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Background
A friend of mine was moving and found some old Atari product catalogs buried in a box somewhere. He passed them on to me because he figured I was nerdy enough to care about them. He was right. These were standard pack-ins with Atari cartridges in the early 80s. This was a golden era when game boxes and advertisements had lavish artwork to compensate for the blocky graphics. Well, it would be a stretch to call this artwork "lavish" but it does a fine job of distracting you from what the games look like. Back then games were a lot of fun, even if you needed a bit of imagination to play them. I'll take any of these games over Grand Theft Auto II: San Vice Andreas City or whatever it's called. 

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1981 Atari Product Catalog
Front Cover: Alright, we have an astronaut, wizard, cowboy, policeman, and soccer player all lined up to play some Atari.


Introduction: Apparently consumers were wary of video game consoles in 1981. So much so that Atari had to include the explanation "It does not interfere with normal television viewing" in the introduction.


Asteroids: I thought Asteroids was one of the better arcade translations on the 2600. They did a good job keeping the game play in line with the arcade version.


Missile Command: No game is such a reminder of the cold war as Missile Command is. Yeah, I know it says you're fighting aliens but everyone who played it thought it was about the Soviet Union.


Space Invaders: If the Earth is ever invaded by aliens let's hope they fly in a predictable, repetitive pattern.


Breakout, Casino, Concentration: Hmm.. why did the change the title of "Hunt & Score" to "A game of Concentration"? I personally prefer the former name.


Bowling, Football, Human Cannonball: When I started this I swore I wouldn't bash any of the games. I grew up on these games and still enjoy them today. However, these three games are all indeed terrible. I thought they were bad then and I think they're even worse now.


Chess, Checkers, Night Driver: Alright, on to some better games. Night Driver was fun, albeit with a soundtrack that makes Aphex Twin sound pleasant. I also admire how well they pulled off the AI in Chess with limited memory resources.


Othello: I have an Othello clone on my cell phone that's called something else. I wondered why it wasn't called "Othello" until I saw on this page that "Othello" is a trademark of CBS. How'd they pull that off?


Air-Sea Battle, Sky Diver, Surround: Quick! Fred from Scooby Doo is trapped in a box with really short walls, I hope he can get out in time!


Blackjack, Brain Games, Circus Atari: Yeah, you read right.. Brain Games contains a game called "Touch Me". Samantha Foxx could not be reached for comment.


Pele's Soccer: Pele is the most famous soccer player of all time and I still have no idea who he is.


Adventure, Indy 500, Hangman: Adventure is easily my favorite Atari 2600 game. Not only was it the first console adventure game, but it also introduced the Easter Egg to millions of gamers.


Video Pinball: For those of you that didn't live in the 80's, the bomber jacket was oddly popular then.


Baseball, Codebreaker, BASIC Programming: I scratched my head for a while trying to figure out how you can program BASIC on an Atari 2600. I wasn't aware there was a keypad for the system until I found this review. I almost want to try it.


Street Racer, Dodge 'Em: Dodge 'Em was a fairly addictive game.


Flag Capture, Fun with Numbers, Video Olympics: When oh when will Foozpong get the respect it deserves in the Olympics?


Slot Racer, Canyon Bomber, Basketball: There is no way you could use that drawing of the basketball player today. We have people deeply offended by a Mr. Potato Head Statue, imagine what they'd think about that drawing..


Warlords: In this picture we have a Viking battling the Huns. I don't know where to begin on the historical inaccuracies.


Maze Craze: I never played Maze Craze but from this page it appears to be a mix of Lock 'N Chase and the snail maze game that's built into the Sega Master System ROM.


Atari Game Club: You have no idea how tempted I am to send in that form.I did a Google search for "George Dakota" but couldn't find him, I hope everything's alright.


Back Cover: This is tagged CO16725 Rev. C. From what I understand there were several different revisions of these catalogs. I can't tell you the difference though.




Related Links
Atari Catalog 1982
Guide to Atari Catalogs
Sears Catalog Scans


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