Information presented here is derived as directly as possible from sources published or produced in the original time period. While also consulted extensively, modern historical retrospectives (including books, oral histories, and especially websites) are utilized chiefly as pathways to primary sources.
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Winter?: Nolan K. Bushnell (BUSH-nell - source); B.S. Utah '68 (December - source) joined the Ampex Corporation in the Videofile Information Systems Division as a research engineer. (one source for year; see, e.g., Bushnell in GaWp19 for timing) Bushnell's officemate would be Samuel Frederick Dabney Jr. (Ted Dabney) (Fun p21 for full name), who had been at the Videofile division since its late 1967 inception, and before that with the Ampex Military Products Company since 1961.
Dabney and Bushnell had both been hired at Ampex by Kurt F. Wallace, and both reported to Edward DeBenedetti. Charles A. Steinberg had been Ampex VP and General Manager of the Videofile Information Systems Division since its late 1967 inception, and had been Manager of the predecessor Ampex Videofile department since its inception in early 1965.
January/February: Data General shipped the Nova mini computer (which they had announced Sept 1968).
August: Data General announced the Supernova mini computer, expected to ship Apr70.
September: Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow joined Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) for his first 6-month field internship experience, where he was assigned to Nolan Bushnell. (Bristow in Zap! p21)
February: Date of rough designs drawn by Nolan Bushnell for a potentially commercializable minicomputer-based apparatus that could play games, according to his own January 1976 deposition in the Magnavox v Bally et al case.
March: Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow concluded his first 6-month field internship experience (started September 1969) at Ampex, where he had been assigned to Nolan Bushnell. (Bristow in Zap! p21)
April/May: Data General shipped the Supernova mini computer.
Summer?: Nolan Bushnell recruited fellow Ampex engineers Ted Dabney and then Larry Bryan for assistance in designing and eventually constructing a minicomputer-based apparatus that could play games. Designs called for a 16-bit computer such as the Data General Nova. (source)
October 6: Date of publication of new Data General price list, announcing the Nova 1200, the Nova 800, and the Supernova SC mini computers. (source)
October: Newly-inspired by the just-announced, relatively inexpensive Data General mini computers including the Nova 800, (Bushnell in GaW p19) and the Nova 1200, Ampex engineers Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney, and Larry Bryan first met as a group to go into business together to design a commercial, minicomputer-based, coin-operated game-playing device. (Fun p28 for month only) The group would decide on Bryan's idea to call themselves "Syzygy." The three agreed to contribute $100 each to the project. Dabney would open a bank account and contribute his $100; Bushnell would contribute his $100 as well.
November 17-19: Data General introduced the Nova 1200 ($5,450; to ship Feb71), the Nova 800 ($6,950; to ship Apr71), and the Supernova SC ($11,900; to ship Jun71) mini computers at the 1970 Fall Joint Computer Conference, Astro Hall, Houston; prices for configurations including 4096 16-bit words of memory, Teletype interface, and DMA data channel. (DG ads in WSJ, 11/17/70 p4 and 5/18/71 p6; announcement in Control Engineering for planned ship dates)
December: Data General shipped the Nova 1200 mini computer (two months ahead of schedule). (DG ad in WSJ 5/18/71 p6)
January: The Syzygy Co. partnership was organized by Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) research engineers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. (source - page from 72/73 Atari financial statement) (By Dec. 31, 1971, Bushnell and Dabney would each contribute $250, on top of their earlier $100 each, for a total owner's equity of $700 ($350 apiece) in the company. (Fun p53))
January: Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow returned to Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) for his second 6-month field internship experience. (Bristow in Zap! p21)
January 26: Date of draft letter from Syzygy to Data General, where Syzygy was going to order a Data General computer. (source) The order was never placed.
March: Data General shipped the Nova 800 (one month ahead of schedule). (DG ad in WSJ 5/18/71 p6)
March: Nolan Bushnell departed Ampex and joined Nutting Associates, Inc. of Mountain View CA as chief engineer. Nutting Associates would provide the facilities for a commercialized coin-operated Spacewar! game to be developed by Bushnell and Ted Dabney as Syzygy Co. and pay its manufacturing costs. (Spacewar! had been popular in university and industrial labs since its 1962 release.) Syzygy 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. (for date: Bristow in Zap! p21; Lowood; source #3)
June: Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow concluded his second 6-month field internship experience (started January 1971) at Ampex. (Bristow in Zap! p21)
June: Engineer Al Alcorn (UC Berkeley '71), who had first worked at Ampex for a field intership experience while a Berkeley engineering student back in 1968, joined Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) as a full-time junior engineer (taking Nolan Bushnell's former office). (source)
June?: Ted Dabney departed Ampex to join his Syzygy Co. partner Nolan Bushnell as an engineer for Nutting Associates, Inc. (Fun p39 for timing)
August: The first Computer Space test unit was location-tested by Nutting Associates, Inc. at a Palo Alto CA restaurant and bar called the Dutch Goose. (source and Fun p42 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, Inc. introduced Computer Space (original one-player version; all four prototype units, one each in red, white, blue, and yellow cabinets (source)), developed by Syzygy Co. (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/December: Nutting Associates, Inc. shipped Computer Space (NA-2010; original one-player version), developed by Syzygy Co. (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)
December 2-5: 1972 Convention and Trade Show of the International Association of Amusement Parks (IAAP) ("parks show"), Sherman House Hotel, Chicago. (Cash Box 12/18/71 p47)
April: Nutting Associates, Inc. chief engineer and Syzygy Co. partner Nolan Bushnell met with Bally Manufacturing Corp. EVP John A. Britz regarding a possible game development contract between Bally and Syzygy. (Fun p59)
April: Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow joined Nutting Associates, Inc., under chief engineer Nolan Bushnell, for his third 6-month field internship experience. (Fun p127 for month)
May: Syzygy Co. acquired a coin-operated arcade game route street operation (about 50 machines in about 20 locations -The Atari Book p88) from former Nutting Associates, Inc. marketing director David Ralstin.
May: Nutting Associates, Inc. chief engineer and Syzygy partner Nolan Bushnell moved to incorporate Syzygy Co., utilizing the services of Hopkins, Jordan, Mitchell & Sullivan, Attorneys at Law. The process would be delayed because the Syzygy name would turn out to be unavailable. (Fun p60 for timing)
May 24: Nutting Associates, Inc. chief engineer and Syzygy Co. partner Nolan Bushnell attended a public presentation of the Magnavox Odyssey in Burlingame, CA.
June 1: Syzygy Co. partners Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney certified to Bally Manufacturing Corp. that they were no longer employees of Nutting Associates, Inc. (Fun p61) Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow would become Nutting Associates chief engineer, replacing the departed Bushnell and Dabney.
June: (early month) Syzygy Co. partners Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney established a 1700 square foot office location for their partnership at the Cole Complex: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA, USA (Fun p61 for timing)
June 9: Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc. (doing business as Syzygy) 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 Syzygy Co. partnership assets. The address for all four directors was given as the private residence: 1425 Blackstone Ave., San Jose, CA, USA. The filing was made utilizing the services of Hopkins, Jordan, Mitchell & Sullivan, Attorneys at Law.
