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Atari is one of the most recognized names in the world. Since its formation in 1972, the company pioneered hundreds of iconic titles including Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. In addition to hundreds of games created for arcades, home video systems, and computers, original artwork was specially commissioned to enhance the Atari experience, further enticing childr Atari is one of the most recognized names in the world. Since its formation in 1972, the company pioneered hundreds of iconic titles including Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. In addition to hundreds of games created for arcades, home video systems, and computers, original artwork was specially commissioned to enhance the Atari experience, further enticing children and adults to embrace and enjoy the new era of electronic entertainment. The Art of Atari is the first official collection of such artwork. Sourced from private collections worldwide, this book spans over 40 years of the company's unique illustrations used in packaging, advertisements, catalogs, and more. Co-written by Robert V. Conte and Tim Lapetino, The Art of Atari includes behind-the-scenes details on how dozens of games featured within were conceived of, illustrated, approved (or rejected), and brought to life! Includes a special Foreword by New York Times bestseller Ernest Cline author of Armada and Ready Player One, soon to be a motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg. Whether you're a fan, collector, enthusiast, or new to the world of Atari, this book offers the most complete collection of Atari artwork ever produced! "For me, revisiting the beautiful artwork presented in this book is almost as good as taking a trip in Doc Brown's time machine back to that halcyon era at the dawn of the digital age. But be warned, viewing these images may leave you with an overwhelming desire to revisit the ancient pixelated battlefields they each depict as well." -- from the Foreword by Ernest Cline, author of READY PLAYER ONE


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Atari is one of the most recognized names in the world. Since its formation in 1972, the company pioneered hundreds of iconic titles including Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. In addition to hundreds of games created for arcades, home video systems, and computers, original artwork was specially commissioned to enhance the Atari experience, further enticing childr Atari is one of the most recognized names in the world. Since its formation in 1972, the company pioneered hundreds of iconic titles including Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. In addition to hundreds of games created for arcades, home video systems, and computers, original artwork was specially commissioned to enhance the Atari experience, further enticing children and adults to embrace and enjoy the new era of electronic entertainment. The Art of Atari is the first official collection of such artwork. Sourced from private collections worldwide, this book spans over 40 years of the company's unique illustrations used in packaging, advertisements, catalogs, and more. Co-written by Robert V. Conte and Tim Lapetino, The Art of Atari includes behind-the-scenes details on how dozens of games featured within were conceived of, illustrated, approved (or rejected), and brought to life! Includes a special Foreword by New York Times bestseller Ernest Cline author of Armada and Ready Player One, soon to be a motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg. Whether you're a fan, collector, enthusiast, or new to the world of Atari, this book offers the most complete collection of Atari artwork ever produced! "For me, revisiting the beautiful artwork presented in this book is almost as good as taking a trip in Doc Brown's time machine back to that halcyon era at the dawn of the digital age. But be warned, viewing these images may leave you with an overwhelming desire to revisit the ancient pixelated battlefields they each depict as well." -- from the Foreword by Ernest Cline, author of READY PLAYER ONE

