What’s old is new

Isn’t that a common statement for fads and fashion?  Well in this case I am referring to something else.  Once upon a time, one Nolan Bushnell founded a gaming company that would become big- very big.  In 1977 they would put out not the first, but the most popular video gaming system of the time with interchangeable games.  The same company also produced popular arcade machines and computers.  Well, sort of- there was a split at one point into Atari Games and Atari Corp, but I am not sure which company did what- I believe Atari Games was strictly the arcade division while Atari Corp was everything else.  In any event, following the dreaded video game crash of 1984 (1983?), Atari was never quite the same.  The 16-bit successor to their 400/800/XL line of computers, the Atari ST, was fairly successful, but that would be pretty much be the last of the computers, aside from the short-lived 32-bit TT.  As for the consoles, they would never again achieve the success of the VCS/2600 though they would try all the way through the Jaguar in 1993.  Of course, these failing years, and many of the successful ones too, were not run by Bushnell himself as he “left” the company (read: fired) in December of 1978 according to Wikipedia.  The failing years were in fact with the infamous Jack Tramiel in the hot seat, who not only oversaw the failing of Atari but Commodore as well, but that is beside the point.  The point being Nolan Bushnell, who is now in fact on the board of directors of the current company that calls itself Atari.  Make no mistake, this is not the same company that Bushnell founded, but rather the French company formerly known as Infogrames who found itself with Atari’s assets when they purchased Hasbro Interactive in late 2000.  However, it is nevertheless interesting to find Bushnell on the board of directors for Atari for the first time in over 30 years.  Will anything come of this?  I don’t know, but here is a link to an interview with him.  It has some mistakes, like dating the 2600 to 1984 instead of 1977, but is an interesting read:

Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell “Returns”

(added quotation marks mine)

A couple of old Atari commercials on Youtube:

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8 Responses to “What’s old is new”

  1. jamiahsh Says:

    Was that “Star Trek” I saw near the end of video number 2?

  2. derek Says:

    I think that was Star Raiders, a popular game for Atari systems.

  3. jamiahsh Says:

    Hmm… must have been a Trek knockoff I remember from somewhere 😉

  4. derek Says:

    From Mobygames:
    .
    “As the pilot of an interstellar starship, your mission is to destroy all of the Krylon fighters which are closing in on your starbases! There are three different types of fighters roaming throughout the galaxy; cruisers, fighters, and basestars. With the help of your galactic map, you can find the sectors of the galaxy where these fighters are located and then warp there to destroy them. When all of the fighters in a sector are destroyed, you can warp to a new location for the next battle. Be sure to keep an eye on your starships energy; warping to new locations, being hit by enemy fire, or colliding with an asteroid will drain your energy. If you completely run out of energy, your starship will be destroyed, however you can warp back to a starbase to refuel at any time. Returning to a starbase will also repair other types of damage your starship can receive, such as faulty engines, loss of your shield, and faulty photon torpedoes. When all of the Krylon that are visible on your galactic map have been destroyed, you win this round and can advance in rank (or even be demoted if you performed poorly on a mission). The games difficulty will gradually increase as you rise in rank from ships cook up to captain.”
    .
    Warp? Starbase? Photon Torpedoes? Krylon sounds a lot like Klingon… Yep, Star Trek knockoff. 🙂
    .
    Well, “basestar” would be from the original Battlestar Galactica I believe.

  5. jamiahsh Says:

    There actually was a Star Trek game with Klingon Ships, starbases for docking, and all the rest. HEHE.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aa3MRQXDS3U

    Similar, no?

  6. derek Says:

    Yes, a vector game from Sega. I remember playing it as a kid. You can play it on your PC using MAME nowadays.

  7. jamiahsh Says:

    That’s how I remember playing it… on the computer in days gone by.

  8. justj Says:

    Interesting, I remember a friend who started a video taping company using atari computers to do the some of their special effects. He played games in his off time too.