Atari game consoles were once the kings of consoles in the 1970s. However, since then the history of Atari game consoles has been somewhat mixed. As such, Atari’s general decline has seen the Atari name all but disappear.
The history of Atari game consoles is best began with the Atari 2600 which was released in 1977. At a time when arcade games such as Space Invaders were among the top game titles, the Atari 2600 was the first game console to really establish itself. After its release, the Atari 2600 became the game console of choice, with hit game titles such as Pong, Pac Man, and Space Invaders gaining the console many fans. As such, the Atari 2600 remained at the forefront of game consoles into the early 1980s and was most probably Atari’s best game console.
The Atari 5200 was the sequel to the Atari 2600 released in 1982. However, the game console struggled to emulate the Atari 2600. As market conditions deteriorated in the early 1980s the demise of the Atari 5200 was inevatable and discontinued in 1984.
The Atari 7200 continued Atari game consoles in 1984 and would remain a good deal longer than its predecessor. This was in part due to its compatibility with the 2600, and perhaps also a revival in console gaming that followed the release of the NES game console. As such, the Atari 7200 remained, although in truth could not emulate the Atari 2600 as the NES dominated during the remainder of the 1980s.
The Atari Lynx was a color hand-held game console released by Atari in the late ’80s. However, despite the Lynx having superior color display in comparison with the Game Boy, good game titles were few and far between. In addition, the Lynx had short battery support. As such, the Lynx did not gain many fans.
The Atari Jaguar was claimed to be the first 64-bit game console in 1993. The game console itself did have some notable game titles such as Tempest 2000. However, with the emergence of the PlayStation the Jaguar was left in the dark and was not an especially good alternative. As such, for Atari it was their final game console as they continued to struggle without a top product to support.
As such, the golden era for Atari came in the 1970s. During the ’80s the emergence of Nintendo, and to a lesser extent Sega, made reviving Atari game consoles all the harder. The decline could not be reversed.