June 26: Cynthia Villanueva (later: Cynthia Russell) joined Atari dba Syzygy as Nolan Bushnell's secretary. (for date: source#1, source#2) Villanueva was the company's first paid employee. (source)
June 26: Date of Royalty Agreement between Bally Manufacturing Corporation and (Atari dba Syzygy partner) Nolan Bushnell, signed at Bally's office in Chicago (source). Within a period of six months beginning July 1, 1972, Bushnell was to provide two prototypes for Bally: a video amusement game, and a preliminary design and mock-up for a four-player flipper type pinball machine. Over the same time period Bally was to provide Bushnell with $4,000 per month (for a total of $24,000); on each game accepted by Bally, Bushnell would earn a 3% royalty on Bally's selling price of the game. (source) (source)
June 27: The Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc. (doing business as Syzygy) were filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of California, marking the official date of incorporation for the company.
June: (late month) Allan E. Alcorn, previously an electrical engineer at the Videofile division of Ampex (where he had briefly been Ted Dabney's office-mate in 1971), joined Atari dba Syzygy as an engineer. Alcorn would be the company's second paid employee (after Villanueva) (source), and he would be a minority third owner of the company (joining founding partners Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney). (Alcorn interview for month)
June/July?: Douglas M. Dabney (brother of company partner Ted Dabney) joined Atari dba Syzygy as its third paid employee. The company now consisted of five people.
July 10: In clarifying their prototype game development plans to Bally Manufacturing, Atari dba Syzygy partner Nolan Bushnell described the two games that Atari dba Syzygy would develop as a hockey type video amusement game and a flipper-type pinball game (known as Fireball). (source)
August: The Atari dba Syzygy prototype Pong system (designed for the home consumer market) was experimentally configured for coin-operation Pong and location-tested at the Andy Capp's tavern in Sunnyvale, CA (one of the Syzygy coin-op route locations). The company still consisted of five people: Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney, Al Alcorn, Doug Dabney, Cynthia Villanueva (source)
August 16: Opening of the Orange Mall Regional Center in Orange CA (near Los Angeles), where Atari dba Syzygy would open their first amusement arcade. (token: "Syzygy Space Age Amusements" -Fun p106)
September: Atari dba Syzygy built 12 coin-operated Pong prototype units, hoping that Bally Manufacturing 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 demonstrated by Atari dba Syzygy partner Nolan Bushnell at both the Bally and the Midway Mfg. Co. (subsidiary of Bally since 10/16/69) offices in Chicago; one unit was kept in-house. (source)
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, Inc. introduced 1 And 2 Player Computer Space at the show (not Syzygy engineered); Steve Bristow was NA engineering intern.
September: Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow concluded his 6-month field internship experience (started April 1972) as an engineering intern for Nutting Associates, Inc.
October: Bally Manufacturing declined to accept Pong under their game development contract with Atari dba Syzygy partner Nolan Bushnell. Under their agreement of June 26, 1972 Bushnell would remain obligated to supply Bally with a video game design (now a game known as Asteroid) and a pinball game design (known as Fireball). (source)
October: Atari dba Syzygy determined to manufacture and market Pong themselves; to finance production, the company secured a $3,000 line of credit from a local Wells Fargo Bank. (Fun p79)
October?: At Atari dba Syzygy, Nolan Bushnell would take the title of president, Tad Dabney would take the title of EVP, and Al Alcorn would take the title of senior staff engineer.
October?: Atari dba Syzygy contracted with Arvin Systems (and previously Ampex Corporation Videofile Information Systems Division) engineers Lawrence D. Emmons and Steven T. Mayer for game circuits (Fun p244); with their addition there were now eight people associated with Atari. (Mayer quote)
November 9-12: International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) '72 Parks Show at the Sherman House Hotel, Chicago. (Cash Box p48 (what issue?))
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: Atari dba Syzygy introduced Pong (Syzygy Model VP-1; "Syzygy Engineered"). (Atari, Inc. 10-Q for 5/1/96 for date)
November 24: Nolan Bushnell filed for a U.S. patent for a "Video Image Positioning Control System for Amusement Device."
December 1: Date of final payment of $4,000 (for a total of $24,000) from Bally Manufacturing to Nolan Bushnell under the agreement of June 26, 1972. Product development by Atari dba Syzygy under that agreement remained ongoing.
December: Atari dba Syzygy shipped Pong (limited West Coast distribution only). (WSJ 3/18/74 for date)
December 31: Atari dba Syzygy employed over 40 people. (Fun p81)
January: Anthony F. Marincic (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: "An amusement arcade, with Pong, Computer Space and other such diversions, has been opened by the company [Syzygy] at the Orange Mall, a large shopping center in Los Angeles. Another is scheduled to open soon at Oakridge Mall in San Jose, and more are planned." Syzygy had 57 employees. (UPI 2/73)
February: Atari leased a 10,000 square foot roller rink for expanded Pong production at: 1600 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA, USA
February: Atari dba Syzygy contract engineers Larry Emmons and Steve Mayer departed Arvin Systems to focus on their independent engineering/consulting business. (Fun p245)
February: In fulfillment of the June 26, 1972 Royalty Agreement between Bally Manufacturing Corporation and Atari president Nolan Bushnell, Bushnell delivered the completed Asteroid video game and Fireball pinball game prototype designs to Bally in Chicago. Bally declined to produce either game, but facilitated a similar meeting between Bushnell and the Bally subsidiary, Midway Mfg. Co., also in the Chicago area. (source)
February 22: Date of Agreement between Atari, Inc. and Midway Mfg. Co. For two years commencing on this date, Midway would be licensed by Atari to produce versions of Syzygy Model VP-1 (as Winner; same as Atari Pong) and Syzygy Model VP-2 (as Asteroid; same as Atari Space Race). Atari was to provide Midway with engineering assistance for the Midway version of VP-1; Midway was to pay Atari $31 per VP-1 unit produced by Midway. Midway was to pay Atari for VP-2-based unit production in accordance to the agreement between Atari and Bally of June 26, 1972 (3% royalty on the selling price per game). (source)
March 1: Atari president Nolan Bushnell and EVP Ted Dabney agreed to terms whereby Atari would buy back Dabney's ownership share in the company. Dabney, previously Atari EVP, would become Atari VP production facilities (manufacturing), and would retain a seat on the Atari board of directors. (Fun p96)
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 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. (wholly owned subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing Corp.) announced Winner (Syzygy Model VP-1) 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 Mfg. Co. (wholly owned subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing Corp.), 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: Atari began national distribution of Pong. Nolan Bushnell was Atari president; Ted Dabney was Atari VP production facilities; Al Alcorn was Atari chief engineer. (Cash Box profile 4/7/73 p104)
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-treasurer Anthony F. Marincic (Fred Marincic). The total number of company shares issued remained 5,000.
March/April?: George Faraco joined Atari as a design director.
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.). (Ted Dabney remained Atari VP production facilities.)
April?: Atari contracted with Multi-National Corporation, a Los Angeles consulting and export marketing firm and previously operator of the international department of the Muntz Stereo Corp. of America, to establish international operations for Atari. Ronald F. Gordon of Multi-National would serve as Atari international marketing director.
