Atari History Timelines by Michael Current

A History of
Syzygy / Atari

https://mcurrent.name/atarihistory/syzygy.html
Compiled and Copyright (c) 2008-2021 by Michael D. Current

Additions/suggestions/comments/corrections to:
michael@mcurrent.name

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.

Jump to: 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976Links


1969
Winter: Nolan K. Bushnell (BUSH-nell - source); B.S. Utah '68 (December - source) joined the Ampex Corporation in the Videofile Information Systems Division as an associate engineer. (one source for year; see, e.g., Bushnell in GaWp19 for timing; another source; Ramsey GamersAtWork p18 for title)  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 (camera group project manager?) 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 minicomputer (which they had announced Sept 1968).

March?: University of California, Berkeley engineering student Al Alcorn concluded a 6-month field internship experience (started September 1968?) at Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division). (source)

August: Data General announced the Supernova minicomputer, expected to ship Apr70.

September: UC Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow joined Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) for a 6-month field internship experience, where he was assigned to Nolan Bushnell. (Bristow in Zap! p21) 

1970
February: Date of rough designs drawn by Ampex associate research engineer Nolan Bushnell for a potentially commercializable minicomputer-based apparatus that could play games. (source)

March: UC 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 minicomputer.

July/August: Nolan Bushnell recruited fellow Ampex employees Ted Dabney and then Larry Bryan (head of the software group of the Videofile System -source) for assistance in designing and eventually constructing a minicomputer-based apparatus that could play games, targeting the commercial, coin-operated environment.  Specifically, designs called for a 16-bit minicomputer, the Data General Supernova (source), to run several instances of Spacewar!, the computer game popular in university and industrial labs since 1962. (sourceThe group settled on Bryan's idea to call themselves "Syzygy."  Bryan implemented the necessary programming, but the computer proved too slow for the task as designed. (TCWv1 p71-72)

October 6: Date of publication of new Data General price list, announcing the Nova 1200, the Nova 800, and the Supernova SC minicomputers. (source)

October: Inspired by the announcement of the latest Data General Nova minicomputers (including the Nova 800 --Bushnell in GaW p19; source), Ampex employees Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney resolved to continue efforts to develop a commercially-viable, Nova-based coin-operated device that would play Spacewar!, and contributed $100 each to the project which would now involve custom hardware to supplement the computer. (Fun p28 for month only; TCWv1 p72-73)

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) minicomputers 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 minicomputer (two months ahead of schedule). (DG ad in WSJ 5/18/71 p6)

1971
January: The Syzygy Company partnership was established by Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) employees Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. (72/73 Atari FS)  As the general partners of Syzygy, 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 26: Date of draft letter from Syzygy to Data General, where Syzygy Company was going to order several Nova 1200 minicomputers.  The order was never placed. (source; TCWv1 p72-73) 

March: UC Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow returned to Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) for his second 6-month field internship experience. (Bristow in Zap! p21) 

March: Data General shipped the Nova 800 (one month ahead of schedule). (DG ad in WSJ 5/18/71 p6)

April?: 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 contain specialized logic circuits but notably no computer) to be developed by Bushnell and Ted Dabney (Syzygy Company partnership) and pay its manufacturing costs.  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; Bushnell deposition 1/76; Lowood; source #3)

May/June?: Engineer Al Alcorn (UC Berkeley '71), previously of Pertec Peripheral Equipment, joined Ampex (Videofile Information Systems Division) as an associate engineer (reporting to camera group project manager Edward DeBenedetti).  Nolan Bushnell had departed the company, but Ted Dabney remained.  (source)

July?: Ted Dabney departed Ampex to join his Syzygy Company partner Nolan Bushnell at Nutting Associates, Inc. (Fun p39 for timing)

August 23: Syzygy Company partner Nolan Bushnell signed an agreement with Nutting Associates formally licensing Computer Space from Syzygy. (Video Review magazine)

September: UC Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow concluded his second 6-month field internship experience (started January 1971) at Ampex. (Bristow in Zap! p21)

October 15-17: Nutting Associates, Inc. introduced Computer Space (all four prototype units, one each in red, white, blue, and yellow cabinets (source)), developed by Syzygy Company (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.  David Ralstin was Nutting Associates marketing director. (Cash Box)

syzygy engineered logo

November 29: A pair of ads announcing the debut of the coin-operated Galaxy Game (created by Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck), located in the Tresidder Student Union Chess Room at Stanford University, ran on pages 2 and 3 of The Stanford Daily student newspaper.  "A computer run game of skill.  Try it and enter a new universe of fun."  (source)  Galaxy Game was an authentic game of Spacewar!, incorporating a DEC PDP-11/20 minicomputer, a simple point plotting display interface, and a Hewlett Packard 1300A Electrostatic Display, plus coin acceptors and a walnut veneered enclosure.

November/December: Nutting Associates, Inc. shipped Computer Space (NA-2010), developed by Syzygy Company (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)

1972
March: UC Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow joined Nutting Associates, Inc., under chief engineer Nolan Bushnell, for his third 6-month field internship experience. (Bristow in Zap! p22; Bristow deposition 1982-08-05; Fun p127)

April: Nutting Associates, Inc. chief engineer (and Syzygy Company partner) Nolan Bushnell traveled to Chicago to teach a field service school for Empire Distributing, Inc.  While in Chicago, Bushnell met with Bally Manufacturing Corporation EVP John A. Britz regarding game development for Bally by Syzygy. (Fun p59; source)

May 10: Magnavox introduced the Odyssey home video game system. (NYT 5/11)

May: Nutting Associates marketing director David Ralstin departed that company.  Syzygy Company acquired a coin-operated arcade game route street operation (about 50 machines in about 20 locations -The Atari Book p88 / source) from former Nutting Associates, Inc. marketing director David Ralstin. (Fun p52 for timing, though this source possibly suggests Feb/March 1972)

May 24: Nutting Associates, Inc. EVP Rodney T. Geiman and chief engineer (and Syzygy Company partner) Nolan Bushnell attended a public presentation of the Magnavox Odyssey in Burlingame, CA. (TCWv1 p161)

June 5: Syzygy Company partners Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney departed from Nutting Associates, Inc. (Bushnell affidavit to Bally, as referenced here p9 and in TCWv1 p158)  UC Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow would become (part-time) Nutting Associates chief engineer (responsible for continued support of the "Computer Space" game as well as the development of three new games for the 9/72 MOA trade show), replacing the departed Bushnell and Dabney.  Syzygy would secure a contract to design a two-player version of Computer Space for Nutting Associates. (source; TCWv1 p159; Bristow resume)

June 9: Articles of Incorporation for a successor corporation to the Syzygy Company partnership were executed by the company's first Directors: Nolan K. Bushnell, S. Fred Dabney (Ted Dabney), Paula N. Bushnell, Joan M. Dabney.  The new corporation was authorized to issue 75,000 shares of common stock valued at $1.00 each, for an aggregate value of $75,000.  The filing was made with the assistance of Lionel M. (Lon) Allan, junior attorney of Hopkins, Jordan, Mitchell & Sullivan, Attorneys at Law.

