responsibility for Atari marketing, consumer and coin-op sales, service and advertising. (Cash Box 4/26/75 p50)
February 16-18: Atari previewed Pong at the American Toy Fair in New York. Designers/engineers: Al Alcorn, Harold Lee (MOS Sorcery), Bob Brown
March 31: Atari national sales director Pat Karns departed the company. (Cash Box 4/26/75)
March/April?: Atari VP operations Lloyd Warman departed the company.
March/April: Atari and Kee Games manufacturing engineering, fabrication and cabinetry, assembly, quality control, marketing, sales (games and parts) and customer service functions were consolidated at Atari's new 65,000 square foot location: 2175 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA, USA. Administrative headquarters would remain at the Atari Los Gatos location, along with engineering, R&D, test, and digital design functions. Atari would continue to use the Kee Games brand on some releases. (Cash Box 4/26/75 p50; Vending Times 6/75p56)
April: Atari design engineer for color video games and educational seminar leader Bill Arkush departed the company. (Cash Box 5/3/75)
April: At the "first annual" Atari spring distributor presentation held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco, Atari introduced Kee Games Indy 800 and Atari Hi-Way (USA cockpit version; would ship in Europe as: Highway upright cabinet version). Gene Lipkin was Atari marketing VP; Nolan Bushnell was chairman; Joe Keenan was president; Ron Gordon was international marketing manager. (Vending Times 4/75p54, 6/75p56)
May: Atari completed Kee Games Crossfire (minimal production/very rare, apparently), and Atari released Kee Games Tank II.
June: Atari announced the release of Anti-Aircraft. Atari also promoted the available line-up of: Tank II, Anti-Aircraft, Indy 800, Hi-Way. (Cash Box 6/28/75)
Month?: Frank Ballouz, previously of A.B. Dick, joined Atari as National Sales Manager.
Summer?: Atari employed some 371 people domestically, had 100 distributors worldwide including 79 domestic and 3 in Canada, and had a manufacturing facility in France and assembly centers in Japan, Brazil, and five other locations in addition to its domestic plants at Los Gatos, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale. (Play Meter)
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 1: Sears released Tele-Games Pong (#25796) by Atari (same as Atari Pong C-100) (on sale Oct. 1-4 for $99.95). Sears ultimately ordered 150,000 Pong units from Atari in exchange for exclusivity through 1975. Sears Wishbook catalog price: $98.95
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: John Anderson became Atari (Consumer) controller (previously: Atari cash manager).
October 17-19: At the MOA show at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Atari introduced Kee Games Tank cocktail and Computer Portrait (would ship as: Compugraph Foto), 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 Joseph C. Decuir joined Atari (hired by Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn according to The Atari Book) to work with Steve Mayer and Ron Milner at Cyan Engineering to help debug their cartridge-based consumer video game console prototype before taking it back to Atari for further development. (source)(source)
December: Atari released Jet Fighter Cocktail.
January: Atari released Stunt Cycle.
January 13-15: Atari introduced Pong at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show at the Conrad Hilton, Chicago. This was Atari's first appearance at a CES.
Winter?: Steve Calfee joined Atari as Sr. Microprocessor programmer.
February 2: Dave Shepperd joined Atari as a computer programmer.
February?: Dennis Koble joined Atari as "the third programmer Atari ever hired." (source)
March: Mike Albaugh joined Atari as "third computer programmer in coin-op."
March: Synertek (and prior to that, Standard Microsystems) engineer Jay G. Miner was hired by Atari to design the custom graphics chip and lead the further development of the cartridge-based consumer video game console project started at Cyan Engineering. Miner would report to Atari director of microelectronics Bob Brown while technically remaining an employee of Synertek (dual appointment negotiated by Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn). Atari engineer Joe Decuir would continue with the project, now reporting to Miner at Atari.
March: Industrial designer Roger Hector joined Atari as a concept and video graphic designer. He was hired by hired by Pete Takaishi, Industrial Design Manager. (source)
March: Atari released Outlaw.
April: Atari released Kee Games Tank 8 (first Atari microprocessor-based game) and released Kee Games 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: Atari consultant Gene N. Landrum completed his "Market Analysis" and "Product Planning Strategy" reports regarding a cartridge-based consumer video game console. (ataribook)
May: Atari released Kee Games Indy 4 (four player version of Indy 800).
June 2: Atari released Pong (C-100; 2 players) (newspaper ad, $69.95).
June 13-15: Atari exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago (details wanted!).
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.
June: Owen Rubin joined Atari as a software engineer ("he was the fifth programmer hired" acp 6/83p32).
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 (coin operated games).
Month?: Larry Wagner, previously of Singer Business Machines, joined Atari (Consumer) where he would be responsible for (VCS) software & systems architecture. Bob Brown was Atari (Consumer) director of R&D (previously: director of microelectronics).
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: Howard Delman joined Atari as an engineer.
July: John Anderson became Atari assistant treasurer. (previously: Atari (Consumer) controller)
July/August: Atari released (in the U.S.) Super Pong (C-140; 4 game variations; 2 players) (newspaper ad; $79.88 through Aug. 7). Outside of the U.S Atari would release: Hockey Pong (C-121; 1-2 players; 4 game variations) and Pong Doubles (C-160; 2-4 players).
August: Sears announced/promoted (in the U.S.) 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 (same as Atari Super Pong Ten C-180). Outside of the U.S., Sears would ship Tele-Games Pong IV (#99717; 2-4 players) by Atari (same as Atari Pong Doubles C-160)
August: Atari released Le Mans.
August: Programmer Larry Kaplan, previously of Control Systems Industries, joined Atari (Consumer) as a game designer. (Hired by Larry Wagner and Bob Brown, Kaplan was the first person Atari hired specifically to design games for the VCS.)
September 7: Warner Communications, Inc. (WCI) announced it had signed a contract to purchase controlling interest in Atari, Inc. Warner EVP 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)
October 1: Atari, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warner Communications, Inc. (WCI). One term of the sale was that Warner would fund the establishment of 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).
Nolan Bushnell, previously Atari chairman, would continued as Atari Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer. Joe Keenan, previously Atari president, would continue as Atari President and Co-Chief Executive Officer.
Sue Elliot, with Atari since summer/fall 1973, would be promoted to International Marketing Administrator (replacing Ron Gordon who departed the company).
New corporate headquarters for Atari, in a complex called Moffett Park: 1265 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale, CA, USA. The corporate campus included six buildings with over 275,000 square feet. By fall Atari would include 800 employees.
October: Atari released Night Driver (original upright version).
October: Engineer David R. Stubben joined Atari.
Fall: New hires at Atari (Consumer): Kerry Crosson would be new products manager; Michael C. Shea (Mike Shea) would be VP/director of marketing; Malcolm Kuhn would be VP/director of sales; M. John Ellis, previously of National Semiconductor, would be VP engineering.
Fall: Gene N. Landrum joined Atari to establish a Restaurant Operating Division and serve as its general manager. (previously: general manager of the consumer products division of National Semiconductor)
Fall: First issue of Coin Connection, "Atari's official monthly newsletter," where Atari announced Compugraph Foto and the Atari Theatre Kiosk.
October/November: At Atari, Carol Kantor was Manager of Marketing Services; Eddie Boasberg was Pinball Marketing Coordinator.
November: Atari established an Electronic Board Game division. Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP engineering (coin operated games), became Atari VP Engineering, Electronic Board Game Division and Coin Operated Games.
November: Atari released Kee Games 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 Atari VP administration. (previously: Atari assistant treasurer)
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)(designers/engineers: Bob Brown, with Harold Lee of MOS Sorcery) and Super Pong Ten (C-180) at the 5th annual Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Chicago (the last Winter CES held in Chicago). Kerry Crosson was Atari (Consumer) new products manager.
January: Don Smith was manager of Customer Service at Atari (Coin-Op). Gil Williams remained Atari Pinball Division Manager. (CC 2/77)
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 remained International Marketing Administrator at Atari.
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, as did Gary Palmer.
February: Edward J. (Eddie) Boasberg was Operations Manager/Marketing Coordinator, Pinball Division at Atari.
February 20: Atari released Super Pong Ten (C-180; 1-4 players; 10 game variations) (newspaper ad; $119.95).
March: Gil Williams remained Atari Pinball Division Manager. 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.
Spring/Summer: Outside of the U.S. 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)
May: Atari released Sprint 8 (eight player version of Sprint 2).
May: Programmer Brad Stewart joined Atari (Consumer) (under manager Bob Brown).
May 16: Atari opened the initial "prototype" Pizza Time Theatre at 370 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose, California, in Town and Country Village. 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 remained Atari Restaurant Operating Division General Manager.
June: At the 12th annual summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at McCormick Place in Chicago, using the slogan "We take fun seriously" 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 and Ron Milner 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..
Month?: Engineer Harry Jenkins joined Atari. (Al Alcorn remained Atari VP engineering)
Month?: Mike Hally joined Atari as Pinball division mechanical engineer.
Month?: Engineer Richard Simone joined Atari as LSI Design Manager. He was previously with National Semiconductor. Simone was to head large-scale integration chip design for Atari dedicated game consoles, while Synertek's Jay Miner was to head Atari's LSI chip design for cartridge-based game consoles (and computers). (Atari User #4)
July: Atari released Starship 1.
Summer: John Vurich, previously with National Semiconductor, joined Atari (Consumer) as new products manager. Kerry Crosson, previously Atari (Consumer) new products manager, would be project manager and assigned marketing responsibility for the new Atari Professional Products Division.
August 1: Atari released the Video Computer System (VCS) (obscure newspaper ad; $169.88; $190 list). 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
September 11: Atari released Video Pinball (C-380; 1-2 players; "7 Great Games Featuring Breakout") (Macy's newspaper ad, $80; the ad more prominently featured the VCS for $180)
September: Gil Williams remained Atari VP and general manager of the Pinball Division. (CC 9/77)
September: Programmer David Crane joined Atari (Consumer) as a video game designer. He was hired by Alan Miller.