April: Midway Mfg. Co. (wholly owned subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing Corp.) 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 1: Articles of Incorporation of Atari International were executed by Multi-National Corporation on behalf of Atari. The three initial directors of the company would be: Ruth M. Duncan, Mary L. Kinne, Mary Z. Somers
May 4: Atari International was incorporated by Multi-National Corporation for Atari. Atari international partner distributors would include: Hunter Electronics Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia; Sovoda S.A. of Dijon, France; Löwen Automaten in West Germany; Vale-Automaten-Import BV of Beldhoven, the Netherlands; AB Roulettekonsult och Spelautomater (Cherry Group) of Sweden; Segasa of Madrid, Spain; F.lli Bertolino of Torino, Italy. (Fun p121, in part)
May 7: In the UK, Atari established Atari (UK) Limited, to be headed by Philip Smith. (Fun p122)
May: Atari announced that Pat Karns had joined the company as national sales manager. 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 (Cadre Building, 14600 Winchester Blvd.). 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; Vending Times 5/75 p52)
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. The ad depicts standard Atari Pong units as well as a Pong fiberglass unit (never introduced). Company address given: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara
June 2: Atari concluded their first fiscal year (11 months: June 28, 1972 - June 2, 1973) with $3.2 million in sales.
June 9: In a print ad, Atari announced a new and improved version of Pong, featuring front access and heavy duty cabinet. Address given: 14600 Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos, CA, USA (Cash Box 6/9/73p57)
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 (UC Berkeley '73) joined Atari as an electrical engineer. Atari employed about 70-80 people. (Zap! p36)
July: Nutting Associates, Inc. announced the release of 1 And 2 Player Computer Space (not Syzygy engineered). (Cash Box 7/7/73)
July: Via Atari (UK) Limited, Atari had established a United Kingdom manufacturing branch in London. (Cash Box 7/14/73)
July: Atari established a coin route operation in Salt Lake City, Utah, known as Merlin Enterprises (Fun! p127) or Martin Enterprises (source).
July: Atari announced the release of Space Race (Syzygy Model VP-2; "Syzygy Engineered"). 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, previously Atari secretary-treasurer (CFO), as Atari VP finance and secretary/treasurer (CFO). Atari now employed 180 people, and was privately held, with the majority stockholders being current employees. (Cash Box 7/28/73 p45)
July/August?: Atari director of operations Bill White additionally became Atari secretary-treasurer (CFO), replacing Fred Marincic who departed the company.
Summer?: Atari contract engineers Lawrence D. Emmons and Steven Mayer partnered with Atari in tranforming their engineering/consulting business into the Atari research & development unit Cyan Engineering, located in Grass Valley, CA. (Fun p245) Emmons would be Director of Cyan Engineering (reporting to Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn); Mayer would be Cyan Engineering Senior Engineer.
Summer?: Gilbert J. Williams (Gil Williams), previously of Ampex, joined Atari as a manufacturing engineer.
Summer: Ronald G. Wayne (Ron Wayne) joined Atari as chief draftsman, responsible for design services in engineering. (Wayne was hired by Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn with Atari president Nolan Bushnell.)
August 4: Media report spotlighted the new 30,000 square-foot administrative and manufacturing headquarters for Atari, Inc., "makers of Pong, Barrel Pong (Pong In-A-Barrel - never shipped), and Space Race," at the Cadre Building, 14600 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos CA. Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president. (Cash Box 8/4/73 p48)
August?: 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 Bushnell in the role) and board member. Bushnell would remain Atari chairman. (Former Atari VP finance and secretary-treasurer Fred Marincic had departed the company before Wakefield's arrival.)
August: Atari announced the release of Space Race fiberglass (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 announced international sales and distribution ("Atari Expands Worldwide!"); the ad pictured 4 units: Pong, Pong In-A-Barrel, Space Race, and Space Race fiberglass. The ad also featured perhaps the earliest public use of the most famous version of the Atari logo. Ron Gordon was Atari International Marketing Director. (Cash Box 8/4/73 p49)
August: In Tokyo, Atari Japan was established by Japanese-American businessman Kenichi Takumi, who as president and with funding from Atari, was to establish the capability to assemble and operate video amusement machines on behalf of Atari in the Japanese market. (Fun p122-123).
August?: Steve Jobs joined Atari in the Electrical Engineering department (which was directed by Donald Lang). Jobs was hired by Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn. At the time Atari "had made Pong and two other games." (Jobs in Playboy Feb85; modern recollections by Lang via MGoldberg)
September 10-16: Atari released Pong Doubles (would ship by "Atari France" distributor Sovoda S.A. as: Coupe Davis), and had also announced Gotcha. Pat Karns was Atari national sales manager and Al Alcorn was Atari VP engineering. (Cash Box 9/29/73; 10/13/73 p49)
September: Atari would exhibit at the Sept. IMA Show in Düsseldorf, West Germany. (Cash Box 9/1/73 p46)
September 14: Articles of Incorporation of Kee Games, Incorporated were executed by Joseph F. Keenan, Patricia J. Keenan, and Stephen D. Bristow, the three initial directors of the company, on behalf of Atari. The address for all three directors was given as the private residence: 1454 Luning Drive, San Jose, CA, USA
September 25: Date of incorporation of Kee Games, Incorporated. While majority owned by Atari, Kee Games would be operated to appear as an upstart rival company to Atari. Joseph F. Keenan, previously western regional computer sales manager for Applied Logic, Inc. (and before that an IBM salesman), and neighbor of Atari president Nolan Bushnell since Keenan moved to California in 1969, would be president of Kee Games (and minority owner). Steve Bristow, previously an Atari electrical engineer, would be Kee Games VP Engineering. Gil Williams, previously an Atari manufacturing engineer, would be Kee Games director of manufacturing. Bill White, previously Atari director of operations and secretary-treasurer (CFO), would be Kee Games Controller (CFO). Kee Games would set up operations at: 330 Mathew St., Santa Clara CA, USA (11,640 sq. ft.)
September 27-29: Atari staff attending the Japanese Trade Show in Tokyo would include national sales manager Pat Karns, chairman Nolan Bushnell, president John Wakefield, and manager of industrial design George Faraco. (Cash Box 9/29/73)
September/October: Midway Mfg. Co. (wholly owned subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing Corp.) released Asteroid by Atari (licensed clone of Atari Space Race; Syzygy Model VP-2 design supplied to Midway by Atari in fulfillment of the February 22, 1973 Agreement between the two companies). (Cash Box 10/6/73 for date)
October: Kee Games had opened its new Santa Clara plant. Joe Keenan was Kee Games president and Steve Bristow was VP engineering. (Cash Box 10/6/73)
October: Atari announced the wide release of Pong Doubles. (Cash Box 10/13/73 p49)
October: Atari released 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!
October?: Richard L. Mobilio (Dick Mobilio), previously general manager, Intercontinental Sales Region at Hewlett-Packard, would join Atari as VP marketing, and Leslie H. Oliver (Les Oliver), previously administrative manager, Intercontinental Sales Region at Hewlett-Packard, would join Atari as VP administration and finance (CFO; replacing Bill White in the role).
