Atari Games

From Sega Retro

AtariGames logo.svg
Atari Games
Founded: 1984-07-02
Defunct: 1999-12-22
Milpitas, California, United States

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Atari Games (or Atari Games Corporation) was a company formed in 1984, after the original Atari, Inc. split into two halves (the other half being Atari Corporation, sold by Warner Communications to Jack Tramiel). Atari Games started life off as the arcade division of Atari Inc., producing a number of top arcade games during the 1980s. Unlike Atari Corporation, Atari Games was comprised of many former Atari Inc. imployees, and as such continued operating in a similar manner to Atari Inc. In 1985 Namco bought a controlling interest in the company, though in the following year these shares were bought back by Atari Games employees.

There were two conditions Atari Games had to follow after the split - the first was that Atari Games had to include "Games" in its title and logos, and the second was that Atari Games could not use the "Atari" name in the home video game market. Atari Games created a new division, Tengen, in 1987 as a result of the second condition. Tengen would be responsible for developing and publishing console games as well as licensing games made by other companies that contain Atari Games' properties. The division was also used to sub-license the Japanese arcade rights and illegitimate Mega Drive rights to Tetris to Sega after Atari Games acquired the arcade rights and illegitimate console rights to the game from Mirrorsoft.

In 1994, Atari Games was bought by long-term shareholders Time Warner Inc., becoming a subsidiary of the conglomorate. This period saw Atari Games and Tengen be merged with Time Warner's software division, Time Warner Interactive Group to form a new "Time Warner Interactive" (sans "Group") subsidiary[1]. But while the same company internally, only Tengen traded under the Time Warner Interactive name - arcade games continued to be sold under the "Atari Games" moniker (though dropped the "Corporation").

On 29th March 1996, Time Warner Interactive was sold to WMS Industries.[2] In 1998, WMS spun-off Midway Games as an independant entity, taking Atari Games with it. Midway subsequently chose to rename Atari Games to Midway Games West on December 22, 1999 to avoid confusion with Hasbro Interactive, which had at this point acquired the old Atari Corporation rights. The last game to use the Atari Games brand was San Francisco Rush 2049.


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Game Gear