September: Atari released Kee Games Super Bug.
September: Atari released 2 Game Module (cabinet that houses 2 games facing opposite directions), and released Airborne Avenger (pinball).
September 18-22: Atari attended the annual convention of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) in Toronto. Games featured included Time 2000.
September 22: Sears released the Tele-Games Video Arcade Cartridge Telegames System by Atari (#99743; same as the Atari VCS; $179.99). (newspaper ad) The Video Arcade shipped with Target Fun by Atari (same as Atari Air-Sea Battle), along with two Sears-branded Atari joystick controllers (same as Atari CX10) and a pair of Sears-branded paddle controllers (same as Atari CX30). The first 5 game cartridges shipped by Sears for the Video Arcade (or the Atari VCS): Tank-Plus by Atari (same as Atari Combat), Outer Space (same as Atari Space Mission / Star Ship), Speedway II by Atari (same as Atari Street Racer), Pong Sports by Atari (same as Atari Video Olympics), Blackjack by Atari.
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.
October 2-5: Atari featured Starship 1, Time 2000, and Super Bug at the Best Western 29th Annual Round-Up, "the world's largest convention of lodging executives," at the New Orleans Hilton.
October 13-16: At the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) show in Chicago, Atari introduced the Vending Kiosk concept (never shipped) and Destroyer and featured Airborne Avenger along with: Time 2000, The Atarians, Super Bug, Starship 1, Breakout, Triple Hunt, Sprint 2
October: Atari released Destroyer.
October 28-30: At the Amusement & Music Operators of America (AMOA) Exposition at the Conrad Hilton in Chicago, Atari featured Airborne Avenger, introduced Destroyer, Canyon Bomber, and Sprint 4, featured The Atarians, Time 2000, 2 Game Module, and F-1 with a new reinforced canopy, and also showed Super Bug, Sprint 2, Starship 1, Breakout, Triple Hunt.
October 31: Sears released Tele-Games Pinball Breakaway (#99713) by Atari (same as Atari Video Pinball), Tele-Games Motocross Sports Center IV (#99729) by Atari (same as 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). (newspaper ad)
Fall?: Atari and Dorsett Educational Systems reached a licensing agreement that would bring Dorsett's Talk & Teach Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) System to the Atari personal computer systems.
Fall: Jim Huether joined Atari (Consumer) as a game designer/programmer. (source)
November 2-5: The $250,000 World Championship Foosball Festival was held at the Gateway Convention Center in St. Louis. Tournament Soccer, Schlitz, and Atari were the event sponsors. An Atari arcade was set up at the event, Atari sponsored a buffet barbeque, and a Breakout tournament was held: Bob Curtin won an Atari VCS for 1st place, while Paul Wolack and Jim Campbell won Atari Video Music Systems for 2nd and 3rd place.
November 12: Atari released Stunt Cycle (C-450; 2 or 4 players; 4 game variations). (newspaper ad; $68.88)
November: Atari released Canyon Bomber.
November: Programmer Warren Robinett joined Atari (Consumer) as a game designer.
November 17: Atari released Ultra Pong Doubles (C-402(D); 2 to 4 players; 32 game variations)). (newspaper ad; $39.99)
November 19-21: At the IAAPA Exposition at Rivergate Exposition Center in New Orleans, Atari introduced Ultra Tank, introduced Wolf Pack (never released), and also featured: Sprint 4, Canyon Bomber, Destroyer, Airborne Avenger, The Atarians, Time 2000
December 1: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering, Electronic Board Game Division and Coin Operated Games, became Atari VP Engineering and Plant Manager Pinball Production. Dave Stubben would be promoted to Atari VP engineering, Coin Operated Games, replacing Bristow in the role. M. John Ellis, previously Atari VP engineering Consumer division, would be Atari VP engineering, Consumer division and Electronic Board Game division, replacing Bristow in the additional role.
December 7: Atari released Ultra Pong (C-402(S); 16 game variations). (newspaper ad; $36.99)
December: Atari released Sprint 4 (four-player version of Sprint 2).
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: Atari released Kee Games Ultra Tank. This was the last release to carry the Kee Games brand.
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: Raymond E. Kassar, president of R.E. Kassar Corp. (Egyptian apparel importer) and previously executive vice president and head of the home furnishings division at Burlington Industries, was hired by Warner Communications for an evaluation of Atari. (Kassar interview)
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: R.E. Kassar Corp. president Ray Kassar joined Atari as senior consultant and Atari (Consumer) general manager (6-month appointment). (NYT 1/5/79 and Kassar interview)
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 VP 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. He was hired by Mike Albaugh.
Spring: Dennis D. Groth, previously of Arthur Young & Co., joined Atari as VP finance (CFO), replacing Bill White who departed the company.
May: Atari released Space War (Sears title: Space Combat) and Hangman (Sears title: Spelling) for the VCS.
May: At Atari (Consumer), George Simcock was director of software development, having replaced Larry Wagner in the role. Larry Wagner had started an advanced R & D laboratory. (Bob Brown remained division director of R&D.) (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 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?: Engineer Rich Moore joined Atari (Coin-Op).
Month?: Rich Adam joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a Pinball division programmer.
Month?: Dave Theurer joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer/game designer.
Month?: Atari released Outlaw (Sears title: Gunslinger) for the VCS.
Month?: Donald Thompson, previously Atari (Consumer) national sales manager, became Atari (Consumer) sales director, replacing Malcolm Kuhn who departed the company.
Summer: Engineer Rob Fulop joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer. He was hired by Manager, Software Engineering Steve Calfee.
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: Kevin Hayes joined Atari Ireland (new subsidiary being set up by Gil Williams, now Atari VP Manufacturing Ireland) as financial controller.
August: Atari released Brain Games, and Flag Capture (Sears title: Capture) for the VCS.
Summer/Fall?: Alan S. Henricks, previously consulting at Arthur Young & Co., joined Atari (Consumer) as division controller.
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 Ireland Gil Williams. The Atari Ireland management team would also include Tommy Martinez and Phillip Stewart.
September: R.E. Kassar Corp. president Ray Kassar agreed to continue with Atari as senior consultant and Atari (Consumer) general manager through the end of the year.
September: Steve Wright joined Atari (Consumer) as manager of LSI test. 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 M. John Ellis in the role. Dave Stubben, previously Atari VP engineering, Coin Operated Games, would become Atari VP engineering Coin Operated Games and Pinball production (replacing Bristow as head of Atari pinball engineering). M John Ellis, previously Atari VP engineering Consumer division, would continue as Atari VP engineering, Electronic Toys & Games.
October: Atari released Atari Football.
Fall: Atari (Professional Products) announced the VIDCOM I ($299) and VIDCOM II ($499) portable communications system for the non-verbal, including an advertisement (original scan by mc 2013) on page 386 in the Oct/Nov issue of The Volta Review (journal of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing). (see also Atarimuseum's VIDCOM page) Kerry Crosson was project manager and head of marketing for the division.
Fall: Atari shipped the VCS (PAL I version) in the UK.
Fall?: Sears released Race (same as Atari Indy 500) for the Tele-Games Video Arcade/Atari VCS.
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: Warner Communications appointed Ray Kassar as Atari president and CEO (previously: president of R.E. Kassar Corp., Atari senior consultant, and Atari (Consumer) general manager). Joe Keenan, previously Atari president and Co-CEO, was appointed Atari chairman of the board. Nolan Bushnell, previously Atari chairman and Co-CEO, was to continue to serve Atari in the development of coin-operated games (but he would shortly depart the company). (Cumma press release 7 Jan 1984 for date; NYT 1/4/79 two articles)
December: Atari released Basketball for the VCS.
Atari sold 800,000 VCS units in 1978 (InfoWorld Nov 28, 1983 p. 157)
January (1-5?): Atari Engineer Joe Decuir departed the company.
January (1-5?): Atari (Consumer) manager, product planning (home computers) John Vurich departed the company.
January (1-5?): Atari (Consumer) shut down its research and development activities. Departures from the company included advanced R&D lab initiator Larry Wagner and division director of R&D Bob Brown.
January (1-5): Don Kingsborough, previously of DK Marketing, joined Atari (Consumer) as Director of Sales & Marketing, replacing Donald Thompson (sales) and Michael Shea (marketing) who both departed the company.
January 6-9: Warner Communications announced, and Atari previewed, the Atari-400 Personal Computer and the Atari-800 Personal Computer at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The 400 would come with 8KiB of RAM and was expected to retail for approximately $500. The 800 would ship with 8KiB of RAM, expandable to 48KiB, and would sell for approximately $1,000. Peripherals announced/previewed: custom tape cassette recorder (410), high speed floppy disc (810), 40-column printer (820). Software applications promised: "personal financial management, income tax preparation, household and office record keeping, computer aided instruction in over 20 subject areas including math, English, history, literature, economics, psychology, auto mechanics, and many others." Games promised: Basketball, Chess (would ship as: Computer Chess), Life (would ship as: Video Easel), Kingdom, Lemonade Stand (would ship from APX as: Lemonade), Fur Trader (never shipped), Stock Market (never shipped). Programming language promised: BASIC. Availability dates were not announced. Atari (Consumer) programmer Larry Kaplan served as the face/voice of the Atari computers presentation at the show. Don Kingsborough was Atari (Consumer) Director of Sales & Marketing. Emanuel Gerard represented the Office of the President, WCI. Coverage of the introduction of the Atari 400/800 from Creative Computing magazine: http://mcurrent.name/atari1979/ (see also The Intelligent Machines Journal Issue 2, 79 Jan 17)
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.
Finally, Atari privately showed/previewed Electronic Toys & Games including Touch Me at the show.January: Dale Yocum joined Atari (Consumer) as manager of applications software development for the personal computer division.
January: Engineer Ed Rotberg joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer.
January: Jed Margolin joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a hardware engineer (hired by Dave Stubben, head of Atari (Coin-Op) engineering).