30 review for Art of Atari Limited Deluxe Edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    What a great idea for a coffee table book. Atari always had fantastic art for its game boxes and cabinets and it's all here in its full glory. I especially liked seeing the art for games that were never released like the Dukes of Hazard game. I would have loved to see 3rd party box art in addition to games produced by Atari but maybe we'll see that in a future book. Hopefully well also get Art of Nintendo and Art of Sega books one day. Received an advance copy from NetGalley and Dynamite. What a great idea for a coffee table book. Atari always had fantastic art for its game boxes and cabinets and it's all here in its full glory. I especially liked seeing the art for games that were never released like the Dukes of Hazard game. I would have loved to see 3rd party box art in addition to games produced by Atari but maybe we'll see that in a future book. Hopefully well also get Art of Nintendo and Art of Sega books one day. Received an advance copy from NetGalley and Dynamite.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I think I'm older than a lot of my followers by about ten years, so I actually am old enough that Atari games were still in circulation when I was a kid. I also played some old skool arcade games when they were still being placed organically and not as a gimmick in a barcade (note: barcades are awesome-- there are at least two super fun ones in San Francisco and they are AMAZING). Naturally, when I saw that a book of Atari art was free t Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I think I'm older than a lot of my followers by about ten years, so I actually am old enough that Atari games were still in circulation when I was a kid. I also played some old skool arcade games when they were still being placed organically and not as a gimmick in a barcade (note: barcades are awesome-- there are at least two super fun ones in San Francisco and they are AMAZING). Naturally, when I saw that a book of Atari art was free to read on Kindle Unlimited, I flexed that subscription hard and dove right in. First, a note. Some art books translate pretty well to ebook but this one does not. I couldn't easily get the pages to enlarge and the contrast of the white pages and the gray text wasn't great. Especially since the text was SO SMALL. So this is not a book I would recommend getting in ebook, but I would recommend getting it in hard copy if you can find it, because it is A-MAY-ZING. This book features really high resolution pictures of advertisements, game box art, and even a bonus section in the back with pictures of prototypes. There's artist profiles that feature samples and quotes from a lot of famous Atari artists, and behind-the-scenes tidbits like office memos and alternate game box designs that really make you feel like you're getting some serious insider info. Even though I couldn't read a lot of the text, the art alone makes it worth it, IMO. It's peak 70s cheese, but what gorgeous cheese it is! As others have mentioned, this book is not exhaustive. It doesn't go super into detail about the game crash (although it does mention it, replete of photos where they excavated E.T. games from the dump where they'd been, well, dumped) and for some reason, it doesn't mention the X-rated Atari games that were basically an open secret at certain game stores. One of my favorite YouTubers, the Angry Video Game Nerd, does a video where he tries some of these out. It's hilarious. If you like video game art and coffee table books, you'll love this. Just maybe don't get it on ebook. 3.5 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    chvang

    Seems thorough. Love the retro art, especially the cabinet and box art. Everything is vividly displayed in bright colors. The book also focuses on some of the artists and the impact they had on the company's art styles. Seems thorough. Love the retro art, especially the cabinet and box art. Everything is vividly displayed in bright colors. The book also focuses on some of the artists and the impact they had on the company's art styles.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Arjen