October 25: A Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation of Kee Games, Incorporated was executed by the company's three incorporators, Joseph F. Keenan, Patricia J. Keenan, and Stephen D. Bristow, changing the number of directors of the company from three to seven. (mc speculates the four additional directors as: Bushnell, Alcorn, Williams, White)
October 26: William H. Rombach, previously Precision Instrument Co. VP manufacturing, would join Atari as VP manufacturing, replacing VP production facilities Ted Dabney who would remain an Atari director but otherwise departed the company. Dabney acquired Atari's Syzygy coin-operated street operations from the company. Dabney's new business, which would be named Syzygy Game Company, would rent its machines from Atari and lease space for its servicing operations at Atari's 1600 Martin Ave. location. (Fun p103-104; source for day)
Fall?: Hunter Electronics Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia released Barrel-Pong by Atari/Syzygy.
Fall: Engineer Ron Milner joined Atari's Cyan Engineering unit. (Antic Interview 74)
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) Engineers Alcorn, Emmons, Mayer, and Faraco also attended on behalf of Atari; Atari had about 250 employees. (source) Privately, in a hotel suite also at the Conrad Hilton, Atari previewed World Cup Football and Gran Trak 10. (source)
November 10: Nolan Bushnell owned 80% of Atari. (Business Week p. 212)
November: IAAPA show in Atlanta. (source)
November/December: Engineer Harold M. Lee, previously an MOS chip designer at Standard Microsystems, joined Atari as a production designer (Fun p149: "late 1973") in the Electrical Engineering department (directed by Donald Lang) (Fun p183). Lee was hired by Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn. (source)
December 5: Dan Van Elderen joined Atari. (source)
December 6: The number of directors for Kee Games, Incorporated was changed from three to seven.
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)
December 19: Articles of Incorporation of Kee Games International were executed by Multi-National Corporation on behalf of Atari. The seven initial directors of the company would be: Ruth M. Duncan, Mary L. Kinne, Harvey Rosbrugh, Sandra Freiburger, Gerri Roe, Robert J. Finan, John F. Hopkins
December 20: Kee Games International was incorporated by Multi-National Corporation for Atari. Kee Games international partner distributors would include Seevend of Hamurg, West Germany.
January: Atari announced the sale of the Syzygy name to (Atari director) Ted Dabney, whose new Syzygy Game Company would operate as an independent company. (Cash Box 1/26/74; Vending Times 2/74 p52)
January 21: Engineer Lyle V. Rains joined Kee Games as an Electronics Engineer/Game Designer. He was hired by Kee Games VP Engineering Steve Bristow. (source for date)
January 29-31: At the 30th annual Amusement Trade Exhibition (ATE) at Alexandra Place in London, through Atari (UK) Limited, Atari introduced World Cup Football (would ship by "Atari France" distributor Sovoda S.A. as: Coupe du Monde), which Atari planned to introduce to the U.S. as: Catch (never introduced in the U.S.). Representing Atari were marketing VP Dick Mobilio, chairman Nolan Bushnell, and international sales chief Ron Gordon. (Vending Times Feb74 p52)
January/February?: Atari established Atari Pacific Inc., based in Honolulu, to place and operate video amusement machines in the Hawaiian Islands and Guam. (source) (source) (Fun p126) William C. Kea Jr. would be president of Atari Pacific. (Fun p134)
Winter?: Hideyuki Nakajima (Hide Nakajima; "HEE-day"), previously director of the overseas department, Japan Synthetic Paper Co. (he had been there since 1969; the company had been formed Nov. 1968 as a majority-owned subsidiary of Nippon Art Paper Mfg. Co., where he had worked in several capacities since 1958), joined Atari Japan as general manager. (Marquis) Kenichi Takumi remained Atari Japan president.
February: Atari announced the release of Rebound (Cash Box 2/9/74), and announced the release of Superpong (limited production) (Cash Box 2/16/74 p51;Vending Times 2/74 p52).
February: Al Alcorn, previously Atari VP engineering, had become Atari VP research and development (new position). Atari announced that engineer Lloyd A. Warman had joined the company as VP engineering (replacing 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; see also: RefBkofCorpMan86p3317; link )
In engineering, department directors reporting to Warman would include: Holly LeRoy (Model Shop), Ron Wayne (Industrial Design (having replaced the departed George Faraco in the role) / Design Services), Donald Lang (Electrical Engineering), Larry Emmons (Cyan Engineering) (Fun p183)
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 (in the Electrical Engineering department, reporting to Donald Lang -Fun p183). 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; Vending Times 4/74 p54)
February 28: Atari introduced Gran Trak 10 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)
February/March: Atari announced the appointment of Paul Pease Advertising as their public relations and sales promotion agency. Dick Mobilio remained Atari VP marketing; Tony Seidel remained Atari director of marketing communications. (Vending Times 3/74 p70)
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 (late month; 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; Vending Times 4/74 p61)
March: Ted Dabney departed from the Atari board of directors (his remaining role with the company). (Fun p104)
March: Electronics technician Steve Ritchie joined Atari.
March: T.C. Grunau (Theodore (Ted) Grunau) had joined Atari, Inc. to establish and serve as president of Atari (Canada) Ltd. Grunau was previously general manager of Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. (Cash Box 3/16/74 p58; Vending Times 4/74 p54)
March 28: Joseph F. Keenan was Kee Games president and Stephen D. Bristow was Kee Games secretary.
Spring: Atari sold its Salt Lake City route operation, known as Merlin Enterprises (Fun! p127) or Martin Enterprises (source), to Lagoon Corporation.
Spring?: Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco"), the Japanese amusement machine manufacturer and amusement park operator, agreed to help sell game machines for Atari Japan. Kenichi Takumi remained president of Atari Japan.
Spring?: In the UK, Atari (UK) Limited was shut down. The Cherry Group would become Atari’s exclusive distributor in both the UK and Scandinavia.
April 1: Date of incorporation for Atari (Canada) Ltd. T.C. Grunau was president of the company.
April: Kee Games released Formula K (the same game as Gran Trak 10 by Atari).
April: In Europe only, Atari released World Cup (upright) and World Cup cocktail. (both configurations would ship by "Atari France" distributor Sovoda S.A. as: Coupe du Monde)
April 15: Magnavox Co. filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division against Atari Inc., Bally Manufacturing Corp., Empire Distributing Inc. (a Bally subsidiary), Chicago Dynamic Industries Inc., and Allied Leisure Inc. (Magnavox Et Al v. Bally Manufacturing Corp) 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 4/17 p.15; Merch Wk 4/22/74 p.9) The Magnavox patent originated with Ralph Baer of Sanders Associates. At Atari, Nolan Bushnell remained chairman and Dr. John Wakefield remained president. (Vending Times 5/74 p66)
May 15: Date of Agreement of Purchase whereby the assets of Syzygy Game Company (coin-operated street operations, headed by Atari founder Ted Dabney) were purchased by the new proprietorship of Syzygy Company (Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell, Atari comptroller Ted Olson, and others). Syzygy Game Company would be shut down. The purchase resolved legal and financial disputes between Dabney and Atari. As controlling owner, Bushnell would be Syzygy Company president. (source)
May: Atari announced it was shipping Gran Trak 10 in quantity. Pat Karns remained Atari national sales manager. (Cash Box 5/4/74)
May: Atari released Pong cocktail (rare/minimal domestic distribution, apparently; but would also ship in France by Socodimex/Atari-Europe as: Coup Franc)
May 31: The third Atari Leisure-Time Game Center amusement arcade 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 (Oakridge Mall) and Orange County (Orange Mall). 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. (Cash Box 5/11/74, 6/8/74, and newspaper ad; Vending Times 5/74 p70, 6/74 p58)
June: (early month) Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell additionally returned to the role of Atari president, replacing John Wakefield who departed the company as part of "a significant reduction in personnel" at Atari. (source #1 and Cash Box 5/11/74 for timing)
June: Atari announced the release of Touch-Me.
