Art of Atari (Conte, R., V., Lapetino, T., 2016)

Art of Atari (2016) written by Robert V. Conte and Tim Lapetino

If you are interested in the history of video games, Art of Atari is a pretty good book to get into it. Unlike many other histories, Lapetino and Conte tackle the history of Atari through an asset, that is often ignored: art. Not only does he shed light on the art of game boxes and the people who painted all those fabulous pieces, he sheds light on the actual design of the advertisements and the game consoles and arcade cabinets as well.

Through the 320 or so pages Art of Atari gives a voice to people, who made sure that the games Atari did would stand out as well as whet the appetite of the people about to buy them, by promising them something grand by box or cabinet art alone.

From the early 1970's, when Atari was founded, to the rise of the personal computers in the 1980's and the fall of Atari's own machine manufacturing in the 1990's, Lapetino and Conte chronicle the beginning, the change and the departure of many of the key people who worked in order to make a difference. No-one, who worked there really realised how big of an impact Atari would leave. Even less the artist who worked at Atari realise how much their own work would resonate with people even now.

Another aspect, that many of the artists say, and whit which I agree, is that the more common the games became, the more boring the art turned as well. The pioneering work turned into more mundane 9 to 5 work, which had its own effect on matters.

As the old computer game art is a relatively overlooked genre, it is a nice thing to see such lovingly crafted book about it. Even if you wouldn't be a fan of Atari in general, I certainly wasn't an Atari nostalgic myself, you still might appreciate this comprehensive look towards it.

Art of Atari also has a companion piece book, Art of Atari Poster Collection, which provides 40 finely printed copies of some of the greatest game art pieces ever made. I wrote about that one a while ago, and if you aren't interested in perusing a book about the people who made the art, then maybe you'd be more inclined to look some awesome pictures they made, maybe even hanging those said pictures on your wall.

Art of Atari is available as a printed book and ebook. If you don't want a physical book in your hands, the ebook is a cheaper option.