Information compiled by Duane Alan Hahn, a.k.a. Random Terrain.
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Space Invaders (Atari) BG ✔
Adventure (Atari) BG ✔
BASIC Programming (Atari) BG ✔
3-D Tic-Tac-Toe (Atari) BG ✔
Circus Atari (Atari) BG ✔
Golf (Atari) BG ✔
Night Driver (Atari) BG ✔
Boxing (Activision) BG ✔
Checkers (Activision) BG ✔
Dragster (Activision) BG ✔
Fishing Derby (Activision) BG ✔
Championship Soccer (Atari) BG ✔
Dodge ‘Em (Atari) BG ✔
Maze Craze (Atari) BG ✔
Video Checkers (Atari) BG ✔
Bridge (Activision) BG ✔
Skiing (Activision) BG ✔
Pages in this Subsection
Atari 2600 Game History: 1980
Page last updated on: 2020y_11m_29d_1303t
Below is an incomplete list of Atari 2600 video game release dates by month in the USA for the year 1980 along with lists of top 100 music (selected hits in the order they charted), new movies at the theater, and new TV shows to help summon your treasured memories of the Atari 2600 years with the bonus of recreating the magical feelings of that special time.
If you were too young or not even born yet, play the songs in the order they are listed and watch video clips or commercials for the movies and TV shows (in order) and you might get a sense of what it was like living from month to month back in 1980. There were no smartphones with an Internet full of knowledge and entertainment at your fingertips. If you wanted to know something, you had to go to the library and try to find the information in a book. If you were lucky, you had an encyclopedia set at home, but it would probably be many decades out of date.
Links that jump to other places on this page are blue. Links that lead to other pages online are red.
Quick List and Index
Not Set in Stone
Most of the release dates below are not set in stone. Games will be moved as better information is found, so be sure to check back once in a while.
Many games are marked as a best guess. Some guesses are worse than others. Below is a list of the types of guesses that might be on this page.
Best Guess (BG): At least one magazine or newsletter mentioned the month a game was released or supposed to be released or newspaper ads have been found.
Extreme Best Guess (EBG): A vague mention of the release month in a magazine or newsletter.
Super Extreme Best Guess (SEBG): The Video Game Update newsletter only had a review for the game (no release month mentioned), so it's a semi-educated wild guess. The review could have happened the same month the game was released or the review could have been published a month or more later.
Desperate Super Extreme Best Guess (DSEBG): There might be an ad in a magazine to go on if we're lucky. It's a desperate semi-educated wild guess.
Green Check Mark ✔
I signed up for the most expensive subscription option at Newspapers.com in November of 2020 so I could finally look up games for myself. As I find the earliest newspaper ads for a game, I'll add a green check mark for that entry to indicate that the definitive release date has probably been found for that game.
Remember, the date on the box, cartridge, manual, and copyright screen can be different from the actual release date. For example, Atari 2600 Pac-Man was released in March/April of 1982, but the box, cart, manual, and copyright screen have 1981 as the copyright date. It usually took around 6 months for a programmer to make an Atari VCS game back then and that's not counting the time it took to make the manuals, boxes, and cartridges.
YouTube and Beyond
To help make your experience more enjoyable, most items listed on this page have a link to related search results at YouTube (YT) where you can watch music videos, scenes from movies, or clips from TV shows. The movies and TV shows listed on this page also have links to web sites such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Wikipedia (WP).
You Can Help
If you find a mistake, or have more information to add, such as month/year release dates for games, please contact me. Every little bit of credible information helps, no matter how insignificant you think it might be. Thanks for your help.
