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Atari "Did You Know?" Trivia

There is a great deal of history regarding Atari, as well as companies and individuals involved with them over the years. From this history can be gleaned a great wealth of interesting trivia. We've put together this page to enable you to more easily view and search for the trivia we've assembled. Entries from this list are shown randomly on the the front page of AtariAge. We encourage our visitors to submit more trivia, which you can do by following this link.


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The in-house name for the Atari 2600 was "Stella".4/5/2002
Although the packaging states it is "By Nolan Bushnell - Video game designer and Atari Pioneer", Secret Quest for the Atari 2600 was programmed by Steve DeFrisco.4/5/2002
The Atari 2600 was the third programmable console to be produced.4/5/2002
Atari 2600 cartridges were officially produced during three decades.4/5/2002
The release of the 2600 was delayed for one year for legal reasons.4/5/2002
After leaving Atari, Nolan Bushnell went on to start Chuck E. Cheese Pizza.4/5/2002
The Atari 2600 originally sold for $200.4/5/2002
Space Invaders for the 2600 was the first ever 'killer-app' videogame.4/5/2002
There were nine games available for the 2600 at launch in 1977.4/5/2002
Nolan Bushnell made $15 million from the sale of Atari.4/5/2002
Yars' Revenge is named after Atari executive Ray Kassar (Yar backwards).4/5/2002
In 1976, Nolan Bushnell sold Atari to Warner Communications for $28 million.4/5/2002
Adventure, by Warren Robinett, contained the first ever videogame Easter Egg4/5/2002
Atari grossed $415 million in 1978.4/5/2002
Activision was started in 1980 by four disenchanted Atari programmers.4/5/2002
Activision made a $13 million profit in 1980, their first year.4/5/2002
Imagic was formed in 1981 by nine disenchanted Atari programmers.4/5/2002
The Atari 5200 is basically an Atari 400 without the keyboard.4/5/2002
The Atari 2600 only has 128 bytes of RAM.4/5/2002
The Starpath Supercharger originally retailed for $70.4/5/2002
Imagic's first three games were Trick Shot, Star Voyager, and Demon Attack.4/5/2002
Apollo changed the name of Lochjaw to Shark Attack for legal reasons.4/5/2002
Atari sued Coleco in 1982 for $350 million over the Expansion Module #1.4/5/2002
Atari sales in 1982 were $203 million.4/5/2002
Atari sued Imagic in 1982 for Demon Attack's similarity to Phoenix.4/5/2002
Steve Jobs was Atari's fortieth employee, a technician at $5/hour.4/5/2002
Before Time Warner purchased Atari, MCA and Disney both declined to invest.4/5/2002
Atari was founded on a $250 investment by Nolan Bushnell.4/5/2002
2600 Asteroids was the first game to use 'bank-switching' that doubled its ROM space.4/5/2002
Atari sued Magnavox over their Pac-Man clone, K.C. Munchkin.4/5/2002
The 2600 was originally called the VCS--the name was officially changed after the release of the 5200.4/5/2002
In 1984, Atari posted losses of $536 million as a result of the videogame market crash.4/5/2002
Atari announced the 7800 in 1984, but delayed release until 1986.4/5/2002
Jack Tramiel bought Atari's home computer and home videogame business in 1984.4/5/2002
Nintendo suggested selling the NES under the Atari label in the US, Atari declined.4/5/2002
Atari was not even present at the 1985 Consumer Electronics Show.4/5/2002
Nolan Bushnell was rehired in 1988 to develop games for the 2600.4/5/2002
Atari released the 5200 in 1982 in response to the Intellivision and Colecovision.4/5/2002
Atari sold 400,000 consoles in 1979.4/5/2002
Sears' version of the Atari 2600 is called the Sears Video Arcade.4/5/2002
Coleco produced a 2600 clone called the Gemini.4/5/2002
Atari buried 5 million unsold copies of E.T. in the New Mexico desert.4/5/2002
The in-house name for the 5200 at Atari was "Pam".4/5/2002
The "Puffer Project" was a secret plan to develop an exercise bike attachment for the 5200.4/5/2002
The Gameline Master Module allowed the user to download 2600 games over the phone.4/5/2002
The Gameline company eventually evolved into AOL.4/5/2002
You can use an adapter to play 2600 games on the 5200.4/5/2002
You can use Sega Genesis controllers on an Atari 2600.4/5/2002
Mystique and Playaround made "adult" games for the 2600.4/5/2002
Magicard was rated by AtariAge polls as the rarest of all released games for the 2600.4/5/2002
