Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

This Vintage Atari Spot is a TRON-Era Treasure

Shown in select movie theaters in the summer of 1982, this two-minute ad, titled “The Fly,” features a man designing video games in his head — or hallucinating vigorously. (The two were not mutually exclusive among the company’s designers.) The effects were done by Abel and Associates, the pioneering computer animation firm who worked on TRON and many commercials from the 1970s and ‘80s. In this ad, they re-envision Atari games like Yars’ Revenge, Asteroids, and Star Raiders as fully immersive 3D experiences that pull the players into the action.


I never saw this spot myself, but I imagine it was pretty impressive in a darkened theater in 35 mm. Atari did a couple of other theatrical spots before the Video Game Crash of 1983; here’s one for the arcade version of Dig Dug, which I did see:

(Interesting factoid: the original theme song was sung by none other than Chubby Checker, but he was replaced by another performer because Atari was afraid he wouldn’t appeal to kids.)

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