“Flirtin’ with Disaster” by Molly Hatchet (Jan 5) YT
“On The Radio” by Donna Summer (Jan 12) YT
“Let Me Go, Love” by Nicolette Larson & Michael McDonald (Jan 12) YT 68%
“Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” by Pink Floyd (Jan 19) YT
“Too Hot” by Kool & The Gang (Jan 19) YT
“Him” by Rupert Holmes (Jan 19) YT
“I Wish I Was 18 Again” by George Burns (Jan 19) YT
“Special Lady” by Ray, Goodman & Brown (Jan 26) YT
“Refugee” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Jan 26) YT
“How Do I Make You” by Linda Ronstadt (Feb 2) YT
“Lost In Love” by Air Supply (Feb 9) YT
“And The Beat Goes On” by The Whispers (Feb 9) YT
“Baby Talks Dirty” by The Knack (Feb 9) YT
“Call Me” by Blondie (Feb 16) YT 70%
“Ride Like The Wind” by Christopher Cross (Feb 16) YT 65%
“Sexy Eyes” by Dr. Hook (Feb 16) YT
“Cars” by Gary Numan (Feb 16) YT 95%
“Off The Wall” by Michael Jackson (Feb 16) YT 95%
“Brass In Pocket” by The Pretenders (Feb 16) YT
“What I Like About You” by The Romantics (Feb 16) YT 68%
“Voice Of Freedom” by Jim Kirk and the TM Singers (Feb 16) YT
“I Can’t Tell You Why” by The Eagles (Feb 23) YT 65%
“Pilot Of The Airwaves” by Charlie Dore (Feb 23) YT
“Set Me Free” by Utopia (Feb 23) YT
“Keep The Fire” by Kenny Loggins (Feb 23) YT
Best Guess based on Merchandising and newspaper ads. There's a February 1980 newspaper ad saying that Space Invaders was coming in soon and newspaper ads from March 1980 saying that the game just arrived or was now in stock.
In March, Atari began shipping its “Space Invaders” cartridge, a property to which the firm holds exclusive home video rights. “Invaders” is considered to be the most popular arcade video game ever introduced.
“Any Way You Want It” by Journey (Mar 1) YT 75%
“Outside My Window” by Stevie Wonder (Mar 1) YT 60%
“Think About Me” by Fleetwood Mac (Mar 8) YT 65%
“Do Right” by Paul Davis (Mar 8) YT
“You May Be Right” by Billy Joel (Mar 15) YT
“Stomp!” by Brothers Johnson (Mar 15) YT
“Let Me Be The Clock” by Smokey Robinson (Mar 15) YT
“The Rose” by Bette Midler (Mar 22) YT
“Wondering Where The Lions Are” by Bruce Cockburn (Mar 22) YT 55%
“Train In Vain (Stand By Me)” by The Clash (Mar 22) YT
“Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll” by Vaughan Mason and Crew (Mar 22) YT
“Funky Town” by Lipps, Inc. (Mar 29) YT 95%
“Let’s Get Serious” by Jermaine Jackson (Mar 29) YT
“Breakdown Dead Ahead” by Boz Scaggs (Mar 29) YT
“Should’ve Never Let You Go” by Neil & Dara Sedaka (Mar 29) YT
“Gee Whiz” by Bernadette Peters (Mar 29) YT
“After You” by Dionne Warwick (Mar 29) YT
Best Guess based on newspaper ads starting in April 1980. According to eegad at AtariAge, Adventure wasn't available for his grandmother to buy until the middle of July 1980.
In a Halcyon Days interview, Warren Robinett said that he finished Adventure and BASIC Programming in June of 1979.
A kid sent a letter to Atari on August 4, 1980 about finding the Easter egg.
Best Guess based on newspaper ads starting in April 1980.
In a Halcyon Days interview, Warren Robinett said that he finished Adventure and BASIC Programming in June of 1979.
