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:
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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.

Friday Flyers: Tempest (1982)

Programmed as well as designed by Dave Theurer (Missile Command) and released by Atari into the arcade wilds in 1982, Tempest, lays claim to the first arcade game title that would allow you to select which level you started at. Though most fans at the time, including myself, believed this was a space game, David Theurer has gone on record stating that the player was actually travelling through a hole in the ground. The setting was inspired by a reoccurring nightmare the game designer had, “with monsters from the center of the Earth that are trying to get out of the hole.”

Thanks as always to The Arcade Flyer Archive for the awesome scanned flyers you see below. Especially that Tempest coupon!

A big thanks to GlassDarkly for uploading the interview with Dave Theurer over on YouTube!