We all know the broad strokes of Atari's rollercoaster hardware output - Pong, VCS, Atari ST, Lynx, Jaguar, oblivion - but between those tentpoles there were many other Atari machines. Some of these were released to little fanfare. Others simply never got that far.
Here are ten Atari systems that you may not have heard about. And if you have... good for you. I literally couldn't care less, probably.
Sega had realised this already, shelving the Sega VR project - which would've given Mega Drive owners real bad headaches - and the medium was on its back in the arcades. This didn't stop Atari demonstrating the sort of clued-up thinking for which it would soon be famed, by teaming up with arcade VR pioneers Virtuality to develop a headset for the Jaguar.
Missile Command 3D was the only game ever developed for the prototype - which was shelved as the Jaguar swiftly evolved into the butt of games industry jokes.
Butt? Insert proctology joke here... you know: like a proctologist's finger!!!!!!
Get this: it wasn't so long ago that holograms were considered so futuristic that there was even a hologram art gallery in London's Trocadero centre. Now look how far we've come; holograms are everywhere. They're on bank cards, your dad's a hologram... we even eat them for our dinner, I think...!
The system was abandoned when work on the Jaguar was deemed as progressing faster than expected. Given that the Panther was cobbled together from the guts of the Atari ST this might've been for the best. Or not, given the Jaguar's fate.
Either way... it's probably more effort than it's worth to spend time thinking about.
Boasting almost as many buttons as the Jaguar joypad, the controls on the Vidcom-1 correlated to words, which would be displayed via an LED screen on the front.
From the selection of words available - "fine", "drink", "eat", "full", "hot", "cold", "phone", "play", "time", "sick", "tired", "bthrm", "hello", "bye", "what", "where", "when", "want", "who", "how", "help" - users would be able to generate many different complex phrases.
"Hello play time bthrm what? Help."
The life cycle of the Atari Jaguar owner encapsulated in a single sentence.
If it had eventually been released many years later, they could've got Alanis Morissette to sing the advert.
"Isn't it Bionics, don't you think?"
"Not anymore, madam: this patient is dead!"
"No it isn't."
All but three of these games would have been variations of Pong, though the system was cancelled when the console market shifted towards cartridge-based systems.
Frankly, the roots of Atari's demise can be traced back to the beginning. If they'd been passengers on the Titanic, they'd have still been trying to get a hot stone treatment in the spa as the ship went down.
"Look, Jack! I'm flying! Wheee!"
<JUMPS OFF NEAR-VERTICAL SHIP... KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS ON PROPELLOR, DROWNS>
You don't really get people jumping over things on motorbikes anymore. Back in the 1970s you couldn't turn on a TV without seeing somebody leaping over buses or barrels. Indeed, it would be interesting to know the point at which the stunt cycle industry jumped the shark.
Probably when Eddie Kidd was paralysed. Dunno.
This wasn't the first time it had dabbled with such technology, releasing its Video Music system in 1977 - a piece of hardware which sat between your hi-fi and your TV, and (yes) offered graphics to watch while dirty hippies listened to their Gentle Giant albums. Interestingly, Atari Video Music graphics have featured in numerous films, music videos and TV shows, including an episode of The X-Files, back before its legacy had been so carelessly sullied.
As you'll have noted already, the Spector appeared to take inspiration from two famous pop culture murderers; it's aesthetics appeared to have been influenced by Darth Vader, and its name was clearly taken from the music producer Phil Spector.