“Biggest Part Of Me” by Ambrosia (Apr 5) YT 70%
“We Live For Love” by Pat Benatar (Apr 5) YT
“Steal Away” by Robbie Dupree (Apr 12) YT 95%
“Hurt So Bad” by Linda Ronstadt (Apr 12) YT
“I Don’t Want To Walk Without You” by Barry Manilow (Apr 12) YT 60%
“Love Stinks” by J. Geils Band (Apr 12) YT 55%
“She’s Out Of My Life” by Michael Jackson (Apr 19) YT 65%
“Two Places At The Same Time” by Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio (Apr 19) YT
“Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone” by Manhattan Transfer (Apr 19) YT 95%
“Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s (Apr 19) YT 55%
“Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)” by Paul McCartney (Apr 26) YT 75%
“Shining Star” by The Manhattans (Apr 26) YT
“Little Jeannie” by Elton John (May 3) YT
“Against The Wind” by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (May 3) YT
“New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra (May 3) YT
“Answering Machine” by Rupert Holmes (May 3) YT 60%
“Tired Of Toein’ The Line” by Rocky Burnette (May 10) YT 70%
“Let Me Love You Tonight” by Pure Prairie League (May 10) YT
“Cupid/I’ve Loved You For A Long Time (Medley)” by Spinners (May 17) YT
“One Fine Day” by Carole King (May 17) YT
“All Night Long” by Joe Walsh (May 17) YT
“I Only Want To Be With You” by The Tourists (May 17) YT
“Magic” by Olivia Newton-John (May 24) YT 85%
“It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” by Billy Joel (May 24) YT 70%
“Misunderstanding” by Genesis (May 24) YT 75%
“I’m Alive” by Electric Light Orchestra [ELO] (May 24) YT 70%
“Take Your Time (Do It Right)” by The S.O.S. Band (May 31) YT 65%
“More Love” by Kim Carnes (May 31) YT
“In America” by Charlie Daniels Band (May 31) YT
“Gimme Some Lovin’” by The Blue Brothers (May 31) YT
Best Guess based on newspaper ads starting in June 1980.
Best Guess based on newspaper ads starting in June 1980. The earliest mention of Circus Atari in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from June 15, 1980.
Sears name: Circus.
Best Guess based on newspaper ads starting in June 1980.
“Sailing” by Christopher Cross (Jun 14) YT 85%
“All Out Of Love” by Air Supply (Jun 14) YT
“Fame” by Irene Cara (Jun 14) YT
“Let My Love Open The Door” by Pete Townshend (Jun 14) YT
“Into The Night” by Benny Mardones (Jun 14) YT
“Take A Little Rhythm” by Ali Thomson (Jun 14) YT
“Jojo” by Boz Scaggs (Jun 14) YT
“Empire Strikes Back (Medley)” by Meco (Jun 14) YT
“Drivin’ My Life Away” by Eddie Rabbitt (Jun 21) YT 80%
“Love The World Away” by Kenny Rogers (Jun 21) YT
“Old Fashion Love” by The Commodores (Jun 21) YT
“Make A Little Magic” by The Dirt Band (Jun 21) YT
“Shandi” by KISS (Jun 21) YT
“One In A Million You” by Larry Graham (Jun 28) YT
“Why Not Me” by Fred Knoblock (Jun 28) YT 60%
“I Can’t Let Go” by Linda Ronstadt (Jun 28) YT
“Play The Game” by Queen (Jun 28) YT
“Who Shot J.R.?” by Gary Burbank with Band McNally (Jun 28) YT
Fishing Derby started out as a video aquarium and Bob Whitehead helped make the shark according to the book Video Invaders (82 p53).