June 22-26: Atari introduced Dr. Pong (never shipped) and Puppy Pong (never shipped) at the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association held at McCormick Place, Chicago, marketing 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 volleyball game; an optional bookcase/stand would be offered for Dr. Pong. Nolan Bushnell was Atari president. (Cash Box 7/6/74; Vending Times 8/74 p68; Dr. Pong gallery)
June: Executives Nolan Bushnell, Dick Mobilio and Pat Karns all remained with Atari. (Cash Box 6/29/74)
July 3: Nolan Bushnell remained Atari chairman and president. (source)
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; Vending Times 8/74 p70)
July: Atari agreed to sell their Japanese manufacturing (assembly) operation to Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco") for ¥296 million ($1.18 million), pending payment by October 1975. Hideyuki Nakajima remained general manager and was now acting head of Atari Japan, as president Kenichi Takumi had departed the company. (Cash Box 8/24/74 for date)
July?: Atari production designer Harold Lee departed the company. (Fun p151-152 and here for date)
July: Kee Games released Twin Racer, which would replace the discontinued Formula K. (Vending Times 9/74 p74)
July: Atari released Trak 10 (would ship in the Netherlands by Vale-Automaten-Import BV as: Race-Circuit Automaten).
July 29: The Magnavox patent infringement lawsuit against Bally and others of April 15, 1974, was dismissed with respect to Atari, for improper venue.
Summer?: Kee Games established a manufacturing plant at 1280 Reamwood Ave., Sunnyvale CA, USA (125,000 sq. ft.); company headquarters would remain at 330 Mathew St., Santa Clara CA
August: Atari released Gran Trak 20 (the same game as Twin Racer by Kee Games) and completed Puppy Pong (never shipped).
August 21: Eugene J. Lipkin (Gene Lipkin), previously Allied Leisure national sales director, joined Atari in the company's arcade division. (Cash Box 8/24/74 p49)
September: Atari completed Dr. Pong (never shipped).
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, Incorporated (which had in fact been majority-owned by Atari since its inception). Joseph Keenan, Kee Games co-founder and president, would now be Atari president; Nolan Bushnell would remain Atari chairman. (Cash Box 9/21/74; Vending Times 10/74 p110) Gil Williams, previously Kee Games director of manufacturing, would become Kee Games president (replacing Keenan in the role). (Vending Times Dec74 p38) Pat Karns would be national director of sales for both Atari and Kee Games. (Cash Box 9/28/74) Bill White, previously Kee Games controller, would become Atari VP administration and finance (CFO), replacing Les Oliver who would depart the company. Kee Games offices would be consolidated from 330 Mathew St., Santa Clara CA to the Kee Games manufacturing facility at 1280 Reamwood Ave., Sunnyvale, CA
September: Atari contracted with recently-departed production designer Harold Lee through his new engineering firm, MOS Sorcery, to design a chip that could form the basis for a consumer-market Pong system. Atari also contracted with Standard Microsystems engineer Robert J. Brown (Bob Brown) to develop the test program for the new chip in concert with the design of the chip. Atari VP research and development Al Alcorn would head the project. (Fun p151-152) (source)
September: In France, through newly-established Atari Europe S.A., Atari acquired a 50% ownership stake in Socodimex (known as the French distributor of Seeburg jukeboxes). Socodimex/Atari-Europe would reopen the former Electro-Kicker (producer of Jupiter brand jukeboxes) manufacturing facility at Baume-les-Dames, France, owned by the French Government since its June 1974 closure. Socodimex/Atari-Europe would replace "Atari France" Sovoda S.A. as Atari's distributor in France. (source) Serge Lievoux, previously head of Socodimex, would remain head of Socodimex/Atari-Europe, and Jean-Jacques Gaillard would remain commercial director. Atari VP finance Bill White, financial architect of the investment for Atari, would join the board of directors for Socodimex.
October: Atari released Touch-Me and released Pin-Pong. Pat Karns was Atari sales manager. (Cash Box 9/28/74; 10/19/74 p31; 11/9/74; Vending Times 11/74 p66, 69)
October: John Burton Anderson, previously an accounting manager at Unicorp, joined Atari as Cash Manager (CoinConJan77), replacing Ted Olson who departed the company to focus on the Syzygy Company coin-operated street operations business, which he acquired controlling ownership of from partner and Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell. Syzygy Company would be transformed into the Time Zone arcade chain. (source; source) Bill White remained Atari VP administration and finance (CFO).
November 1-3: At the 1974 MOA Music and Amusement Machines Exposition at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Atari introduced Qwak, featured Gran Trak 10, Pin-Pong and Touch-Me, and privately previewed ???? (possibilities include Dodge 'Em, Pursuit, or Consumer Pong). Kee Games, the Atari subsidiary, introduced Tank. Chairman Nolan Bushnell, president Joe Keenan, Ron Gordon (international marketing), VP sales Pat Karns, engineer Don Lang, and Gene Lipkin (special products) were to represent Atari, while Gil Williams was Kee Games president. (Cash Box 11/2/74, 11/16/74, 11/30/74; Vending Times 10/74 p108, Dec74 p38)
November: Steve Bristow, previously Kee Games VP Engineering, became Atari VP Engineering (coin operated games), replacing Lloyd Warman who departed the company.
January: Atari completed Dodge 'Em (never shipped).
January: Atari's Kee Games unit released Pursuit. This was the last Kee Games release before the Atari subsidiary was fully merged into Atari.
January: Impressed primarily with Atari's research and development efforts aimed at the home consumer market, Donald T. Valentine, founder and president of Capital Management Services, Inc. (subsidiary of Capital Research and Management Company) established a financial partnership with Atari. Campital Management Services would commit to invest $600,000 in Atari, Valentine would put together a venture capital syndicate for Atari, and Valentine would serve as an Atari director. (source) (source)
January 28-30: Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) at London's Alexandra Place. Did The Cherry Group represent Atari?
February 1: Gene Lipkin, previously of Atari special products (Vending Times 10/74 p108), became Atari VP marketing, replacing Dick Mobilio who departed the company. Lipkin would have overall responsibility for Atari marketing, consumer and coin-op sales, service and advertising. (Cash Box 4/26/75 p50; Vending Times 5/75 p56)
February 16-18: Atari previewed Pong at the American Toy Fair in New York. Atari VP marketing Gene Lipkin and VP research and development Al Alcorn represented the company at the show.
