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Earliest Mention of 1981 Atari 2600 Games in Newspapers

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Atari 2600 Games Released in 1981
(Earliest mention in newspapers that I've found so far.)

Stellar Track: March 4, 1981
Othello: March 20, 1981
Laser Blast: March 20, 1981
Tennis: March 20, 1981
Video Pinball: April 9, 1981 (first real mention, without orders being taken)
Warlords: May 7, 1981
Asteroids: May 7, 1981 if you can believe it or August 7, 1981 if you can't
Missile Command: May 8, 1981
Freeway: July 16, 1981
Kaboom!: July 16, 1981
Steeplechase: August 7, 1981
Ice Hockey: December 11, 1981 (coming soon), December 13, 1981 (ad by itself), December 19, 1981 (in stock)
Stampede: December 11, 1981 (coming soon), December 19, 1981 (in stock)
Skeet Shoot: January 26, 1982







Trivia

Atari CX2600A: November 26, 1981 (no mention of it in 1980 newspapers that I can find, so this page might be wrong.)

The name Championship Soccer was changed to Pelé’s Soccer and the first mention of the new name that I can find in a newspaper is May 13, 1981.




1981y_03m_04d Kannapolis Daily Independent Wednesday, March 4, 1981, Kannapolis, North Carolina
(Stellar Track and more with prices. [sears])
post-13-0-24955500-1552978055_thumb.png




1981y_03m_08d Chicago Heights Star Sunday, March 8, 1981, Chicago Heights, Illinois
(Be the first to receive these new cartridges. Orders being taken. Asteroids, Warlords, Video Pinball, and Missile Command. [American Sales])
post-13-0-45672400-1552979055_thumb.png


The ad above is kind of useless since it's talking about orders being taken, but many of the ads below mention games that are in stock, so those ads are very useful.




1981y_03m_20d Yuma Sun Friday, March 20, 1981, Yuma, Arizona
(We have the NEW Activision Games to fit your Atari game - Dragster, Laser Blast, skiing, boxing, checkers & more. [Tomarhaland Sound & Video])
post-13-0-20792900-1552979330.png




1981y_03m_20d Frederick News Post Friday, March 20, 1981, Frederick, Maryland
(Othello, Laser Blast, Tennis, and other games. [shipley's])
post-13-0-05242100-1552569357.png




1981y_03m_31d Anderson Daily Bulletin Tuesday, March 31, 1981, Anderson, Indiana
(Now in stock: Laser Blast & Tennis. [Allan's Jewelry & Loan Co.])
post-13-0-50146700-1552979449.png




1981y_04m_09d Anderson Daily Bulletin Thursday, April 9, 1981, Anderson, Indiana
(Now in stock: Video Pinball & Tennis. [Allan's Jewelry & Loan Co.])
post-13-0-92506000-1552979566.png




1981y_04m_16d Doylestown Intelligencer Thursday, April 16, 1981, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
(Video Pinball, Tennis, Skiing, Bridge, Othello. [brunswick])
post-13-0-59570500-1552979775.png




1981y_04m_19d Elyria Chronicle Telegram Sunday, April 19, 1981, Elyria, Ohio
(Video Pinball and Othello. [big Town Super Mart])
post-13-0-42866300-1552980023.png



Asteroids was due in July, but it's in this ad from May 7, 1981, two months early:

1981y_05m_07d Madison Wisconsin State Journal Thursday, May 7, 1981, Madison, Wisconsin
(Many games are listed including Warlords, Asteroids, and Video Pinball. [American's Video Arcade])
post-13-0-90192500-1552980159_thumb.png

Does that mean Asteroids was released in May 1981 instead of July?





