1982 Imagic Documentary!

Imagic Logo
I’m kind of riding on the Atlantis TV Commercial from yesterday but I thought this was just too cool of a documentary not to share. Thanks to Scottith Games over on YouTube we have this 2 part documentary on the Imagic game corporation from the 1982 PBS television show entitled Enterprise. In this documentary you’ll not only see the Imagic team discussing the creation of Atlantis but you’ll get a behind the scenes look at the Golden Age of game programming.


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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8 thoughts on “1982 Imagic Documentary!

  1. Daniel Dacey says:

    Fascinating documentary. I really wish I had got into games programming when I was younger. The money aside, it looked like a nice place to work.

  2. Absolutely, Daniel. This is the type of stuff I normally bemoan that isn’t documented well enough, the Golden Age of gaming. I keep saying we need to get someone to just go around and interview and preserve everything from back in those days. :)

  3. Wow. This was great. I would loved to have visited these guys back in 1982!

    A few observations.

    1 – Love the comment about piracy.

    2 – This was 82. They had no idea the crash of 83 was around the corner – there was a little reference at the end of the piece…

    3 – Love the use of Pac Man Fever

    4 – Great old CES at Chicago’s McCormack place!

    5 – Discussion of a recession?

    6 – ET game a viable competitor? Oh, if they only knew….

  4. Agreed, Patrick…but in regards to E.T. it did sell 1.5 million copies and if you go by the Wikipedia entry it was claimed that Atari earned 25 million in profit on the sales but due to the overproduction of the title netted 100 million in losses. Ouch.

    By the way, did anyone notice when the kids were test playing Atlantis you could see the models that would be used on the cover of the game were on the table behind them? How would you like to own those?!

  5. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Man, what a treat!
    Thanks, Vic!

    Plays like a full documentary, with the build-up and highs and lows that defined the industry’s path for 8-bit output.
    I loved every frame of it.

    Like Patrick, some bits stand out for me:

    -Koble’s blue T-shirt.

    -That graphic design computer, with the guys drawing models on it? I want that.

    -All the loving close-ups of cart boxes and displays.

    -Game testing back then: hasn’t changed much, actually. Except gamers are older (and some are from that era).

    -Yeah, lotsa irony in afterthought, between the E.T. ads and men in suits holding joysticks, I found the bittersweet poignancy of Imagic’s top guys talking about a ballon race game (steering a fragile vehicle full of hot air, trying not to crash) almost too fitting for the end of that era.

    I also wish more interviews with these great designers and folks from the golden era pop up on the tubes.

    And, yeah, if anybody has those any of those Imagic models lying around, feel free to post pics or send ’em my (or Vic’s) way!

  6. Thanks Atari Adventure Square for the very kind words. I would like to echo Atari’s request…if anyone knows where these models are or have photos, please send ’em our way. :)

  7. Engrossing stuff. It’s great to see this stuff appearing. It’s quaint to see that there were so few competitors that they could list them on a flipchart! A charmed world compared to the one I’m documenting. Later companies would have been shocked to hear sales figures and profits like these.

    If you haven’t already seen it, there’s this slightly later documentary about Ocean and, notably, Imagine, a British games house that hit trouble.


    Thanks for posting the videos.

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