Dedicated Consoles

Atari got its start in the consumer electronics side of home entertainment with its release of Pong for the home.   Originally Atari had planned to build 50,000 units, however Sears would order 75,000 of its version of Home Pong for the Christmas 1975 season and an additional 75,000 units in early 1976. The product was so wildly popular that for the 1975 Christmas sales season, people stood in line for nearly 2 hours in the cold to sign up to be on the waiting list for the Sears Home Pong.  Atari would also release after Sears its own Atari branded unit and sell another 50,000 units as well.

Atari continued its foray into the home consumer electronics market with various versions of Pong, then bringing home other popular Atari coin-op games such as Video Pinball, Stunt Cycle and even a hand held version of its Touch Me coin-op.    Atari delved into the unusual with its Video Music console which created pulsating patterns on the screen in sync with an owners home stereo system.   Other products were created which were Sears exclusives such as Atari Tank which appears in their catalog as Sears Tank but was never commercially sold.  The joysticks from the home version of Tank were then taken and slightly changed to eventually became the standard joysticks which were packed in with the Atari 2600 VCS (Video Computer System for 1977 called the CX-10.   The Joystick was created by John Hyashi and Kevin McKinnsey and sold over 60 million worldwide until 1992 in its later cost reduced form from 1978 called the CX-40. Another Sears exclusive made by Atari was Sears Speedway.

To use up its large inventory of chips for consoles such as Super Pong, Video Music, Video Pinball and others, Atari created the Atari Game Brain console to allow all of these games to come on cartridge and be used on the console, this console never made it to market. Later on Atari looked into the hand held and table top market and created hand held Space Invaders and Super Breakout which were never sold.  Also the boldest experiment in home tabletop electronic games was shown at the New York Toy Faire in 1981, the Atari Cosmos.   A 3D holographic game system which was the first of its kind, the entire project was cancelled shortly after the show and never to be seen again.