Behind the scenes at Atari Coin-Op

I stumbled across a great series of videos this week that I hadn’t seen before. Into The Valley of the Space Invaders was a mini documentary produced by Field Communications back in 1982 – at the very height of the Golden Age of video games. It managed to go behind the scenes at Atari’s coin-op division and shine a light on the burgeoning industry in Silicon Valley.

The sense of Atari’s euphoria and confidence comes through from everyone interviewed, including segments where Game Designer Lyle Raines, Atari Vice president of Marketing Frank Ballouz, Engineer Dave Stubben and creator of Major Havoc Owen Rubin are asked about what they do and why coin operated video technology was seen as the future of entertainment.

Clearly Atari was riding high – little did those interviewed know how hard things would come crashing down in just a couple of short years. Fascinating stuff.

Lots of cabinet shots, a soundtrack by Devo, and an 80s VHS wobble to the film. What more could you want? The video is below in four parts.


Thanks to for originally posting these videos to YouTube – their channel was taken town, so I’ve archived them here.

Thanks for stopping by this week.


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5 Comments Add yours

  1. zyx74 says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Arcade Zeitreisen

    Liked by 2 people

  2. _spr_drnk says:

    Nice find Tony, thanks for sharing.

    Laughed at the part where Dave Stubben anticipates ‘shaded and filled 3D graphics’ in the future. I wonder if you went back in time and showed him what we have today if he’d just pack up and go home.

    Also, due to the fuzzy nature of the audio track, I was convinced that lady initially said that watching Pac Man made her horny. Hungry makes more sense, but still..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Facinating look behind the scenes; especially the factory line footage. A good watch!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sire Belch says:


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike Jang says:

    Great clip! I remember Ed Wilkins on our local tv station. Frank Ballouz was a real funny guy, he had his serious, salesman face on for the film. We were in Chicago for the annual trade show. Atari was building Tank at the time. We were in the hotel elevator, Frank says to one of our customers, “How many tanks do you want, 500?” The other people in the elevator who aren’t in the game business. Their eyes were wide open, thinking they were in the elevator with some major arms dealers!

    Liked by 1 person

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