Video game crash

From: Doug Coward <>
Date: Fri Jul 3 21:06:54 1998

Tom Owad said:
>What ever happened to The Source? When did they shut down and why?

I don't really know.

>Video game crash of '83? Would you please explain?

I sure you can find a better explaination in any of a half dozen
books that are out about the video game business but here is my
condensed version for what it's worth:
Prior to 1983 Atari was making ALOT OF MONEY selling 2600 units
and cartridges (remember PAC-MAN fever). It was the Microsoft of
the 70s and early 80s. Many other companies, not wanting to miss
the boat, saw this happening and jumped in with their their own
systems. Some of these companies were betting the farm on this
 And it seem like everyone and their kid sister was coming out
with cartridges for these systems. (At one point you could send
in to the makers of Gravy Train (or was it Chuck Wagon) dog food
to get a cartridge called "Chase the Chuck Wagon") I have heard
that black market copies of the programming manual for the 2600
cost $10,000, which is a small price to pay if you could possibly
make millions making and selling cartridges. Some programmers made
1 million dollar bonuses on a single game and that was back when one
programmer by himself would write a game in 6 months. It was a time
of madness.
  BUT, 1982 was one of those years when computers just exploded.
Machines like the C64. Easy to set up, cheap, better graphics and
sound. People started putting their Atari 2600s in the closet and
going out and buying computers. Parents were complaining that kids
were playing video games too much. The fad was over.
 Almost overnight 2600 cartridges when from $20-$30 to $3-$5 each.
Atari was the head domino and when they fell, they all started to fall.
Some very large companies almost went lights out when the prices fell.
Atari was split up into Atari Games(coin-op) and Atari Corp.(home
computers) Other companies just faded away.
 Home video game systems did not come back into fashion until 1986
with Nintendo.

For more details see

Doug Coward
Senior Software Engineer
Press Start Inc.

Museum of Personal Computing Machinery
Received on Fri Jul 03 1998 - 21:06:54 BST

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