March 17: Atari and Sears, Roebuck and Co. came to an agreement whereby Atari Pong would be manufactured by Atari and sold first through Sears, targeting Christmas 1975 sales, under the new Sears Tele-Games brand. The first order was for 75,000 units. (Fun p157)
March 31: Atari National Sales Manager Pat Karns departed the company to Fun Games. (Cash Box 4/26/75; Vending Times 5/75 p52)
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. Atari administrative headquarters, engineering, R&D, test, and digital design functions would remain at the Atari Los Gatos location (14600 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos CA). (Cash Box 4/26/75 p50; Vending Times 4/75 p54; 6/75 p56; Cash Box 12/27/75). The Kee Games plant at 1280 Reamwood Ave., Sunnyvale, CA would be idled. Kee Games president Gil Williams would additionally become Atari VP Manufacturing, replacing William Rombach who departed the company.
April: Atari design engineer for color video games and educational seminar leader Bill Arkush departed the company. (Cash Box 5/3/75; Vending Times 5/75 p56)
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 France by Socodimex/Atari-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 (never shipped), and Atari released Kee Games Tank II.
May 31: Atari totaled gross sales in excess of $19 million for the fiscal year ending May 31. (Cash Box 10/11/75 p48)
Spring/Summer: Jim Tubb would join Atari as director of operations (manufacturing) for consumer Pong. Atari would repurpose the former Kee Games factory at 1280 Reamwood Ave., Sunnyvale, CA for consumer Pong manufacturing.
June 1-4: Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago. (Was Atari/Sears Pong there?)
June: Atari released Anti-Aircraft. Atari also promoted the available line-up of: Tank II, Anti-Aircraft, Indy 800, Hi-Way. (Cash Box 6/28/75)
July 1: Allen Rosenberg, previously of Rowe International, joined Atari as marketing administrator. Gene Lipkin remained Atari VP marketing. (Cash Box 8/9/75 p35; Vending Times 8/75 p41)
July 11: Atari filed a complaint for declaratory judgment of patent invalidity and non-infringement against Magnavox and Sanders Associates in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
July: Atari released Goal/4. Gene Lipkin was Atari VP marketing. (Cash Box; Vending Times 8/75)
July 17: This letter from the FCC to Atari lists Al Alcorn's title as VP engineering. mc believes this was just inaccurate, and that Alcorn's title was VP research and development at this time.
Summer: Time Inc. and the California-based venture capital Mayfield Fund had each agreed to invest $600,000 in Atari. (source) They had been recruited by Capital Management Services president and Atari director Don Valentine.
Summer: Atari sued Fun Games, Inc., current employer of former Atari design engineer Lawrence Leppert, seeking to restrain Fun Games from using Atari's trade secrets. (Cash Box 4/3/76; 5/1/76)
August 15: Frank Ballouz, previously of the A.B. Dick Company, joined Atari as national sales manager (replacing the depared Pat Karns). Gene Lipkin remained Atari VP marketing. (Cash Box 10/4/75; Vending Times 10/75)
August/September: Atari released Kee Games Tank cocktail. (Vending Times 9/75 p68 and ad)
September 2: In reponse to Atari's legal complaint of July 11, 1975, Magnavox and Sanders Associates filed an answer and counterclaim against Atari, demanding that the court issue an injunction against continued infringements of Magnavox/Sanders Associates patents by Atari.
September: Atari released Horror Games Shark JAWS. It would be Atari's only release using the Horror Games label.
September: 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. Tank and Indy 800 were Atari's biggest recent hits; home Pong was about to be marketed by Sears. Nolan Bushnell was board chairman, Joe Keenan was president, Gene Lipkin was VP marketing, Al Alcorn was VP research and development, Steve Bristow was VP engineering, Gil Williams was VP manufacturing, Ron Gordon was director of international operations. (Play Meter 10/75 p31-37 company profile)
September 16-19: At the Western Electronic Show and Convention (WESCON75), where MOS Technology introduced the MCS6501 and MCS6502 microprocessors, Atari (Steve Mayer and Ron Milner, both of Atari's Cyan Engineering unit) secured a deal with MOS Technology that would lead to Atari using the MOS Technology 6507 in their programmable video game project (later known as Stella).
September 18: The board of directors of Atari, Inc. met and adopted a resolution providing for issuing 36,750 preferred shares in the company, each to have a par value of $20.00 per share. The total number of authorized common shares, at a par value of $0.01 per share, would remain 7,500,000. The aggregate par value of all 7,536,750 shares would be $810,000.
September 22: Magnavox and Sanders Associates filed a civil action in the Northern District of Illinois against Sears, Roebuck and Co. for infringement of Magnavox/Sanders Associates patents in the manufacture, marketing, and sale of Tele-Games Pong (manufactured by Atari).
October 1: Sears released Tele-Games Pong (#25796) by Atari (same as Atari Pong C-100; for 2 players) (on sale Oct. 1-4 for $99.95). 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 11: Special meeting of Atari shareholders approved and ratified the company board's resolution of September 18, 1975 concerning issuing 36,750 preferred shares in the company.
October 13: The board of directors of Atari, Inc. met and adopted a resolution providing for stock split where each outstanding common share of a par value of $0.01 would be split and converted into 5 shares of common stack having no par value. The total number of shares authorized to issue would remain 7,536,750, now with a total aggregate par value of $735,000; this would still include 7,500,000 authorized common shares and 36,750 preferred shares with a par value of $20.00 per share.
October 14: Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc. concerning issuing 36,750 preferred shares in the company, as approved by company shareholders on October 11, 1975, was executed by Atari president Joseph F. Keenan and Atari secretary William L. White, and was filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of California. The total number of issued and outstanding shares of the company was 448,388.
October: Atari obtained a temporary restraining order which by its terms prohibited Fun Games, Inc. from manufacturing or selling the Fun Games games of "Tankers" or "Bi-Plane". (Cash Box 4/3/76; 5/1/76)
October: An Atari reorganization established a Consumer Games Division within the company. Engineer Robert J. Brown (Bob Brown), previously with GTE Sylvania (and earlier with Standard Microsystems when he had been hired by Atari to develop the test program for the consumer Pong chip), would join Atari to form and head the new division. John Anderson, previously Atari Cash Manager, became Atari Consumer Games Division Controller (CC Jan77)
October: Atari maintained international manufacturing facilities in Japan, France and Brazil, employed some 500 people at its primary manufacturing facilities in Los Gatos and Santa Clara CA, and had another 30 engineers at its R&D "think tank" in the Sierra foothills. (Cash Box 11/15/75 p45-46)
October 17-19: At the MOA 1975 International Music and Amusement Machines Exposition (Expo '75) at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Atari introduced the four new games, Horror Games Shark JAWS, Kee Games Jet Fighter, Steeplechase, and Crash 'N' Score (would ship in France by Socodimex/Atari-Europe as: Stock-Car) (Vending Times 11/75 p84; 12/75 p60), and had also planned to preview Computer Portrait (later: Compugraph Foto; never shipped). Another game exhibited by Atari was Kee Games Indy 800. (Fun p137)
October: (after the MOA) Atari completed the sale of Atari Japan Corporation, including the unit's Tokyo manufacturing (assembly) plant, to Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco") of Japan for US$500,050. As a Namco subsidiary, Atari Japan was to remain the exclusive representative for Atari products in Japan. Hideyuki Nakajima, previously Atari Japan general manager, would remain head of the unit as Atari Japan Corp. EVP. (RePlay 7/97 p.A12 for date).