June: Syzygy established a 1700 ft2 office location at the Cole Complex: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara CA

Syzygy logo 1971-1972

June: Allan E. Alcorn, previously an associate engineer in the Videofile division of Ampex (and former officemate of Syzygy partner Ted Dabney), joined Syzygy as an engineer (for $1,000 per month and 10% of the stock in the company).  (source)

June 26: Cynthia Villanueva (later: Cynthia Russell) joined Syzygy as a secretary/receptionist (and Syzygy's fourth employee overall). (source, source)

June 26: Date of Royalty Agreement between Bally Manufacturing Corporation and Syzygy Company partner Nolan Bushnell, signed at Bally's office in Chicago.  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)

June 27: The Articles of Incorporation for a successor corporation to the Syzygy Company that had been executed on June 9 were filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of California as the Articles of Incorporation of Atari, Inc.  Lon Allan, who had submitted the incorporation paperwork on behalf of Hopkins, Jordan, Mitchell & Sullivan, Attorneys at Law, would continue to work closely with Atari, becoming Atari's outside general counsel.

July 1: The Syzygy Company partnership was merged with and into Atari, Inc.  Atari would issue to Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney (the Syzygy partners) common stock valued at $5,000 (3,000 shares to Bushnell, 2,000 shares to Dabney) and notes of $6,032 ($3,321 to Bushnell; $2,711 to Dabney), and assume long-term debt of $4,296, for a total of $15,328, in exchange for the net partnership assets. (Fun p84; 72/73 Atari FS)  While named Atari, the new company would do business as "Syzygy Co."

Atari, Inc.Syzygy logo 1971-1972

The Agreement between Bally Manufacturing Corporation and Syzygy Company partner Nolan Bushnell of June 26, 1972 would be updated as an agreement between Bally and Atari dated July 1, 1972.

July 10: In clarifying their prototype game development plans to Bally Manufacturing Corporation under their July 1 agreement, Atari dba Syzygy director Nolan Bushnell described the two games he would develop as a hockey-type video amusement game, projected to be finished by November 15, and a flipper-type pinball game mock-up called Fireball, projected to be delivered September 1. (source)

August 16: Opening of the Orange Mall Regional Center in Orange CA (near Los Angeles).

September: Atari dba Syzygy enclosed one of the two examples of their "Pong" video game (designed for the home consumer market as an engineering exercise) into a table-top cabinet, built in a small television for video display, configured the game for coin operation, and placed the unit on location for play testing at Andy Capp's Tavern (157 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale CA), a site on the Syzygy game route street operation. (source)

September 14-16: All New Expo '72, the 1972 Music and Amusement Machines Exposition at the Conrad Hilton Hotel, Chicago, sponsored by Music Operators of America (MOA).  UC Berkeley engineering student and former Nutting Associates, Inc. chief engineer Steve Bristow attended the show, where Nutting Associates introduced at least one of Bristow's projects for the company, 1 And 2 Player Computer Space. (source In addition to visiting MOA, Atari dba Syzygy director Nolan Bushnell visited the Chicago offices of Bally Manufacturing Corporation and Midway Mfg. Co. (subsidiary of Bally since 10/16/69) where he presented Syzygy's Pong game.  Bally and Midway both declined to acquire rights to the game, and Bally still expected Atari to deliver a viable coin-operated video amusement game (along with a pinball game design) per their agreement of July 1, 1972.  (source, source, source

September: UC Berkeley engineering student Steve Bristow began working part-time at Atari dba Syzygy. (deposition 1982-08-05)  Bristow would help manage the Syzygy coin route, including servicing the machines. (Fun p127)

September/October: Atari dba Syzygy built a prototype Pong unit in a full-size upright cabinet design, and placed it on location at a site on the Syzygy game route street operation.

October/November: Atari dba Syzygy built twelve prototype Pong units (upright cabinet design), and placed one of these on location at a site on the Syzygy game route street operationon.  The games were built with the assistance of Douglas M. Dabney, brother of company co-founder Ted Dabney. (source)

November 9-12: International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) '72 Parks Show at the Sherman House Hotel, Chicago.

November: Atari dba Syzygy introduced Pong (Syzygy Model VP-1) by selling twelve of the thirteen prototype full-size upright cabinet units that had been built to date.  Ten were sold to three distributors in California (Advance Automatic Sales, Portel Automatic, C.A. Robinson), and the two units on location at Syzygy route sites were also sold. (source; source; Atari, Inc. 10-Q for 5/1/96 for date)

November: Atari dba Syzygy took orders from several distributors for the first 300 units of Pong. (source)  To facilitate fulfilling the orders, the company secured a $3,000 loan from a local Wells Fargo bank, and expanded into a neighboring 1700 ft2 space at the Cole Complex resulting in a total operating space of 3400 ft2. (source, source, source) 

November 20: Atari dba Syzygy had begun hiring help to build Pong units.  Daniel S. Corona joined Atari dba Syzygy (employee badge #9) (source 45:30 for date; source #2), as would David W. Dean.  Nolan Bushnell would take the title of company president, Tad Dabney would take the title of EVP, and Al Alcorn would take the title of senior staff engineer. (Fun p86)

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 Corporation to Atari under the agreement of July 1, 1972.  Product development by Atari dba Syzygy in fulfilment of that contract would continue.

December: Atari dba Syzygy shipped Pong (first commercial shipments). (WSJ 3/18/74 for date)

December 31: Atari dba Syzygy employed around 30 people. (source) 

1973
January: Anthony F. Marincic (Fred Marincic) joined Atari dba Syzygy as secretary-treasurer.  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) 

Fabruary 15: "An amusement arcade, with Pong, Computer Space and other such diversions, has been opened by the company [Atari dba 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 and was building a 25,000 ft2 factory in Santa Clara. (UPI 2/15/73)  (token: "Syzygy Space Age Amusements" -Fun p106)  New factory location (former roller rink): 1600 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA, USA

February: Engineers Lawrence D. Emmons and Steven T. Mayer (both formerly project managers in the Videofile Information Systems Division at Ampex Corporation -source) departed from Arvin Systems to focus on the independent engineering consultancy they had started together in fall 1972, and their consultancy's major customer, Atari dba Syzygy.  They would move their business from labs in their private homes to a 1000 ft2 facility on the second floor in the Litton Building at 1300 E. Main St., Grass Valley CA.  (Fun p243-245 in part)

February: In fulfillment of the July 1, 1972 Royalty Agreement between Bally Manufacturing Corporation and Atari dba Syzygy, Atari president Nolan Bushnell delivered the completed Asteroid video game and Fireball pinball game prototype designs to Bally in Chicago.  Bally facilitated an additional 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. (the subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing Corporation).  For two years commencing on this date: Midway was to pay Atari $31 per Syzygy Model VP-1 (Pong) unit made/used/sold by/for Midway; Midway was to pay Atari a 3% royalty on Midway's selling price per Syzygy Model VP-2 ("Asteroid") unit, in accordance with the previous agreement established between Atari and Bally dated July 1, 1972.  (source)

March 1: Atari purchased 2,000 shares of its 5,000 issued and outstanding common stock at a cost of $250,000, payable in ten equal annual installments commencing on this date. (72/73 Atari FS)  Ted Dabney, previously Atari EVP, would become VP production facilities, 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, as the company was preparing to expand from West Coast to national distribution of its product.  Company address given: 1600 Martin Ave., Santa Clara

Atari Inc.  syzygy engineered

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 Corporation) announced Winner (Syzygy Model VP-1, same as Atari Pong) which would be built under license and with the co-operation of Atari, 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 Corporation), allowing Midway to produce its latest video game (Syzygy Model VP-2, "Asteroid").  Nolan Bushnell was Atari president and Ted Dabney was VP (production facilities). (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 secretary-treasurer Anthony F. Marincic (Fred Marincic).  The total number of company shares issued remained 5,000.

