As this week marks the E3 convention for the gaming world and it’s Atari’s 40th anniversary this month, what better way to reminisce than to check out videos and photos from past trade shows when they were around. A lot of game promos are shown off during E3 (in fact it has been announced that Namco’s Tank! Tank! Tank! is being ported to the Wii U) time so we’ll look at some Atari game promos as well. E3 has only been around since 1995 and footage of shows prior to that are really hit-or-miss so there isn’t a lot to pull from in that respect but here is what I have found:
News report from 1979 at a small trade show (footage of Basketball and Hercules Pinball among a few others)
Photos from the 1983 AMOA Convention, New Orleans – Atarigames.com has the full package of these interesting memos from the show that year. Atari sent out some spies to get a run down on what the competition had so you get some insight into their thoughts on games by Simutrek, Data East, Sega and Williams. Little bit of humor to be found in the notes, such as the vibrating seat in conjunction with a woman in a short skirt. Whoever was the spy for these even would doodle some parts of the cabinets and get measurements at times. Now I know why manufacturers are a bit touchy when I get to a booth with a camera. Booths of the time were quite a spectacle in and of themselves, I’ve not seen anything like it at Western trade shows these days. Even brand new start-ups like Simutrek (which was started by an ex-Atari VP and they only got Cube Quest out before folding, possibly because they blew their cash on making an awesome AMOA booth) had really sleek booths. The only place you see booth setups this elaborate anymore is China but I understand why things are scaled back as why spend that much money on a booth when people are there to see the products anyways
Browse the full collection at AtariGames.com.
Unfortunately there is not a ton of out there for trade shows I could find but there are these ads:
Dig Dug Commercial by Atari – Dig Dug is a Namco game but at the time Namco licensed their games to Atari for cabinet creation, distribution and marketing out West. Pretty cringe worthy commercial.
Another Namco/Atari effort, a commercial for Pole Position that mentions and shows the arcade version while also promoting the upcoming home port to the Atari 5200. Quite a bit more serious than this strange commercial they produced later to promote just the 5200 version.
Original Gauntlet TV commercial (which actually doesn’t any in-game footage)
Guardians of the Hood arcade promo
T-Mek (one of my favorites) promo
Area 51 Site 4 Promo Video
Gauntlet Legends Preview
This doesn’t have much to do with their arcade division but it offers some great in-sight into some of the games they were working on for home in 1983 and interviews some of the people behind the games.