Bally Sente: Saviour of the Arcades?

The 70s and early 80s arcade industry was cumbersome and wasteful to say the least. Manufacturers like Atari, Williams and Centuri built business models based on the ability to sell new hardware to operators. The release of a new arcade title meant operators and distributors had to buy not only the game itself, but the […]

Atari Gotcha: The Boob Game

Released in October 1973, Atari’s fourth arcade videogame Gotcha was an attempt to further diversify the company and put some innovative distance between itself and its competitors. At the time, the one thing that Atari hadn’t accounted for were the dozens of clones of its first mass-produced arcade game – the seminal Pong. Pong had…

Death Race: Exidy’s Video Arcade Nasty

Video games have always run the gauntlet with mainstream media one way or another. Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat are just two recent examples where commentators have sought to point fingers at the depiction of graphic violence on screens, supposedly corrupting the youth game-playing population of the world. But probably the earliest example of…

Atari Centipede’s Hidden Code Trap

During the peak of Atari’s success, one of the more unlikely tasks given to some of its coin-operated programmers, was to analyse potentially pirated versions of their games. This week, I thought we’d take a look at a legal case brought to the Canadian courts by Atari in 1981. I came across an interesting document…

The Museum of Soviet Arcade Games

I was thinking recently that here in the West we take our video game history largely for granted. Look back at the Golden Age of video games, and it’s apparent that we had it pretty good – a regular supply of new titles that pushed the technological boundaries were pumped out from America’s arcade manufacturers…

Golden Age Arcade Games: Bootlegs, Lawsuits & Litigation

It is true to say that software piracy and video games go hand in hand, but not just in the home computer and console market. Since the early 70s, literally the infancy of video arcade gaming, manufacturers have struggled with the endless number of counterfeit and “clone” video game cabinets and PCBs out there. Arguably,…

Atari Asteroids: Creating a Vector Arcade Classic

As Atari’s best-selling arcade game of all time, Asteroids was literally a game changer. Released in December 1979, it was responsible for catapulting Atari into mainstream public consciousness. This was the game that single-handedly broke the stranglehold that Space Invaders had on the video game world. Although created by Atari developer Ed Logg (whose credits…