Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
Not a Doodle, but an Easter egg Google has a fun way to celebrate Atari Breakout's 37th anniversary.
Atari, the first successful arcade video game company, would have been 40 years old today. The blog Arcade Heroes takes the opportunity to look back over 40 years of arcade gaming (from Atari and other companies) with flyers and video. Part 1 (1970s & 80s) - Part 2 (1990s to present). (WARNING: huge pages ahead with lots of flash videos.)
Smithsonian to exhibit videogames as art. Jason Scott Completes GET LAMP. Can this day be any better?
The Art of Videogames, a Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit set to open in March 2012, has been featured on CNN today. But you don't have to wait until 2012 to get your fix of gaming history. CNN has let the cat out of the scanner: our very own Jason Scott (jscott) has finished GET LAMP. It's now shipping! [more inside]
Pac-Man's creator, Toru Iwatani shares some of the original concept art and Pac-Man Design Sketches from 1979.
Dadhacker started his game programming career, like many people, by making a freeware knockoff of a popular arcade game. This got the attention of Atari, who hired him to do the official conversion of Donkey Kong, then Super Pac-Man. After the crash of 1983, he survived a round of layoffs, and was pushed into the development of the Atari ST along with a group of programmers and executives from Commodore.
The Dot Eaters. A dauntingly comprehensive history of video games, beginning with proto-PONG and Spacewar!. If it's difficult to navigate through Captain O's prize matrix, use the handy timeline/scape (the dates don't work, so don't try). It's an interesting site, for sure, but if it doesn't pique your interest maybe the links page will, since it's the largest I've ever seen. In just minutes I found the First Church of Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros fanfiction (@), and a great Robotron shrine. Plus, this noise (wav).
Back in April, Carmel Andrews and Charles F. Gray claimed that Commodore reverse-engineered Atari's 8-bit hardware. Bob Yannes (creator of the SID chip and co-founder of Ensoniq) responds. What results is a brief, informative history on the concept of "sprites" and the idea of reverse-engineering. More drama, reviews, and retro computing at The Atari Times. (See also this collection of links at atari.org. Happy holidays.)
Adventure - based on the classic text game of the same name - was the first game ever to contain an easter egg. It seems laughably primitive these days, but when it first hit shelves, Adventure was a programming masterpiece. The text version of Adventure (by Willie Crowther and Don Woods) required hundreds of KB and a mainframe computer to operate, so much that Atari brass told Warren Robinett not to even bother with a 2600 version. He did anyway, and the results are near legendary. The 2600 version of Adventure went on to sell over a million copies at $25 a pop. For his effort Robinett recieved absolutely nothing beyond his $22,000/year salary. Play the 2600 Adventure. (Flash) If you're one of those who requires some eye candy, why not download the Quake 3 Adventure Map, instead?
All you ever wanted to know about Pong, but were afraid to ask. Okay, I had no idea - none - that Pong has such a long, involved history. I'd always seen it encapsulated as a two- or three- generation buildup to the Atari 2600 home machine. David Winter has exhaustively researched the life & times of Pong (Internationally) for those interested.