Monday, October 13, 2014

Update On Atari Oddities

I've posted a few times about various oddball Atari coin-op products I've come across and thought I'd do a post with some updated information about some of them.
Atari Theatre Kiosk

One of the things I posted about was the Atari Theatre Kiosk. For some reason, even though I only mentioned it briefly, the post has gotten an inordinate amount of attention (maybe it's a San Francisco thing - I didn't think it was that exciting).

Anyway, I actually found three different articles on it that I didn't bother sharing before.

The first is this one, from the April, 1976 Play Meter, which also includes a picture of one of the units at the Velizy shopping mall in Paris.
For those who don't want to read the whole thing (short as it is), here are some interesting points:

* The unit could actually be configured to hold any number of games, though six was most popular.
* According to Jean Francois Gaillard (Atari's overseas manager), the idea was developed in Atari Europe's French factory, who sent a sample to the US
* A unit was also installed at Orly Airport
* The unit was shown at the Ima show in West Germany in March, 1976
* The unit pictured includes Steeplechase, which seems odd since it was a six-player game - though maybe it was a 3-player version (there are six buttons, however, and I thought it was a one-button-per-player game).

Here's the second article, from Vending Times, February, 1977. I posted the photo last time, but now I have a better version. I don't think I posted the article last time.
Interesting tidbit:

* The unit also included advertising panels and a 35mm slide projection system with info on the Bay Area, sporting events etc.

The last article is from the May 14, 1977 issue of Cash Box (no picture this time).
Tidbits for the lazy:

* The Powell Street was installed in December, 1976 and was clearing about $800 a month for BART
* The games were: Pong Doubles, Space Race, Trak 10, Jet Fighter, LeMans, and Tank.

Finally, here are some photos from the San Francisco Chronicle that were recently posted on its blog at

Atari's Cocktail Pong game
I have posted a couple of times about what the first cocktail video game was. One possibility (though it likely wasn't the first) was a cocktail Pong game that Atari did for National Entertainment around late 1973. I have since discovered that a flyer was actually produced for this game:
Note the Atari logos on the controllers. I am not sure, however, if Atari designed the board for this one, since National Entertainment eventually abandoned the Atari version and went with another one from Meadows (the one in the flyer may use a Meadows board and Atari controllers).

Magic Trolley
Another interesting Atari product was its little-known arcade-in-a-trailer with 26 games that could be hauled around to carnivals etc. Less known is that another company later tried the same thing. At the 1977 AMOA show Michigan's Elcon Industries tried the same idea with its Magic Trolley.
 I actually talked to Andre Dubel (Elcon founder) who told me that he thinks they only sold one of these.

1 comment:

  1. Back in 1982 I was in Paris and close by to the hotel was a shopping mall, with a similar setup with more modern games in it, which unfortunately I cannot remember what they were. I'd almost forgotten about this! Jase from UK