    This is an alright book if you want to look at the art and read some of the early Atari stories, but it falls short on a few points. - 90% of this book covers the Atari 2600 and at a few rare exceptions the 5200 and 7800. - It keeps mentioning the "video game crash", but nowhere in this book is described what it is, how it came to be and what this meant for Atari. - The color images in the book seem to attract my fingerprint. The book is huge (in both size and weight), so you keep smudging the art This is an alright book if you want to look at the art and read some of the early Atari stories, but it falls short on a few points. - 90% of this book covers the Atari 2600 and at a few rare exceptions the 5200 and 7800. - It keeps mentioning the "video game crash", but nowhere in this book is described what it is, how it came to be and what this meant for Atari. - The color images in the book seem to attract my fingerprint. The book is huge (in both size and weight), so you keep smudging the art by accident.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    A fantastic look at work from a bygone era - when cover illustrations were commonplace (see also paperback novels, music LPs, and the occasional movie poster from the same time period) to both stimulate the imagination and move product.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    Well-researched and beautifully formatted look into the art and history of Atari. “We are visual salesmen … we collectively try to interpret both the quality and play value of every Atari game. Above all, graphics must attract players and help them feel that every Atari game is an adventure.” - Creative director/artist George Opperman I’ve never played any Atari games on an actual Atari game system. Nintendo was the game system of choice by the time I played video games. I've played Atari games on Well-researched and beautifully formatted look into the art and history of Atari. “We are visual salesmen … we collectively try to interpret both the quality and play value of every Atari game. Above all, graphics must attract players and help them feel that every Atari game is an adventure.” - Creative director/artist George Opperman I’ve never played any Atari games on an actual Atari game system. Nintendo was the game system of choice by the time I played video games. I've played Atari games on emulators and Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One gave me some kind of weird nostalgia for something I never experienced! Even though Atari wasn’t a large part of my life, I could identify with the love of the supporting artwork for video games. I used to spend hours poring over game manuals! My background as a graphic designer also made me especially interested in this book’s topic. “We created a lot of great artwork. We had to make it up as we went along, because there was no one to copy!” - Artist James Kelly Because the graphics for early video games were so simplistic, the supporting artwork was an important factor in creating an immersive experience. The graphic designers didn’t get credit at the time, so the author sets out to identify them because they made such an impact on many gamer’s memories. The artist profiles are interesting because each artist has such a different approach to their designs. I was surprised to learn that most of the artists hadn’t actually played the games they had designed for. It was interesting to learn the processes that early graphic artists went through. The pages are filled with large, full-color images of box artwork, as well as a short statement about the artist’s thought process in creating the box covers. It was fascinating to see the unreleased artwork and learn the reasons they had to be edited or trashed. “Designing a product isn’t just designing a product, but creating an aura—designing the feelings and emotions that support the product. It’s trying to convey the image, to give it a theatrical quality.” - Industrial Designer Roger Hector A bulk of the book is dedicated to box artwork, but there are also sections dedicated to the designs of the systems themselves, from arcade cabinets to home systems. To appeal to different audiences, the design style for the home system games had to be completely different from the styles for coin-operated games. Prototypes that never made it out of testing are revealed, like Mindlink. It was a video game controller you controlled with your “thoughts” (forehead)! This book details the ups-and-downs in the company's 45-year history and there are interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes. One of my favorite stories was about the design of the Atari logo. The logo designer George Opperman gives a nice explanation of his design choices and intent, but the creative director at the time says the explanation was made up after the fact. There’s no way one of knowing the true story, but it made me laugh because I frequently make up defenses for my designs once the design is finished! I always figured it was a subconscious thing, so I never felt guilty about it! “Design is the best return on investment that you can have. It’s virtually the same cost to build something pretty as something shitty. So why not make the world a better-looking place?” - Nolan Bushnell (Founder of Atari Corporation) Even though Atari was not a big part of my life, this book still felt like an enjoyable walk down memory lane. It would make an excellent gift for a gamer or digital artist. I’m so glad I previewed this book because it will make an excellent holiday gift for someone I had no idea what to get! If you want to see how beautiful this book is before purchasing it, check out the Look Inside feature on Amazon. I received this book for free from NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Shaw

    Not just the history of the revolutionary gaming platform But a chronicle of the amazing artwork that was an integral part of the early Atari games a stunning and beautiful snapshot of a different time

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Grosser

    I loved this book! Now I'm ready for a vintage video game night with my Atari 2600! I loved this book! Now I'm ready for a vintage video game night with my Atari 2600!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Horvath

    A gorgeous and well presented book. Highly recommended for anyone who has found memories of Atari.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    'The Art of Atari' by Tim Lapetino with Robert V. Conte is a great tribute to the the branding and packaging of Atari. Atari is one of the most recognized names in the world, but when they were putting out their consoles, no one knew who the artists were behind the great box art for the games. This book introduces us to most of these people. They had a tough job because early games were just a series of pixels. They had the job of infusing the buyer with the images to fire their imaginations. From 'The Art of Atari' by Tim Lapetino with Robert V. Conte is a great tribute to the the branding and packaging of Atari. Atari is one of the most recognized names in the world, but when they were putting out their consoles, no one knew who the artists were behind the great box art for the games. This book introduces us to most of these people. They had a tough job because early games were just a series of pixels. They had the job of infusing the buyer with the images to fire their imaginations. From sports stars to fighter pilots, some of the art is iconic. Along with the art, the home and arcade console designs are discussed. There are discussions of almost all of the games and longer articles about Atari concepts that never made it to market. There is art and advertising from over 40 years of the company's history. I really had a great time reading this book and learning more about the artists behind this iconic brand. It took me back to the early days of coin-op arcades and those early home consoles. I received a review copy of this ebook from Dynamite Entertainment, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    Wonderful book. Superbly researched, with a huge amount of behind-the-scenes primary interviews and otherwise unseen drawings and material. A joyous and respectful trip through and evocation of a singular company that treated graphic design and box art uniquely, with a huge impact on a generation.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anne Wi