January 23-25: Atari was represented by Cherry Leisure (UK) at the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) in London.
February 12-21: Atari (Consumer) introduced Touch Me (Electronic Toys & Games, BH-100) at the Knickerbocker Toy Co. (fellow Warner Communications Inc. subsidiary) booth at the 1979 American Toy Fair in New York.
February: Synertek/Atari engineer Jay Miner departed the companies. (Atari Inc.: Business is Fun, p. 386)
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?: Dennis Groth was promoted from Atari VP finance (CFO) to Atari SVP finance (CFO).
Spring: Peter N. Rosenthal joined Atari (Consumer) as Director of Marketing, Personal Computer Systems.
May 11-13: At the 4th West Coast Computer Faire, held in San Francisco's Civic Auditorium & Brooks Hall, in a booth as elaborate as those seen at Consumer Electronics Shows, Atari demonstrated its new 400 and 800 series computers. This was Atari's first public display of their new computer product lines. (Intelligent Machines Journal 79 Jun 11 p8) In addition to business & household management software, educational applications promised: Algebra (would ship as: Basic Algebra), Economics (would ship as: Principles of Economics), Auto Mechanics (never shipped), Sociology (would ship as: Basic Sociology), U.S. History, Zoology (never shipped), Counseling Procedures, Vocabulary Builder (never shipped), Basic Psychology, Spelling, Spanish (never shipped), Accounting (would ship as: Principles of Accounting), Carpentry (never shipped), Great Classics, Statistics (never shipped), Basic Electricity, World History. Entertainment applications promised: Chess (would ship as: Computer Chess), Backgammon (never shipped), business simulations, Stock Market Simulation (never shipped), space adventure, strategy games, Four-Player Basketball (would ship as: Basketball), Superbug Driving Game (never shipped), Game of Life (would ship as: Video Easel), Super Breakout. Also promised: Atari BASIC
May: Atari released Atari Basketball, and released Subs (2 players, 2 monitors).
June 3-6: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari promised that the 400/800 base units would ship fall 1979, and featured a firmed 400/800 product line including suggested retail prices. 400 system with BASIC cartridge and Atari BASIC (Wiley Self-Teaching Guide): $549.99; 800 system with BASIC cartridge, Education System Master Cartridge, Atari BASIC (Wiley Self-Teaching Guide), 410 Program Recorder, and Guide to BASIC Programming cassette: $999.99; 810 Disc Drive: $749.99; 820 Printer: $599.99; 410 Program Recorder: $89.99; 8K RAM Memory Module: $124.99; 16K RAM Memory Module: $249.99; Driving Controller Pair: $19.95; Paddle Controller Pair: $19.95; Joystick Controller Pair: $19.95; ROM cartridges: Education System Master Cartridge (would ship as: Educational System Master Cartridge), Basketball, Life (would ship as: Video Easel), Super Breakout, Super Bug (never shipped), Atari BASIC, Assembler Debug (would ship as: Assembler Editor), Music Composer, Computer Chess, Home Finance (later: Personal Finance; never shipped); Educational System cassette programs: U.S. History, U.S. Government, Supervisory Skills, World History (Western), Basic Sociology, Counseling Procedures, Principles of Accounting, Physics, Great Classics (English), Business Communications, Basic Psychology, Effective Writing, Auto Mechanics (never shipped), Principles of Economics, Spelling, Basic Electricity, Basic Algebra; BASIC game and program cassettes: Guide to BASIC Programming (would ship as: An Invitation to Programming 1: Fundamentals of BASIC Programming), BASIC Game Programs (never shipped); diskettes: Blank Diskettes (would ship as: 5 Diskettes), Disk File Manager (would ship as: Master Diskette).
Also, Atari introduced the VCS titles (for a total of 32 available): Bowling, Canyon Bomber, Casino, Human Cannonball, Miniature Golf, Slot Machine.
Don Kingsborough remained director of sales and marketing for Atari (Consumer).
June 15: Atari announced Federal Communications Commission Type I approval for the Atari 400 and Atari 800 personal computer systems, along with the Atari Program Recorder (410). The Atari 400/800 were the only home computers to ever comply with the FCC Type I stringent requirement against RF interference, before the FCC subsequently relaxed the rules. It was the 29th consecutive Atari product approval by the FCC.
June: Atari (Consumer) hired LO*OP Center executive director Liza Loop as a consultant/technical writer, personal computer systems. She would write the Operator's Manuals for the 400/800 computers, printer, and serial peripherals.
June: Atari (Consumer) programmer/game designer Warren Robinett departed the company.
June: Atari released Atari Baseball.
June: Atari released the VCS title Superman.
Month?: Tandy Trower joined Atari (Consumer) as personal computers product manager (replacing the departed John Vurich in the role).
Month?: Charles S. Paul (Skip Paul) joined Atari as general counsel. Paul was previously with the San Francisco law firm Cooley, Godward, Castro, Huddleson & Tatum for 3 years.
Month?: Fred M. Gerson joined Atari (Coin-Op) as division controller. Gerson was previously an audit manager with Arthur Young & Co.
Month?: Atari (Coin-Op) engineer Rob Fulop transferred to the Atari (Consumer) division as a game designer/programmer.
Month?: Atari LSI Design Manager Richard Simone departed the company.
July: Atari released the VCS title BASIC Programming.
July: At the Coin-Operated Games Division of Atari, Gene Lipkin became President (previously: VP 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. Robert A. Hovee joined Atari (Consumer) as VP Marketing & Sales for personal computers. Peter Rosenthal would remain director of marketing for personal computers. Don Kingsborough, previously Atari (Consumer) Director of Sales & Marketing, departed the company.
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 (Consumer) programmer / game designer Larry Kaplan departed the company.
Summer/Fall: The Atari (Coin-Op) Pinball division was shut down.
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.)
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, Texas. The location would manufacture home video game cartridges. (source)
September: Atari VP Manufacturing Ireland Gil Williams 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.
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)
Fall: Atari shipped Touch Me (BH-100).
Fall: Carla Meninsky joined Atari (Consumer) as a game designer. George Simcock remained Atari (Consumer) director of software development; Dennis Koble was VCS software group manager. (source)
November: Conrad Jutson, previously of Texas Instruments, joined Atari (Consumer) as VP Sales & Marketing, Personal Computers, replacing Robert A. Hovee who departed the company. (Compute!s 1st Book p2 for date) Peter Rosenthal remained Atari (Computer) director of marketing.
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?: Warner Communications appointed Ray Kassar as Atari chairman and CEO (previously: Atari president and CEO), replacing the departed Joe Keenan as Atari chairman.
November: Michael J. Moone (Mike Moone), previously VP and General Manager of Milton Bradley Co., joined Atari as president of the Consumer Division.
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
November: Atari shipped the 400 personal computer system.
November/December: Atari shipped the 800 personal computer system (with 410 program recorder).
December: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering, Consumer and Home Computer Division, became Atari VP Engineering, Consumer Game Division. Dave Stubben, previously Atari VP engineering, Coin Operated Games and Pinball production, would become VP engineering for the new Atari Computer division (replacing Bristow in the role). Noah Anglin, previously Atari (Coin-Op) engineering director, would become Atari VP of Engineering and Manufacturing, Coin Operated Games (replacing Dave Stubben and the departed Gil Williams in the two roles).
Four of the top ten money-making coin games of 1979 were by Atari: Atari Football, Sprint 2, Super Breakout, Video Pinball
January 5-8: 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 (earlier: Home Finance; never shipped). 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). Atari announced a licensing agreement to market eight computer investment-application programs designed by Control Data Corp for use with Atari personal computer systems.
For the VCS Atari introduced 6 new Game Programs, to ship one title per month over the first half of the year: Space Invaders (title by Taito), 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 VP marketing and sales for Atari (Consumer).
January?: For the 400/800 Atari shipped: 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Star Raiders
January: Atari released Space Invaders for the VCS. Atari had obtained an exclusive consumer market license for the title directly from Taito, original developer of the arcade release, in the first such arrangement in the industry. (The 1978 "Space Invaders" release by Bally for the Bally Professional Arcade home system would no longer be sold under that title.) Space Invaders would become the first "killer application" for the Atari VCS.
January: Chris Crawford, previously Atari (Consumer) VCS game designer, transferred to the Atari (Personal Computer) Applications group (under manager of applications software development Dale Yocum).
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: For the 400/800 Atari shipped the 810 disk drive (with DOS I) and the 820 printer.
February: Atari released Adventure for the VCS. Adventure contained the first Easter Egg known to appear in any video game.
February 17-20: Atari introduced the Electronic Games Space Invaders (never shipped) and Breakout (never shipped) at the American Toy Fair in New York.
March 1: Atari Elektronik Vertriebsgesellschaft ("The Atari electronics sales company"), headed by CEO Klaus Ollmann, was established in Hamburg West Germany as a subsidiary of WEA Music GmbH. (source), and the Atari VCS (PAL B/G version) shipped in Germany.
March?: For the 400/800 Atari shipped: Music Composer
March?: Atari released 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe for the VCS.
March: Science Research Associates (SRA) and Atari announced that SRA would develop educational computer courseware in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, intended for Atari personal computers used in the home; Atari would have the right to market this software. Additionally, SRA would have primary responsibility for the sale of Atari personal computers and services to the educational community (public and private, pre-school through university level).
March: Dennis Groth, previously Atari SVP finance (CFO) had been promoted to Atari EVP and CFO. (WCI 1979 Annual Report )
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?: Atari released Golf for the VCS.
April: LO*OP Center executive director Liza Loop concluded her work as a consultant (computers in education) and technical writer for Atari (Personal Computer).
April: Lyle Rains, previously Atari (Coin-Op) manager of Electrical Engineering, was named Atari (Coin-Op) Director of Engineering. Noah Anglin remained Atari (Coin-Op) VP of Engineering and Manufacturing.
April 18-20: Atari exhibited at the International Coin Machine Trade Show in New York City.
