Atari 2600 (VCS) 30-Year Anniversary

vcsprototype.jpg

Image: Early prototype of the Atari CX2600 Video Computer System

Retro Thing has been celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the Atari 2600 this week with a series of articles looking back at its often not-so-illustrious history.

Rob Fulop was a 1981 Atari staffer who managed to shoehorn the game mechanic of Missile Command into the meager computing resources of the 2600.  The game became a killer app, selling 2.5 million copies – shattering all previous sales records.  Fulop hoped that his bosses would show their appreciation via a fat Christmas bonus envelope, or perhaps the keys to a new car.  After all, his programming chops made Atari millions.

Fulop’s Christmas bonus was the same as every other Atari employee received in that year of historic profits; a gift certificate for a free Armor Star turkey.  After framing his turkey ticket (it hangs on his office wall to this day), he helped form Imagic; the second independent publisher of Atari games.  Two of his games have become Atari classics; Cosmic Ark & Demon Attack.  After a period of phenomenal growth, his company went down in the video game crash of the mid 80’s and Activision picked up the rights to their 24 classic games.

I’ve got a 2600 sitting in a gym bag that I bought several years ago and never really play. (Emulators > *). I was going to toss it out, but now that I’m reminded it’s almost exactly the same age as I am, perhaps I’ll keep it around and see if they’ll bury me with it when I go to that great big game of Combat in the sky.

Video Game Tag Index [RetroThing.com]

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One Response to Atari 2600 (VCS) 30-Year Anniversary

  1. sexyrobot says:

    gawd! yeah…ATARI…wow.
    it takes a very special breed of stupid to totally collapse a market that:
    a) you have a monopoly on
    b) millions of people are interested in
    c) went on to become bigger than the MOVIES in less than two decades
    It’s like watching the English (or Darth Vader) lose the Empire…

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