    The artwork in this was pretty good. It also gave valuable information about the video games we all know and love.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea D

    Full of nostalgic eye candy for anyone who grew up with Atari. The emphasis is definitely on the art and designs with artist profiles and an impressive amount of beautiful pictures. There is also quite a bit of history and insider information included. A fantastic walk down memory lane.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Yoakum

    I think Hiro Kimura was my favorite. Quite the blast from the past and a good study in art, design, and marketing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kajah

    I never really played Atari besides some modern collections, but was always impressed by the detailed art on their games. This book is perfect in that it has high quality prints of the art and interviews with the artists that are in some cases more interesting than the games themselves. Very cool book not just for video gamers and pop culture aficionados, but for people who enjoy illustrations of wild fantasy and sci fi. I read a Library copy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    To my delight, I found this book crammed with scans and insights (including artist profiles) some uncommon or altogether unseen works. I learned some new things, which is a high bar to clear for Atari fanboys. A must-add to the physical bookshelf.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Hunter

    The Art Of Atari is a nice coffee table book covering the marketing of the video game pioneers. Lapetino goes into detail about the artist that molded Atari's image along with numerous pieces of promotional art. Overall, a very informative book. The Art Of Atari is a nice coffee table book covering the marketing of the video game pioneers. Lapetino goes into detail about the artist that molded Atari's image along with numerous pieces of promotional art. Overall, a very informative book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good book. Rated 4.5 of 5 I love coffee-table-style art books. I own more art books than my local library - okay...I live in a very rural area so that's not such a big deal. Still, I own a lot. And when I get the opportunity to review an art book, I am so thrilled an eager. Art of Atari is a little different from many of my art books because the subject is a brand and not an artist or a style - well, sort of. Atari definitely had its own style. I w This review originally published in Looking For a Good book. Rated 4.5 of 5 I love coffee-table-style art books. I own more art books than my local library - okay...I live in a very rural area so that's not such a big deal. Still, I own a lot. And when I get the opportunity to review an art book, I am so thrilled an eager. Art of Atari is a little different from many of my art books because the subject is a brand and not an artist or a style - well, sort of. Atari definitely had its own style. I was never a big electronic gamer (I did own an early version of Pong, but who didn't?) but I was well aware of the Atari games, in large part because of the attractive and active art on the boxes. This book takes us through all that art, recreating the images in beautiful detail, and introduces us to the artists who created this packaging, as well as the art directors responsible for the look. When the artists look back and comment on how they approached the concept, how they got the look they were trying for, or just reflecting on a particular image we get a real nice glimpse at creativity in process. Too often we don't consider the commercial artist as an artist. I think that Atari recognized the artist in the individuals and it shows. Atari also seemed to be ahead of its time with their inclusion of women in the creative department. Judging by the comments from at least two of the women who were artists on some of the covers, it was a very progressive. But this is so much more than just a great art book about the art for Atari products. This is also a history book about the early stages of the video game industry and in some ways a social commentary on the era. We get a look, not just at the art itself, but the process. In some cases we see the sketches and early drafts. My favorite moment in the book was when a piece that was intended for the interior art was selected as the cover art because the intended cover piece was turned down when "the gal in charge of marketing came in to (Steve Hendricks') office after Mike approved it, and said she'd pull it because 'you can't have eyes in that place.'" Though I hadn't noticed (and neither had anyone at Atari until a woman pointed it out) a large pair of eyes was painted right where a woman's breasts were in this particular collage. And it's not just the cover art that we get in this book. Author Tim Lapetino also digs into the art of the design of the gaming console, showing just how forward-thinking Atari was. This is a remarkable book. It is something that you can sit and read, or just sit and enjoy the pictures. A hard copy will look nice on my coffee table. Looking for a good book? The Art of Atari by Tim Lapetino is more than an art book. It is an art book and a history book and something you should very much enjoy. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Deane Barker

