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October 2014 Retro Gaming Article


October 15, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Late 80’s mall arcades arose from Atari Adventure Center’s attempt to create a lifestyle brand

Atari Adventure Center The folks at Atari I/O have a great article about Atari Adventure Centers. I was unaware of this early 80's plan by Atari. They were buying up real estate as part of a plan to become a lifestyle brand via stores selling complete Atari solutions and goods.

In 1983 Atari was on the cusp of rolling out stores that would sell everything Atari! From computers and business solutions to home video game consoles, arcade games, and even their upcoming telephone technology, AtariTel. These stores were to be situated in malls and prominent locations where they would have high visibility.

Visibility and accessibility were the keys to bringing "Atari" to the masses. The wide span of Atari products and the ability to interact with them in a hands-on environment was a new concept for what was ostensibly a retail store. Part of the attraction was the "fun" element of the arcade and Atari games for sale in an environment where one could also learn about Atari business solutions.

Atari Adventure Center Ataritel was a telephony technology that Atari was planning to launch via it's Atari Adventure locations. I always focus on the 2600 when thinking of Atari in the early 80s, but they were really quite progressive in expanding the Atari offering - they weren't just a video game company.

Michael Current listed 9 known locations where Atari Centers opened. Atari was moving full steam in acquiring real estate to house their retail vision for the Atari brand. An interesting side note to the rollout of Atari Adventure is the number of locations where it did not appear. Warner Communications was in the process of divesting from Atari and the lifestyle brand came to a financial end. But what about all that real estate?

Apparently, many of the sought-out locations became arcades due to a sale to Space Station amusements. If you recall a lot of arcades opening in California malls in the latter 80s... you can thank Atari :)

Space Port arcade


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