Mobility

The Handheld Museum: A tribute to the early history of handheld gaming

Atari Cosmos - An Interesting history

Atari Cosmos (1981, LED, AC only, Model# EG500)
U. S. Patent # 4,421,317
Invented by: Roger Hector and Harry Jenkins, Jr. (according to the patent)

Atari Cosmos is a prototype game that was pretty much finished, but Atari decided to scrap at the last minute. (Partly (if not mainly) due to the fact that it really does suck as far as a game is concerned. :) They claimed it was 3-D or holographic, when in reality it was just a small grid of LEDs (7x6) with a dual-image hologram used as a background. There were two lights inside of the game shining on the hologram at different angles, and that would cause one of two images to light up (in the case of the Space Invader game, there was a constant background, and when you died an image of an alien shooting you would appear). Eight games were developed (along with the holograms), and all of them were programmed into the base unit. A series of tabs on the 'cartridge' told the base unit which games to play. 5 Cosmos units are known to exist today, and 3 of those 5 are only empty shell mock-ups (although Atari made hundreds of the empty shells, it isn't currently known if these were destroyed/thrown away, or if they are waiting to be in a warehouse or garage somewhere...). One of the two working prototypes (and at least one of the mock-ups) belongs to Curt Vendel of the Atari Historical Society (these are his pictured, photographs taken during Philly Classic 2001, thanks again Curt for letting us play with this elusive game!). The only other known working prototype is still in the hands of a former Atari employee. If you want more info on this system, check out the Atari Historical Society at www.atari-history.com.

15 comments
sabu2005
sabu2005

I had this watch. The game consists of getting the pieces to build a pyramid. If you let three peaces away, then the game is over. And when you get the pieces upside down, you get more points.

blue6demon
blue6demon

Hi ! Just wanted to tell you that this game had the VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) technology no LED here :)

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

but, I did have a great electronic pool game... Anyone know which one I'm talking about? I can't rtemember the company name. It was in the 80's.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I loved electronic quarterback! I also had a cool baseball game for two players. One guy batted and ran while the other had a pitching controller (FBall, Slider, Curve, Sinker, KB, etc.) that was on a wire connected to the top of the game so you could play head to head and just switch roles from pitcher to hitter, VERY cool at my little league baseball parties!

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

I'd be interested to know if anyone had any of the games in this gallery. Every time people my age start talking about this kind of stuff, funny ( or not ) stories come to the surface that are somehow linked to these games/devices.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

Interesting - Thanks for that Blue!

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

I think I remember a kid down the road that had an electronic pool game. I googled and all I found was the patent application - which looks like the right time frame...Interesting anyway. www.freepatentsonline.com/4346892.html

blue6demon
blue6demon

Hi ! That would be the Entex baseball game, they made 3 of those, 2 were black and one white.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

As soon as I read the slider, and Fball, and Curve part, I remember playing that too - or maybe something like it.

Fregeus
Fregeus

I have Mattel's Baseball (1978, LED, 9 Volt, Model# 2942). Still works fine. I play it from time to time. Kinda reminds me of the good old days. Mine doesn't look as good as the one in the picture though. I used mine A LOT!! TCB

blue6demon
blue6demon

I'm one of the collectors from Rik website forum, i have about 180 of those games, wich is not much compared to some of the guys (and a girl) there !!!

rchew
rchew

Between my brother and I we had just about all of the titles relased by Coleco. Basket Ball and Soccer were my favs. Also had the D&D game but never got into it. I just remember having one. What a trip down memory lane...

teedot
teedot

I had the Donkey Kong tabletop as well as the Galaxian tabletop (which wasn't featured). It's great to see all these old games on here!

floorshine
floorshine

...I had Football I, which was a blast. One game that I had, which wasn't shown, was 'Battlestar Galactica.' A black handheld. You used a small metal joystick to avoid "Cylon" blasts and a button to fire your own. Tons-o-fun. This would have to be around 1979.