May?: Atari released Night Driver for the VCS.
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 VP, Finance for the Coin-Operated Games Division of Atari. (previously: division controller)
June?: Atari released Circus Atari for the VCS (Sears title: Circus).
June?: Atari (Coin-Op) designer Roger Hector became Atari Manager-Advanced Products (under Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn). He would be assisted by Harry Jenkins in the role.
June?: The Atari Professional Products Division was shut down, and division project manager and head of marketing Kerry Crosson departed the company.
June: Dona Bailey joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer.
June 15-18: 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 16KiB RAM (up from 8KiB); the 410 program recorder and Educational System Master Cartridge were removed from the package; the 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?: John S. Farrand, previously Managing Director at Music Hire Group Limited, a UK company specializing in coin-operated music systems (juke boxes), joined Atari (Coin-Op) as president of international operations.
July: Engineer Tim McGuinness joined Atari (Computer) as Hardware Design Engineer.
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.
Summer: The Atari (Consumer) Electronic Toys & Games division was shut down, and Atari VP engineering, electronic toys & games division M. John Ellis departed the company.
August: Atari released Missile Command Cocktail.
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: Roger H. Badertscher joined Atari as the first president of the new division, Atari (Computer). Badertscher was previously VP and general manager of the microprocessor division of Signetics, an electronics semiconductor manufacturer. (InfoWorld 7/26/82p29 for date)
September: Shane Breaks arrived at Atari Ireland to serve as International Director of Marketing (Coin-Op).
Fall: For the VCS Atari released: Maze Craze, Video Checkers, Dodge 'Em, Championship Soccer (later re-released as Pelé's Soccer)
Fall?: Sears released Tele-Games Steeplechase by Atari and Tele-Games Stellar Track by Atari.
Fall?: Brenda K. Laurel, previously of Cybervision, joined Atari (Computer) as Manager, Software Strategy (educational software designer; essentially replacing the departed consultant Liza Loop)
Fall?: Keith E. Schaefer joined Atari (Computer) as National Sales Manager. Conrad Jutson remained Atari (Computer) VP Sales & Marketing.
Fall: For the 400/800 Atari shipped the 822 printer.
August: Atari Coin-Operated Games division co-president Gene Lipkin departed the company (ataribook for month). Joe Robbins, previously the other co-president of the division, would now be the sole President of the Coin-Operated Games Division.
October: For the 400/800, Personal Software introduced VisiCalc.
October: Jose A. Valdes joined Atari as development engineer.
November: At the 1980 AMOA Show in Chicago, using the theme "StarGate 80" Atari released Battlezone (original standard upright version) and also featured Missile Command. Atari Asteroids received the Play Meter Award for video game excellence as the highest earning video game of 1980.
December: At Atari (Computer), Applications group programmer Chris Crawford (having completed Energy Czar and SCRAM) was promoted to supervisor of the Software Development Support Group.
December: Atari released Battlezone Cabaret.
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; see Atarimuseum's 2700 page) and announced the Cosmos Programmable Game System (EG500; Alcorn / Jenkins / Hector; never shipped; see Atarimuseum's Cosmos page). 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) and introduced the Cosmos Programmable Game System (EG500; never shipped).
Atari announced that the 400 would now ship in two versions: original 8KiB RAM version at the new list price of US$499.95 (previously: US$630), or new 16KiB RAM version for 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 11: Howard Scott Warshaw joined Atari (Consumer) as a video game engineer. (ataribook for date)
January 12-15: At the Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) at the Olympia in London, Atari was represented by UK 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 (Consumer) VP marketing & sales Bill Grubb departed the company.
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.
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 VP of Engineering. Curt Russell would become VP of Manufacturing.
February 2: Atari announced that Rigdon Currie, previously of Diablo, had joined Atari (Computer) as VP marketing, replacing Conrad Jutson as head of computer marketing. Barry Berghorn, previously Memorex VP for consumer and media products, would join Atari (Computer) as sales & ___, replacing Conrad Jutson as head of computer sales. (WeeklyTVDigest) Mark A. Lutvak would join Atari (Computer) as director of product marketing, replacing Tandy Trower who departed the company. Peter Rosenthal, previously Atari (Computer) director of marketing, would become Atari (Computer) VP business planning.
February 2?: Atari announced that Ron Stringari had joined Atari (Consumer) as VP Marketing. Stringari was previously at Sears for 16 years, where he had worked with Atari on marketing the VCS. Bill Sobieski would join Atari (Consumer) as VP sales. (Stringari and Sobieski replaced the departed Bill Grubb in their respective roles.) Conrad Jutson, previously Atari (Computer) VP Sales & Marketing, would become Atari (Consumer) VP market planning.
February 15-17: Atari featured the Cosmos Programmable Game System (never shipped) at the American Toy Fair in New York.
February: Atari created the Atari Program Exchange (APX) unit. Dale Yocum, previously Atari (Computer) manager of applications software development, had proposed the concept and would be APX manager. Paul Laughton, previously Staff Engineer (contract engineer) with Shepardson Microsystems, Inc. (SMI), joined Atari (Computer) as Manager, Software Development, replacing Dale Yocum in the role. Fred Thorlin remained Atari (Computer) Manager of the Atari Software Acquisition Program (ASAP).
March?: Bruce W. Irvine joined Atari as VP software, Atari Computer Division.
March: Atari released Video Pinball for the VCS.
March: Atari (Coin-Op) named Frank Ballouz VP of Marketing (previously: director of marketing), and named Don Osborne VP 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 VP 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: Atari opened a new VCS cartridge manufacturing facility in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. VCS cartridge manufacturing continued at El Paso TX as well.
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.
Spring: Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn departed the company. Atari Manager-Advanced Products Roger Hector would head the Atari Advanced Products Group, replacing Alcorn in the role.
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 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: Paul Cubbage joined Atari (Computer) as Acquisition Manager (under ASAP manager Fred Thorlin).
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: 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 VP of quality assurance at Atari Coin-Op.
May 4-7: At the National Computer Conference in Chicago, Atari announced that the 8KiB Atari 400 was being discontinued and that the price on the 16KiB version was being reduced to US$399 (was US$630); also, the Atari BASIC cartridge and Atari BASIC (Wiley Self-Teaching Guide) book would no longer be included with the now "mass market packaged" 400. 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 Atari 400/800 software distribution unit. Dale Yocum was APX Manager. 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.
May 31-June 3: Summer CES in Chicago.
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.
June: Atari Manager-Advanced Products Roger Hector departed the company. Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Engineering, Consumer Game Division, became Atari VP Advanced Technology (Consumer electronics), replacing Hector as head of the Atari Advanced Products Group. Engineer Michel A. Ebertin, previously consumer product development director at National Semiconductor, would join Atari as VP Consumer engineering (replacing Bristow in the role).
June: At Atari (Home Computer), Leslie Wolf joined the division as Software/Hardware Product Manager (educational products). Brenda Laurel, previously Manager, Software Strategy (educational software designer), became mangaer, software marketing. Bruce Irvine remained VP software.
Month? James Alan Cook (Jamie Cook) joined Atari as VP and Counsel of Atari's Home Computer division.
Month?: Atari purchased Amplifone Corp. of Brownsville TX, expanding the manufacturing capabilities of Atari (Coin-Op).
Month?: Atari shipped the VCS (SECAM version) in France.
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)
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) where he would be Director of hardware Engineering. (Dave Stubben remained Atari (Home Computer) VP engineering.)
July 17: Atari (Consumer) VCS software group manager Dennis Koble, Atari (Consumer) game designer Rob Fulop, Atari (Consumer) programmer / programming supervisor Bob Smith, and Atari (Consumer) national accounts manager Mark Bradley had departed the company (to help co-found Imagic with departed Atari (Consumer) VP marketing & sales Bill Grubb).
July/August: Atari released Asteroids for the VCS.
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) VP Marketing
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.)
Summer/Fall: For the 400/800 Atari shipped the kits: The Communicator, The Entertainer, The Programmer, The Educator
Summer/Fall: The Atari 400/800 arrived in the UK, along with the 410, 810, 822, and 850. (Your Computer, June/July 1981 p5) The 400 was advertised in both 8KiB and 16KiB versions, but the 8KiB version never shipped in the UK.
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: 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).
September: Atari (Consumer) programmer Brad Stewart had departed the company (and joined Imagic). (source)
Fall: APX Catalog for the 400/800 introduced:
Data Management System,
Financial Asset Management System,
Personal Fitness Program,
Video Math Flashcards,
747 Landing Simulator,
Eastern Front (1941),
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,
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). Dale
Yocum was APX manager.
Fall: Atari established a New York City Research Laboratory (Atari NY Lab), headed by Steve Mayer, newly appointed as Atari VP research and product development (replacing the departed Al Alcorn in the role) and senior executive consultant to the office of the president of Warner Communications Inc. (previously: Cyan Engineering senior engineer). The lab would develop advanced products for Atari, and would also be a focus for joint research projects with other subsidiaries of WCI. (source)(source)(ataribook for date)
October: Atari Coin-Op division supervisor, electrical engineering Howard Delman and senior staff engineer Ed Rotberg both departed the company. (Delman and Rotberg, along with Roger Hector, would found Avid, Inc., later known as Videa).
October: Dr. Alan Kay, previously a Xerox Fellow at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), joined Atari (Corporate) in the new position of VP/Chief Scientist (InfoWorld 5/21/84 for date). Kay would be responsible for the new Atari Corporate Research unit.
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 Atari VP consumer engineering.
October 29-31: At the AMOA at the Conrad Hilton in Chicago, using the theme "The Atari Era" Atari released Tempest Upright (original version; Atari's first game to feature their QuadraScan Color vector monitor display system) and featured Centipede.
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 1: For the 400/800, Atari 810 disk drives began shipping with DOS II version 2.0S (replacing the original Atari DOS I).
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.
December: Atari released Tempest Cocktail, and released Tempest Cabaret.
