Atari as a gaming company enjoyed success early on but time went on and it had gone out of the gaming industry. It’s longest and perhaps most successful system running was the Atari 2600. The system was different and it had a joystick and one button that was pushed. Many classic games were made such as Space Invaders, Fast Food, Pac Man, Missile Command, and many other games. The question that comes to mind is what happened to Atari and why did it fall down?
One game didn’t help matters, as it was E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. The movie was made in 1982. E.T. was a hit in the movies and the next logical step would be to design a game based on the movie. The game had very high expectations going in and was rushed with about 5 weeks to complete. Mainly due to obtaining the rights from the creators of the movie E.T. and the fact that Atari wanted to capitalize on the success of the box office hit. When it came out in 1982, the game itself had been labeled as the “worst game of all-time.” I’ve personally played it and thought it was rather frustrating. Was it the worst game of all time to me? I don’t think it was but it wasn’t a great game. My personal biggest complaint was constantly falling into the holds and not being able to get out but that game itself I’ll do a review on by itself on a later date. Had there been more time to develop the game, it might have been a bit more decent.
It was one of the biggest incidents that did lead to the eventual demise of Atari as a video game company but it would not put it to rest just yet. The next system to come to past be the Atari 5200. The system was designed to replace the Atari 2600 and restore Atari’s reputation back to the top. That did not happen and the 2600 continued on. The big reason for that were the controllers for it. Most of the time they never worked or would malfunction more often than not. The only thing good about them was that it introduced the Pause Button, which would become a standard in video game controllers. It was also designed to if an adaptor to play Atari 2600 games, which actually was a 1st to have reverse compatibility that would be later known with such systems as the Playstation 2, X-Box 360, Wii, PS3 just to name a few.
The next step was made in order to turn Atari back into being superior in the 7800. The goal was to undo what damage was done with the 5200 and address the shortcomings and problems it had. It had to compete with Nintendo’s NES and Sega’s Master System. When it was released, Nintendo was all ready the #1 system out for the time and the Master System was #2. The 7800 almost had the power to play games as far back as the 2600, a very impressive feat. The system itself came at the wrong time.
It would be years later than Atari would make one last ditch effort to get back the market and call themselves #1 out of every system made. It was the Atari Jaguar. It was promoted as the “1st 64-bit system” had to compete with such systems during that frame with the Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Playstation, 3D0, and Amiga CD32. The market itself as a whole was bigger than what it was before when the Atari 7800 was out. Unlike the previous systems, the Jaguar would use CDs with the edition of the Jaguar CD-Rom peripheral that was put inside the Cartridge handler and had no known compatibility with the previous Atari systems. With Atari’s reputation of having some poor games, the system would not be a major success and would put Atari into retirement as far as trying to keep up with the other systems.
Atari does have a legacy in video gamers’ past and present. It was the main system that really got off the ground with the consoles. The graphics were just starting out before it got into the 8-bit and then it evolved from there. Interesting facts mainly to do with the 2600 like for instance, a Sega Genesis controller would work on an Atari 2600. The Atari 2600 is the all-time leader that has lasted longer than any other system produced bar none.
If I had to give a personal recommendation as to which Atari was the best one of the ones listed above, I would go with the Atari 2600. It had more classic games and was entertaining to play. That’s a lucky long shot if there are any stores out there outside of ebay that would sell a system from the past such as that.