Home » Games » What Video Game Saved Atari from Bankruptcy?

What Video Game Saved Atari from Bankruptcy?

With the fast progress of gaming technology and several competitors popping up. Atari faced challenges over the years that threatened their very existence.

Atari Games was in dire need of a hit before filing for bankruptcy. They developed the arcade shoot game Area 51. It became one of the most successful arcade games in the 90s that saved the company from the brink of bankruptcy.

The History of Atari

Atari Incorporated was established in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. The duo started the company in Sunnyvale, California. The name Atari comes from the Japanese term ataru, which means to hit the target. It is often associated with good fortune and winning.

The founders of Atari are the pioneers behind the innovation of arcade games, home video consoles, and home computers. They defined the very essence of the electronic entertainment industry back in the 70s up until the 80s.

In 1983, the video game crash occurred. The home computer division was sold off, and the company was renamed Atari Games Inc. (Source: Atari Holdings)

How Did Atari Manage To Avoid Bankruptcy?

In the 90s, Atari struggled to keep up with its competitors. The company was on the brink of bankruptcy, having gone through years of not producing a profitable game. They have also lost their most talented game developers to their rival, Electronic Arts.

They came up with the concept of a light gun shooting game, which was quite popular at the arcades during that time. Area 51 was made, and they could market the game before Electronic Arts could release their version called Bounty Hunter. (Source: Abandonware Magazine)

How Did Gamers Like Area 51?

One thing is for sure, the game saved Atari from filing for bankruptcy in 1995. It was a significant hit that sold over 20,000 cabinets. The release of the game was said to be Atari’s big comeback.

Area 51 provides shooters with what they want, stands up better against shoorter of the past like Virtua Cop 1 and Mad Dog McCree, and not the current crop.

Next Generation

The game was so successful that it took the number one spot on RePlay Magazine’s Player’s Choice chart in 1995. While the game does provide good fun, the graphics did have mixed reviews. (Source: Next Generation)

Did Area 51 Have A Sequel?

By 1998, Atari Games released a sequel for the game. It was entitled Area 51: Site 4 and Area 51: Maximum Force Duo. In 2005 the Playstation developed a first shooter game quite similar to the style of Area 51. It featured a more complex storyline and featured the voices of David Duchovny, Powers Booth, and even Marilyn Manson. (Source: Arcade Museum)

Is Atari Still in Business?

Atari filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013. It was tough keeping up with the innovations of gaming consoles like Playstation and Nintendo.

Fred Chesnais, the CEO of Atari, mentioned that the company was working on a new console in 2017. Since then, there have been several teasers and marketing gimmicks, but since the Atari Jaguar’s flop in 1993, we are still waiting to see anything substantial from the company.

While Atari is still in business, it is mainly just a name and a brand owned by several entities. (Source: Venture Beat)

Leave a Comment