Atari archive donated to the Strong museum
An archive of material relating to the history and packaging of Atari video games has been donated to The Strong museum.
The Cort and Barbara Allen collection features more than 2,000 drawings, photographs, proofs, preliminary package mock-ups, drafts of game manual scripts, unused packaging and other internal documents, used in the design and creation of Atari game packaging and manuals throughout the 1970s and 80s.
Highlights from the collection include packaging and manual design materials for the Atari 2600 home console; designs for classic games such as Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Pac-Man, Pole Position, Jungle Hunt, Robotron 2084, Asteroids and Real Sports Football; and material detailing how Atari teamed up with Nintendo to market Mario Bros.
The Strong museum in Rochester, New York is dedicated to the history and exploration of play, and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame and the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Its impressive array of material also includes the Atari Coin-op Divisions Collection, acquired in 2014, which documents the design, production, and marketing of nearly every Atari coin-operated game from 1972 until 1999.
“Atari is one of the most important companies in the history of electronic games,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “This artwork illustrates how Atari created some of its iconic video game packaging during an era when video games became a staple of daily play.”
“Packages protect and preserve, but they are also expressive. Atari’s vibrant video game packaging often bridged the gap between the fantastic game worlds that players imagined themselves entering and the abstract and blocky graphics on their video screens.
"This artwork and documentation, which add to The Strong’s exceptional collection of other materials related to Atari, help us better understand how a gaming pioneer packaged and sold its products to a new video game playing public.“
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