March/April?: George Faraco joined Atari as manager of industrial design. (CashBox 9/29/73 for title)

Winter/Spring?: Atari dba Syzygy secured a $50,000 line of credit on receivables from Wells Fargo Bank's special industries group. (BusWeek 11/15/76; source)

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 the latter capacity, joined Atari as director of operations.  (Ted Dabney remained VP production facilities.)

April 7: Nolan Bushnell was Atari president; Ted Dabney was VP production facilities; Al Alcorn was chief engineer. (Cash Box company profile 4/7/73 p104)

April: Midway Mfg. Co. (the wholly owned subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing Corporation) announced the release of Winner (game no. 567; Syzygy Model VP-1, same as Atari Pong), built under license and with the co-operation of Atari, the inventor and developer of the game. (Cash Box 4/28/73)

May 1: Articles of Incorporation of Atari International were executed.  The three initial directors of the company would be: Ruth M. Duncan, Mary L. Kinne, Mary Z. Somers

May 4: Date of incorporation for the new subsidiary of Atari, Atari International, which was set up primarily to engage in commission sales of games and equipment for export from the United States.

May 7: In the UK, Atari established Atari (UK) Limited, to be headed by Philip Smith. (see 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 (14600 Winchester Blvd.; previously: Amphenol Cadre Division).  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?: Satish Bhutani joined Atari as export sales administrator. 

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 the cabinet design that would be utilized for Space Race fiberglass.)  Company address given: 2962 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara CA

Atari logo May 19, 1973

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)

Atari logo 1973 June

June: Atari announced that engineer Don Lang (Donald 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; employed part-time at Atari since September 1972) joined Atari as an electrical engineer.  Atari employed about 70-80 people.  (Zap! p36)

June?: 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 manage (and swiftly expand) Atari's international operations.  Ronald F. Gordon (Ron Gordon), founder and head of Multi-National, would serve as Atari international marketing director.  Early 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) of Sweden; Segasa of Madrid, Spain; F.lli Bertolino of Torino, Italy. (Fun p121, in part)

June: San Jose State University industrial design student Regan L. Cheng joined Atari as an associate industrial designer. (see Fun p99; source; date)  He was hired by manager of industrial design George Faraco.

June 28: San Jose State University industrial design student Peter L. Takaichi joined Atari as an associate industrial designer. (source; RePlay 7/97 p A61; source)  He was hired by manager of industrial design George Faraco.

July 7: Atari ad in Cash Box ("Start playing with the future.") mentioned Pong, Barrel Pong (perhaps several dozen units would be produced, but never shipped in quantity), and Space Race, and featured a photo of those three units plus a fiberglass unit running Pong (cabinet design would be utilized for Space Race fiberglass).  Pat Karns remained national sales manager.

Atari logo July 7, 1973

July 7: Nutting Associates, Inc. had announced the release of 1 And 2 Player Computer Space (not Syzygy engineered). (Cash Box 7/7/73)

July 14: Atari had established a United Kingdom manufacturing branch in London (Cash Box 7/14/73), Atari (UK) Limited.

July?: Jerry Donaldson (Gerald Donaldson), previously of Signetics, joined Atari in engineering.  He had been hired by VP engineering Al Alcorn, and he would report to manager Don Lang. (source)

July: Atari established a game route street operation in Salt Lake City, Utah, known as Merlin Enterprises (Fun p127) or Martin Enterprises (source).

July 21: Atari had announced the release of Space Race (Syzygy Model VP-2; "Asteroid" game design licensed to Midway as of February 22, 1973).  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 28: Atari media advertisement for Space Race featured perhaps the earliest use of the Atari "Fuji" logo (Cash Box 7/28/73 insert between pages 46-47), designed for Atari by George H. Opperman of Opperman-Harrington, Inc. (production assistant: Evelyn Lim) for Atari.  George Faraco remained Atari manager of industrial design. (ArtOfAtari p29-30; 316)  (Atari would proceed to turn to Opperman frequently for graphics design.)

Atari logo 1973

July 28: Atari had announced the appointment of Anthony F. (Fred) Marincic, previously Atari secretary-treasurer, as VP finance (CFO).  Atari now employed 180 people, and was privately held, with the majority of stockholders being current employees. (Cash Box 7/28/73 p45)

July/August?: Bill White, previously Atari director of operations, became secretary-treasurer, replacing VP finance (CFO) Fred Marincic who departed the company.  Steve Pereira, previously of Ampex, would join Atari as director of operations (replacing White in the role). (source, source)  Gilbert J. Williams (Gil Williams), previously of Ampex, would join Atari as operations manager (reporting to Pereira).  (Ted Dabney remained VP production facilities.)

Summer?: The contract engineering consultancy headed by Larry Emmons and Steve Mayer was acquired by their major customer, Atari, and became the Atari research and development unit, Cyan Engineering. (Fun p245 in part)  Emmons would be Director of Cyan Engineering (reporting to Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn); Mayer would be Cyan Engineering Senior Engineer.

Atari logo 1973     Cyan Engineering logo

August 4: Media report spotlighted the new 30,000 ft2 administrative and manufacturing headquarters for Atari, Inc., "makers of Pong, Barrel Pong, and Space Race," at: 14600 Winchester Blvd, Los Gatos CA.  Nolan Bushnell remained Atari president. (Cash Box 8/4/73 p48)

August 4: Atari ad in Cash Box announced international sales and distribution ("Atari Expands Worldwide!").  The ad re-used the photo of 4 games found in the 7/7/73 Cash Box ad (Pong, Barrel Pong, Space Race, fiberglass unit running Pong); the ad also featured perhaps the earliest use of the most famous version of the Atari "Fuji" logo.  Ron Gordon was Atari International Marketing Director. (Cash Box 8/4/73 p49)

Atari logo 1973-1984     Cyan Engineering logo

August: Atari announced the release of Space Race fiberglass (utilizing the novel cabinet design depicted in their May 19, July 7, and August 4 Cash Box ads), 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?: 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 (CFO) Fred Marincic had departed the company before Wakefield's arrival.)

August: In Tokyo, Atari established Atari Japan Corporation, headed by Japanese-American businessman Kenichi Takumi as its president.   (Fun p122-123; TCWv1 p287).  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), would join Atari Japan Corporation as general manager. (Marquis) 

August?: Steve Jobs joined Atari in the Electrical Engineering department (which was headed by Don 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 had 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 operations manager, would be Kee Games VP operations.  Bill White, previously Atari secretary-treasurer, would be Kee Games Controller.  Satish Bhutani, previously Atari export sales administrator, would be Kee Games international sales manager.  Kee Games would set up operations at: 330 Mathew St., Santa Clara CA, USA (11,640 ft2)

Kee Games logo

Richard L. Mobilio (Dick Mobilio), previously general manager, Intercontinental Sales Region at Hewlett-Packard, would join Atari as VP marketing.  Leslie H. Oliver (Les Oliver), previously administrative manager, Intercontinental Sales Region at Hewlett-Packard, would join Atari as VP administration and finance (CFO, replacing White in the role). 

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 Corporation) released Asteroid by Atari (Syzygy Model VP-2, design licensed 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 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: Ted Dabney, previously Atari VP production facilities, would become Atari VP for the Syzygy game route.  William H. Rombach, previously Precision Instrument Co. VP manufacturing operations, would join Atari as VP manufacturing (replacing Dabney in role).  Effective January 1974, Dabney was to acquire the Syzygy game route street operation from Atari. (Fun p103-104; source for datesource except for date) 

October 29: Elaine Thompson joined Atari as a trainee in manufacturing PCB. (Cash Box 6/10/89 p25; AtariLife Aug87)

Fall?: Hunter Electronics Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, Australia released Barrel-Pong by Atari/Syzygy.

