In memorium, Donald Sutherland

Atari Holdings, Inc.

Moby ID: 119

AKA +
  • Atari Games, Inc. (from 1984-07 to 1985-03-25)
  • Atari, Inc. (from 1972-06-27 to 1984-07-31)
  • Syzygy (from 1969 to 1972-06-27)

Overview edit · view history

Syzygy (the suffix is unknown as the company was never formally incorporated; sources vary between Syzygy Engineering and Syzygy Company) was founded in 1971 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Their sole project was Computer Space before the company was incorporated as Atari, Inc. in 1972 (California).

Atari quickly became one of the biggest players in the US arcade industry and was bought by Warner Communications, Inc. in 1976. Technically it was merged with WCI Games, Inc, a Time Warner subsidiary which was founded three months earlier for that purpose, and the business was continued by a new company also named Atari, Inc. (1977, New York county).

Atari continued to thrive with the introduction of its VCS console (1977) and their 8-Bit home computer systems (1979), but were hit hard by the videogame crash of 1983. This lead to the sale of the consumer and computer divisions to Tramel Technology (founded by the former Commodore CEO Jack Tramiel for that purpose) in 1984. The new company was Atari Corporation.

The arcade business remained at Time Warner as Atari Games Corporation. This entity (after briefly being called Atari Games, Inc. between 1984 and 1985) became Atari Holdings, Inc.until it was dissolved in 1992.

Credited on 247 Games from 1971 to 2023

Displaying most recent · View all

Runaway (2023 on Antstream)
Yars' Return (2022 on Atari 2600)
Cloud 9 (2021 on Antstream)
Aquaventure (2021 on Plex Arcade, Antstream)
Centipede & Millipede (2007 on Xbox 360, Xbox One)
Saboteur (2004 on Atari 2600)
Holey Moley (2002 on Atari 2600)
RealSports Basketball (2002 on Atari 2600)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2002 on Atari 2600)
Bugs Bunny (2002 on Atari 2600)
Polo (2002 on Atari 2600)
Combat Two (2001 on Atari 2600)
Atari Arcade Hits: Volume 2 (2000 on Windows)
Atari Arcade Hits: Volume 1 (1999 on Windows)
Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 (1999 on Windows)
Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 (1998 on PlayStation)
Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 1 (1996 on PlayStation, SNES, SEGA Saturn)
Arcade Classics (1996 on Genesis, Game Gear)
Arcade Classic 2: Centipede / Millipede (1995 on Game Boy)
Arcade Classic 1: Asteroids / Missile Command (1995 on Game Boy)

[ view all ]

History +

July 2, 1984

Warner sells the home computing and game console divisions to Jack Tramiel. Warner retains the arcade division under the name Atari Games.

1976

Warner Communications acquires the company.

1972

Company is founded by Nolan Bushnell.

Trivia +

According to Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, people figured out some creative ways for getting free games on the original Pong machine, which was Atari's first big coin-op hit:

  1. If you hit the third bolt down on the left side of the coin mechanism with a billiard ball (or an object of similar mass and hardness), it sometimes caused a harmonic vibration which resulted in a free credit.

  2. If you built up a static electrical charge by scuffing your feet on a carpet and then touched the top bolt of the coin mechanism, this too sometimes triggered a free credit. So many people did this that it became known as the "Atari Shuffle".

  3. Kids would make casts of quarters using modeling clay, then fill these casts with water and freeze them. They would then extract their "ice quarters" and insert them into the machines, which frequently accepted them - probably due to a short-circuit caused by the moisture from the melting "quarters".

Just a few tricks to keep in mind the next time you're in an establishment with a Pong machine and you happen to be short of change.

The name "Atari" comes from the Japanese game, "Go". In that game, "Atari" is a word that players say when they have their opponent's piece surrounded. It's meaning is something akin to the word "Check" in the game of Chess.

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, was very fond of the game "Go". In fact, he still calls it his very favorite game.

Location in 1977:

Atari Inc.

Consumer Division

1195 Borregas Ave.

Sunnyvale, CA 94086

United States

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