Eli's Ladder is an educational game that was not widely distributed.4/5/2002
It is rumored that Coleco intentionally crippled their games for other systems in order to make their own system look better.4/5/2002
The Atari 2600 was sold in Japan under the name Atari 2800.4/5/2002
Secret Quest was the last game released for the 2600 in the U.S..4/5/2002
Imagic's game design division was nicknamed "the zoo".4/5/2002
Rob Fulop, Imagic programmer, sold Cubicolor (2600) on his own after Atari rejected it.4/5/2002
The Atari symbol is known as the "Fuji" because of it's resemblance to Mt. Fuji.4/5/2002
The name "Atari" comes from a move in the ancient game of Go, a favorite of founder Nolan Bushnell.4/5/2002
Supercharger games were all developed on an Apple II computer.4/5/2002
Quadrun and Open Sesame are the only two Atari 2600 games to feature speech synthesis.4/5/2002
The Atari logo symbolizes two pong players separated by a playfield line in the middle.4/5/2002
Lord of the Rings, featured in a Parker Brothers Catalog was never commercially released, although it does appear to have been completed.4/5/2002
Parker Brothers sponsored a contest in which you could win a Super Cobra Flight Jacket.4/5/2002
The Atari VCS shipped with two joysticks, a pair of paddle controllers, an RF TV adapter and the Combat game cartridge.4/5/2002
The Atari 2600 was originally known as the Atari VCS (Video Computer System).4/5/2002
Ray Kassar, CEO of Atari, was nicknamed "The Czar".4/5/2002
Ray Kassar, Atari CEO, once dismissed Atari's engineers as "high-strung prima donnas".4/5/2002
In 1980, Atari occupied over 80 offices in Sunnyvale, California.4/5/2002
Space Invaders for the 2600 was the first home license of a coin-op video game.4/5/2002
The fourth and final Swordquest game, Airworld, was never finished.4/5/2002
James Morgan was named CEO of Atari in 1983.4/5/2002
Atari posted losses of $536 million in 1983.4/5/2002
In 1984, Jack Tramiel fired over one thousand Atari Corp. employees, including then CEO James Morgan.4/5/2002
Atari announced the Mindlink, a "mind control" peripheral for the Atari VCS in 1984, but it was never released.4/5/2002
The Atari 7800 was ready in 1984, but not released until 1986 to compete with the NES.4/5/2002
Atari Corp. acquired Federated Electronics in 1989.4/5/2002
20th Century Fox planned a game on the movie 9 to 5, but it was never released.4/5/2002
20th Century Fox made 17 games for the Atari VCS.4/5/2002
Starpath was able to make Frogger for the VCS, because Parker Brothers didn't own the magnetic media rights.4/5/2002
Activision was one of the first companies to credit the programmer for creating a game.4/5/2002
Carrere Video released Name This Game in Europe as Octopus.4/5/2002
Commavid was originally called Computer Magic.4/5/2002
Imagic had a "Numb Thumb Club" that offered newsletters and cloth patches.4/5/2002
"Women Against Pornography" protested against Mystique's adult line of VCS games.4/5/2002
Columbia House Record Club offered a 2600 clone called the Columbia Home Arcade.4/5/2002
VentureVision was founded in 1982 by ex-Apollo employee Robert Hessler.4/5/2002
Sparrow (2600 Music Machine) is still around today.4/5/2002
Videosoft was founded by Channel F creator Jerry Lawson.4/5/2002
Absolute Entertainment was founded by ex-Activision employee Garry Kitchen.4/5/2002
David Crane wrote 13 games (and contributed to others) for the Atari 2600.4/5/2002
Tax Avoiders for the 2600 was written by an IRS employee.4/5/2002
Amiga was founded by former Atari employee Jay Miner in 1982.4/5/2002
The Atari 5200 was released to compete with the Colecovision, introduced in 1982.4/5/2002
The Atari 5200 was one of the first consoles to feature a "Pause" button.4/5/2002
Epyx created a handheld system called the "Handy", that was purchased by Atari and renamed "Lynx".4/5/2002
First Star Software (2600 Boing) was founded in 1982 and is still in business today.4/5/2002
All of Froggo's 2600 titles are re-releases of existing games.4/5/2002
HES released one original 2600 title - My Golf, by David Lubar.4/5/2002
The two Milton Bradley games for the Atari 2600, Spitfire Attack and Survival Run, required the purchaser to attach the end label to the cartridge.4/5/2002
MenAvision released only one game for the 2600 - Air Raid, one of the rarest games for that system.4/5/2002

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