GTV 55 “The History of Atari In Japan” The Pong era, 2600 VCS aka 2800 era and Lynx / Jaguar era are all covered! Subscribe! http://bit.ly/GTVsub Don’t forget! Sharing is caring! (More Below!)
Here’s some other videos from the Pac-Man / Atari / Pre NES era I know you’ll like!
1 Super Pac-Man Memories https://youtu.be/StJEkjMU024
11 Game On: Video Game Museum https://youtu.be/Wo2TEzRtmnQ
33 Atari 2600 Pac-Man Day https://youtu.be/VzhI4IGRP8I
40 Guts Pose https://youtu.be/JSTB4x5LccE
55 Atari In Japan https://youtu.be/bOBdvErV2mg
57 The More You Know: Cassette Vision https://youtu.be/MaNbvyCluDw
64 Pac-Land Fever https://youtu.be/QDO9ynkxa7k
Japan, “Land of the Rising Sun!” And for many game fans, the center of the gaming universe. While many Japanese companies have come to the West and found success, the opposite doesn’t seem to usually happen.
If you grew up in America in the 70s and 80s, the name Atari stands tall and proud as an innovative company, and was likely, your first taste of gaming. If you grew up in the 90s or later, Atari may have the image of an also ran, a company stuck in the past, or in some cases, buried there. Today the name of Atari has fallen from grace to say the least, relying on hits of the past, never able to reclaim its former glory, though they sure keep trying! But there was once a time when Atari was king of the hill. And with that, the game market was oriented toward – and controlled from – America. It might be hard to imagine now, with Nintendo and Sony as the modern day kings, but there was a time when Japan wasn’t even a blip on the radar. All of the action was made in the USA.
Atari Inc., under Bushnell, completed the sale of Atari Japan Corporation, including the unit’s Tokyo manufacturing plant, to Nakamura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. (“Namco”) of Japan for US$500,000. The next highest bid was SEGA for only $50,000.
In 1976 Nolan Busnhnell would sell Atari to Warner Communications for $28 million dollars. That influx of cash and backing from a major corporation allowed Atari develop and release the Atari video Computer System VCS, later known as the 2600 in 1977. The 2600 was considered the flagship product of the company. Atari was far and away the market leader. Atari controlled 80% of the home market and was valued at $2 billion. in 1982 the Atari 2600 was available in over 40 countries. Some game boxes were even printed in multiple languages due to the 2600’s worldwide popularity .
Japan was quickly starting to shape up as a massive market for games, and Atari was potentially in the position to step in and snap up the market quickly before domestic developers really had a chance. The 2600, though several years old at this point, was now cheap to manufacture and had a huge library of games, for the time. That was Atari’s plan to upset the competition. Atari Inc., under Warner established Atari International Nippon and the Atari 2600 would be rechristened as the 2800.
Atari attempted something in the middle of both ends of that spectrum with the Atari 2800.No internal changes were made and games would look and play the same, but the case design would be completely revamped, into a wedge shape with the game selection switches turning into buttons on the console’s face. The power switch was moved to the bottom right side and instead of 2 controller ports, there would be 4! The controllers themselves would combine the joystick and paddle controllers into one, with a button on the console to choose which one you want to use. The packaging would also be designed specifically for Japan. The look would be similar to the silver boxes Atari started using in 1982. The cartridge labels would be the same as those sold in America, making it difficult to discern a version intended for Japan from anything else without the box.
On May 10th 1983, The Atari 2800 debuted in Japan for 24,800 yen. And launched with 25 games which Atari thought would carry the American Image as well. Among them were Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T., 2 extremely successful Hollywood films. E.T. was promoted as the standout game. With it being the biggest movie of 1982 and a very expansive game for the time, it was placed front at center. They also released games that Japanese players were already familiar with such as Space Invaders, Galaxian and Pac-Man.
This video used several resources others worked hard to find. Those can be found at Atari Age, Atari Museum run by Curt Vendel, Chris Covell and Random Terrain/Replayability.
Japanese information came from Famitsu, Famimaga and Sukora magazine. Game footage taken from various trailers, promos and play through where the owner has declared its usage isn’t an issue, such as World of Longplays. 2600 Golf taken from a review by Aqualung
If somehow a mistake was made, please alert me and I will amend this and give credit to anyone who asks for it.