Being that we’re at the forefront here of arcade gaming here, I’ve taken the liberty in the past to declare today “International Video Arcade Day.” Today is chosen as that day as June 27th is the day where Atari was incorporated as a legal entity in the state of California. Being that they were pioneers in launching the video game & video arcade industry to become what it is, and the date is well-documented, it’s as good a day as any for it.
Now where today is that day, it’s extra special this year thanks to the milestone of 50 years being reached. Atari themselves (at least the entity presently in charge of their IP from Pong to I, Robot and some others) have also been celebrating, with a special site and this interview with Nolan Bushnell:
To also celebrate today’s milestone, I have some additional videos for you to enjoy. First is this video which covers every Atari arcade release from Pong to San Francisco Rush 2049. Computer Space is briefly mentioned, although technically that was done for Nutting Associates and not under the Atari entity. Developed by Ted Dabney and Nolan Bushnell (under the name Syzygy Engineering – which Nolan wanted to name Atari, but it was being used by some other companies in California already), Computer Space was still monumentally important to the development of video games, but ultimately it would be PONG that got the ball rolling for making video games commercially viable.
True, Atari no longer is in the business of making arcade games, but what they did produce has had lasting effects and influences on what the business is like today. That said, there are still some new games out there with the Atari logo on them, such as Atari Pong Knock Out by UNIS:
Then to top it off, here’s a livestream I did this morning discussing (mostly) Atari arcades and consoles with the chat for 2 hours:
What’s your favorite Atari title?
For some related and sad news, an “Atarian,” as people who once worked at Atari are often called, passed away this weekend from a heart attack. Colleen Hall-Werstler was one of the original workers at the company, having started in 1972 or ’73. I do not know if this is the same Colleen that the Atari 400/800 computer was code-named after (Atari had a practice of giving home hardware projects codenames). RIP Colleen.