December: At Atari (Home Computer), Keith Schaefer was promoted from National Sales Manager to sales VP. (WeeklyTVDigest p.dcclxv 12/28/81) (replacing the departed Barry Berghorn)
December: Chris Crawford, previously Atari (Home Computer) Software Development Support Group supervisor, became Atari (Corporate) Manager, Games Research Group, Atari Corporate Research. (So far the new Atari Corporate Research unit consisted of Atari (Corporate) VP/chief scientist Alan Kay, Kay's administrative assistant Wanda Royce, Chris Crawford, and Crawford's employee Larry Summers.)
December 30: Atari said that it would cut the retail price for the 800 home computer (with 16KiB RAM and newly "mass market packaged") 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) VP 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 VP of marketing.
January: Jan Soderstrom, with Atari since 1980, was Atari VP advertising.
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: Atari general counsel Charles S. Paul (Skip Paul) was promoted to Atari SVP and Chief Legal Counsel (general counsel).
Winter: Franz Lanzinger joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a software engineer.
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 13: Opening of the 79th American Toy Fair. Was Atari there???
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 new/expanded manufacturing facilities in El Paso, Texas, and Fajardo, Puerto Rico, with a combined employment of 1400 people. In El Paso TX Atari was opening a $7 million home video game cartridge manufacturing plant at 11440 Pellicano Dr. (source) Paul J. Malloy was Atari (Consumer Electronics) SVP of manufacturing and operations.
March: Atari (Corporate) VP/chief scientist Alan Kay founded the Atari Sunnyvale Research Laboratory, which would serve as the primary home of Atari Corporate Research. Dr. Kristina Hooper, previously assistant professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, would join the unit as Director of the lab. Chris Jeffers would be manager of administration for corporate research. The Games Research Group would eventually include manager Chris Crawford, Larry Summers, Douglas Crockford, Randall Smith, Valerie Atkinson, Jim Dunion, Aric Wilmunder, Kim Whitmore. Systems Research Group hires (many personally recruited by Alan Kay) would eventually include: Michael Naimark, Brenda K. Laurel, Eric Gullichsen, Scott S. Fisher, Susan E. Brennan, Steve Gano, Eric A. Hulteen, William M. Bricken, Warren Robinett, Thomas G. Zimmerman, Jaron Lanier, Randal Walser; Michael Liebhold would be director of administrative support for the Group. The Interactive Animation Group would include Ann Marion (Principal Investigator / Program Manager) and Wayne Harvey. Research Engineering would eventually include: Gary Sikorski, Steve Saunders, Scott H. Foster, Sam Nicolino, John Howard Palevich, Bob Alkire, Jim Leiterman, Tim McGuinness (Senior Research Engineer / Assistant Director), Dale Yocum (Research Engineering Manager)
March: Atari released Pac-Man for the VCS.
March: Atari announced Atari Computer Camps. Linda Gordon was Atari VP of special projects (reporting directly to Atari chairman Ray Kassar).
March: Thomas M. McDonough joined Atari as SVP of sales and marketing in Atari's home computer division (NYT 12/19/82), replacing Rigdon Currie who had departed the company.
March?: At Atari (Consumer): Alan Henricks was now SVP finance, Paul J. Malloy remained SVP operations, and Lee Moyer (Leland L. Moyer) was SVP (of/for ?????); Michael Moone remained president of the division. (WCI Annual Rpt 1981)
March: Steve Bristow, previously Atari VP Advanced Technology, became Atari VP Engineering, AtariTel Division, as the Advanced Products Group transformed into AtariTel and would now report to Atari EVP Dennis Groth.
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. Dale Yocum remained APX Manager.
Spring: Fred Thorlin, previously Atari (Home Computer) ASAP manager, became APX General Manager. Dale Yocum, previously APX Manager, became Atari (Corporate) Research Engineering Manager. Paul Cubbage, previously Atari (Home Computer) acquisition manager, became APX Product Review manager. 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 announced the appointment (effective January 1982) of John Farrand as Atari (Coin-Op) EVP (previously: president of International Operations). Atari also announced the promotion of Don Osborne to Atari (Coin-Op) VP of sales and marketing (previously: Atari (Coin-Op) VP sales), taking on the responsibilities of former Atari (Coin-Op) VP marketing Frank Ballouz who had departed the company.
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 VP 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 VP and general counsel for the Consumer Products Group.
April: Atari released Dig Dug by Namco (original Upright version and European upright versions), and released Space Duel Cocktail.
April 16: "The Electronic and Computer Technician Vocational Education Incentive Grants Act" hearing before the Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education of the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, included testimony by Atari VP research and product development Steven Mayer.
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 (by Learning Multi-Systems), 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 suggested retail prices for the 400 (previously: US$399) at the show: first US$349 (CC Oct82 p180), then US$299 (Merch Jul82 p43). Keith Schaefer was VP of sales for Atari's Home Computer division.
June 6: Atari and Lucasfilm Ltd. announced that the two companies had joined creative forces for the purpose of developing and marketing video games for coin-operated games, home video games and home computers. Helen Gray was Atari VP Corporate Communications.
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: 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.
June: James A. Heisch, previously an audit partner with Arthur Young & Co., became Atari SVP finance (CFO). Dennis Groth, previously Atari EVP and CFO, remained Atari EVP.
Month?: Centuri released Tunnel Hunt by Atari.
Month?: Mark Cerny joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer/designer.
Month?: Brad Fuller joined Atari (Coin-Op) as director of audio.
Month?: John Hagel, previously Sequoia Group president, joined Atari (Consumer) as VP market planning, replacing Conrad Jutson in the role. Conrad Jutson, previously Atari (Consumer) VP market planning, became Atari VP strategic planning.
Month?: Stephen Race joined Atari International as VP 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 VP 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 VP 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 VP for special projects.
July 12: Theodore N. Voss (Ted Voss), previously of Polaroid, arrived at Atari as Atari SVP advertising and marketing. Jan Soderstrom remained Atari VP advertising.
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, SVP of sales and marketing for Atari's Home Computer Division.
July 15: "Measures to Address the Impact of Computer Technology on Lesser Developed Countries" hearing before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and the Subcommittee on Science, Research and Technology of the Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives, included testimony by Atari VP/chief scientist Alan Kay.
July: Atari (Corporate) Senior Research Engineer / Asst Director for Corporate Research Engineering Tim Mcguinness departed the company.
July: The Atari Corporate Research unit established the Atari Cambridge Research Laboratory in Cambridge MA. The lab's Director would be Cynthia Solomon, previously VP, Research & Development/Founder of Logo Computer Systems, Inc.
July: Chris Horseman joined Atari as VP for Software Engineering, Home Computer Division (replacing Bruce Irvine who departed the company).
July: Richard O'Keefe joined Atari (Consumer) as a programmer.
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, SVP of sales and marketing for Atari's Home Computer Division.
August: Atari released Berzerk for the VCS.
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 VP and general manager of American Can's Dixie and Dixie/Marathon unit, makers of consumer paper products.
September 3-5: Atari exhibited in the Technology Exposition at the 'US' Festival held at Glen Helen Regional Park, CA. (SoftSide #36p14-16)
September: The Atari Coin Games Division began going by the name, Coin Video Games Division.
September: Lee Henderson joined Atari as VP of field sales for the home video game division. (NYT 12/19/82) Bill Sobieski, previously Atari (Consumer) VP sales, departed the company.
September: For the VCS Atari released Star Raiders with Video Touch Pad (CX21) controller.
September: The Atari NY Lab was spun off from Atari to form WCI Labs Inc., a separate subsidiary of Warner Communications Inc. Steven Mayer, previously Atari VP research and product development, departed Atari. Mayer would be president of WCI Labs; he would remain senior executive consultant to the office of the president of WCI as well.
September/October: Atari announced the appointment of Atari (Coin-Op) EVP John 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 VP product development. George Kiss remained Atari (Consumer) director of software development.
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
October: Atari announced that as of October 22, new 800 computer systems would be sold with two "free" 16KiB RAM modules for a total of 48KiB, for the unchanged list price of $899. The new 800 systems would no longer ship with Atari BASIC, the BASIC Reference Manual, nor the Atari BASIC (Wiley Self-Teaching Guide) book. Keith Schaefer remained VP sales for the home computer division.
October: For the 2600 Atari released: RealSports Baseball, RealSports Volleyball, SwordQuest: EarthWorld
October 24-27: Atari (Coin Video Games) presented at the Congress of Recreation and Parks at the Commonwealth Convention Center, Louisville KY.
Fall?: Erwin N. Lenowitz, previously general manager of Revlon Vision Care International, became Atari VP finance. James Heisch remained Atari SVP finance (CFO).
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
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 VP of Atari Adventure Corp.
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: David N. Ruckert joined Atari (Consumer) (as VP marketing?). Ruckert was previously VP of marketing at the Bristol-Meyers Co. where he was employed for 16 years. (Atari PR 10/10/83 for date) Ron Stringari, previously Atari (Consumer) VP marketing, would become Atari (Consumer) VP of sales, merchandising and administration. Lee Henderson, previously VP of field sales for the Atari home video game division, departed the company. (NYT 12/19/82)
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. Helen Gray remained Atari VP of corporate communications.
November 18-20: At AMOA, held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, using the theme "The Next Decade" Atari released Millipede (original upright version), Pole Position by Namco (both Upright and Sit-Down), Liberator, and Quantum (by GCC for Atari). Atari also introduced the Atari Coin Executive coin accounting system (ACE; incorporating an Atari 800; never shipped)
November 18-20: IAAPA was held 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 EVP Dennis Groth for the Advanced Products Group for 6-8 months so far. Peter Wensberg has recently joined Atari to head the division (replacing Groth in the role). Wensberg was previously EVP and director of technical and industrial photography at Polaroid.
December 8: Atari announced that Perry Odak had departed as president of the Consumer Products Group. 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. Helen Gray remained Atari VP of corporate communications.
