Atari Inc: Business Is Fun

atari-business_is_fun

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!

Atari Inc. – Business is Fun [by: Goldberg & Vendel] is available in Paperback and Kindle.

The Final Day at Westfield Arcade

The highs and lows of video arcades of the 20th century impacted many. The darkened rooms with the flashing images and hot shot arcade champs are one thing that has yet to be duplicated by modern day video game consoles and mobile devices.

The Final Day at Westfield Arcade

For Chicago author Andy Hunt, these two golden ages of coin-operated bliss also served as the backdrop for his new novel The Final Day at Westfield Arcade.

“Like many people, I lived and breathed video games when I was growing up,” Hunt recalled. “I’ve always loved writing as well, so writing a novel with a very video game heavy slant to it only seemed natural. One bit of writing advice that is always given to writers is that you should ‘Write what you know.’ Well, I know classic video games, so writing a novel with a heavy video game angle to it seemed far more exciting to me than writing a novel about Ancient Egypt or bloodsucking vampires or some other weird topic that I have little interest in.”

The fiction novel brings readers to the final day of business for a shopping mall video arcade where main character Mike Mayberry has worked for nearly two decades. As the coin-op behemoths are rolled out of the retail space, Mayberry thinks back to both his personal and video gaming based memories.

The Wonder Years is my favorite television show of all-time, and I basically envisioned the novel as ‘The Wonder Years but set in the 1980s as opposed to the 1960s,'” he said. “In my novel, a once-popular arcade is closing, and on the final day of business at the arcade, the owner reflects back on the decades of memories he’s had at the arcade. There’s a girl who’s a Winnie-Cooper-type character, and, through his flashbacks to the arcade’s earlier years, he tells the story of the ups and downs in their relationship, as well as chronicling the experiences that he and his friends have as they grow up.”

While attempting to combine real-life arcade nostalgia with a fictional ride through a man’s life, Hunt hopes readers will find enjoyment within it’s pages.

“I honestly just hope people are entertained,” Hunt added. “Hopefully, those who were fortunate enough to be around during the height of the arcade scene will be able to re-live the memories of screwing around with friends in the local arcade, and those who weren’t around during the heyday of the arcade scene will be able to experience what the era was like through the book. I think nostalgia is a really powerful emotion to tap into, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who are nostalgic for those times when there was an arcade on every street corner and in every shopping mall, so hopefully the novel will rekindle that nostalgia that people feel for the classic arcade gaming scene.”

The book can be purchased at Amazon.com in paperback form for $9.89 and for the Kindle reader for only $6.99.