Fall: Electrical engineer Ron Milner joined Atari's Cyan Engineering unit as a senior engineer. (Antic Interview 74)  (Milner would be office-mates with senior engineer Steve Mayer).

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, and Mayer, and manager of industrial design George 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 (headed by Donald Lang) (Fun p183).  Lee was hired by Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn. (source)

November/December: Ronald G. Wayne (Ron Wayne) joined Atari as chief draftsman (industrial design/design services), replacing manager of industrial design George Faraco who departed the company.  Wayne was hired by, and would report to, Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn. (Wayne p67)

December 5: Dan Van Elderen joined Atari (source) as a hardware troubleshooter). (RePlay 7/97a47)  

December 6: As had been executed on October 25, 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.  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: Date of incorporation for the new subsidiary of Kee Games, Kee Games International, which was set up primarily to engage in commission sales of games and equipment for export from the United States.

1974
January: Atari announced the sale of the Syzygy name to (Atari director) Ted Dabney, whose new Syzygy Game Company was to take over the Syzygy game route street operation from Atari and operate as an independent company. (Cash Box 1/26/74; Vending Times 2/74 p52)  Syzygy Game Company would rent its machines from Atari and lease space for its servicing operations at Atari's 1600 Martin Ave. location.

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)

Winter?: In Japan, Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco"), the Japanese amusement machine manufacturer and amusement park operator founded in June 1955 by Masaya Nakamura, agreed to help sell game machines for Atari Japan Corporation.  Kenichi Takumi remained president of Atari Japan; Hide Nakajima remained general manager. (Fun p123-124)

February: Atari announced the release of Rebound (Cash Box 2/9/74), and announced the release of Superpong (in limited production) (Cash Box 2/16/74 p51;Vending Times 2/74 p52).

February: Atari announced that engineer Lloyd A. Warman had joined the company as VP engineering (replacing Atari VP 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, unit managers reporting to Warman would include: Holly LeRoy (Model Shop), Ron Wayne (Industrial Design/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 (reporting to electrical engineering manager 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: 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)

February: In South Korea, Atari helped establish distributor Computer Games Ltd. (Fun p126, in part)

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 as an assembly line worker. (TCWv1 p493)

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.

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: Lloyd Warman, previously Atari VP engineering, became VP operations (Atari Leisure Time Game Center concept).  Atari VP Al Alcorn returned to his prior role as VP engineering (replacing Warman in the role). (one source for timing)   

April: Atari engineering technician Steve Jobs had been dispatched on a field service project in Europe.  Upon completion of the project Jobs departed the company (and traveled directly from Europe to India). (source; Wayne p100)

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 Corporation, 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)

Spring: Atari sold its Salt Lake City game route street operation, known as Merlin Enterprises (Fun p127) or Martin Enterprises (source), to Lagoon Corporation.

Spring?: Atari (UK) Limited was shut down.  Ruffler and Deith Ltd. (London) would become Atari's distributor in the UK. (Fun p122)

May 15: Date of Agreement of Purchase whereby the assets of Syzygy Game Company (game route street operations, headed by Atari co-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.  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 later (1977?) by Atari-Europe as: Coup Franc)

May 31: Official opening of the Atari Family Game Center on the terrace level at BayFair Regional Shopping Center, E. 14th St. at 155th Ave., San Leandro CA.  The Atari designed, built, owned, and operated facility was 1300 ft2 and included 16 games (including Atari's own Pong, Gotcha, Reboud, and Gran Track 10).  Atari already operated game 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" as the first manifestation of the Atari Leisure Time Game Center concept.  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)  (Lloyd Warman was Atari VP operations.)

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 and Puppy Pong at the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) held at McCormick Place, Chicago, marketing the (free play) 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; pic)

June: Executives Nolan Bushnell, Dick Mobilio and Pat Karns all remained with Atari. (Cash Box 6/29/74)

Month?: Fred McCord joined Atari in field service.

Month?: Engineer Howard K. Van Jepmond, previously of Hazeltine Research (unit of Hazeltine Corporation), joined Kee Games.

July 3: Nolan Bushnell remained Atari chairman and president. (source)

July 6: At Atari, Nolan Bushnell remained board chairman, Ron Gordon remained International Sales Manager, Pat Karns remained National Sales Manager.  Company headquarters remained at 14600 Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos CA  (Cash Box 7/6/74 pt III p25)

July 6: Kee Games international distributors included, in Canada: Dale Distributing, New Way Sales Company, Top Vending, Rowecanco Industries Limited; in Europe: London Coin Machines Limited, Musikvertrieb AG Zurich, Seevend Automaten Vertriebs G.M.B.H., Sovoda S.A. (Cash Box 7/6/74 ptIII p11)  Joseph F. Keenan remained president, Stephen D. Bristow remained VP engineering, Gil Williams remained VP operations, William L. White remained controller.  Company headquarters remained at 330 Mathew St, Santa Clara CA (Cash Box 7/6/74 ptIII p26)

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 Atari Japan Corporation to Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco") for ¥296 million ($1.18 million), pending payment (in full) by October 1974.  Hideyuki Nakajima, remained Atari Japan Corporation general manager; the unit's president, Kenichi Takumi, had departed the company.  (Cash Box 8/24/74 for date; Maeno, TCWv1 p288)

July?: In Honolulu, Atari Pacific, Inc. was shut down. (Fun p126)

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 Manufacturing Corporation and others of April 15, 1974, was dismissed with respect to Atari, for improper venue.

August 4: Targeting both home consumers as well as managers of office waiting rooms or reception areas, Atari ran an ad in the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle (p22) announcing a $50 discount through August 30, 1974 for Superpong ($795; full-sized cabinet; free play model), Dr. Pong ($795), or Puppy Pong ($795).  Tony Seidel remained Atari director of marketing communications. (source; see also WeLoveAtari v.1 p14)  

August: Atari released Gran Trak 20 (the same game as Twin Racer by Kee Games) and released Puppy Pong.

August: Atari and Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco") agreed on new terms for the acquisition of Atari Japan Corporation by Namco: Namco would pay Atari $550,000 immediately, and would pay Atari $250,000 a year for three years, for a total of $1.3 million. (TCWv1 p288)  Namco became responsible for all Atari Japan operations, including licensed manufacturing, marketing, sales, and distribution of the entire existing Atari product line (Pong, Space Race, Pong Doubles, Gotcha, Rebound), and was to remain Atari's exclusive distributor in Japan for 10 years.  (GM 11/29/82Hideyuki Nakajima agreed to continue as general manager of Atari Japan Corporation for Namco (intending to stay on for 6 months).

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 released Dr. Pong.