Fall?: Tom Hogg joined Atari as a computer programmer (the first programmer hired by Atari - source)
Fall: Boston's Fidelity Venture Associates had agreed to invest $300,000 into Atari. (source) They had been recruited by Capital Management Services president and Atari director Don Valentine.
November 13: Atari annual meeting of shareholders, where the board of directors resolution of October 13 regarding a 5-for-1 stock split was approved and ratified.
November 14: Atari's legal complaint against Magnavox/Sanders Associates of July 11, 1975 was moved from California to Illinois, and would be enjoined with the complaint made there by Magnavox/Sanders Associates against Sears of September 22, 1975.
November?: Engineers including Murray John Ellis, Wade Tuma, and Niles Strohl, previously teamed together at National Semiconductor, would join Atari (Consumer) as engineers; Ellis would be director of engineering. (one source; Fun p154)
November 19: Atari filed for registered trademarks for the "Atari" name (Ser. No. 69,560) and "fuji" logo (Ser. No. 69,559), as well as for the "Kee Games" name (Ser. No. 69,558), with the USPO.
November 20-23: 57th annual Outdoor Amusement & Souvenir/Novelty Exposition, sponsored by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) at the Marriott Hotel in Atlanta. Atari exhibited at show with games including Kee Games Indy 800. (Fun p137)
December 1: Atari ran an advertisement for Pong in Merchandising Week (p5). "When it comes to electronic video excitement, Atari invented the game. PONG"
December: Engineer Joseph C. Decuir joined Atari as Microcomputer Systems Engineer, hired by VP research and development Al Alcorn to work with Steve Mayer and Ron Milner at Atari's Cyan Engineering unit on their programmable video game project (later known as Stella). Milner had built a functional prototype; Decuir was to build a gate-level prototype before development would shift to Atari headquarters. (source)(source)
December: Atari completed Jet Fighter Cocktail (never shipped).
January 7-9: Atari introduced Pong during the 4th annual Winter Consumer Electronics Show which was held at the Conrad Hilton, Chicago. Atari offered a hospitality suite at the Continental Plaza.
January 12: Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc. regarding a 5-for-1 stock split, as approved by company shareholders on November 13, 1975, was executed by Atari president Joseph F. Keenan and Atari secretary William L. White. The total number of issued and outstanding shares of the company was 516,638.
January 19: Certificate of Amendment of Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc. regarding a 5-for-1 stock split, as executed on January 12, 1976, was filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of California.
January 27-29: 32nd Amusement Trades Exhibition (ATE) at London's Alexandra Place. Atari's Indy 800 (Kee Games) was featured, Atari Stunt Cycle was introduced, and Kee Games Tank 8 was previewed at the show. (Cash Box) Atari was represented by The Cherry Group.
February 2: Dave Shepperd joined Atari as a computer programmer (the second programmer hired by Atari - source)
February 9: Bob Brown, previously head of the Atari Consumer division, would become Atari (Consumer) director of microelectronics. Sheldon F. Ritter, previously general manager, COMPAT division, National Semiconductor, had joined Atari as general manager, Consumer Division (Merch p8) (replacing Brown in the role). Atari Consumer Division offices and subassembly would move into a new facility at 1195 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale CA (31,260 square feet; located in the Moffett Park industrial park). (Fun p166)
February: Atari established a new Pinball Division. Atari (Coin-Op) engineering manager Don Lang would be Pinball Division general manager. Robert Jonesi (Bob Jonesi), previously of Williams Electronics, Inc., would join the company as pinball designer and the new division's first employee. Atari electronics technician Steve Ritchie would be the division's second employee. (Fun p414; important timing clues; source) The Pinball Division would be located at 1173 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale CA (50,000 square feet; located in the Moffett Park industrial park). Atari president Joe Keenan would additionally become Kee Games president (replacing Williams in the role).
February?: Bill White, previously Atari VP administration and finance (CFO), would become Atari VP finance (CFO).
March: Mike Albaugh joined Atari as "third computer programmer in coin-op." (source)
March: Synertek (and prior to that, Standard Microsystems) engineer Jay G. Miner was hired by Atari VP research and development Al Alcorn to design the custom graphics chip and lead the further development of the programmable video game project started at Atari's Cyan Engineering unit by Steve Mayer and Ron Milner with Joe Decuir. Atari would pay Synertek for Miner's services, and Miner would remain a paid employee of Synertek. Decuir would continue with the project, now reporting to Miner. The project became known as: Stella
March: On behalf of Atari Europe, Löwen Automaten (Atari's German distributors) introduced the Theatre Kiosk (never shipped) at the IMA trade show in Berlin, West Germany. The product was developed by Socodimex/Atari-Europe in France; Jean-François Gaillard was manager of Atari Europe. (Play Meter 4/76; source)
March: Roger Hector, previously a bicycle designer at Huffy, joined Atari as an industrial designer. He was hired by Pete Takaishi, Industrial Design Manager. (source)
March: Atari released Outlaw.
March 15: Bob Skyles, previously of Calma Company, joined Atari (Coin-Op) as engineering manager (replacing Don Lang in the role). Skyles was hired by VP engineering Steve Bristow.
March 17: In the ongoing legal proceedings between Atari and Fun Games, Santa Clara Superior Court judge John M. Brenner dissolved the temporary restraining order of October 1975 against Fun Games, and denied Atari's request for a preliminary injunction. (Cash Box 4/3/76; 5/1/76)
March 31-April 1: At Atari's 2nd annual distributor conference, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco, Atari introduced Kee Games Quiz Show, Kee Games Tank 8, Kee Games Indy 4, and introduced the Theatre Kiosk to the U.S. (Cash Box 4/24/76; Vending Times 4/76 p60)
April 1: Atari engineering technician Steve Jobs, Hewlett-Packard staff design engineer Steve Wozniak, and Atari chief draftsman Ron Wayne co-founded the Apple Computer Company.
April 6: The Apple Computer Company previewed the Apple 6502 system (would ship as: Apple Computer 1) at the Sonoma County Micro Computer Club meeting at LO*OP Center in Cotati CA.
April 12: Atari chief draftsman Ron Wayne departed from the Apple Computer Company.
April: Atari released Kee Games Tank 8 and Kee Games Quiz Show (Atari's first two microprocessor-based games).
April: Atari released Breakout (original upright version).
April 26: Joseph F. Keenan remained Atari president, and William L. White remained Atari VP Finance (secretary/treasurer/CFO); Atari remained headquartered at 14600 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos CA. (CA Secretary of State filing)
Spring?: Gene Lipkin, previously Atari VP marketing (consumer and coin-op), became Atari VP marketing and general manager, Coin-Operated Division (assuming the division general management role from VP engineering Steve Bristow). Michael C. Shea (Mike Shea) would join Atari (Consumer) as director of marketing (replacing Lipkin in the role); Malcolm Kuhn would join Atari (Consumer) as director of sales (replacing Lipkin in the role); Kerry M. Crosson would join Atari (Consumer) as new products manager.
Spring?: Dennis Koble joined Atari as "the third programmer Atari ever hired." (source)
May: Atari released Kee Games Indy 4.
