John Harris wrote the roguelike column "@Play" for the defunct gaming blog GameSetWatch, and writes that and many more things for the active gaming blog Set Side B. They also interview indie developers for Game Developer, and wrote Exploring Roguelike Games, from CRC Press, as well as numerous ebooks. A print edition of their book book We Love Mystery Dungeon is coming out in 2024. They use they/them pronouns, but he/his is okay too.

We Love Atari Games: Part 1 by John Harris

The memory of Atari Games, the arcade manufacturer form of Atari, is receding rapidly into memory, being replaced by a company that uses the brand for whatever they choose, whether it's a game console, a hotel or cyptocurrency.

This book is the beginning of a journey, through the arcade output of Atari, later called Atari Games, still later Midway Games West. We present descriptions and screenshots of games, many of which will never be re-released. Some of them may not even exist anymore.

Do you know about Atari Football? Night Driver? Super Bug? Sky Diver? If you have an interest in the history of video games, you should. This is a book that will tell you, and point you to places where you can learn more.


I've been excited to reveal this book since the moment John pitched me on the idea over a year or so ago. In Part 1 of this trilogy, he explores many unreleased games from the now-defunct studio, presenting screenshots and design overviews for titles you've heard of, and many you probably haven't. We Love Atari Games is the first leg of an exciting adventure, and an important piece of gaming history. – David L. Craddock




It has been for a while now. The doors of the greatest video arcade game maker of all closed in 2005. By then it wasn't even called Atari Games anymore, it was "Midway Games West." Such an indignity.

Ed Logg, creator of Asteroids and Gauntlet, was there when it shut down. They say Mike Hally, who got his start with the company working in pinball in the 1970s, was the one to turn out the lights when everyone left. If you can't feel the injustice of that, well, then we are probably not the same kind of person.

When I think about old Atari Games, the arcade arm of Atari Corp. that got broken off into its own company when Jack Tramiel, that old lord of Commodore that bought Atari off of Warner Communications, refused to get into the gaming business, I am suffused with ache. It was the death of Atari Games that signaled, to me, that video games were moving away from being my thing. That the continents were realigning. That the world was now a different place. That the elves had left for Valinor.

But hey, isn't that kind of overblown? Yeah, I'd say that's fair. Let me explain my feelings.