Atari Computer Concepts

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atari

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tari is an international brand synonymous with the video game and electronics industry since its inception in 1972. No longer involved with making hardware, Atari now specializes mostly in one thing: distributing entertainment software. If you were lucky enough to be a kid in the 70s and 80s when the company was at its heyday, you probably have a lot of fond memories of Pong and the ubiquitous 2600 gaming console (wood veneer what!). And you might even remember that Atari wasn’t just a video game company; they also designed and manufactured home computers — super awesome ones. Their success in tapping the home computer market was short-lived, but their efforts shouldn’t go by unappreciated. This isn’t really a history lesson though; it’s more of a show & tell of an amazing find: During a late-night geek session, I happened to dig up these insanely rad concept sketches designed by former Atari industrial designer Regan Cheng (via the Atari Museum).

By 1981, Atari’s home computer division began looking into replacements for the aging 400/800 line of computers. Several types of systems were conceptualized and in the end it came down to two routes. One was called the A-300 project which involved a new series of Atari computers which would work as modules and plug together to form a complete computer system. The second was an evolution of the A-300 project that shed all of the expansion and modular design for a low profile, high tech computer system which became the Atari 1200XL Computer System.

I really love Cheng’s illustrative style. If these were sold as prints, I’d totally buy the whole lot. The modular concepts at the bottom get me more excited than I care to disclose.

Concept with slant-in top panel

Concept with slant-in top panel

Cooling Fins Concept

Cooling Fins Concept

Very close to final design, with disk drive on top.

Very close to final design, with disk drive on top.

Very close to final design, with cooling fins on the rear

Very close to final design, with cooling fins on the rear

All white top concept, again with rear cooling fins

All white top concept, again with rear cooling fins

Various designs of the XL style of beveling

Various designs of the XL style of beveling

Side view of 1200 concept

Side view of 1200 concept

A-300 Concept sketches

A-300 Concept sketches

A-300 Concept One

A-300 Concept One

A-300 Concept Two

A-300 Concept Two

Modular add-on System

Modular add-on System

Another variation, note the pre-1020 Plotter on the top right of console

Another variation, note the pre-1020 Plotter on the top right of console

Modular plug-in system

Modular plug-in system

Bus Bar module connector

Bus Bar module connector

1981 Atari version of a "Mac"?

1981 Atari version of a "Mac"?

Two piece system

Two piece system

Bus Bar modular System

Bus Bar modular System

Atari 900 Concept

Atari 900 Concept

Published //

March 6, 2010

Author //

Christy

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5

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(Like this post) 70

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5 Comments

  1. No.
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    very nice post. Thanks for posting!!

    Name //

    devin cornely

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  2. No.
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    does anyone know if the artwork is for sale??

    Name //

    Len G.

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  3. No.
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    Excellent blog right here! Also your web site lots up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get your associate link to your host? I want my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

    Date //

    January 5, 2012

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  4. No.
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    thanks!

    Name //

    Matt

    Date //

    March 20, 2012

    Reply to user

  5. No.
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    I’m getting a lot of star tours imagery

    Name //

    m

    Date //

    April 11, 2012

    Reply to user

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