Game companies doing game company things | Updates currently irregular

Comic 29: Game Over, Atari

Was gonna get this one last week, but then Smash Bros and Pokémon happened...

As Atari finally gets out of the pile of games, she finds Nintendo is now pretty much in charge of the game industry. But how did this happen? And just how long has she been down there anyway? Anyway, it looks like Atari's glory days are gone...


by TheMario360 at 7th Dec 2014, 4:31 AM

That IS a long time to be stuck in a pile of rubble...

by Zanreo at 7th Dec 2014, 7:37 PM

Yup, getting out was quite a bit of work...

by ProfEtheric at 7th Dec 2014, 5:10 PM

You are seriously bringing back memories. I remember when Atari games were really easy to get on clearance (after the bubble burst), then, one day, it seemed like everybody and their mother had this new video game system. And it was sooooooooo much more lively and colorful, with much better graphics. Oh, and that theme song to the first Super Mario Bros...

by Zanreo at 7th Dec 2014, 10:56 PM

Yeah, I can imagine they got pretty cheap back then...
Anyway, glad to hear I could bring back those good memories!

by VideoWizard2007 at 16th Dec 2014, 4:42 AM

I'm assuming Atari goes from red and white to gray and white in 1996. Atari in 1985 still has just over a decade to go, although the games division and the corporation were split in 1984. Down, but not out... yet.

by Zanreo at 16th Dec 2014, 6:32 PM

Yeah, she's not "gone" yet, but it's only downwards from here...

Izumi Ryu
by Izumi Ryu at 3rd Jan 2015, 5:54 AM

I don't know who would be worse off...Atari or SEGA...

by Zanreo at 3rd Jan 2015, 2:39 PM

Well, Atari's certainly doing worse, though Sega's not doing that great either...

by Lyngstud at 14th Apr 2015, 12:16 PM

Neat concept, and good humour too. Love how you tie in game history while joking around with the largest companies out there. Would love to see one on Sega later.

One reason for Nintendo's success, one that often is neglected, is the stricter quality control for games coming out for the NES than for any other console at the time. The reason behind the great video game crash of 1983 was, as you pointed out, how Atari (and other developers) were keen to make quick money, and published cheap ports and knock-offs, making the customers fatigued. No one were willing to pay for such blatantly bad games.

What Nintendo did was release the console along with the accessories, so that toy stores would once again sell video games, which they had come to think of as unsellable, and at the same time have this strict quality control. This resulted in great sales for the NES, making it a coveted console to develop for, increasing the number of great games developed overall.

Ironically, though, it was this same strategy that led Sega to have the upper-hand in the next generation of consoles, as Nintendo would use the quality control to sensor certain games, most infamously Mortal Kombat, while Sega permitted much more violent games to be released.

TLDR: Video game history can be quite interesting!

Thanks for the read! I'll come back to check out more comics now and then.

by Zanreo at 14th Apr 2015, 2:45 PM

Yup, I know this (and have some ideas for comics about this)

Game history can indeed be interesting!

And thanks!

by lirvilas at 20th Nov 2015, 3:40 PM

Just watched "Atari: Game Over" specifically because of reading these strips.

Like it or hate it, Zan, you're influencing real-world behavior!

As payment for such, I would ask you where the name "ATARI" came from--it sounds Japanese, but I suspect it is not.

by Zanreo at 20th Nov 2015, 4:50 PM

Nice, I gotta get around to watching that one too... I'm happy to have this kind of influence :D

As for Atari's name, well, that's because "Atari" is a term from the game Go, a game both the founders liked, and refers to when your opponent only has one move left for all of their pieces (or something like that) and outside of the game it means something like "hit the target". So yeah, Atari is an American company that took a Japanese name from a game they liked because it sounded cool.
(The original planned name was Syzygy, but since this was already taken by another company they had to go with something else.)

(And interestingly enough, Atari later made a subsidiary named "Tengen" - another word from Go)

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