Saturday, 15 September 2012

New Book - Atari Inc. Business is Fun

I'll admit that I'm a sucker for retro gaming and computer history related books. I've got a fair stack of them in the old collection and am always looking to add more to the pile.

This week I stumbled upon news of a new book, due to be released towards the end of September. Going under the title "Atari Inc. Business is Fun", this looks like it could really lift the lid on this once legendary company.

Scott Cohen's "Zap! The Rise and Fall of Atari" provided a fleeting look at the history of the the iconic brand, and I'm hoping that this new publication will present a more in-depth and detailed analysis of the company. Written by Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel, the book should prove to be well written, heavily researched and a fascinating read.

Both authors come with decent CV's. Marty Goldberg has worked at, currently freelances for Retro Gamer magazine, and is a co-founder of the Midwest Gaming Classic Expo. Meanwhile, Curt Vendel has a bachelor in computer science, and in 1998 founded the Atari History Museum Archives, amassing over 15,000 files, folders and documents.

So, what can we expect from this book? Here's the blurb...

The true story behind the company and brand that was synonymous with 'video games' in the 1970's and 80's, told by the people who were there making history. Dominating both the arcade and home - and fueled by the public's 'obsession' with technology, Atari pioneered high tech fun for a new generation. The ripple effect of Atari's influence in technology and pop culture has resonated throughout the decades, and into the 21st Century.

In an age where Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft now dominate the consumer industry, Gen-Xers and those lucky enough to have grown up during the "Age of Atari" still cling fondly to the memories of this period.

With roots dating back to 1969, when Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney formed a small engineering partnership, these two California entrepreneurs took a chance and introduced an exciting new technology to the world at a time when pinball was king. Forming Atari Inc. on June 27th, 1972, together they launched a company that would come to dominate and innovate what people did with their leisure time.

Purchased by Warner Communications in 1976, the sale of the company to this entertainment industry titan would ensure Atari invaded all areas of American culture, enabling the company to stake its claim as a worldwide phenomenon. Rapidly expanding into other forms of entertainment, computers and advanced high-tech research, Atari's innovation and influence was comparable to Apple's preeminence today.

... that is, was until Atari imploded spectacularly in 1984, taking most of the US video game industry with it. As a result, its cadre of talented people and advanced technology were unleashed across Silicon Valley. Many of these individuals are still working in the industries they helped pioneer.

For more information, visit the "Atari Inc. Business is Fun" section of the Atari Museum web site at, follow the team on Twitter @AtariBook or join their facebook group over at

When I finally manage to get my hands on a copy I'll post a full review to the blog in due course.

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