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 VP operations, 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 new location: 1280 Reamwood Ave., Sunnyvale CA, USA (125,000 ft2) (previously: 330 Mathew St., Santa Clara CA)

Atari-Kee logo     Cyan Engineering logo

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 Dr. Robert J. Brown (Bob Brown) to develop the test program for the new chip in concert with the design of the chip.  Atari VP engineering Al Alcorn would head the project. (Fun p151-152) (source)

September: In France, Atari acquired a 50% ownership stake in Socodimex (known as the French distributor of Seeburg jukeboxes), which would then acquire and reopen the former Electro-Kicker (producer of Jupiter brand jukeboxes) manufacturing facility at 12, rue de l'Helvétie, Baume-les-Dames, which had been held by the French Government since its June 1974 closure.  Socodimex would serve as Atari's manufacturing partner for Europe, and would replace "Atari France" Sovoda S.A. as Atari's distributor in France. (source for date)  Atari VP finance Bill White 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 game route street operations, which he would acquire controlling ownership of from partner and Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell.  Syzygy Company would go on to evolve into the Time Zone arcade chain. (source; sourceBill White remained Atari VP administration and finance (CFO).

Fall?: Atari design engineer Lawrence Leppert (Larry Leppert) departed the company (to Mar-Quin, Inc.). (Cash Box 4/3/76 p54)

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, electrical engineering manager 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: Al Alcorn, previously Atari VP engineering, became Atari VP research and development (consumer pong project).  Steve Bristow, previously Kee Games VP Engineering, became Atari VP Engineering (coin operated games) (assuming the role from Alcorn).  (Lyle Rains remained Kee Games Electronics Engineer/Game Designer, still reporting to Bristow.)

November: Atari Japan, operated for Atari by Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco"), released Gran Trak 20 by Atari. (GM 11/29/82)

1975
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 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 consumer Pong at the American Toy Fair in New York.  Atari was represented by VP marketing Gene Lipkin and VP research and development Al Alcorn.

February/March?: Steve Jobs returned to Atari as a consulting engineering technician. (source)

March: Atari Japan, operated for Atari by Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco"), released Tank by Kee Games. (GM 11/29/82)

March 17: Atari and Sears, Roebuck and Co. came to an agreement whereby Atari Pong (consumer version) would be manufactured by Atari and sold exclusively through Sears through the end of the year, targeting Christmas 1975 sales, under the new Sears Tele-Games brand. (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)  (Former Atari design engineer Larry Leppert, previously of Mar-Quin, Inc., would also join Fun Games.)

March/April?: Kee Games international sales manager Satish Bhutani departed the company (to Fun Games). (timing clue)

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 ft2 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).  Kee Games engineering/R&D (headed by Senior Electronics Engineer/Game Designer Lyle Rains) would remain separate from Atari engineering/R&D, with operations at a location on Division Street, Los Gatos CA.  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.

Winter/Spring: Industrial designer Chas Grossman, previously of Ampex, joined Atari as industrial design manager (reporting to chief draftsman Ron Wayne). (source for timing; source; contradicts ArtOfAtari and this source)

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 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)

Spring: Donald T. Valentine/Capital Management Services, Inc. (Sequoia venture capital fund established by Valentine within the Capital Group in 1972, then spun off in 1974) committed to a venture capital investment of $600,000 in Atari, and also work to find further major investors in Atari, in exchange for a significant minority ownership in the company and a seat on the Atari board of directors. (source) (source(This was the first venture capital investment for Valentine/Capital Management Services. (source))

Spring?: Atari (Canada) Ltd. was shut down. (see Fun p122)   Dale Distributing, Fountainhead Amusement, and New Way Sales would become Atari distributors in Canada.

Spring?: Atari abandoned the Atari Leisure Time Game Center concept, and Atari VP operations Lloyd Warman departed the company.  Additional departures included engineering technician Jerry Donaldson (Gerald Donaldson) (to Teradyne) (source) and mechanical engineer Holly LeRoy (to Fun Games). (clue)

May 10: Atari had announced a $10 million suit against Mar-Quin, Inc., a trailer supplier to the carnival industry, for unfair competition, breach of contract and conspiracy. (CashBox 5/10/75 p33)

May: Atari completed Kee Games Crossfire (never shipped), and Atari released Kee Games Tank II.

May: Atari employed 347 people. (Fun p201)

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: Pursuant to their March 17, 1975 agreement with Sears, Atari prepared to mass-produce consumer Pong.  Atari would repurpose the former Kee Games factory at 1280 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale CA, and Jim Tubb joined Atari as consumer plant manager (reporting to VP research and development Al Alcorn).  Frederick W. Thompson (Fred Thompson) would join Atari as an industrial designer to develop a finalized industrial design for consumer Pong. (ArtOfAtari p296) 

June 1-4: Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago.

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)

Month?: Jean M. Hackenburg joined Atari in the accounting department. (D&B Principals via LN-Uni for date; TheGrapeVine 10/2018 for role)

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 5: Atari (and Kee Games) international distributors included: Argentina: Jet S.A.; Australia: Goddard Novelty Company (Sydney; also manufacturing/assembly), Hunter Electronic Ltd. (Sydney); Austria: Automaten- und Warenhandelsgesellschaft MBH (Vienna); Belgium: Belgium Amusement Company (Antwerp); Brazil: Taito do Brasil (Sao Paulo; also manufacturing/assembly); Canada: Dale Distributing (Richmond, British Columbia; Rexdale, Ontario), Fountainhead Amusement (St. Laurent, Quebec), New Way Sales (West Toronto, Ontario); Canary Islands: Tagsa (San Augustine); Denmark/Finland/Norway/Sweden: Cherryforetagen (Solna, Sweden); England: International Amusements (London), Ruffler and Deith Ltd. (London); France: Socodimex (Paris; also manufacturing/assembly at Baume-les-Dames); Germany: Löwen Automaten (West Germany), Seevend Automaten (Hamburg); Greece/Middle East/Philippines: R.H. Belam Company, Inc. (New York, New York); Holland: Automaten Import Nederland (Veldhoven); Israel: Galilee Industries & Trade Company (Safad); Italy: F.lli Bertolino (Torino); Japan: Atari Japan (operated by Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco"); Ohta-ku, Tokyo; also manufacturing/assembly); Korea: Computer Games Ltd.; Mexico: F.I.N.E.S.A. (Tijuana, B.C.; also manufacturing/assembly), Industrias F.D. SA (Mexico); New Zealand: Brian Dowdle (Auckland); Panama: Isthmian Amusement Corp. (Curundu); South Africa: Bizzell Brothers (Durban), Prestige Electronics (Johannesburg), Serv-o-matic (Johannesburg), Space Age TV Games (Transvaal; also manufacturing/assembly); Spain: Segasa, Juegos Recreatives (Madrid; also manufacturing/assembly); Switzerland: Musikvertrieb AG (Zurich); Taiwan: AZ Trading Co.   (Cash Box 7/5/75 pt.III p.13)

Atari / Kee Games, July 1975 logos     Cyan Engineering logo

July 5: At Atari, Nolan Bushnell remained board chairman, Joe Keenan remained president, Ron Gordon remained international sales manager, Gene Lipkin remained VP marketing, Steve Bristow remained VP engineering, Gil Williams remained VP manufacturing, Al Alcorn remained VP R&D (Cash Box 7/5/75 pt.III p16)

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: MOS Technology announced the MCS6501 and MCS6502 microprocessors and the MCS6530 peripheral interface device (RRIOT), samples of each to ship September 1975, and announced that the 6501/6502 and future microprocessors in the MCS6500 family would be second sourced by Synertek.  Product introductions and sales were scheduled at the McArthur suite in the St. Francis Hotel during WESCON in San Francisco, September 1975.  Chuck Peddle was MOS Technology marketing director. (source)

July 17: mc believes this source, correspondence from the U.S. FCC, was incorrect in stating Al Alcorn's title as Atari VP engineering.