May?: Engineer Eugene Jarvis, previously of Hewlett-Packard (very briefly), joined Atari (Pinball) as a microprocessor programmer. He was hired by Don Lang.
May 26: Date of "Product Plans and Strategy: Consumer Video Games" marketing plan prepared for Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell and president Joe Keenan by consultant Gene N. Landrum for the Atari Stella project. (Fun p224) (Landrum had previously been General Manager of Novus, the consumer products division of National Semiconductor, until August 1975.)
June 2: Atari had released Pong (C-100; designed for 2 players; manual also suggests a 1-player game of Solitaire) (newspaper ad, $69.95). Battery Eliminator for Pong sold separately.
June 8: Atari and Magnavox settled their legal dispute regarding patent infringement with an agreement entitled: "Non-Exclusive Cross License for Video Games"
June 13-16: Atari featured Pong (C-100) at the 10th annual Summer Consumer Electronics Show at McCormick Place, Chicago. (Merch 6/76 p120-121) (mc's speculation: Atari previewed Super Pong (C-140; 4 game variations; 2 players), and Pong Doubles (C-160; 2-4 players; never shipped) at the show)
June: Owen Rubin joined Atari as a software engineer. ("he was the fifth programmer hired" AcrossTheBoard 6/83p32) (source#2)
June 19: Atari had announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from 14600 Winchester Blvd in Los Gatos CA to a new $2.5 million, 2 story, 60,000 square foot office building (1265 Borregas Ave.) on a 3.6 acre site at the corner of Borregas Ave and Gibralter Ct in the 547 acre Moffett Park industrial park in Sunnyvale, CA. Occupancy was scheduled for September 1976. Atari already occupied 102,000 square feet of light manufacturing space in Moffett Park (Consumer Division at 1195 Borregas Ave and Pinball Division at 1173 Borregas Ave.) and had leased an additional 54,000 square feet within 3 additional buildings to be built on Caribbean Dr. by late September 1976. (Cash Box 6/19/76 p46-47; Vending Times 7/76 p52)
June 22: "Kee Games" became a registered trademark of Atari. (Reg. No. 1,041,687, filed Nov. 19, 1975)
June/July?: Loren T. Schoof, previously of Coherent Radiation (and before that director of manufacturing at Versatec), joined Atari as director of Consumer operations (manufacturing), replacing Jim Tubb who departed the company. (Retro Videogame Magazine #6 p. 25 for date; source #2)
June/July: Howard Delman joined Atari as an electrical engineer. (He would report to Lyle Rains.) (source; source)
Month?: Steve Calfee joined Atari as Sr. Microprocessor programmer.
Month?: Mathematician/programmer Larry Wagner, previously of Singer Business Machines, was hired by Atari VP research and development Al Alcorn to be responsible for software & systems architecture for the Stella project, joining Jay Miner (MOS/LSI design) and Joe Decuir (logic design). (source)
Months?: Atari Europe released the jukebox models: Concerto 120, Rubis, and Rubis II.
July: Atari released Breakout Cocktail, released Cops n' Robbers, and released Flyball.
July: John Anderson, previously Atari Consumer Games Division Controller, became Atari Assistant Treasurer. (Bill White remained Atari VP finance.)
July 23: Atari (Consumer) offered Pong, Super Pong, and Pong Doubles. Michael C. Shea (Mike Shea) was Atari Consumer Division marketing director (Knight News Wire)
July 26: Warner Communications Inc. (WCI) filed a Certificate of Incorporation for WCI Games Inc. in the Office of Secretary of State, State of Delaware, for the purpose of acquiring Atari, Inc. Main office: 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York NY; California office: 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank CA. Martin D. Payson was WCI Games Inc. VP.
July/August: Atari (Coin-Op) announced the appointment of Carol Kantor, previously of the Clorox Company and Fairchild Camera and Instrument, as market research manager. (Vending Times 8/76; Cash Box 8/7/76 p45)
July/August: Atari had released Super Pong (C-140; 4 games: Catch, Handball, Super Pong, Pong; $89.95 suggested retail) (newspaper ad; $79.88 through Aug. 7). In Europe Atari would release Hockey Pong (C-121; 1 or 2 players; 4 games).
August: Atari announced it had received FCC-type approval for Super Pong. (Merchandising)
August: Atari (Consumer) announced that on August 11 it produced its 500,000th unit at its 125,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale CA (1280 Reamwood Ave.), and announced that it had purchased CBS network time for promotion of Pong and Super Pong in the NFL/NFC telecasts during November and December 1976, including first round playoff games on December 19. Malcolm Kuhn was Atari Consumer Division director of sales; Mike Shea was director of marketing. (Vending Times 9/76; Cash Box 9/4/76 p48)
August: Sears announced/promoted (in the U.S.) Tele-Games Pong (#99716) by Atari (same as Atari Pong C-100; for 2 players), Hockey Pong (#99721) by Atari (same as Atari Hockey Pong C-121; 4 games total; 2-player Hockey, Pong, Handball; 1-player Handball practice), Super Pong (#99736) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong C-140; 6 games total; 2-player Pong, Super Pong, Catch; 1-player Catch practice, Basketball, Handball), and Super Pong IV (#99737) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong Ten C-180; 14 games total; 1-4 player Pong, Super Pong, Catch; 1-2 player Basketball or Handball). In Europe 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: Atari (Coin-Op) announced the appointment of Terry Speizer, previously of American Microsystems and the Falstaff Brewing Company, as regional sales manager for western states. (Vending Times 8/76; Cash Box 8/14/76 p54)
August: Programmer Larry Kaplan, previously of Control Systems Industries, joined the Atari Consumer Division as a Stella project game designer. Kaplan was hired by Atari Stella project director of software & systems architecture Larry Wagner and Atari director of microelectronics Bob Brown; Kaplan was the first person Atari hired specifically to design games for Stella.
August 23-24: Atari held a service seminar at the company's Los Gatos headquarters, focusing on microprocessor-based games, conducted primarily by Atari engineer Dan Van Elderen. Don Smith was manager of customer service. (Cash Box 8/7/76 p46)
September 7: Warner Communications Inc. (WCI) announced it had signed a contract to purchase controlling interest in Atari, Inc. EVP Emanuel Gerard anticipated WCI 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 9/8, NYT 9/8, Cash Box 9/18/76 p42)
September: Atari (Consumer) was promoting Super Pong and Pong. (Merch. p56)
September: James Heller joined Atari (Consumer) as operations manager (manufacturing).
September: Atari had appointed Jim Croke, previously of Litronix, as midwestern zone manager (sales). (Vending Times 10/76 p99; Cash Box 9/25/76 p52)
September 28: The Atari "fuji" logo became a registered trademark of Atari. (Reg. No. 1,049,118, filed Nov. 19, 1975)
October 1: Through its wholly owned subsidiary, WCI Games Inc., Warner Communications Inc. (WCI) acquired all of the outstanding stock of Atari, Inc. for approximately $12,000,000 in cash and $16,000,000 in debentures.
WCI Games Inc.
October 4: Atari, Inc. was merged with and into WCI Games Inc., which was renamed to: Atari, Inc. See: A History of WCI Games / Atari / Atari Games / Atari Holdings
Last updated: 2016.06.19