First Atari - Missile Command

Celebrate Atari Day With…well…My First Atari!

It is once more the 26th of the month. Which of course means that it is time to celebrate Atari Day! Furthermore I felt that perhaps a more personal recollection would be in order. Case in point the memories of how I got my first Atari.
First Atari - Vic Sage

As you can certainly see I was rather excited to unwrap this particular Christmas gift. In addition I should say that it certainly wasn’t a bad holiday up to that point. If you look closely behind me you will spy the likes of Imperial Troop Transport as well as the remote controlled R2-D2.

[Via] Sarlaac Pit Podcast

Of course if you keep checking out that late 70’s photograph. You will likewise see a few more equally important toys in my youth. I will direct your attention to the then desired Mortimer Snerd ventriloquist dummy sitting…patiently…in the decorative chair behind me. Bear in mind this was before I was instilled with an overwhelming fear of dummies. This was naturally before Steven Spielberg delivered 1982’s Poltergeist!
First Atari - Poltergeist

Besides a collection of wind-up toys, something I will admit I was totally captivated by in my youth. We have some of those faithful blue friends, The Smurfs. Going off my memory I want to say that it the three present were Doctor Smurf, Lion Tamer Smurf, and possibly Hang Glider Smurf.
First Atari - Lion Tamer Smurf

Which I am sure you will be more than glad to hear leads us to my first Atari. Finally. So as I have already stated this was a good Christmas. It was all done or so I thought. My Grandmother asked what was that in the Christmas tree. I will admit to not being able to remotely find what had captured her attention. At this point my Father had joined in – trying to direct me to behind the tree where one wrapped gift remained hidden, nestled in the branches. It was small and box shaped, I literally had no idea what it was. Moreover when I ripped off that wrapping paper I discovered I was an owner of Atari’s Missile Command!
Missile Command

I think you can imagine how excited I was, right? The dawning realization that this obviously meant I got my first Atari! In the nearly seven years I have written for The Retroist have I ever let on I was remotely that sharp? I can vividly recall looking at the box and just shrugging my shoulders. I mean this gift was wasted as I of course didn’t own an Atari VCS.

That is when my Grandmother opened a closet door and pulled out a much larger wrapped gift. Heady with the joy of not just the Holiday but the thrill of civilized destruction I tore into the wrapping paper. You can see the absolute joy on my face in that photo, which was snapped by my Grandfather by the way. As much as I loved all of my Star Wars gifts and other presents…my first Atari was the best thing in my eyes.

In addition to Missile Command there was another Atari cart hidden in the tree. That was Adventure, a game I still love to this very day. Very quickly I was sitting in the middle of the living room floor with my Grandmother. After my Father had set up the Atari 2600 to that large television of course. But as you can see from this photograph of my Father and myself…even though he disliked video games in general. The fun of my first Atari was enough to coerce him to join me in game or two of Missile Command!
First Atari - Missile Command

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O/s site by following the link here!

Now that you have learned about my first Atari featuring Missile Command. Perhaps you would like to know another fan of that classic Atari game?


That would of course be none other than Steven Spielberg. Yep. The man responsible for many of our most cherished films as well as instilling a lifelong case of Automatonophobia was also a fan of the 1980 arcade game!

Celebrate Atari Day With The Art Of Atari!

Art of Atari I think is possibly the best way to celebrate Atari Day. Then again I admit I am biased in that viewpoint.
Art of Atari - Vic Sage

Although this may be true it doesn’t detract from the importance of the Art of Atari to gaming enthusiasts. Tim Lapetino’s retrospective on Atari gives us an insiders look at the four decades of the company. Additionally he has amassed artwork from private collections and museums for his 352 page tome – moreover it’s official. Lapetino has also included interviews and sometimes never before published artwork of those artists that were part of the Golden Age of Atari!

Images courtesy of Atari I/O.

Images courtesy of Atari I/O.