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 8: Atari announced that it had filed suit in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division against Coleco Industries, charging patent infringement and unfair competition under State and Federal law. Atari's lawsuit sought a preliminary and permanent injunction against the manufacture and sale of Coleco's Expansion Module No. 1 which was intended to allow Atari's VCS compatible cartridges to be played on the Colecovision home video game unit. Atari claimed that the Coleco cartridge adapter infringed two basic video game patents held by Atari--U.S. Patent No. 4,112,422 covering motion objects commonly referred to as players, missiles or sprites and U.S. Patent No. 4,314,236 relating to digital generation of sound and noise especially suitable to video games. Coleco said it would file a counterclaim charging violations of antitrust law by Atari.
December 13: Atari introduced the 1200XL home computer 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. In 400/800/1200XL software Atari introduced Galaxian (title by Namco) and Defender (title by Williams) (both already shipping for the holiday shopping season); announced Qix (title by Taito), E.T. Phone Home!, Dig Dug (title by Namco), Family Finances (enhanced combination of the two APX titles, Family Cash Flow and Family Budget), Timewise, AtariWriter, and AtariMusic I (previously: Music Tutor I); and again promoted: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, Juggles' House, and Juggles' Rainbow. 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: For the 400/800 Atari shipped Galaxian (title by Namco) and Defender (title by Williams) in time for the holiday shopping season.
December: Atari (Home Computer) SVP of sales and marketing Thomas M. McDonough departed the company. (NYT 12/19/82) Following McDonough's departure, Keith Schaefer would be promoted from VP sales to SVP sales.
December: Sherwin Gooch joined Atari (Home Computer), where he would be Manager, Applications Software and Telecommunications Products Group. He was previously Associate Director, Center for Music Research, Florida State University.
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.
December: Bruce Entin joined Atari as VP of Corporate Communications, replacing Helen Gray who departed the company.
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 5: At a press event held prior to the Winter CES, Atari introduced the VCS titles: Alpha Beam, Cookie Monster Munch, Big Bird's Egg Catch, Grover's Music Maker, and Oscar's Trash Race; announced its intention to develop home video games based on characters in the Peanuts comic strip, The Muppets, as well as Walt Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse; introduced Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede, Kangaroo, Dig Dug and Jungle Hunt; announced that more than 25 home video cartridges were planned for release in the first half of 1983 for the 2600 and 5200; and announced the Proline joystick and Trak-Ball controllers. Bruce Entin was Atari VP of Corporate Communications.
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 (CX60; would ship as 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). Future games based on The Muppets, along with two future un-named Peanuts games, were also announced.
Also at the show Atari featured the 1200XL, 1010, 1020, and 1025, introduced revised versions of the Programmer and Entertainer kits, featured Qix, E.T. Phone Home!, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Family Finances, Timewise, AtariWriter, Galaxian, Defender, and AtariMusic I, and introduced 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). The retail price for the 1200XL was announced at $899; the new suggested retail price for the 800 was $679 (previously: $899).
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 remained Atari (Home Computer) SVP 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: Jack Palevich (John Howard Palevich) joined Atari (Research).
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. (It would ship fall 1983.)January 31: Atari announced the appointment of Marcian E. Hoff Jr. (Ted Hoff), previously of Intel and "father of the microprocessor," as VP of research and development (replacing the departed Steven Mayer). In addition to oversight for the Atari Corporate Research unit (which would remain headed by Atari VP/chief scientist Alan Kay), Hoff would establish a new Atari Advanced Computer Technologies Design Center, home for the new Atari Advanced Engineering Group, which would include: Donald Teiser as Director of Advanced Engineering (previously: an Atari (Consumer) manager of software development), Jim Tittsler (previously of Atari (Consumer), Richard O'Keefe (previously of Atari (Consumer))
Winter: Atari shipped the AtariWriter cartridge for the 400/800/1200XL.
Winter?: Jeffrey A. Heimbuck, previously of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, joined Atari (Home Computer) as SVP marketing, replacing the departed Thomas McDonough.
Winter: Harv Johnson became the new director of The Atari Club (replacing Parker Jerrell).
February 9: At the 80th annual American Toy Fair in New York, in addition to featuring the 2600 and 5200, Atari announced the 2600 Computer, to be marketed as My First Computer (later: The Graduate; never shipped), add-on for the 2600. The 2600 Computer would include 8KiB RAM, expandable to 32KiB, and would sell for "under $90." (NYT Feb 10, 1983, pg. D4.) (press release)
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 that it would shift the bulk of its manufacturing - the production of its home computers and video games - from plants in Sunnyvale and San Jose, Calif., to Hong Kong and Taiwan. The move would permanently idle about 1,700 workers within the Home Computer Division and the Consumer Products Group. Notifications of layoffs to take effect Feb. 25 were sent to 600 workers; the rest would be notified in a series of layoffs over the next four months. Video game cartridges would continue to be produced in Puerto Rico. Atari employed about 7,000 people in the South San Francisco Bay Area and 11,000 worldwide. It had about 2,000 employees in the Far East and planned to increase this by about 1,000 to meet the new production demands. (AP 2/22; NYT 2/23; UPI 2/23; UPI 5/28)
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 8: Penril Corp., a Rockville-based electronics firm, had won a $4 million contract to provide low-cost communications modems to Atari. Penril was expected to ship roughly 100,000 modems (Atari 1030) by the middle of 1984, with delivery beginning July 1983. (Washington Post 3/8)
March 11: Atari Inc. and Coleco Industries announced they had settled their December 1982 lawsuits against each other. Under their settlement, the companies said Coleco could continue making and selling its ColecoVision Expansion Module No. 1 and also could ship its planned Atari 2600-compatible Gemini Video Game System. However, Coleco would do so as a licensee of Atari's patents, and would pay a royalty to Atari.
March: The Atari Coin Video Games Division announced the appointment of Jerry Marcus, previously president of Bally Midwest Distributing Company, as EVP of Sales. Don Osborne, previously VP of sales and marketing, was now VP of marketing. Shane Breaks remained VP of International Marketing and Sales.
March: Richard Glosman, previously director of media and programming at Bristol-Myers, joined Atari in corporate advertising. Jan Soderstrom remained Atari VP advertising and Ted Voss remained Atari SVP advertising and marketing.
March: First meeting of the Atari Youth Advistory Board, held at Atari headquarters in Sunnyvale. The 20 teenagers selected by Atari included: Anneke Wyman, Paul Sunshine, Tracey Cullinan, Matt Laborteaux, Todd Bridges, David Lurie, Daniel Janz, Musa Mustafa, Stephen Cohen, Tina Bartschat, John Dickerson, Julia Graz. Project coordinator at Atari was Noreen Lovoi.
March: Atari (Consumer) VP product development Larry Kaplan departed the company.
March?: Atari (Home Computer) Director of Engineering Larry Plummer departed the company. (Dave Stubben remained Atari (Home Computer) VP engineering.)
March: Atari shipped the 1200XL, suggested retail price US$899. (Kassar quote, acb 6/83)
March: Atari released Food Fight (by GCC for Atari).
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. "AtariTel represents Atari's fourth division, joining Home Computers, Coin-Operated Games, and the Consumer Products Group, which makes home video game products," Mr. Kassar said.
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.
March?: Atari featured the games Xevious, Food Fight, Pole Position, and Millipede, plus the Atari Coin Executive (ACE), at the Amusement Operators Expo '83 (AOE '83) at the O'Hare Expo Center in Chicago. (This was the 4th annual AOE, and Atari's first AOE.)
Spring: Arthur J. Gemmell was Atari SVP administration. (WCI annual rpt 1982). Gemmel had earlier replaced the departed John B. Anderson.
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.
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)
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 changed the pack-in game for the 5200 from Super Breakout to Pac-Man.
April 12: Atari International Nippon Inc. announced the 2800 (specially designed for the Japanese market after the Atari 2600 model), to become available to Japanese consumers for ¥24,800 on May 10 (would ship with two All-In-One Controller units (CX28)) along with 25 cartridge titles. Another 15 titles for the 2800 were to ship by the end of the year. Akira Uechi was president of Atari International Nippon.
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: Alan Van Campen remained National Sales Director at the Atari Coin Video Games Division.
April: Atari (Consumer) president Michael Moone departed the company. Donald Kingsborough would rejoin the company as Atari (Consumer) EVP marketing (head of the division). David Ruckert remained Atari (Consumer) SVP marketing.
April: Atari (Home Computer) Software Development Manager Paul Laughton departed the company.
April: Chris Horseman, previously Atari (Home Computer) VP software engineering, would become Atari VP advanced game design and head the new Atari Advanced Games Group.
April 26: Atari was expected to announce shortly that it would lay off between 500 and 800 employees in consolidating its Home Computer Division with the Consumer Electronics Division. (Washington Post 4/26) (See June 28 for confirmation.)
April/May?: Steve Calfee, previously Atari (Coin-Op) Director, Electrical Engineering and Software, would be Atari (Consumer/Home Computer) VP game design.
April/May?: Steve Wright, previously an Atari (Consumer) Product Manager, would be Atari (Consumer/Home Computer) Director Game Development. Atari (Consumer) director of software development George Kiss departed the company.
April/May?: Keith Schaefer, previously Atari (Home Computer) SVP sales, would continue as Atari (Consumer/Home Computer) SVP sales. Ron Stringari, previously Atari (Consumer) VP of sales, merchandising and administration, departed the company.
April/May?: John Hagel, previously Atari (Consumer) VP market planning, became Atari SVP strategic planning, replacing Conrad Jutson in the role. Conrad Jutson, previously Atari VP strategic planning, became Atari (Consumer/Home Computer) VP Sales.
April/May?: Atari (Home Computer) director of product marketing Mark Lutvak and Atari (Home Computer) VP business planning Peter Rosenthal both departed the company.
