Monday, September 24, 2012

Atari, 1981.

In this ad, I like the way the kids appear more genuinely frightened than anything, as they play Asteroids on the small screen while it plays out writ large on the side. (Was the Atari logo on the ship really necessary? Perhaps it was part of the Atari Force...) I'm also quite jazzed at the level of detail used in the depiction of the console itself. In the opening panel, is the alien zapping the cannon or vice versa? The white shots appear to be raining down, but the cannon definitely appears to be being fried -- or perhaps that's just what it looks like while discharging its payload? I suppose the former interpretation would make more sense given the ominous tone of the opening panel.
NOTHING CAN SAVE YOU FROM... ATARI. THE MOST EXCITING GAMES IN THE GALAXY.

ASTEROIDS
MISSILE COMMAND
VIDEO PINBALL
PLUS...
WARLORDS
OTHELLO
BREAKOUT
PELE'S SOCCER
ADVENTURE
SUPERMAN
MAZE CRAZE
AIR-SEA BATTLE
AND MORE!!!

Tone it down, guys, and whatever you do, don't get carried away and lose your cool with the use of an exclamation point in describing your awesome and, well, EXCITING product... well, they manage to maintain their composure until the very end of the game list. Atari had many great games but it's conspicuous that the lead-in game (and the only big-panel game not explicitly named) appears to be a creative interpretation of Taito's mega-hit Space Invaders -- a game available for Atari machines (among others) but not one of their in-house productions. (Wikipedia notes: "The 1980 Atari 2600 version quadrupled the system's sales and became the first 'killer app' for video game consoles.")

Speaking of which... note in the small print:

OTHELLO is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. for its strategy disc game and equipment.
Vs. the generic no-name brand Reversi? Guess that Shakespeare's lawyers were asleep on the job. Hard to imagine that Reversi was the Carcassonne of its day. (The incredible ripples caused by the splash of Reversi continued to bounce around until at least 1993 and its minigame in the smash hit the 7th Guest as well as the weird Infection / Ataxx / Cool Spot implementations around then. But... I'm digressing!)