Summer: Time Inc. and the California-based venture capital Mayfield Fund had each agreed to invest $600,000 in Atari.  They had been recruited by Atari investor Don Valentine/Capital Management Services. (source)  

Summer: Atari sued Fun Games, Inc., seeking to restrain Fun Games from using any trade secrets which Atari alleged had been stolen by former Atari design engineer Lawrence Leppert. (Cash Box 4/3/76 p56; 5/1/76 p47)

August 15: Frank Ballouz, previously of the A.B. Dick Company, joined Atari as national sales manager (replacing the departed Pat Karns).  Gene Lipkin remained Atari VP marketing. (Cash Box 10/4/75; Vending Times 10/75)

August?: Sears introduced Tele-Games Pong (#25796; $98.95; four "D" batteries included) by Atari (same as Atari Pong C-100) on page 410 of the Wish Book for the 1975 Christmas Season.  AC Power Adapter (#25792; 8W, $7.95) sold separately.

August/September: Atari released Kee Games Tank cocktail. (Vending Times 9/75 p68 and ad)

source)  

Summer: Atari sued Fun Games, Inc., seeking to restrain Fun Games from using any trade secrets which Atari alleged had been stolen by former Atari design engineer Lawrence Leppert. (Cash Box 4/3/76 p56; 5/1/76 p47)

August 15: Frank Ballouz, previously of the A.B. Dick Company, joined Atari as national sales manager (replacing the departed Pat Karns).  Gene Lipkin remained Atari VP marketing. (Cash Box 10/4/75; Vending Times 10/75)

August?: Sears introduced Tele-Games Pong (#25796; $98.95; four "D" batteries included) by Atari (same as Atari Pong C-100) on page 410 of the Wish Book for the 1975 Christmas Season.  AC Power Adapter (#25792; 8W, $7.95) sold separately.

August/September: Atari released Kee Games Tank cocktail. (Vending Times 9/75 p68 and ad)

Summer/Fall: Tom Hogg joined Atari as a computer programmer (the first programmer hired by Atari - source)

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.

 Horror Games

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 (WESCON 75) held at Brooks Hall and Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, MOS Technology introduced the MCS6501 and MCS6502 microprocessors and the MCS6530 peripheral driver (RRIOT) IC. (source)  Concurrent with the show, MOS Technology also hosted guests at the McArthur suite in the nearby St. Francis Hotel.  (Product sales were not permitted at the show itself.) (source)

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) (on sale Oct. 1-4 for $99.95). (newspaper ad)

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 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, would prohibit Fun Games, Inc. from manufacturing or selling their games "Tankers" or "Bi-Plane". (Cash Box 5/1/76 p47)

October: Atari formally established a Consumer Games Division.  Atari VP marketing Gene Lipkin would additionally be general manager, Consumer Games Division (essentially replacing VP research and development Al Alcorn in the role).  Engineer Dr. 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 in 1974), would join Atari (Consumer) as director of Microelectronics.  Fred Thompson (who had previously reported to Alcorn) would be Atari (Consumer) industrial design manager.  John Anderson, previously Atari Cash Manager, became Controller for the Consumer Games Division. (CC Jan77 for date)  The new division's offices would be in a secondary building on the site of the Kee Games engineering/R&D facility on Division Street in Los Gatos CA, with manufacturing remaining at 1280 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale CA.  Atari VP manufacturing and Kee Games president Gil Williams would remain VP manufacturing and assume responsibility for consumer product manufacturing.  Roy Y. Kusumoto, previously director of operations/technical director at Optical Diodes Inc., would join Atari as consumer plant manager (reporting to Williams), replacing Jim Tubb who departed the company. (sourceAtari president Joe Keenan would additionally (again) be Kee Games president (replacing Williams in the role). 

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 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 23: 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.

Fall: Boston's Fidelity Venture Associates agreed to invest $300,000 into Atari.  They had been recruited by Atari investor Don Valentine/Capital Management Services. (source)  

November 13: Atari annual meeting of shareholders, where the board of directors resolution of October 23 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 15: 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 (Cyan Engineering). (Cash Box 11/15/75 p45-46)

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)

November/December: Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco") of Japan made a payment to Atari toward their August 1974 agreement to purchase Atari Japan Corporation that resulted in acquiring controlling interest in the unit (including the Atari Japan Tokyo manufacturing (assembly) plant).  Hideyuki Nakajima, previously Atari Japan general manager, would be promoted to Namco VP for Atari Japan (remaining head of the unit). (TCWv1 p289; Sheff; RePlay 7/97 p.A12 for year

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 1: Paul J. Malloy had been named VP of manufacturing at Quantor Corp. (source; source)

December: Atari completed Jet Fighter Cocktail (never shipped).

December: (after Dec. 25) Engineer Joseph C. Decuir, previously a research assistant at the San Francisco Institutes of Medical Sciences, joined Atari and would work with senior engineers Steve Mayer and Ron Milner at Atari's Cyan Engineering to help debug a concept prototype programmable video game project (later: Stella project).  Milner had designed the hardware; Mayer had designed the software (Tank prototype); the first wirewrap board had been wired by Bob Walker. (source)(source)(source)(source)

December 29: In France, with a capital of 600 000 F., Atari established the non wholly owned subsidiary, Atari-Europe, S.A.  Serge Lievoux would be président du conseil d'administration; Jean-Jacques Gaillard would be directeur général administrateur.  Location: 12, rue de l'Helvétie, Baume-les-Dames (location of the manufacturing plant of Atari distributor Socodimex).

In 1975 Atari built and shipped 180,000 units of Sears Tele-Games Pong. (Bushnell quote)

1976
January 5: In France, newly-established Atari-Europe, S.A. acquired the manufacturing plant at 12, rue de l'Helvétie, Baume-les-Dames, from Atari distributor Socodimex.  Sale price: 700 000 F.  Socodimex would remain Atari's distributor in France.

January 7-9: Atari introduced Pong (C-100) 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.  Gene Lipkin was Atari VP marketing.  (TVDigest 11/24/75 p8, 1/12/76p11)

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: Atari shifted most Consumer Division operations from the secondary building at the Kee Games engineering/R&D facility on Division Street in Los Gatos CA to a new facility at 1195 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale CA (31,260 ft2; located in the Moffett Park industrial park), with Microelectronics (headed by Bob Brown) moving nearby to 155 Moffett Park Dr, Sunnyvale CA. (Fun p166)  (Consumer Division manufacturing would remain at 1280 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale CA. (source))  Gene Lipkin, previously Atari VP marketing and general manager, Consumer Division, would become VP marketing and general manager, Coin-Operated Division (Atari/Kee Games; new position).  Sheldon F. Ritter, previously general manager, COMPAT division, National Semiconductor, joined Atari as general manager, Consumer Division (TVDigest 2/2/76 p12; Merch p8) (replacing Lipkin in the role).

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.

Winter?: Kevin McKinsey, previously of Cole Associates, joined Atari (Consumer) as an industrial designer (reporting to industrial design manager Fred Thompson). (ArtOfAtari p295)

Winter?: In support of Atari (Consumer) customers, Atari established a Customer Service Division with operations at the Consumer Division manufacturing plant at 1280 Reamwood Ave, Sunnyvale CA. (source)

February 2: Dave Shepperd joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a computer programmer (the second programmer hired by Atari - source)

February: Atari launched a Pinball Division, with operations in the secondary building (previously the location of the Consumer Division) at the Kee Games engineering/R&D facility on Division Street, Los Gatos CA. (Fun p415; ORubin in DP #52; source 5:35Atari VP research and development Al Alcorn would additionally be Pinball Division manager. (Fun p414; Bristow deposition 8/6/82 p139)  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 for month; important timing clues; source)  Additional technicians shifted to Pinball would include Dan Corona and Rich Elston. (Fun p414; source 5:30)

February?: Bill White, previously Atari VP administration and finance (CFO), would become Atari VP finance (CFO).