April/May?: In Atari (Consumer/Home Computer), consolidated under John Cavalier: Jeffrey Heimbuck would be SVP hardware marketing (previously: Home Computer SVP marketing), David Ruckert would be SVP entertainment software marketing (previously: Consumer VP marketing), and Linda Gordon would be SVP education / educational software marketing (previously: Atari VP special projects).
May: Fred Simon (previously with Walt Disney Productions) and Philip C. Restaino (previously with the Bristol-Meyers Co.) joined Atari (Consumer/Home Computer) in marketing.
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 20: Atari announced it would cut its payroll by 225 workers as of May 27, this beyond the 1,700 ongoing layoffs as announced on Feb. 22. The new reduction involved employees ranging from production workers to supervisors in video-game manufacturing. The El Paso location would transition from manufacturing home video game cartridges to "remanufacturing" (repairing faulty merchandise returned by vendors). Atari had about 5,000 employees in California and in manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Hong Kong and El Paso, Tex. (source; AP 5/21/83; NYT 5/24)
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 confirmed (NYT 6/2 pD5) a restructuring of its management and a consolidation of its home video game and home computer divisions. The new combined division would have three segments:
The presidents of the three segments would report to Raymond Kassar, Atari chairman and chief executive.
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:
1030 modem with
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 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 (home computer and
international name for CX60 Pro-Line Joystick; would ship as CX24). All-In-One-Pak kits
introduced/previewed: Programming System,
Entertainment System (never shipped), Writing
System (shipped as:
Atari Accountant (never shipped),
Home Manager (never shipped),
BASIC Tutor I. Software
introduced: Paint (SuperBoots
Software from Capital Children's Museum
via Reston), 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 introduced Alan Alda as spokesperson for Atari computers, in an arrangement to extend for the next 5 years. New list price for the close-out 400 computer: $199 (previously: $299)
Atari also announced the Atari Instructional Material Service (AIMS; later: Atari Learning Systems). Under AIMS, in the new AtariLab (earlier: ScienceLab) series (developed by Dickinson College) Atari introduced the Starter AtariLab (would ship as: AtariLab Starter Set with Temperature Module), and announced: the Math Arcademics series (Arcademic Skill Builders series by DLM; never shipped), Atari Sentences (never shipped), AtariLab Light Module (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1984), 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; would consist of: Conduit Algebra, Green Globs and Other Trig Diversions; both never shipped). Atari Products Co. SVP education Linda Gordon was head of AIMS.
For the 2600 Atari introduced: The Graduate (previously: 2600 Computer; 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.
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 15: Atari announced an exclusive license contract with Nintendo Co. of Japan to develop and sell game software based on Nintendo's "Mario Bros." video game.
June: For the 5200, Atari shipped the the Pro-Line Trak-Ball Controller (CX53).
June: Fred Gerson was promoted from Atari (Coin-Op) VP finance to Atari (Coin-Op) SVP finance.
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 28-29: In connection with the consolidation of the Consumer and Home Computer divisions, Atari was in the process of laying off about 1,000 Silicon Valley white-collar employees. About 500, particularly in engineering and marketing, received notice late the previous week and the rest would be notified throughout the summer. With the latest cutbacks, Atari employment in California's Santa Clara County would total about 4,000 primarily white-collar workers, down from 7,000 white-collar and blue-collar employees at the beginning of the year. (UPI 6/28; Globe&Mail 6/29)
June/July: Atari (Consumer) EVP finance Alan Henricks departed the company.
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)
Month?: Atari (Coin-Op) Sr. Software Engineer Rich Adam departed the company.
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, 8KiB or 16KiB versions). Jack Perron was APX product review manager (replacing Paul Cubbage in the role at APX). Fred Thorlin remained APX director.
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. The curriculum included programming in Atari Super PILOT (unreleased for the general public).
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 EVP of Philip Morris USA, handling the company's US$4.3 billion cigarette operations. In the interim before Morgan's arrival (September), Emanuel Gerard, Warner Communications office of the president and co-COO, would be responsible for Atari.
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: Atari SVP finance (CFO) James Heisch departed the company.
August?: At Atari (Coin), Frank Becker became National Field Service Manager (previously: regional field service manager) (replacing the departed Fred McCord).
August 15: A $13.6 million lawsuit was filed against Atari Inc. on behalf of 600 laid-off workers who claimed they weren't given advance notice of the layoffs on Feb. 22, and had been assured their jobs were secure. Attorney Linda Krieger filed the class-action suit in Santa Clara County Superior Court on behalf of fired employees Maria Carson and Rudolfo Villanueva.
September 6: James Morgan arrived at Atari as chairman and CEO (replacing the departed Ray Kassar).
September 7: Atari announced it would consolidate most of its 52 plants and offices in Silicon Valley into a $60 million new facility to be completed in 1985. Atari now employed 3,400 people at its 52 sites in Santa Clara County. Morgan said the plant in Milpitas, with 1,000 employees, would not be moved into the new facilities. (UPI 9/8)
September 8: Peter Wensberg had departed from his position as president of the AtariTel division of Atari. Richard Mier, previously AtariTel VP of marketing, would become Atari VP and AtariTel general manager. (NYT)
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 (Coin-Op) president John Farrand additionally became Atari director of engineering, responsible for all Atari hardware and software design. (InfoWorld 8/6/84p52 for date, but InfoWorld 2/27/84p104 for correct title)
September: Atari International (U.K.) announced The Lone Raider for the 600XL/800XL/1400XL/1450XLD.
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: An Atari TV ad promoted the 400 for $69.95 after $50 Atari rebate, indicating a new/final list price of $119.95 (previously: $199).
Fall: Sears shipped the Tele-Games Video Arcade II by Atari (same as the Atari 2800), with two Sears All-In-One-Controller units (same as Atari CX28).
Fall?: (by October) Atari (Coin-Op) VP of Operations (manufacturing) Dick Maslana departed the company.
October 6: Atari Products Co. president John Cavalier departed the company. Jeffrey Heimbuck, SVP hardware marketing under Cavalier, would also depart the company.
October 10: Atari announced the appointment of David Ruckert, previously [Atari Products Co.] SVP entertainment software marketing, as Atari SVP for Atari products management (head of the marketing arm for home computers and video games, replacing the departed John Cavalier in the role), reporting directly to Atari chairman and CEO James Morgan. Newly promoted and reporting to Ruckert: Fred Simon as [Atari Products Co.] SVP of computer marketing (hardware and software), and Philip C. Restaino as [Atari Products Co.] VP of games marketing (game hardware and game software used on Atari hardware). [Atari Products Co.] SVP education Linda Gordon would report to Ruckert as well.
October 10: Atari named Rick Glosman VP of media, replacing Jan Soderstrom who departed the company. Ted Voss remained Atari SVP advertising and marketing.
October: Atari shipped the 600XL, retail price US$199.
October: The Atari Learning Systems division (previously: Atari Instructional Material Service or AIMS) published Review: A Catalog of Atari Learning Systems. Announced/promoted: 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 (never shipped), AtariLab Starter Set with Temperature Module, AtariLab Light Module (Feb. '84; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1984), Atari PLATO (March '84; later: The Learning Phone; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986), U.S. Geography/Check Marc (Geo Terms series by Marc Ed), U.S. Geography/High Marc (Geo Terms series by Marc Ed), Atari Pascal (Version 2.0) (Jan. '84; never shipped), 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), Atari Super PILOT (April '84; 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). Also announced/promoted for future release: AtariLab Biofeedback Module, AtariLab Timekeeper Module, AtariLab Lie Detector Module, AtariLab Mechanics Module, 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). Atari Products Co. SVP education Linda Gordon was head of Atari Learning Systems.
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 SVP of computer hardware and software marketing for Atari.
October 28-30: Atari introduced TX-1 (by Tazmi via Namco), Pole Position II Enhancement Kit by Namco (for Pole Position Cockpit or Upright units), The Adventures of Major Havoc, and Firefox (nonworking units displayed) at the 35th Annual AMOA International Exposition of Games and Music in New Orleans.
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 in 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 of 12-15 facilities. 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 VP of the Atari Adventure division (having replaced the departed Jim Ginsberg). (report1)(report2)(report3)(report4)
November: Atari released The Adventures of Major Havoc, released Pole Position II Enhancement Kit by Namco (for Pole Position Cockpit or Upright units), and released Crystal Castles cocktail.
November: Atari Products Co. Director Game Development Steve Wright departed the company.
November: Atari shipped the 800XL, retail price US$299.
November/December?: Dorothy K. Deringer, previously a program officer at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), joined Atari Learning Systems as VP product development. Linda Gordon remained Atari Products Co. SVP education and head of Atari Learning Systems.
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: Atari Research Engineering Manager Dale Yocum departed the company.
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.
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) VP 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. Dave Stubben, previously Atari VP engineering computer division, would be promoted to Atari SVP engineering, home computers and home video games, and Atari Fellow. (Michel Ebertin remained Atari VP consumer engineering.)
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.), Joust, Dig Dug, Jungle Hunt (title by Taito), Pole Position, Moon Patrol (title by Irem; would be shipped by Atari Corp.), Pengo, Crystal Castles (would be shipped by Atari Corp. 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 (would be shipped by Atari Corp.), SynFile+ (by Synapse; introduced by Synapse June 1983; never shipped by Atari; would be shipped by Synapse fall 1984), SynCalc (by Synapse; introduced by Synapse June 1983; never shipped by Atari; would be shipped by Synapse fall 1984), SynTrend (by Synapse; consisting of SynGraph and SynStat; introduced by Synapse June 1983; never shipped by Atari; would be shipped by Synapse fall 1984), Legacy (Atari Advanced Games Group; later: Final Legacy; would be shipped by Atari Corp.), 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. The AtariLab Starter Set with Temperature Module ("ready to ship now") and the Atari Lab Light Module were featured, and 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 SVP 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?: Fred Gerson was promoted from Atari (Coin-Op) SVP finance to Atari (Coin-Op) EVP and CFO.
January 19: Atari named Charles J. Vaughan, previously chief financial executive of General Electric Co.'s consumer product sector, as Atari SVP and CFO, replacing the departed James Heisch. "He will join Atari by early February."