1981y_05m_07d Fort Madison Daily Democrat Thursday, May 7, 1981, Fort Madison, Iowa
(Just received Video Pinball. [Ellis TV & Stereo])
post-13-0-11564900-1552980731_thumb.png




1981y_05m_08d Anderson Daily Bulletin Friday, May 8, 1981, Anderson, Indiana
(Now in stock: Missile Command. [Allan's Jewelry & Loan Co.])
post-13-0-27147500-1552980851.png




1981y_05m_13d Westport News Wednesday, May 13, 1981, Westport, Connecticut
(Adventure, Space Invaders and Pele Soccer [Pelé’s Soccer]. [Child World])
post-13-0-01514700-1552981058.png




1981y_05m_16d Clearfield Progress Saturday, May 16, 1981, Clearfield, Pennsylvania
(Just received at J.C. Penney: Missile Command. [JCPenney])
post-13-0-93287600-1552981395.png




1981y_07m_16d Doylestown Intelligencer Thursday, July 16, 1981, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
(We have Ka-Boom [Kaboom!], Freeway, and Superman cartridges. [World Wide Stereo])
post-13-0-60907000-1552981983.png




1981y_07m_25d Anderson Daily Bulletin Saturday, July 25, 1981, Anderson, Indiana
(Now in stock: Kaboom & Missile Command. [Allan's Jewelry & Loan Co.])
post-13-0-01142300-1552982931.png




1981y_08m_07d Daily Herald Suburban Chicago Friday, August 7, 1981, Arlington Heights, Illinois
(Atari Asteroids in stock, Warlords too. [Home Star])
post-13-0-55820500-1552983104_thumb.png




1981y_08m_07d Fort Madison Evening Democrat Friday, August 7, 1981, Fort Madison, Iowa
(Just received Asteroids. [Ellis TV & Stereo])
post-13-0-16157000-1552983353_thumb.png




1981y_08m_07d Elyria Chronicle Telegram Friday, August 7, 1981, Elyria, Ohio
(Steeple Chase a.k.a. Steeplechase. [sears])
post-13-0-03156700-1552983522_thumb.png




1981y_08m_13d Alton Telegraph Thursday, August 13, 1981, Alton, Illinois
(Asteroid [Asteroids], Missile Command, Laser Blast, Pele' Soccer [Pelé’s Soccer], Video Pinball, Indy 500, Slot Racers. [JCPenney])
post-13-0-77418100-1552983686.png




1981y_08m_18d Yuma Sun Tuesday, August 18, 1981, Yuma, Arizona
(Missile Command, Warlords, Kaboom, Freeway and more. [Tomarhaland])
post-13-0-45725800-1552983942.png




1981y-08m-30d Frederick News Post Sunday, August 30, 1981, Frederick, Maryland
(Asteroids. [Toytown])
post-13-0-77840300-1552984126_thumb.png




1981y_12m_11s Santa Ana Orange County Register Friday, December 11, 1981, Santa Ana, California
(Coming soon! Stampede and Ice Hockey. Tennis available at . . .)
post-13-0-35358700-1552984575_thumb.png




1981y-12m-13d Santa Ana Orange County Register Sunday, December 13, 1981, Santa Ana, California
(Really Rough Stuff: Ice Hockey available at . . .)
post-13-0-73014400-1552984303_thumb.png




1981y-12m-13d Anderson Daily Bulletin Saturday, December 19, 1981, Anderson, Indiana
(Now in stock: Stampede, Ice Hockey, and Asteroids. [Allan's Jewelry & Loan Co.])

post-13-0-12147200-1552987515.png





1981y-12m-28d Annapolis Capital Monday, December 28, 1981, Annapolis, Maryland
(Stampede, Ice Hockey, and others listed with prices. [Murphey's Mart])
post-13-0-07482400-1552984838_thumb.png




1982y-01m-26d Anderson Daily Bulletin Tuesday, January 26, 1982, Anderson, Indiana
(New Skeet Shoot. [Allan's Jewelry & Loan Co.])
post-13-0-95321900-1552985259.png






1981y_12m_16d Syracuse Herald Journal Wednesday, December 16, 1981, Syracuse, New York
(For those interested, this ad says "27. Atari CX 2600 A: The brand new model of the world famous Atari home video game opens up even more horizons for your whole family." This new model wasn't mentioned the month before in their ad. [Gordon])
post-13-0-48860400-1552985976_thumb.png






This one is just for fun:

1981y_09m_23d Daily Herald Suburban Chicago Wednesday, September 23, 1981, Arlington Heights, Illinois
(Hottest new tapes from Atari: Missile Command & Asteroids. [TOYS “Я” US])
post-13-0-91256100-1552978111_thumb.png

 

 

The 1981 history page has been updated.

