The first video game I ever played was Defender on my neibour's Atari 2600. I was about 7 years old, and my mind was blown. My parents likely wished me dead after a few days of begging for one and it was with this that my videogame obsession was born. I would go on to discover the much newer Nintendo Entertainment System shortly after with it's amazing Super Mario Bros. game, but that first spark, as I'm sure many others can relate to, came from Atari.
Today, Atari turns 40 years old. Long gone are it's days of ruling the home console market. A string of failures in the 1990's led to Atari withdrawing from the hardware market and becoming strictly a publisher, which has since changed ownership countless times. Atari's biggest failure was the Atari Jaguar, which was a huge flop at a time when The SNES and Sega Genesis were the kings of console hill. Their portable handheld, the Atari Lynx, suffered a similar death up against Nintendo's Game Boy and Sega's Game Gear, although I recall wanting one badly at the time it was released.
Still, Atari set something in motion in the 70s and 80s that led to where we are now. While it may be a shadow of what it once was, for many of us born in the late 70s or early 80s, gaming started with Atari.
Happy 40th birthday Atari.