    This is a fun book that celebrates the packaging and advertising art of the early Atari video games of the 80s. And this is important, because -- let's face it -- _those games sucked_. The graphics were horrible and abstract, and what you were seeing on the screen had very little relation to...the dream. The art of these boxes were instructive. They showed you what you were _supposed_ to be thinking while you were playing, which was important. The mental imagery mattered, because the actual gamep This is a fun book that celebrates the packaging and advertising art of the early Atari video games of the 80s. And this is important, because -- let's face it -- _those games sucked_. The graphics were horrible and abstract, and what you were seeing on the screen had very little relation to...the dream. The art of these boxes were instructive. They showed you what you were _supposed_ to be thinking while you were playing, which was important. The mental imagery mattered, because the actual gameplay was objectively pretty awful. Also, it's interesting to see how some of the abstract games were depicted. Like, how do you make an exciting image about _Virtual Chess_? Or _Rubik's Cube_? Or some bizarre game like _Tempest_, that has no real-world analogue? Some of the other art makes choices that significantly affect the game premise. The art from _Centipede_, for example, shows that you're a little elf with a magic wand. I had no idea. Then, in the art from the sequel, _Millipede_, you're now an archer with a bow and arrow. That's a non-trivial transition, and it seemingly only existed in the art, not the actual game. Like, the artist made this decision alone. The book covers at least 50 games, and reproduces the actual art, as well as concepts that didn't make the final cut. Each page spread has a small blurb about the game, and many include quotes from the artist about the choices they made when illustrating it. (Note: I'm actually a little confused about which version of this book I read. I got the "Capsule Edition," which is smaller than what I remember as being a full-fledged coffee table book in the bookstore. Also, the cover of my version was blue-ish, not the red-orange in the picture.)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judah

    Beautifully designed, the Art of Atari was a feast for the eyes. Make no mistake, this is mostly an art book. While there are some historical overviews and interviews with artists, designers and other personalities, it's not a terribly deep look at Atari outside of the topics relevant to the book. The book also limits itself to the period of time between the company's founding to the 7800. Things like the Atari Jaguar are given a nod, but mostly are looked over in favor of things in between the 2 Beautifully designed, the Art of Atari was a feast for the eyes. Make no mistake, this is mostly an art book. While there are some historical overviews and interviews with artists, designers and other personalities, it's not a terribly deep look at Atari outside of the topics relevant to the book. The book also limits itself to the period of time between the company's founding to the 7800. Things like the Atari Jaguar are given a nod, but mostly are looked over in favor of things in between the 2600 and the 7800. Quotes also seem a bit thin in areas. Reading cover to cover, a few quotes keep on rearing up (some even thrice), in different contexts. I also noted a few artists didn't really have much to say on certain things, and their quotes feel like a labored attempt to include something. But on the positive front, there is stuff here you'll never seen anywhere else. Prototypes for unreleased consoles/paraphernalia, rejected cover art or even patient designs. I wish some space had been given to art completed for unreleased games (there were at least 3 Disney games that made it to package design, and gosh knows how many original works than aren't mentioned here). Overall a fun, but limiting in some respects, look at a fallen industry titan.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This big, beautiful book activated so many amazing child hood memories of having Atari in the house. It explains the whole box art-imagination-game connection that our modern gaming experience just doesn't have. It's kind of the same feeling of absorbing the record album cover while listening to the record. You'll meet the people behind the development of Atari and so importantly, the artists who rendered those elaborate, colorful game boxes that sparked your imagination before you even got the g This big, beautiful book activated so many amazing child hood memories of having Atari in the house. It explains the whole box art-imagination-game connection that our modern gaming experience just doesn't have. It's kind of the same feeling of absorbing the record album cover while listening to the record. You'll meet the people behind the development of Atari and so importantly, the artists who rendered those elaborate, colorful game boxes that sparked your imagination before you even got the game home. I checked this out of the library but now I have to buy my own copy!

