‘Atari Inc. – Business Is Fun‘ documents Atari’s history from its humble beginnings in the early 70s, to its meteoric rise and then, its downward spiral in the 80s. Atari had a big hand in bringing video gaming to the masses, and then almost bringing the same industry to its knees. These events are all retold in exquisite detail.
From its very beginnings, Atari lacked (business) discipline and clear market direction. It is evident from this book, that Atari just wanted to be part of the video games action, no matter what. Co-founder Nolan Bushnell aggressively advanced the company and Atari’s market and popularity grew rapidly. It seemed that Atari could not put a foot wrong – everything they created, from coin operated machines to the Video Computer System (2600) console, turned to gold.
There was a culture of ‘anything goes’ inside Atari, from their weekly staff parties to casual drug taking – it was all about having fun while creating video gaming hardware and software!
Stripping back the myths and misconceptions, this book sets the record straight in what went on behind the scenes at Atari. It wasn’t all glamour and high-fives. The authors spoke to the ‘real’ people at Atari who gave first person accounts of their experiences in the once titan of the video games industry.
The content grips you like a vice and does not let go until you have read every page. There are a few dry chapters where the authors cover the technical details of Atari’s home computer range, but these could be deemed optional for the non-technical reader.
You will be in awe of the people behind Atari and their many creations – which have withstood the test of time (even outlasting the company!). You will also be shocked to read about the back-stabbings, the parties, the drugs, and the backroom wheeling and dealing. I would not be surprised if Hollywood comes knocking on Martin Goldberg and Curt Vendel’s door.
Verdict: With never before seen photos and content exclusively obtained from the people at Atari, this book is a must read for any video games fan, not just Atarians. Buy it now!