March 5: Atari had released Pong (C-100; 4 "D" batteries included; $99.95). (newspaper ad)

March: Mike Albaugh joined Atari (Coin-Op) as "third computer programmer in coin-op." (source)

March: Atari VP Research and Development Al Alcorn established an advanced products group, located at 471 Division Street, Campbell CA (down the street from Atari's Kee Games/Pinball engineering facilities on Division Street, Los Gatos CA), chartered to further develop the prototype programmable video game project invented at Atari's Cyan Engineering by Steve Mayer and Ron Milner, comprised of: Synertek engineer/Atari consultant Jay G. Miner (MOS/LSI design), Atari engineer Joe Decuir (logic design; previously of Atari's Cyan Engineering where he had helped debug the concept prototype), and mathematician/programmer Larry Wagner (software & systems architecture; previously of Singer Business Machines). (source; source; source; source; INFO Jul/Aug 88 p23; Fun p221)  The project would become known as: Stella

March: 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 Atari-Europe in France; Jean-François Gaillard was manager of Atari-Europe.  (Play Meter 4/76; source)

March: Atari released Outlaw.

March 15: Don Lang, previously Atari (Coin-Op) electrical engineering manager, would become Atari Pinball engineering manager.  Bob Skyles (Robert W. Skyles), previously of Calma Company, joined Atari (Coin-Op) as engineering manager (hired by/reporting to VP engineering Steve Bristow).  Kee Games Senior Electronics Engineer/Game Designer Lyle Rains would now report to Skyles (previously: to 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)  (Atari, however, would ultimately prevail in the case, and Fun Games would be shut down by the end of the year.)

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)

March/April: Dennis Koble, previously of Applied Technology (TCWv1 p529), joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer, "the fourth programmer ever to be hired by Atari." (source; source)  Koble joined the programming group that already included Tom Hogg (group head), Dave Shepperd, and Mike Albaugh. (source 5:25)

April 1: Atari (Coin-Op) consulting engineering technician Steve Jobs, Hewlett-Packard staff design engineer Steve Wozniak, and Atari (Coin-Op) chief draftsman Ron Wayne co-founded the Apple Computer Company.  (Wayne remained in his position with Atari.)

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 (Coin-Op) chief draftsman Ron Wayne departed from the Apple Computer Company (and remained in his position with Atari).

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)

April 26: Atari was expected to show a new line of multi-game & multi-player games at CES, and was expected to keep the original Pong game in the product line as well. (TVDigest 4/26/76 p10)

May 3-6: Premium Show, New York Coliseum.

May: Atari released Kee Games Indy 4.

May: In Japan, the Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco") Atari Japan unit released Breakout by Atari. (GM 11/29/82)

May: MOS Technology had announced that they had dropped their MCS6501.  They would continue to produce and market the MCS6502 and four other microprocessors in the 6500 family. (source)

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.)

May 31: Atari's new 4-player, 4-game Pong unit (C-180 Super Pong Ten) ("CT 180") had joined Pong as the 2nd Atari home game approved by the FCC.  Another Atari game had been rejected recently. (TVDigest 5/31/76 p11)

May/June: Engineer Eugene Jarvis, previously of Hewlett-Packard (very briefly), joined Atari Pinball engineering as a microprocessor programmer.  He was hired by Pinball engineering manager Don Lang.

June 7: The Atari C-120 Pong unit (Hockey Pong; never shipped; would ship in Europe as: C-121 Hockey Pong) had earned FCC approval, becoming Atari's third FCC approved game. (TVDigest 6/7/76 p7)

June 8: Atari and Magnavox settled their legal dispute regarding patent infringement with an agreement entitled: "Non-Exclusive Cross License for Video Games"  (TVDigest 6/21/76 p11; Fun p226-230; source)

June 14: Michael C. Shea (Mike Shea) had joined Atari (Consumer) as marketing director. (TVDigest 6/14/76 p14)  Also, Malcolm Kuhn would join Atari (Consumer) as director of sales.  Shea and Kuhn would both report to Atari (Consumer) general manager Sheldon Ritter.  Kerry M. Crosson, previously Barnes-Hind Pharmaceuticals director of marketing planning (source), would join Atari (Consumer) as new products manager.  

June 13-16: Atari introduced Super Pong (C-140; $90) and featured Pong (C-100; $70), also featured coin-operated games including Kee Games Tank 8 and Kee Games Indy 800, at the 10th annual Summer Consumer Electronics Show at McCormick Place, Chicago. (TVDigest 6/21/76p13) 

June: Engineer Owen Rubin joined Atari (Coin-Op) as a programmer.  He had been interviewed by Tom Hogg. (source; source)  ("he was the fifth programmer hired" AcrossTheBoard 6/83p32; source#2)

June: At Atari (Coin-Op): Lyle Rains, Tom Hogg, and Rich Patak (Richard J. Patak) would become engineering project team leaders.  Ron Wayne, previously Atari (Coin-Op) chief draftsman (industrial design/design services), would become Coin-Op project manager. (source)  George H. Opperman would shut down his graphics design firm, Opperman-Harrington, Inc., to join his major client, Atari (Coin-Op), to establish and head a new graphics design group as graphics design manager. (ArtOfAtari p29-30; p316 for month; source)  Graphics designer Evelyn Lim, previously of Hewlett-Packard, and before that a production assistant for Opperman at Opperman-Harrington, Inc., would join Atari as assistant to Opperman. (ArtOfAtari p316)  Peter L. Takaichi was promoted to Atari industrial design manager, replacing Chas Grossman who departed the company (and returned to Ampex). (source Roger Hector, previously a bicycle industrial designer at Huffy, would join Atari (Coin-Op) as an industrial designer.  He was hired by Atari (Coin-Op) industrial design manager Pete Takaichi. (source; source for March date; Fun p557 indicates June 76)  (Bob Skyles remained engineering manager.)

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 ft2 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 ft2 of light manufacturing space in Moffett Park (Consumer Division headquarters at 1195 Borregas Ave and future Pinball Division manufacturing at 1173 Borregas Ave.) and had leased an additional 54,000 ft2 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)

Atari logo tm          Kee Games logo          Cyan Engineering logo

Month?: John K. Hayashi was hired by Atari (Consumer) as a project engineer to develop consumer games.  (Fred Thompson remained Atari (Consumer) industrial designer manager.) (ArtOfAtari p294)

Months?: Atari Europe released the jukebox models: 100 Rubis, 100 Rubis II, 120 Concerto