  22. 5 out of 5

    CC

    For nearly 45 years, Atari has been creating consoles and games to capture the public imagination, using original artwork and conceptual designs from talented individuals. As a kid I remember being captivated by these now classic examples of advertising and art emblazoned across the front of every cartridge, in the pages of my comic books and in glossy magazines. This big, beautiful book is the work of a fellow electronic golden age fan, who tracked down these somewhat unsung heroes, attributing For nearly 45 years, Atari has been creating consoles and games to capture the public imagination, using original artwork and conceptual designs from talented individuals. As a kid I remember being captivated by these now classic examples of advertising and art emblazoned across the front of every cartridge, in the pages of my comic books and in glossy magazines. This big, beautiful book is the work of a fellow electronic golden age fan, who tracked down these somewhat unsung heroes, attributing artists to the images that they created such as Hiro Kimura (Pac Man) and even Ralph McQuarrie, best known perhaps for his work on Star Wars, Close Encounters and E.T. but shown here for his amazing work on Atari's Vanguard game. This is a great find for anyone with even a passing interest in video games, to see the massive amount of trailblazing done by the men and women of Atari in the analog age, far before Adobe Photoshop, Quark or even modern and bitmap typography. There are sketches, colour studies, and plenty of rough drafts alongside full colour splash pages plus informative artist spotlight interviews. A true collector's piece.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Geisel

    This beautifully made book is also packed with information. You'll find this fascinating especially if you lived in the era--even if the VCS was "not your platform" (it wasn't mine). This beautifully made book is also packed with information. You'll find this fascinating especially if you lived in the era--even if the VCS was "not your platform" (it wasn't mine).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    "Have you played Atari today?" An exhaustive examination of the early artists and illustrators for Atari during their rise to fame from the late 70's to the early 80's. The book is hardbound with notable and vibrant images throughout, company history, and highlighted artist biographies. heightening the nostalgia-fueled trip down memory lane, and making the book quite a centerpiece to itself. As the author points out, one of the most enticing and memorable aspects of those original Atari 2600 cartr "Have you played Atari today?" An exhaustive examination of the early artists and illustrators for Atari during their rise to fame from the late 70's to the early 80's. The book is hardbound with notable and vibrant images throughout, company history, and highlighted artist biographies. heightening the nostalgia-fueled trip down memory lane, and making the book quite a centerpiece to itself. As the author points out, one of the most enticing and memorable aspects of those original Atari 2600 cartridges was the box art. With the games being so minimal in nature the box art would hold a powerful place in setting the tone for the player. Now, thanks to Lapetino's effort in collecting this horde of information we can place names alongside most of the games and their corresponding art, giving fans a person to associate with their fond childhood memories. My personal favorite of the artists, Cliff Spohn, was involved with creating Atari's signature look, which amounted to a sort of phasing, pencil-lined, bleeding watercolor image that found its way onto a variety of the earlier releases. If I were to nitpick it would be only that, for an art book, the layout of the text in some sections seems a bit overwrought. That, combined with the occasionally odd mixture of cartridge art and artist bios, with cartridges being ordered by release date, and artists showing up seemingly at random throughout the process, can make for what seems like a somewhat unorganized design and reading experience. With that said, the book contains an excellent glossary so that looking up each artist's work won't be a problem, just as long as you don't mind flipping back and forth. A good book, and something I'm glad to have come across. The photographs and art really take center stage in what is a wonderful production. Atari artists created a look that has hung in the recesses of my mind for a long, long time, having played many of the games as a very young child. Seeing all this art together in one book, and being able to read about the company's developing years, why certain decisions were made, and the stories behind them, allows me to retrace the steps in what almost seems another life. Recommended for fans of Atari, video game illustrations, and pop culture.

