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Founded June 28, 1972
Headquarters Milpitas, California, USA

Atari, founded by Nolan Bushnell, was one of the first video game companies. They pioneered the industry with an arcade release of Pong, and later entered the home market with the Atari 2600, 5200, and the 7600. They also made a series of home computers like the Atari 400 and 800, as well as the later Atari ST. After the NES was released, Atari created a separate company called Tengen, which produced unlicensed games for home computers and consoles. During the video game crash of 1983, Atari was bought out by Midway, who ported several Atari games to home consoles. Atari was bought out again by Infogrames who changed their name to Atari SA due to the popular name recognition.

At first, Atari had a strict no-credits policy, causing some employees to found Activision, but later on, Atari had the policy to use developer's initials in the high scores of the arcade games, and developer's info as an Easter egg on console games, but later, Atari's policy was changed, so most of their arcade games allow you to see the credits after waiting after several demos, and decided to put credits on the back cover of Atari 2600/Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit games before the split (this was instituted by James J. Morgan, who had to recognize the developers very treatly).


Music Development


Atari's arcade music software was called RPM (Rusty's POKEY Music) and was created by Atari programmer Russell Dawe. The composers would have to write the music in Music-V Language (pronounced Music 5). Dennis Harper and Peter Lipson later created RPM-2, an updated version of the first RPM that supported the Yamaha 16-bit FM synthesis chips that were used in the Yamaha DX9 synthesizers (YM2151).

Brad Fuller explained that Atari had developed a tool to convert MIDI files to the RPM driver. However, the sound team never used it, as writing the music in MML allowed them to be much more flexible with the music, rather than adhere to the limitations of MIDI.


According to Brad Fuller, RPM was converted to the NES by Russell Dawe himself (based on the credits of the unreleased Millipede game). As a result, the music was written in Music Macro Language.

Audio Personnel

These composers worked at Atari:


Game Platforms

Atari created several platforms both as video game consoles and home computers.

Video Game Consoles

Home Computers


Sound Devices

Picture Gallery