January 23: Atari announced an organizational realignment:
There would be 15 officers of Atari, including all of the above but Calfee. Additional officers: Theodore Voss, SVP advertising; Arthur Gemmell, SVP administration; Richard Mier, VP and general manager of AtariTel; John Hagel, SVP strategic planning; Sol Kershner, VP and chief accounting officer. Vacant officer position: general counsel (Charles S. Paul (Skip Paul) would remain general counsel while the position remained vacant).
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 (VP/chief scientist), Dave Stubben (SVP engineering, home computers and home video games), Steve Bristow (VP Engineering Computer 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 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 1?: Atari VP Engineering Computer Division and Atari Fellow Steve Bristow departed the company. Atari VP consumer engineering Michel Ebertin would also depart the company. (Dave Stubben remained Atari SVP engineering, home computers and home video games.) Lyle Rains (VP of creative development, Coin-Op division) would become an Atari Fellow.
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.
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 Lenowitz departed the company. Charles Vaughan remained Atari SVP and CFO.
March: APX general manager Fred Thorlin 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.'' The company also said it had decided to cease its direct-mail software sales operations (APX).
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.
March-April: The Atari Corporate Research unit, including both the Atari Sunnyvale Research Lab and the Atari Cambridge Research Lab, was shut down. ASRL director Kristina Hooper, ACRL director Cynthia Solomon, and Atari VP/chief scientist and Atari Fellow Alan Kay would all depart the company.
April 2: Atari Products Co. and Ted Hoff announced the promotion of Chris Jeffers to VP, product development (previously: manager of administration for corporate research). (Update)
April: Atari released Crystal Castles for the 2600 and released Taz for the 2600.
Spring: Atari (Coin-Op) shut down their Milpitas manufacturing facility. Coin-Op manufacturing would be fulfilled by various west coast contractors for Atari.
Spring?: Steven Chiaramonte was promoted to Atari (Coin-Op) VP/CFO, replacing Fred Gerson who departed the company.
Spring: For the 600XL/800XL/1450XLD Atari shipped the CX75 Light Pen with AtariGraphics.
Spring?: Atari released Crystal Castles Kit #1 for upright Missile Command units, Crystal Castles Kit #2 for upright Dig Dug, Kangaroo, Food Fight, or Arabian units, and the Millipede Action Pac conversion kit for Dig Dug, Kangaroo, or Arabian units.
May 1: "Hearing on Computer Education" before the Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education of the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, included testimony by Atari Learning Systems VP product development Dorothy Deringer.
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 SVP of computer hardware and software marketing.
May: Atari Products Co. Applications Software and Telecommunications Products Group Manager Sherwin Gooch departed the company.
May 18: The WSJ reported the departure of Atari Products Co. EVP sales Don Kingsborough from the company. Keith Schaefer, previously SVP sales, would be promoted to EVP sales.
May 21: Atari announced the 7800 ProSystem (GCC), to ship in July (would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1986) with two Pro-Line Joystick controllers (CX24), 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 (4KiB of RAM, expandable to 20KiB; 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 EVP Dennis Groth additionally became president of Atari International, replacing Anton Bruehl who departed the company.
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 Summer CES in Chicago the Atari slogan was "June 3, 1984--The Day The Future Began."
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 (would be shipped by Atari Corp.), Track & Field (with Track & Field Arcade Controller; title by Konami; would be shipped by Atari Corp.), 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 (Atari Advanced Games Group; 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 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 (4KiB of RAM, expandable to 20KiB; never released). For the 7800 Computer Keyboard Atari introduced: Atari Terminal, AtariLab, Typing Tutor, The Word Processor, BASIC
Philip C. Restaino was SVP for games marketing (previously: VP 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 64KiB RAM, modem, speech synthesis chip, and built-in double-sided, double density 352KiB 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 Arcade Controller; title by Konami; would be shipped by Atari Corp. in 1985), 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: Crystal Castles, 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; each version would be shipped by Atari Corp.), Track & Field (with Track & Field Arcade Controller; C-64 and Apple II versions would be shipped by Atari Corp.; 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)
June: Atari shipped the 7800 in small quantities in certain limited test-markets. Packages included two Pro-Line Joystick controllers (CX24) and Pole Position II.
June: Atari employed about 1,200 people (Atari User May 1988). Atari International (U.K.) employed about 130 (Atari User #11, 2011)
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: Under an agreement signed at 4 A.M. in New York, 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.
Warner would retain two parts of Atari, which made up about 20 percent of the company: the coin-operated games division and Ataritel, the division working on telecommunications. (NYT 7/3)
Warner said that Atari chairman and CEO James J. Morgan would be ''taking a leave of several months.'' (NYT 7/3) (He did not return.)
July 11, 9:00 A.M.: Atari, Inc. filed a Certificate of Amendment, changing its corporate title to: Atari Games, Inc.
Atari Games, Inc. location: 1272 Borregas Ave, Sunnyvale, CA, USA.
John Farrand remained Atari Games president and COO. Charles Vaughan remained Atari Games SVP and CFO.
Charles S. Paul (Skip Paul) remained Atari Games SVP and president of the Coin-Operated Games division, which would now operate as "Atari Games". Also continuing with the Coin-Op division: Dave Stubben as SVP engineering, Lyle Rains as VP creative development, Dan Van Elderen as VP engineering.
Steve Wolfson would become director of Atari Adventure (replacing Barnie Sullivan / Barry Sullivan who would depart the company). Richard Mier would remain president of AtariTel.
Steven Chiaramonte, previously Atari (Coin-Op) VP/CFO, would be Atari Games VP finance Atari International (head of the unit, replacing the departed Atari International president Dennis Groth).
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. Mike Nevin became the new Managing Director of Atari Ireland.
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 EVP of sales Jerry Marcus.
August: Atari Games (Coin-Op) programmer / game designer / producer Owen Rubin departed the company.
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: 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).
Fall: Roy L. Elkins, who headed the AtariTel videophone project at Atari Games, Inc., along with AtariTel Director of Electrical Engineering Tom Nemeth (and others?), were actively seeking venture partners to continue designing consumer telephone equipment, including a power-line-carrier telephone/intercom system, a speakerphone, and a monochrome video telephone.
December 3: Mitsubishi Electric Sales America, Inc. (MESA), the U.S. subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) of Japan, announced the formation of MEDAMA, Inc. of Los Angeles. "MEDAMA" was an acronym for Mitsubishi Electric Development And Marketing America. Future plans for MEDAMA included the establishment of design and manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. Through joint ventures with investors or existing companies, the new businesses would utilize Mitsubishi Electric's technologies combined with employees and resources of the communities in which they were located.
December?: Stan Zawadowicz, acting on behalf of MEDAMA, bought the patent rights, engineering designs and prototypes for the AtariTel Videophone from Warner Communications, Inc., and pulled together the original engineering team to complete the development work. The team would include Roy L. Elkins, who headed the videophone project at AtariTel, and Atari engineer Lawrence D. Emmons (Larry Emmons). See: A History of the Former Atari Videophone Project
AtariTel president Richard Mier and Director of Electrical Engineering Tom Nemeth departed the company, and the AtariTel division of Atari Games, Inc. was shut down.
December: Atari Games, Inc. released Marble Madness (System I hardware platform).
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
Upon completion of the sale of the Atari (Coin-Op) division, Atari Games SVP and Atari (Coin-Op) president Charles S. Paul (Skip Paul) departed the company.
Atari Games, Inc. would be renamed: 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 #) Charles Vaughan remained Atari Holdings SVP and CFO.
After renaming, Atari Holdings Atari International companies would now consist of: AIL Holdings Limited, AIL Ireland Limited, Atari International Hong Kong Ltd. ("AIHK"), ATARI Electronikvertriebs GmbH. Steven Chiaramonte remained Atari Holdings VP finance Atari International
March?: Atari Holdings President and Chief Operating Officer John Farrand departed the company (to serve as president and COO of Panavision, which was sold by Warner Communications in March 1985). Charles Vaughan remained Atari Holdings SVP and CFO (head of the company).
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.
Month?: Atari Holdings VP finance Atari International Steven Chiaramonte departed the company.
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.
Upon completion of the sale of Atari Adventure, Atari Holdings SVP and CFO Charles Vaughan departed the company.
February: WEA Musik GmbH merged with ATARI Electronikvertriebs GmbH to form: WEA Musik GmbH Neue Medien Und Elektronikvertrieb.
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: The WCI subsidiaries AIL Holdings Limited, AIL Ireland Limited, Atari International Hong Kong Ltd. ("AIHK"), and WEA Musik Neue Medien and Elektronik GmbH ("WEA Musik") approved the transfer of the 14,200,000 shares of Atari Common Stock to Atari Holdings, Inc.
October 18: Atari Holdings, Inc. declared a dividend of the 14,200,000 shares of Atari Common Stock (acquired the previous day) to its parent WCI.
December 13: WCI contributed the 14,200,000 shares of Common Stock of Atari Corp. held by it to Warner Communications Investors, Inc.
July 24: 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. The transaction included the 16,011 (32.2%) class A preferred securities in Showbiz Pizza Time Inc. held by Atari Holdings Inc.
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
December 23: TW Investment Corp. was formed by Time Warner. The 14,200,000 shares of Common Stock of Atari Corp. held by Warner Communications Investors, Inc. would be contributed to TW Investment Corp.
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
June 29: TW Investment Corp. was merged with and into WCI. As a result, the 14,200,000 shares of Atari Corp. Common Stock were now held by WCI.
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.
June 21: The Showbiz Preferred Stock previously held by WCI, as successor-by-merger to Atari Holdings, was transferred by WCI to its wholly-owned subsidiary TWI Ventures Ltd.
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: 2014.01.02
2013.03.18 St. Louis detail corrections, thanks mgabrys
2012.08.22 Quantum, Food Fight, & TX-1 developers, thanks Vernon Brooks