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Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 Command Control Trackball

video game controller

Atari didn't invent video games, but the company's Atari 2600 made them a staple of daily play for millions of American families when it debuted in 1977. Video games had been first programmed on university-based computers in the 1950s, but the general public couldn't play them until they began appearing as coin-operated games in the 1960s. Even then, their fan base remained relatively small. It took home-based video games to really launch the video game revolution. The Atari 2600 was not the first home game system; the Magnavox Odyssey preceded it in 1972. That early system inspired Atari to create Pong, a video table-tennis game that ran first on a coin-operated game then in 1975 on a made-for-home system. The Odyssey and Pong charmed players, but the games themselves had trouble sustaining their interest. Players wanted more substance, and that's what the Atari 2600 delivered. "Welcome to the world of friendly computing," bragged the box of the Commodore 64. While it is questionable just how "friendly" this computer was, it certainly was more affordable than any other computer. Jack Tramiel, founder of the Commodore Company, introduced the Commodore 64 in 1982, following his vision of "computers for the masses." Called the "Model T" of home computers, the Commodore 64 debuted at $500 and quickly dropped to an appealing $199. Although the necessary disk drive and monitor raised the package price to $899, it still significantly undercut the competing Apple IIe by more than $1000. Consumers responded by snapping up 2 million Commodore 64s between September 1983 and September 1984. With 64K of memory, color graphics, and sound capacity, the Commodore 64 became the entry-level computer of choice for many Americans. Lousy software and poor management soon doomed the company, but by proving that personal computers could still be affordable, the Commodore 64 left an indelible mark on the popularity of personal computing.

  • Manufacturer: Wico Corporation
  • Material: printed paper | plastic | printed cardboard
  • Origin: USA
  • Object ID: 113.2504
  • Credit Line: Gift of Lee F. Frank II and Sally Healy Frank
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