July 3: Atari international distributors included: Canada: Dale Distributing Ltd. (Rexdale Ontario; Richmond/Vancouver BC), Laniel Automatic (Mt. Royal, Quebec), New Way Sales (Toronto), Rowe International of Canada Ltd. (Dorval, Quebec; Burnaby, B.C.); Argentina/Benelux/Middle East: R.H. Belam Company, Inc. (New York NY); Australia: Leisure & Allied Industries (Perth, West Australia); Brazil: Taito do Brasil (Sao Paulo); Canary Islands: Tagsa (San Augustine); Denmark/Norway/Sweden: Cherryforetagen (Solna, Sweden); England: Cherry Group (London); France: Socodimex (Paris); Germany: Löwen Automaten (Bingen/Rhine), Seevend Automaten (Hamburg); Israel: Galilee Industries & Trade Co. (Safad); Italy: F.lli Bertolino (Torino); Japan: Atari Japan (unit of Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. ("Namco"); Ohta-ku, Tokyo); Mexico: F.I.N.E.S.A. (Tijuana, B.C.), Operado Nacional; New Zealand: Brian Dowdle (Auckland); Panama: Isthmian Amusement Corp. (Albrook Field AFB, Canal Zone); South Africa: Space Age TV Games (PTY) Ltd. (Transvaal), Presite Electronics (PTY) Ltd. (Johannesburg), Serv-o-matic (Johannesburg); Spain: Famaresa (Madrid), Sega SA Juegos Recreativos (Madrid); Switzerland: Musikvertrieb AG (Zurich)  (Cash Box 7/3/76 ptIII p19)

July 3: At Atari, Nolan Bushnell remained board chairman, Joe Keenan remained president, Ron Gordon remained international sales manager, Gene Lipkin remained VP marketing, Frank Ballouz remained national sales manager, Steve Bristow remained VP engineering, Gil Williams remained VP manufacturing, Al Alcorn remained VP R&D, Bill White remained VP Finance. (Cash Box 7/3/76 ptIII p20)

July: Atari released Breakout Cocktail, released Cops n' Robbers, and released Flyball.

July: Howard Delman joined Atari (Coin-Op) as an engineer.  (He would report to Lyle Rains, engineering project team leader (one of four).)  (source; source; source)

July: Atari released Super Pong (C-140). (newspaper ads)

July: John Anderson, previously Atari Consumer Games Division Controller, became Atari Assistant Treasurer. (cc Jan77)  (Bill White remained Atari VP finance.)

July: MOS Technology announced a series of new chips in the 6500 family, including the MCS6520 PIA. (source)

July 23: Media report that Atari (Consumer) currently 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.  Emanuel Gerard was WCI EVP; Steven J. Ross was WCI chairman, president, and CEO; Martin D. Payson was WCI Games Inc. VP and general counsel.

Summer: At Atari (Coin-Op): Bob Skyles was engineering manager, and engineering project team leaders included: Lyle Rains, Tom Hogg, Rich Patak. (Atari ad, see WeLoveAtari v1p72)  Steve Calfee, previously of National Semiconductor, had joined Atari (Coin-Op) as Sr. Microprocessor programmer (essentially replacing Tom Hogg in the role).

Summer?: James F. Riordan, previously of FMC Corporation, joined the Atari (Coin-Op) Pinball division as production line supervisor.  (Riordan would continue his new consultancy, Overnight Engineering, as well.)  (source)

Summer?: Douglas A. Hardy, previously of Fairchild Electronics, joined Atari as Stella project mechanical/design engineer (reporting directly to VP research and development Al Alcorn). (ArtOfAtari p296-299)

August 7: Atari (Coin-Op) had announced the appointment of Carol J. Kantor, previously of Fairchild Camera and Instrument, as manager of market research (new position).  (This was the first such position in the industry.)  Frank Ballouz remained national sales manager. (Vending Times 8/76; Cash Box 8/7/76 p45; source)

August 11: Atari (Consumer) produced its 500,000th unit at its 125,000 ft2 manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale CA (1280 Reamwood Ave). (Vending Times 9/76; Cash Box 9/4/76 p48)

August 14: Atari (Coin-Op) had announced the appointment of Terry Speizer, previously of American Microsystems and the Falstaff Brewing Company, as regional sales manager for western states.  Frank Ballouz remained national sales manager.  (Vending Times 8/76; Cash Box 8/14/76 p54)

August: Atari announced it had received FCC-type approval for Super Pong. (Merchandising)

August?: On pages 390-391 of the 1976 Christmas Wish Book, Sears introduced Tele-Games Pong IV (#99717; $64.95; four "D" batteries included; never shipped) by Atari (same as Atari Pong Doubles C-160; never shipped), Hockey Pong (#99721; $69.95; 6 "C" batteries included) by Atari (same as Atari Hockey Pong C-121), Super Pong (#99736; $78.95, 4 "D" batteries included) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong C-140), and Super Pong IV (#99737; $98.95; 4 "D" betteries included) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong Ten C-180).  Sold separately for units except Hockey Pong: AC Power Adapter #25792; $7.95.  Sold separately for Hockey Pong: Adapter #99703 ($7.95; 9 VDC).

August: In a sales flyer dated 8/76, Sears offered Tele-Games Pong, Hockey Pong, Super Pong, and Super Pong IV.

August: Atari released Le Mans.

August: Barney H. Huang joined Atari (Coin-Op) as an industrial designer (reporting to industrial design manager Peter Takaichi).

August: Programmer Larry Kaplan, previously of Control Systems Industries, joined Atari as a Stella project game designer. (source)  Kaplan was hired by Stella project director of software & systems architecture Larry Wagner, and was the first person Atari hired specifically to design games for Stella.

August 23: Atari was shipping 3 Super Pong games for every Pong game, according to Malcolm Kuhn, Atari consumer products national sales manager. (TVDigest 8/23/76 p11)

August 23-24: Atari held a service seminar at the company's Los Gatos headquarters, focusing on troubleshooting Atari's new microprocessor-based games, conducted primarily by Dan Van Elderen from Atari's engineering department.  Don Smith was manager of customer service. (Cash Box 8/7/76 p46)

September 4: Atari (Consumer) had 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)

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; TVDigest 9/13/76 p11)

September 8: Sears offered Tele-Games Pong (#99716; "1976 version"; $59.99) by Atari (same as Sears #25796 original 1975 version and Atari Pong C-100) and released Hockey Pong (#99721; $69.99) by Atari (same as Atari Hockey Pong C-121), Super Pong (#99736; $79.99) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong C-140), and Super Pong IV (#99737; $99.99) by Atari (same as Atari Super Pong Ten C-180). (newspaper ad)

September: Atari (Consumer) offered Super Pong (C-140) and Pong (C-100). (Merch. p56)

September: James Heller joined Atari (Consumer) as test supervisor (hired by Loren Schoof, plant manager). (source; RetroVideogameMagazine #6, pp. 24-29)  

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: San Jose State University industrial design student Mike Querio begain a paid internship with Atari (Coin-Op).  He had interviewed with industrial design manager Pete Takaichi. (source)

September?: Atari (Coin-Op) established temporary/supplementary engineering operations at a location on Division Street, Campbell CA, that was adjacent to Atari's Stella project development operation at 471 Division St, Campbell CA. (Fun p221 except year; Stella at 20 t15 21:50) 

September 28: The Atari "fuji" logo became a registered trademark of Atari. (Reg. No. 1,049,118, filed Nov. 19, 1975)

Atari logo 1976     Kee Games logo     Cyan Engineering logo

September/October: At Atari (Coin-Op): Frank Ballouz was national sales manager; Roger Hector was an industrial designer; Marty Rosenthal was manager, mechanical engineering; Pete Takaichi was manager, industrial design; Lenore Sayers was manager, sales order processing; Don Smith was manager, Customer Service; Terry McFall was a draftsman. (source)

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.

Warner Communications Inc. logo       WCI Games Inc.         Atari logo 1976     Kee Games logo     Cyan Engineering logo

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


Selected Links/Sources


Last updated: 2021.08.17