A Blast From the Past: 10 Classic Atari Commercials


Seeing old Nintendo or Genesis commercials always creates a sense of nostalgia, mostly because most of us are young enough to remember when they actually aired.  What I don’t remember, though, are old Atari commercials.  It’s funny to think that at one point, the Atari and its games were considered a luxury and the height of home video game entertainment.  I still remember playing Atari as a real young kid – the joysticks were impossible to really move – but the advertisements are something that I just can’t recall.

Fortunately, there’s YouTube, and I managed to find some classic commercials for the Atari system and games.  Most of them are pretty ridiculous, and a couple even feature some pretty well-known celebrities.  Take a look at 10 of the best after the jump.



Without a doubt, Pac-Man had to be Atari’s big money maker.

Everything Atari


Just how there are tons of games and accessories for modern consoles, Atari was smart enough to pump out a variety of products and turn a profit.



In what seems to be a trend, you’ll notice that Atari commercials don’t really show much gameplay.  This was a smart decision.

She is relentless


Cute kid, and this commercial could easily apply to a console today.

Mario Bros.


Wow.  It’s almost bizarre enough to pass for a Japanese commercial.

Pole Position


Another one that could have made it onto the Japanese airways.

Pete Rose and Don Knotts make the pitch


Pete Rose doesn’t do many commercials anymore for obvious reasons.  And it’s not because he’s retired.

E.T., possibly the worst game ever made


Have you ever played E.T.?  It’s not a video game.  I don’t know what it is.  But smart decision again by Atari for showing minimal gameplay.

Phil Hartman wants to play Ice Hockey


It’s a Phil Hartman sighting!  I love how he starts screaming toward the end.

Alan Alda calls out typewriters


Suck on it, typewriters.

  • Travthulu

    I remember about half of these commercials.

    The E.T. game was terrible, I begged my mom to get it then after about 10 mins I asked her to take it back, I got grounded.

    Another weird game was the Hide ‘n Seek game for the Atari. But the absolute best game was Spider Fighter.

  • Madison

    @ Trabthulu

    My favorite was Combat, since it was like 20 mini games in one.

  • Kaeyne

    “The Atari may make the typewriter obsolete.” xD
    A little too early for such an assumption, but I chuckled anyway. And look – wow! You can make corrections and shove words around!
    Seriously, have people of that time been so easily impressed by computers?

    And it’s fun to see the other junk that has been available to buy for this classic console. Now we know that Nintendo weren’t the only ones with stupid accessory like *cough* PowerGlove *cough*. 😉

  • http://thavage.com Philip Marshall

    Thanks for remembering the 80s so well. It just gets better with age.

  • Travthulu

    @Kaeyne: “Seriously, have people of that time been so easily impressed by computers?”

    The Atari was the closest thing just about anyone at the time had to a personal computer. This was almost 30 years ago, a time when hand held calculators were considered a luxury and could cost well over $500.

    I hate being old.

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  • Kaeyne

    @Travthulu: I like being old. Considering all the awesome stuff I grew up with in the early 80s. 😉

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