Atari Turns 40 Today
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
The original gaming behemoth
Current-day gamers are familiar with just three game console manufacturers at the top of the tree: Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. Some who are older may remember when SEGA was in its pomp and challenging Nintendo in the 1990s, but for those that care to go even further back, Atari comes into the picture.
Atari is 40 years old today, and was at its peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with Atari 2600 being its definitive console. Since that period the company has since had more owners than can be counted on both hands, but in those rose-tinted good-old-days it was the master of home console gaming. Let's not forget that Nintendo, before it decided there was money to be made in this game console lark, saw arcade ports such as Mario Bros. on Atari 2600. There was even a dispute between the two companies as Nintendo sought to contract Atari to release its Famicom (which would become NES) in North America. The deal went sour and, well, Nintendo's done just fine since.
Although Atari released consoles into the 1990s, it was overpowered by Nintendo and SEGA, and is now resigned to a fate as a game publisher. In the days of synthesised music and baggy, brightly coloured trousers, however, they were top of the game.
Fun fact: The man who founded Atari, Nolan Bushnell, also founded the Chuck E. Cheese chain of restaurants. He cannot, however, be held responsible for Chuck E. Cheese's Arcade Room on DSiWare.