Today marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic video game brand, when US developers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney first founded the company and introduced the world to Pong, one of the most addictive games of its day.
The ping pong-style two-player, batting a ball over a line with the lowest of low-fi graphics, became the world’s first video game smash hit and established Atari as a leading gaming brand.
Within three years Atari would hook gamers with games like Asteroid, Centipede and Breakout after being bought by Warner Communications in 1976 for an estimated US$28-$32 million (about $143–174 million in today’s money).
The Atari 2600 computer console with its two joysticks and paddle controllers pretty much defined the gaming industry during the '70s and '80s.
The console, inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in New York in 2007, also helped popularise Pac-Man which had been included free with the bundle.
While the 2600 sold more than 2 million units in 1981 it was to prove the high water mark for the company.
By then Bushnell had been fired over disagreements with Warners about the direction of the brand.
After a crash in the video game market in 1983 Atari could not beat later rivals like the wildly popular Nintendo Entertainment System.
After changing hands more than 10 times in its history, Atari today is known as Atari Interactive and is owned by French holding company, Atari SA.
In honour of its 40th anniversary, the company is redeveloping its most famous game for Apple iOS devices.
The company is running a competition, the "Indie Developer's Challenge", where up-and-coming developers can win up to US$50,000 ($49,670) for developing the next Pong smash hit for Apple devices.
In the meantime, those who are feeling nostalgic can visit bafta.org to play Pong online.
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/gaming/happy-40th-birthday-atari-were-officially-old/story-e6frfrt9-1226410143193#ixzz1z1HPO1B2