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Atari

Industry vets Martin Goldberg and Curt Vendel have penned a comprehensive history of the retro gaming juggernaut, Atari, in time for the 40th anniversary of the interactive, table-tennis classic, Pong. The book is called “Atari Inc. — Business is Fun.”

Previous accounts associate Atari with its laid-back culture – the lax dress codes, hot tub meetings, and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. And you’re probably familiar with the company’s seminal contributions to the early histories of video gaming … Pong, Asteroids, Breakout, Tempest, Centipede, etc.

You’re probably also aware of Atari’s principle responsibility for the great video game crash of 1983 via an adorable alien named E.T. 3.5 million unsold units, a $1.3 billion loss in market valuation, and a New Mexico landfill later, and one of the great video game cautionary tales was born.

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But the book goes beyond all the facts and figures to focus on the people who made this early ‘70s zeitgeist such a success. Basically – what was it like to work for a company “whose sole intent was to create FUN for a living”?

According to Vendel, “This book will dispel … and maybe also ‘confirm’ numerous rumors by giving readers that front row, first person experience.”

This 800-page tome – over seven years in the writing – contains 300 pages (yes, 300 pages) of previously unseen photos and is available from Amazon right now.

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