  25. 4 out of 5

    John

    Atari has a tumultuous history from its arcade roots through its creation of the first hit gaming console to the gaming crash of 1983 and the splitting of the company. While it still exists as a brand today, it's never had the prominence it had during the era of the Atari Video Computer System aka Atari 2600. This book covers the art of that era, finally giving credit to the designers and artists that crafted the look and feel of Atari, while also giving a bit of a general history of the company Atari has a tumultuous history from its arcade roots through its creation of the first hit gaming console to the gaming crash of 1983 and the splitting of the company. While it still exists as a brand today, it's never had the prominence it had during the era of the Atari Video Computer System aka Atari 2600. This book covers the art of that era, finally giving credit to the designers and artists that crafted the look and feel of Atari, while also giving a bit of a general history of the company along the way. Creator credit was something that Atari didn't give at the time. At least partly as a conscious effort to prevent headhunting of their creative talent. The programming talent has long since become public knowledge for those interested in knowing who created the actual games, but the artist credits for the covers, manuals, and industrial designs of the consoles themselves have remained largely a mystery until now. It's nice that some of that credit is finally being given, no matter how long overdue. While not every piece of art has been fully attributed (the most notable example being the Space Invaders cover), the author has done an excellent job of tracking down and interviewing those artists he could identify that are still alive, and getting what second hand information he could about those who have passed away. The author has really done his homework in other ways too. The biggest sign of this is that he refuses to buy into the pernicious myths surrounding the ill-fated ET game. Atari didn't bury millions of ET cartridges to hide its failure. They routinely disposed of unsold merchandise at the end of the fiscal year for tax purposes, including unsold ET cartridges. This is an entertaining look at the history of the first hit gaming console from a unique perspective.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Quinton Baran

    This book is an overview of Atari's history, focusing primarily on the VCS - Atari 2600 system, with ample discussion of other points. The basis is this discussion is the artistic work of Atari, which is quite amazing to review. I know when I first saw the book that I felt some resonance, but reading the book brought so much more to my attention. There is excellent coverage of George Opperman, his art style, and how it transformed the experience of playing Atari games. "His Designs had power to This book is an overview of Atari's history, focusing primarily on the VCS - Atari 2600 system, with ample discussion of other points. The basis is this discussion is the artistic work of Atari, which is quite amazing to review. I know when I first saw the book that I felt some resonance, but reading the book brought so much more to my attention. There is excellent coverage of George Opperman, his art style, and how it transformed the experience of playing Atari games. "His Designs had power to them. You couldn't ignore them, and yet they weren't intrusive. It wasn't art for art's sake" - Nolan Bushnell. The Atari log - a very interesting explanation of the evolution and choice of the iconic logo. "Symbols are just visual nicknames that combine first letters and interpretive design elements" George Opperman Interesting interaction between enticing the buyers of arcade cabinets, and then also selling to the other audience, the players. The Video Computer System (VCS), later called the 2600, launched the video game console industry which continues to this day. It is hard to believe that it existed through various iterations until 1992. I remember playing the 5200, which was an excellent system for the time, except for the poorly designed joysticks (which has a sidebar discussing this). If only the 5200 could have had the quality joystick that the 2600 had... The author is pretty kind about the game reviews, especially titles that have been generally panned (E.T., Pacman). I really enjoyed reading through this book and enjoying the artwork. It was also clear to me how important the enjoyment of the games was based upon the artwork - otherwise they were just crude images on a TV, out shown by arcade games - imagination provides the suspension of disbelief.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Webb

