New Book Celebrates The Art Of The Atari 2600 ... And 7800

Bitmap Books, publisher of outstanding tomes filled with gaming history and pixel art, is gearing up for the release of the latest book in its “Visual Compendium” series. Atari 2600/7800: A Visual Compendium covers Atari’s game console history at its highest and lowest points.

The Atari 2600 was the first video game console to dominate American living rooms. The bright and chunky graphics of its games are burned into the brains of those who played them. We hardly even need an art book to recall scenes like this:

Or this:

For older folks like me, the 528-page volume will be a trip down memory lane. I expect to say “Oh, I remember this one” a lot. I plan on calling my disinterested children over and telling them stories until they get bored and go back to watching YouTube. “Hey, kids! Come read about back when Activision wasn’t just making Call of Duty!”

For gamesters not quite as ancient as I, Atari 2600/7800: A Visual Compendium can serve as a learning tool, or a paper-based museum. They see gaming as it used to be when the games were great but not so great that we couldn’t pull ourselves away to go build tree forts.

Then there’s the 7800 side of things. That’s a bit of a mystery to me. My dad bought an Atari 5200, the system between the 2600 and 7800, but by the time the 7800 released in 1984 my mother moved us across the country with her new husband, and my Atari days were over.

So I have no idea what Alien Brigade is.

Or Desert Falcon.

Boy, those Atari 7800 developers liked orange, didn’t they?

I’m looking forward to learning more about both systems when Atari 2600/7800: A Visual Compendium launches in April. Preorders are open now at Bitmap Books, with hardcover, softcover, and limited edition copies going for £24.99, £29.99, and £49.99 respectively. That’s roughly $48, $60, and $97 in Australian dollars, which seems a fine price for an over 500-page book. Plus they include a PDF copy, so collectors can just put in on a shelf and stare at it appreciatively.

Flip through the gallery below for a whole bunch of preview pages.


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