Arcade

Atari Liberator: Failure to Launch

Posted by flightflashgame

I am sure you will have noticed that things have been rather quiet on the blog in recent weeks. I have lots going on, so apologies for the lack of output currently. But an announcement is imminent regarding the book that I’ve working hard to complete (almost there!), so do keep an eye out for that in the weeks ahead.

That said there are a couple of videos I wanted to share this week: the first is an excellent piece put together by Cassandra Quirk a.k.a “Vintage Arcade Gal”. Cassandra takes an intimate look at Atari’s lesser-known arcade title Liberator. This was a game that had a troubled birth at a time when Atari was arguably starting to lose focus, desperately trying to find that ‘secret sauce’ that had made its games so popular up to that point. Be sure to check out Cassandra’s site – it contains excellent content, well worthy of your time.

Little has been discussed about Liberator over the years, (most likely because it was a game that had a production run in the hundreds, rather than thousands), despite having a huge amount of production and positioning thrown at it, as well as a licence partnership with none other than DC Comics. Do check it out – although Liberator was not a commercial success, it is a fascinating look at a game that many of us have overlooked over the years.

I was asked to contribute along the way, so you can check out my Covid beard along with some of my thoughts on the game:

While you check out Cassandra’s blog, make a point of looking at her bespoke Liberator Cabaret build – it is a thing of beauty.

The other video was something that I stumbled across that doesn’t appear to have had much love over the years.

What’s Up America! was an early reality TV show that aired on the Showtime channel in America between 1979 and 1981. This particualar mini documentary looks at the state of the video game industry at the time (I would estimate the date of filming to be sometime during early 1981). It features interviews with Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, Lyle Rains, Atari’s Vice President of Coin Operated Engineering. Check out the very cool Missile Command cockpit behind Lyle! Bonus points if you can identify the other cabinet in the background!

Although the focus is primarily on Atari coin-op games, arcade games from other companies are shown, and Atari’s unreleased Cosmos holographic handheld game is even briefly shown and discussed by co-creator Roger Hector which looked like a very cool device for the time.

Anyway, short and sweet this week – let me know your thoughts on these two videos in the comments below.

Credit: Atari Liberator: Failure to Launch