- One of the joys of big sister site Gamasutra is that we can run high quality game and company histories, something that most other sites don't get to - and our latest is 'The History of Atari: 1971-1977', the first of a three-part series by Steve Fulton, which delves into the origins of the seminal game developer, publisher, and manufacturer.

Fulton, who works at Mattel and writes over at 8BitRocket.com, has already raised the subject of 'Where is the great, all-encompassing history of Atari?' over at his blog - so I mailed him and asked him to work on it for us.

He's done an awesome job so far - here's his notes on the explosion that was Atari's Pong: "By March of 1973, Pong was deemed a bona fide phenomenon for Atari. They had sold 8,000 - 10,000 machines, and would eventually sell upwards of 35,000. The day Pong was released is marked by the coin-op industry as the first nail in the coffin of pinball."

Oh, and this a good paragraph, for the completist: "Some of the Pong competition in 1973 included: Elepong from Taito, Davis Cup by Taito (each player had two paddles), Computer Space Ball (1972) from Nutting Associates, Hockey by Ramtek, Hockey TV from Sega, Leader from Midway (a very innovative 4-player Pong variant with a wall in the middle for deflection), Olympic Tennis from See-Fun (2 or 4 players), Pro Tennis from Williams Mfg. Co. (4 players), Paddle Battle from Allied Leisure (exact copy of Pong), Paddle-Ball from Williams (exact copy of Pong), Pong-Tron from Sega (exact copy of Pong), Pong-Tron II from Sega (exact copy of Pong), Pro Hockey from Taito, Rally from For-Play, TV Hockey from Chicago Coin (exact copy of Pong), T.V. Tennis from US Billiards (exact copy of Pong), TV Ping Pong from Chicago Coin (exact copy of Pong), Table Tennis from Nutting Associates (exact copy of Pong), Tennis Tourney from Allied Leisure (4 player Pong), Winner from Midway (an exact copy of Pong) and Winner IV from Midway."

Blimey! There's another few thousand words of canonical goodness hiding in the article apart from this, too.