    Nice coffee table book with great full color spreads of the game art, promotional materials, and the like. The book is a decent basic history of Atari and has interviews with many of the artists and designers from the company. The text is almost purely focused on the art itself and the promotional materials. My main real complaint is that though the book alludes to Activision and the other 3rd party developers, it did not incorporate them into the book in any way. I understand that the author was Nice coffee table book with great full color spreads of the game art, promotional materials, and the like. The book is a decent basic history of Atari and has interviews with many of the artists and designers from the company. The text is almost purely focused on the art itself and the promotional materials. My main real complaint is that though the book alludes to Activision and the other 3rd party developers, it did not incorporate them into the book in any way. I understand that the author was focused in on the design ethos and workplace culture of Atari, but given that classics like Activision's Pitfall and River Raid as well as Imagic's Atlantis and Demon Attack are iconic members of the 2600 family, it seems like an odd choice to exclude them. By excising all but the first party art, design, and history the book ends up excluding a lot of potentially interesting material, as even from an artistic standpoint some of the 3rd party games ended up contributing their own unique but iconic stamp on the history of the 2600.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This book isn't for everyone - it's very narrow in scope and will probably bore anyone without a nostalgic interest in the Atari games of the 1970s/80s. But for the audience it's aimed at, it's absolutely fascinating. The artists at Atari were tasked with creating a visual vocabulary for a new genre of products. In an age where technological limitations meant that your gunfighters or football players looked like stick figures at best, the game box art had to help you visualize the game you were This book isn't for everyone - it's very narrow in scope and will probably bore anyone without a nostalgic interest in the Atari games of the 1970s/80s. But for the audience it's aimed at, it's absolutely fascinating. The artists at Atari were tasked with creating a visual vocabulary for a new genre of products. In an age where technological limitations meant that your gunfighters or football players looked like stick figures at best, the game box art had to help you visualize the game you were playing in an aspirational way. The console game box art (or arcade machine cabinet art) put a picture in your mind of how the game would look if graphics could be photorealistic (as they are today) and actually helped users superimpose a higher-resolution idea of what the game looked like in their minds as they played it. Very worthwhile for Gen-X Atari fans like me as well as artists looking for a peek into the process of creating imaginative visuals.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Garvey

    A beautifully illustrated, loving tribute to, and examination of the artwork, packaging, advertising and product design from the glory years of one of the most important companies in gaming history, this is a joy to read. As well as interviewing key artists and debunking of the 'ET was the worst game ever' myth, Lapetino's hefty hardback occasionally opens a window into a wildly sexist age (an arcade machine with a pair of boobs as controllers and t-shirts given to female staff working the 1982 A beautifully illustrated, loving tribute to, and examination of the artwork, packaging, advertising and product design from the glory years of one of the most important companies in gaming history, this is a joy to read. As well as interviewing key artists and debunking of the 'ET was the worst game ever' myth, Lapetino's hefty hardback occasionally opens a window into a wildly sexist age (an arcade machine with a pair of boobs as controllers and t-shirts given to female staff working the 1982 CES booth that would be a major corporate scandal today). If I had to pick a fault - and it is annoying - the large section on game artwork never makes it clear which year a game was released, making it hard to track exactly how the medium developed from the beginning in 1977 to the final few releases in 1990. But this is a minor niggle and besides, that's what wikipedia is for.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    A stern, serious look at artwork that isn't always worthy of the full curator treatment. Most of the page count is dedicated to high-quality scans of box art (and, where available, original pieces) from the 2600-5200 era, but I was more taken by the hardware sketches and bits of industrial design. Still, it's informative to learn about the antiquated press techniques of the era, inspiring to hear of the playful interchange between programming and marketing, and interesting to spot the earliest o A stern, serious look at artwork that isn't always worthy of the full curator treatment. Most of the page count is dedicated to high-quality scans of box art (and, where available, original pieces) from the 2600-5200 era, but I was more taken by the hardware sketches and bits of industrial design. Still, it's informative to learn about the antiquated press techniques of the era, inspiring to hear of the playful interchange between programming and marketing, and interesting to spot the earliest origins of Silicon Valley's "work hard, play hard, do both while you're at the office" ethos. Each in-house artist gets a page or two to themselves, filling out their profile with a rather dry bio and work history... which mildly differentiates the cast, though I grew to dread the interruptions. Oddly, Steve Jobs also gets such a write-up, and he only moonlit at Atari for a short term with no input into its art or design work. A slick and professional presentation, though I think I've had my fill of chrome, rainbows and wood paneling for the next few years.

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