The boom is over for electronic centipedes, outer-space invaders, and spooky goblins. ATARI, once high-flying in the world of video games, had visions of high profits. These visions are now as imaginary as the fantasy worlds pictured on the game screens. Although it once appeared that children would never stop zapping asteroids and blowing up tanks, industry insiders say youngsters have become jaded and returned to traditional, non-electronic fun. The history of video games mirrors the roller-coaster course of citizens’ band radios. In the early 1970s, demand for the CBs exploded. But, the craze subsided almost as swiftly as it arose. “A while back, a lot of games like Pac-Man I used to like a lot,” said Chris Foudy, a 12-year-old in Cresskill, N.J. “Now, these games are really boring. They’re all the same. You kill the invaders and that’s it. Boring.”
ATARI is expected by industry analysts to lose hundreds of millions on game consoles and cartridges this year. Thousands of jobs have been eliminated. Just last week, Warner Communicatons’ ATARI subsidiary reported a $536 million loss this year. Retail merchants, stuck with bloated inventories of unsold games, have slashed prices and are praying for a merry Christmas. Game machine operators are off 30 to 40 percent in revenues.
Two people behind this new 8bit Generation, Tomaso Walliser and Bruno Grampa don’t expect Pac-Man and Pitfall to be buried in the same fad grave-yard as hula hoops and pet rocks. With 15 million game machines plugged into America’s television sets, they think there’s not only a future interest in video games, but also interest in a documentary film covering the rise and fall of ATARI. “Easy to Learn, Hard to Master – The Fate of Atari” film will be narrated by Bil Herd, former Commodore senior engineer. It will also feature a list of unreleased interviews with the key people of these events, including a very rare interview with Warner VP Manny Gerard and Atari CEO Ray Kassar. Mr. Kassar was the man held responsible for Atari success and the video game industry crash at the same time, who never appeared in a documentary before.
For more information on this film, please see this short video below.
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