Home Atari purchases 1970s/80s arch rival Intellivision to end the longest console war in history

Atari purchases 1970s/80s arch rival Intellivision to end the longest console war in history

Back in the late 1970s Atari and Intellivision were head to head, tooth and nail for the home console market. Space Invaders and Pac-Man were doing the business in the arcades and anybody who could replicate those experiences in the living room was set for the big bucks. These two gaming behemoths from an era gone by were set to fight it out to the death.

For background, the Intellivision was our first gaming machine when I was a small kid. I loved it. I still have one along with 86 of the 126 games that ever came out for it. There are family memories of the Intellivision I don’t have about any other piece of technology – and I have owned just about everything gaming-wise.

Family game days every Sunday with relatives who are long since no longer with us – I can remember those like it was yesterday. So yes, the Intellivision means a lot.

Now, after some 45 years, the original console war seems to have come to a conclusion with today’s news that Atari has purchased the Intellivision brand and certain games from Intellivision LLC.

“This was a very rare opportunity to unite former competitors and bring together fans of Atari, Intellivision, and the golden age of gaming,” said Wade Rosen, Chairman and CEO of Atari.

Now it’s obviously not as romantic as it sounds, both companies bear little resemblance to their originals. Mattel has not been involved with the Intellivision for many years.

Amico arrangement

A new Intellivision console – the Amico was mooted a few years back under the guidance of Tommy Tallarico – better known in the industry for his award-winning soundtracks to many Sega games such as Earthworm Jim and the like.

I spoke a lot with Tommy during the early Amico days – his enthusiasm to get the project over the line for a lot of the right reasons – families don’t game with each other anymore – rang true of my experiences of the original console.

It was not to be however, funding, Covid and so many other factors hamstrung the Amico and it has since been rebooted as a mobile gaming platform of sorts, with limited edition hardware.

“Uniting Atari and Intellivision after 45 years ends the longest-running console war in history,” said Mike Mika, Studio Head at Digital Eclipse, an Atari-owned game studio.

The purchase by Atari includes the rights to 200 games from the portfolio as well as the trademarks. Intellivision Entertainment will rebrand and continue the development of Amico under license from Atari.

“Atari has been a valuable partner and we have every confidence they will be a responsible steward of the storied Intellivision brand,” said Phil Adam, CEO of Intellivision Entertainment. “We look forward to our expanded collaboration and bringing a broad array of new Atari and Intellivision titles to the Amico and Amico Home family gaming platforms.”

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Paul McNally
Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media. Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020. Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine,…

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