Atari Book Recommendations

I have been a long-time admirer of Atari products and of the company itself, particularly the Nolan Bush years.  Here are some books that I’ve found to be interesting.

8-Bit Apocalypse cover

8-Bit Apocalypse: The Untold Story of Atari’s Missile Command. The story behind Missile Command itself is fascinating. Dave Theurer was the lead developer on Missile Command, working with Rich Adam (who went on to develop Gravitar) to do so. Although the game is long in the tooth now, it was incredibly innovative at the time using bright colours and a track ball. At the time Pong was leading edge, although new games were emerging that used colour and the joysticks and buttons that were soon to become ubiquitous in arcade machines. An interesting aspect of the Missile Command story was that it was developed at the height of the cold war, with the threat of nuclear armageddon hanging over everyone’s heads. Dave wanted to send a message that there was no winner in a nuclear war. This book is an interesting read for many reasons.

Art of Atari cover

Art of Atari by Tim Lapertino is a fantastic coffee-table book. Because the Atari 2600 games were a bit rough, it was a 4-bit platform after all, Atari invested a lot in box artwork.

Atari Inc. cover

Atari Inc. Business is Fun by Curt Vendel and Marty Goldberg is the definitive book about Atari’s company history. It’s 800 pages, albeit with a lot of great pictures. There’s a reason why Atari is still an icon today. Interestingly, Atari was clearly an agile organization and arguably helped to define what would become the cultural norm for many silicon valley startups.

Breakout cover

Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation by Jamie Lendino is a great read for anyone interested in the history of the 8-bit Atari computer platform. Well researched and a great resource for Atari fans.

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