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Image for Atari design  : impressions on coin-operated video game machines

Atari design : impressions on coin-operated video game machines

By: Guins, Prof Raiford (Indiana University, USA) Fallan, Kjetil (Associate Professor of Design History)(Series edited by)

Part of the Cultural Histories of Design series
1474284558 / 9781474284554
Published 12/11/2020
256 pages : illustrations (black and white, and colour).
Tertiary Education (US: College)  Learn More

Drawing from deep archival research and extensive interviews, Atari Design is a rich, historical study of how Atari's industrial and graphic designers contributed to the development of the video game machine. Innovative game design played a key role in the growth of Atari - from Pong to Asteroids and beyond - but fun, challenging and exciting game play was not unique to the famous Silicon Valley company.

What set it apart from its competitors was innovation in the coin-op machine's cabinet.

Atari did not just make games, it designed products for environments. With "tasteful packaging", Atari exceeded traditional locations like bars, amusement parks and arcades, developing the look and feel of their game cabinets for new locations such as fast food restaurants, department stores, country clubs, university unions, and airports, making game-play a ubiquitous social and cultural experience.

By actively shaping the interaction between user and machine, overcoming styling limitations and generating a distinct corporate identity, Atari designed products that impacted the everyday visual and material culture of the late 20th century.

Design was never an afterthought at Atari.


AC History of art / art & design styles, AK Industrial / commercial art & design, KNT Media, information & communication industries, UG Graphical & digital media applications

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