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Thanks! Love seeing these old ads. $159.99 for VCS at Shipley's! That's about $500 in 2019 money, and games that were $30 then would be $90 dollars today.

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I see that there are many advertisements from small retailers in small communities (rather than National or Regional chains).

 

Were the new games available nationally at the same time, or were they first available in larger centres before trickling down to smaller retailers?

 

I love that Allan's Jewelry & Loan Co. was selling "preowned" games as early as 1981. I wonder how large the selection was.

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Thanks! Love seeing these old ads. $159.99 for VCS at Shipley's! That's about $500 in 2019 money, and games that were $30 then would be $90 dollars today.

 

And those Intellivision prices are particularly shocking!!! $279 in 1981 is like $780 today.

 

I always envied the kids with those fancy toys. I love how tech is priced so way more people can afford it nowadays.

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I never know the defunct American TV appliance stores sold Atari carts. Although in the 1980 and 90's Milwaukee TV was bombarded by "Crazy TV Lennie commercials."

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Funny to see "coming soon" advertisements, then followed up with "in stock" a week or two later. Ahh yes, the way things used to be.

 

Today's way of doing things defines the phrase "coming soon" much, much differently. ;)

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All I can think of is a The New Teen Titans issue (#13) where Cyborg tells Robotman he's the "1981-style Cyborg." My goodness, disco being played at its very death knell, Cyborg exemplifying what Donna Summer thought when she wrote "I Feel Love," and these games. How I long to live in 1981! You could play outside until dark!

 

Also, one of those games is called "Stampede." Cyborg saying "It's a STAMPEDE!" anyone?

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On 3/30/2019 at 10:36 AM, Syzygy1 said:

All I can think of is a The New Teen Titans issue (#13) where Cyborg tells Robotman he's the "1981-style Cyborg." My goodness, disco being played at its very death knell, Cyborg exemplifying what Donna Summer thought when she wrote "I Feel Love," and these games. How I long to live in 1981! You could play outside until dark!

 

Also, one of those games is called "Stampede." Cyborg saying "It's a STAMPEDE!" anyone?

I was around during that time, and I agree with you 100% on what it was like. 2020 is stupid compared to 1980!

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On 3/20/2019 at 12:27 PM, frankodragon said:

I never know the defunct American TV appliance stores sold Atari carts. Although in the 1980 and 90's Milwaukee TV was bombarded by "Crazy TV Lennie commercials."

Did you know he's still around? Not sure you would get his commercials being out in Milwaukee. Sells e-Bikes in Madison and still goes by Crazy Lenny. 
 



 

1D568786-6B18-40FF-9E59-DB40BDB77826.jpeg

 

 

92DDFE8D-3A07-4F44-A159-C63F46713EB3.jpeg

 

 

3A37EBE6-E486-45C8-BA3F-AA60651C87B0.png

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3 hours ago, save2600 said:

Did you know he's still around? Not sure you would get his commercials being out in Milwaukee. Sells e-Bikes in Madison and still goes by Crazy Lenny. 

 

Does he run commercials in Madison? I guess I don’t watch much TV.

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26 minutes ago, bizarrostormy said:

Does he run commercials in Madison? I guess I don’t watch much TV.

Oh yeah, see them all the time...

 

 

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He better get some of that Flex Seal Paste from that crazy Phil Swift to repair that bike, LOL. 

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