How the Mighty Have Fallen: Atari files for Bankruptcy.

I just read that the US subsidiary of Atari filed for bankruptcy.

If you’re too young to remember Atari,all the way back in the early 1980’s, then you probably did not know that Atari was the absolute bomb in its day!

Lumped into the gaming mix with Coleco and Commodore 64’s, Atari had gaming consoles (like Coleco) and personal computers (like Commodore). Atari was so hip in the day, that in 1975, two nerds both named Steve went to work for Atari to develop a game called Breakout and they eventually went on to start a company you might have heard of called “Apple”.

Man, those were the days… My parents would never buy me the Atari 2600 (known as the Video Computer system) game console that I wanted and the day I decided to be a thief and take the $75.00 from my father’s wallet to buy hockey cards and gum for my class was the day he intended on using that cash to buy the system. No cash, no system. I was busted and learned a huge consequence in life. Stealing is stupid and sucks. It also taught me that I needed to get a job and earn my own money!

So instead after the failed attempts to hone my gaming skills with our Timex Sinclair (look it up folks!), and the IBM “home” computer with it’s tiny green screen and it’s only game being that boring worm game, I dug out our Radio Shack device, hauled up the black and white TV from the basement and played pong until I blew the picture tube on the TV.  Damn.

So then one day my dad came home with the Atari 800XL game machine AND personal computer and it was over.  We played a couple of cartridges to death until he joined us up to the Toronto Atari Federation where we got to try tons of video games on floppy disks.  Within a couple of months we had over 300 games on floppy disk and 15 cartridges, plus I was learning to program in DOS;

10 “Hello Urban Daddy”

20 Got to 10

End

Or something like that.

I also got us hooked up to local BBS’ and as it turned out, one was run by a neighbour of my wife’s and she was a regular chatter so we probably chatted 20 years before we met… Tell me, that is cool, right?

But for all its coolness, power and influence, Atari’s run would be tragically short.  The Atari 2600 first hit stores in 1977, sold a ton, but by 1983 they were in the middle of the North American video game crash during which time a glut of consoles from competitors and mediocre games from everyone contributed to a rapid decline in sales.

Atari itself was later sold, gutted, and passed around from owner to owner in years hence. Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell, went on to create the Chuck E. Cheese chain of pizza/video-game restaurants that use a rat as a mascot.

A testament to Atari’s impact can be seen in the movie Blade Runner which was shot in 1982 and set in the future, 2019. This sci-fi classic has plenty of scenes in which Atari’s logo features prominently. Back then, if you were thinking about the future, it was impossible to imagine it without Atari.

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