I want to point out that Tim has sort of been working out the idea of the book since 2012. Captivated like many of us by the beautiful box art that graced the 2600 titles. Missile Command, Adventure, and Centipede to name but a few. Lapetino that year was able to obtain from another collector, slides, negatives and transparencies of such Atari artwork.
missile-command-art-of-atari-atari-io
art-of-atari-centipede-atari-io

Equally important of that purchase to Tim was coming into contact with Cliff Spohn. The freelance illustrator responsible for some of Atari’s early uniquely beautiful covers.
codebreaker-atari-2600

I cannot stress how important these illustrations for the games were. In fact it helped to set the art style of those original releases. But it also acted as a portal of sorts to the “World” that the game on the cartridge offered. Stoking the fires of the imagination – it is easy to see how children might add an element of role-playing with Codebreaker.

You aren’t merely attempting to find the hidden code in as few as moves possible. Thanks to that artwork by Spohn you are now a shadowy agent trying to obtain the location of enemy ships!

Don’t just take my word for it. Here is the Art of Atari‘s Tim Lapetino on Atari’s early approach to advertising:


“I can say that Atari’s approach really was a product of its time. In the late 70s and early 80s, illustration was still widely used in advertising, design, and commercially. Photography was just starting to supplant hand-rendered illustration, but it was sort of natural that the folks at Atari would draw from existing, parallel industries to drawn inspiration for their package design and art. There were no video game standards, so they borrowed from paperback novel covers, LP album art, and movie posters – and expanded upon it. Cliff Spohn’s art really served as a working template of how to approach the art, and they grew from there.”

That quote like nearly all the photos in this article are from an EXCLUSIVE interview over at Atari I/O. Between Rob Wanechak and Tim Lapetino. Make sure to take a moment out of your busy schedule and read that interview – it is well worth your time.

The Art of Atari is available right this moment at better book dealers as well as at Dynamite.Com!

Remind me again what Atari Day is!


Image courtesy of Atari I/O's Facebook page.

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

Retro Radio Memories Ep. 078 (Super Breakout)

You would be right in thinking that Super Breakout, the hit sequel to the equally successful 1976 arcade title Breakout might seem an odd choice to adapt into a storybook and record. Yet that is exactly what the Kid Stuff label did – along with Missile Command, Asteroids, and Yar’s Revenge. Which we have shared on the site once or twice before. So for this installment of Retro Radio Memories we are doing something just a little different.
atari-day-super-breakout
We are not sharing an Old Time Radio program this week but a retro record.

If it’s Retro Radio Memories why are you sharing a record?


Good question. The answer is that this is the 26th of the month. You know what that means, right?

That is right! It is Atari Day!
Image courtesy of Atari I/O's Facebook page.

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


How did they turn Super Breakout into a storybook and record?!


That too is a very good question…especially considering the gameplay of that classic title.

I won’t ruin the story for you but I will say they took an intergalactic adventure approach to it all. Inspired I suppose by the Atari 2600 game artwork they used for the cover of the book and record.

So join us on Retro Radio Memories or perhaps Retro Record Memories for Super Breakout!

If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.

The music on the podcast was graciously provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com.
Subscribe To The Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes. I sure would appreciate it if you might leave us a rating to help spread the word about the show while you are at it!

Directly download the Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)

To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari IO’s site by clicking on the link here!

Hot Wheels, Atari Style!

Have you ever wanted to re-live those Atari 2600 classics in the form of car liveries? If somehow you answered YES to that question, then Hot Wheels created these Atari-branded diecasts just for you! I’m completely smitten with these – the 2013 SDDC exclusive Asteroids “Beach Bomb” pickup above is all sorts of desirable, especially that arcade game packaging. The general release cars below for Tempest, Pong, Breakout, Centipede and Missile Command all lose the special packaging but are still great creations with fantastic artwork and I’d love to own the series.

And that 2600-branded GMC Motorhome with wood panels… on my…

HotWheels Atari

Learn more about the SDCC Asteroids vehicle over at Collecting Toyz. Read more about the rest at You Found a Secret Area!.

Steven Spielberg…and Missile Command?

A huge thanks to the gang over at Arcade Hunters for giving us the heads up on this AWESOME photo from Arcade Nation over on Twitter! This photo is apparently from a site called the Millions and it appears this photo was included with a foreword by the legendary director for a book by Martin Amis entitled “Invasion of the Space Invaders”.

That is totally my new wallpaper.