Atari Games

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Atari Games was an American producer of arcade games, originally part of Atari. When Warner Communications sold the computer and game console divisions of Atari in 1984 to Jack Tramiel, it initially retained the arcade division, naming the company Atari Games. In 1985, controlling interest was sold to Namco, but they soon lost interest in operating an American subsidiary. In 1986 a group of employees bought Namco's share.

Atari Games continued to manufacture arcade games and, starting in 1987, also sold cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System under the Tengen brand name, including a version of Tetris. The companies exchanged a number of lawsuits in the late 1980s related to disputes over the rights to Tetris and Tengen's circumvention of Nintendo's lockout chip, which prevented third parties from creating unauthorized games. (Atari Games' legal battles with Nintendo should not be confused with those of its former parent company--Atari also exchanged lawsuits with Nintendo in the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

In 1989, Time-Life bought Warner Communications, forming Time Warner. In 1993 Time Warner once again bought a controlling interest in the company and changed the name of Atari Games to Time Warner Interactive (TWI). In 1996, TWI was sold to WMS Industries (owners of the Williams, and Bally/Midway arcade brands) and reverted back to the name Atari Games. When Hasbro Interactive bought the remains of Atari Inc., the console manufacturer, and resurrected the Atari name in the home software arena, Atari Games was renamed Midway Games West to avoid confusing the two brands. Midway Games left the arcade market to concentrate on home systems in 2001, ending Atari's pivotal influence in the arcade industry. Midway Games West, still producing games for home systems, was disbanded in 2003 after a slump in game sales.

Selected arcade games

See also: Atari Inc.

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