ATARI Coin-Op/Arcade Systems
1980 - 1982

Click Images for larger view


Atari's Monte Carlo racing game, putting a new twist on the video racing game.   Now the player navigates a winding track that they can only see a small window of the size of the screen instead of a whole overhead view as before.    Vivid colors, realistic sound effects and even driver ratings.    8 Tracks to choose from, extended play, find fuel for extra time, plus the operator could set various levels and languages as well.

     November, 1980
Battlezone was the first coin-op to offer an almost fully immersed first person vector graphic gaming world.     In fact, so realistic was this game that is got the attention of the US Army who hired Atari to redesign the game using simulated controls from a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and modified the software with tragectory and other more real world combat settings for training purposes.   Ed Rotberg, a v.p. of engineering at Videa, programmed both versions (arcade and army).   He preferred working on the original.  "Battlezone", says Rotberg, "was the first truly first-person game."   Yet another first for Atari.

March, 1981
Let's go back to November 6, 1979 when Asteroids, Atari's best selling coin-op game of all time (70,000 units), was released.   The story goes that Asteroids was once a game called Cosmos.   Actually, Cosmos was once known as Planet Grab, in which you had to claim a planet by touching it.  Anyway, Ed Logg programmed Asteroids, Delman did the circuitry, and Lyle Rains nursed the idea until rocks began swimming around in his head.  Asteriods Deluxe goes one better with newer features and harder challenges.

         June, 1981
Atari's second bestselling coin-op game (50,000 units), Centipede is basically Space Invaders with a Trak Ball.  One of the few female engineers in the business, Donna Bailey programmed it.  "My main focus is graphics," she says.  "For instance, I really like pastels, which is why there are so many pinks and greens and violets in Centipede.   I really think the visuals should be arresting."     Centipede was a truly unique and colorful game, not only attracting the attention regular gamers, but also appealing to female players as well.    Centipede has been re-released by Atari Interactive for the PC, Playstation and the new Sega Dreamcast.

October, 1981
After the success with its XY games Atari decided it was time to go techni-color.   Tempest was the first example of that.  With its 96 levels and skill-step innovation (you could start the game at a higher level if you wished), Tempest carried the state-of-the-art banner until Zaxxon came along.   It was designed by Dave Theurer of Missile Command renown.    Tempest is also been converted many times.   An unreleased version of it for the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 consoles was made.    Atari Corp released it as Tempest 2000 for the Atari Jaguar 64, Atari Interactive released it for the PC platform.   It was released as Tempest X for the Sony Playstation and a fully emulated version was included with the recently released Atari Arcade Hits #1 by the all new Atari Interactive owned by Hasbro.    Tempest is one of the most sought after coin-op games to own.

         April, 1982
It sure too Atari long enough to bring back a candy apple from Japan.   Dig Dug is the first confection Atari licensed since F-1 and Kangaroo was their second.   Meanwhile,  Atari readied to license Racket as well.    The company dumped Tunnel Hunt on Centuri because manufacturing was all booked --- or so they say.