Atari Nerd: This Week In Atari History : First Week Of May

1979 May: Atari announces Baseball and Basketball coin-op arcade games
•    Both use Trak-Ball controller
•    Baseball is in a cabinet similar to Football coin-op
1979 May: Atari ships Subs arcade game
•    Uses two monitors
1979 May: Atari announces Superman patches and t-shirts
•    For operators to give-away to promote their new pinball game
1979 May 4: Atari copyrights Subs coin-op operation, maintenance and service manual
1980 May: Atari releases Asteroids Deluxe coin-up into arcades
•    18,142 units manufactured and sold for $2095 each
1980 MayAtari releases mod-kit for Asteroids coin-op
•    Multi-hour and multi-million point games point out a fatal flaw in Asteroids, the small saucer is not deadly enough. It is both a blessing and a curse. It makes Asteroids so popular that it eclipses nearly every other game.  It is one of the first games to enticed players to forgo all manner of biological needs to play for hours (it would not be the last).  However, it meant that arcade operators were making less and less money for each machine. Rom revisions make the small saucer fire more quickly.
1980 May: Atari announces new “Cabaret” Cabinet Design
•    Smaller, cheaper cabinet design for coin-ops
•    Designed to expand arcade games into smaller locations convienence stores, laundromats, etc.
•    Asteroids would be first coin-op to get new design
•    May 1980 issue of Atari coin Connection described the features of the new design
1.    Space saving design (takes on 4 square feet of space)
2.    Rich, wood-grain side panels
3.    Illuminated attraction panels
4.    Less weight for easy mobility
5.    Standard two mech coin door
6.    Shielded monitor to eliminate glare
1981 May 1: Threshold published By Sierra On-Line for Atari 8-bit
1982 May: Ray Kasser sees the movie E.T.
•    He realizes it will be a huge hit and decides Atari needs the video game rights (Kassar now says that Steve Ross was behind this)
1982 May: Yar’s Revenge released for 2600
1982 May: Pac-Man  released for 8-bit computers
1982 May: Book Your Atari Computer By Lon Poole Published
•    Becomes the de-facto “must have” book for Atari computer owners
1982 May: Book Atari Sound And Graphics By Herb Moore, Judy Lower, Bob Albrecht Published
1982 May 3: Atari copyrights a poster advertising Centipede for Atari Home Computers
1983 May: Atari 800 home computer price slashed to just below $400 (after a $100 rebate)
1983 May: Electronic Fun Magazine Features Atari Computer Game Guide
•    Says Atari computers have over 2000 games, the most for any computer
1983 May: Electronic Arts publishes Murder On The Zinderneuf for Atari 8-bit computers
1983 May: Electronic Arts publishes Archon for Atari 8-bit computers
1983 May: Electronic Arts publishes Worms for Atari 8-bit computers
1983 May 5: Atari  publishes coin-op Star Wars game
•    10,245 units manufactured and sold for $2,295 each
1984 May 7: Activision Publishes Dreadnaught Factor For The Atari 5200 & 8-Bit Computers
1985 May: Atari Corp Attends Spring Comdex
•    Atari is working on CD-ROM sytem.  512 meg storage for $500
•    Over 230 companies working on software for XE and ST
1985 May:  Showbiz Pizza buys Chuck E. Cheese.
1986 May: SSI Releases Mech Brigade for The Atari 800
1986 May:  Mastertronic Releases Kickstart For The Atari 8-Bit In The UK
1986 May:  Mastertronic Releases Vegas Jackpot For The Atari 8-Bit In The UK
1986 May: Activision releases Hacker for Atari ST
1987 May:  Mastertronic Releases Gridrunner For The Atari 8-Bit In The UK
1987 May: Gamestar releases GBA Basketball for Atari ST
1987 May: Release date rumors for CES announced Atari Hardware
•    MEGA ST’s: end of June
•    Atari PCs: June or July
•    Laser Printer: end of May
1987 May: Firebird releases Golden Path for Atari ST computers
1987 May: Atari  attends CEBIT show in Hannover
•    Mega-ST is Atari’s main focus
1987 May: Atari Games Releases Dunk Shot coin-op
1988 May: Atari Corp. Corporate Annual Report for 1987
•    Research & Development outlays, as a percent of sales, declined from 6% in 1986 to 5% in 1987.
•    In West Germany, Atari computers represent 10% of the total market for computers selling over 1000 Deutsch Marks (roughly equivalent to U.S. $600).
•    In Switzerland, the Atari ST’s share is about 30% of the educational market.
•    In the United Kingdom, Atari sales accounted for some 40% of the 16 bit computer market.
•    In the U.S., over 1000 schools use Atari STs
1989 May 1: Mastertronic Atari ST budget UK release: SILKWORM
1989 May 4: Atari Games (Tengen) Publishes NES Version of Tetris
1990 May 1Atari Games US Trademark FUIC date for Hydra
1992 May: Atari announces that 1992 Lynx hardware and games sales should double 1991 numbers
•    80 games should be available by the end of 1992
1992 May: Atari Announces The Development of STE-Only Games
•    -Sam Tramiel pushes for it, Atari UK’s Bob Katz is the project manager
•    -Road Riot Off road and Steel Talons were in development
•    -Featured 48 color-per line graphics 8 channel DMA sound, and heavy use of the “Blitter” Chip
1992 May: Atari Corp ships 40 Falcon030 computers are to German developers
1992 May: Microprose releases Formula 1 Grand Prix for the Atari ST
1994 May 4: Atari and Sigma Announce Plans To release Jaguar PC Card
•    Card would allow PC owners to play CD based Jaguar games
•    Planned released date is Christmas ‘94
1995 May 5: Atari Games publishes arcade game Area 51
•    Used “Cojag” modified Atari Corp. Jaguar hardware
1997 May: Midway Games West trademark FUIC date for Mace The Dark Age coin-op
2001 May:Missile Command Inducted Into Hall Of Fame
2001 May 2 : Midway releases Gauntlet Dark Legacy for the PS2

2003 May 1: Atari releases Breakout for cell phones
2002 May 2: Infogrames Atari Label releases Transworld Surf for PS2
2003 May 5: Name Archon #50 of Top 100 Games Of All Time
2003 May 7: Names Atari Games Gauntlet #31 of Top 100 Games Of  All Time

2003 May 7: Infogrames announces it will renames itself Atari
•    Parent company retains Infogrames names, but USA operations will all be under Atari name, as well as other countries such a “Atari UK”.
•    Nasdaq trading symbol will be “ATAR”
•    “In any language, Atari is synonymous with video games and it’s recognized for transforming entertainment,” said Bruno Bonnell, CEO of Atari

(Dates of “May” without a day specified are approximate. They could have occurred later in the month.  Clarification and correctionx are welcome.

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