“Emotional Rescue” by Rolling Stones (Jul 5) YT
“Give Me The Night” by George Benson (Jul 5) YT 75%
“Boulevard” by Jackson Browne (Jul 5) YT
“Cocaine” by Eric Clapton (Jul 5) YT
“Upside Down” by Diana Ross (Jul 12) YT
“Lookin’ For Love” by Johnny Lee (Jul 12) YT
“I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins (Jul 12) YT 95%
“You’re The Only Woman” by Ambrosia (Jul 12) YT
“You’re Supposed To Keep Your Love For Me” by Jermaine Jackson (Jul 12) YT
“Hot Rod Hearts” by Robbie Dupree (Jul 19) YT
“Hey There Lonely Girl” by Robert John (Jul 19) YT
“He’s So Shy” by Pointer Sisters (Jul 26) YT
“First Time Love” by Livingston Taylor (Jul 26) YT
“You Better Run” by Pat Benatar (Jul 26) YT
“Jesse” by Carly Simon (Aug 2) YT
“All Over The World” by Electric Light Orchestra [ELO] (Aug 2) YT 80%
“Don’t Ask Me Why” by Billy Joel (Aug 2) YT
“Late In The Evening” by Paul Simon (Aug 9) YT
“Never Knew Love Like This Before ” by Stephanie Mills (Aug 9) YT
“Xanadu” by Olivia Newton-John & ELO (Aug 9) YT 85%
“How Do I Survive” by Amy Holland (Aug 9) YT
“Red Light” by Linda Clifford (Aug 9) YT
“Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen (Aug 16) YT 75%
“Out Here On My Own” by Irene Cara (Aug 16) YT
“The Legend Of Wooley Swamp” by Charlie Daniels Band (Aug 16) YT
“Games Without Frontiers” by Peter Gabriel (Aug 16) YT
“Look What You’ve Done To Me” by Boz Scaggs (Aug 23) YT
“I Got You” by Split Enz (Aug 23) YT 55%
“Thunder And Lightning” by Chicago (Aug 23) YT 70%
“Whip It” by Devo (Aug 30) YT 70%
Best Guess based on Leisure Time Electronics and the mention of soccer in a September 27, 1980 newspaper ad.
Sears name: Soccer.
Championship Soccer by Steve Wright was renamed to Pelé’s Soccer with no change to the game.
Sears name: Dodger Cars.
Sears name: Maze Mania.
Extreme Best Guess based on Leisure Time Electronics and newspaper ads starting in September 1980. The earliest mention of Maze Craze in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from September 10, 1980.
Sears name: Checkers.
“Woman In Love” by Barbra Streisand (Sep 6) YT
“I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross (Sep 6) YT 65%
“Real Love” by Doobie Brothers (Sep 6) YT
“On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson (Sep 6) YT
“Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray (Sep 6) YT
“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC (Sep 6) YT
“Touch And Go” by The Cars (Sep 6) YT
“Turn It On Again” by Genesis (Sep 6) YT
“The Breaks” by Kurtis Blow (Sep 6) YT
“Dreamin’” by Cliff Richard (Sep 13) YT
“Theme From ‘The Dukes Of Hazzard’ (Good Ol’ Boys)” by Waylon Jennings (Sep 13) YT
“If You Should Sail” by Nielsen/Pearson (Sep 13) YT
“The Wanderer” by Donna Summer (Sep 20) YT 60%
“Master Blaster (Jammin’)” by Stevie Wonder (Sep 20) YT 80%
“Dreamer” by Supertramp (Sep 20) YT 75%
“That Girl Could Sing” by Jackson Browne (Sep 20) YT
“Let Me Talk” by Earth, Wind & Fire (Sep 20) YT
“More Than I Can Say” by Leo Sayer (Sep 27) YT 55%
“Lovely One” by The Jacksons (Sep 27) YT 75%
“I Believe In You” by Don Williams (Sep 27) YT 55%
“She’s So Cold” by Rolling Stones (Sep 27) YT
“This Time” by John Cougar (Sep 27) YT
“I’m Happy That Love Has Found You” by Jimmy Hall (Sep 27) YT
“Turning Japanese” by The Vapors (Sep 27) YT 60%
Atari adds four home video games to its current list of 36 titles.
The company also announces plans to sponsor the first Space Invaders/Breakout National Championships. The contest will begin in the fall with five regional championships and end with a national finals in San Francisco.
One of the new home video games is Championship Soccer, which features a “scrolling” playing field. This feature gives viewers the impression that they are “hovering above the playing area, following the ball and the teams as they travel up and down the field.”
Maze Craze is a new multifaceted game that challenges two players to race through a maze, each chasing or avoiding “computer foes” which are also traveling through the maze. The game can increase in complexity in any of 256 ways.
Atari Video Checkers provides the player with nine levels of computer opposition, each one rising in game-skills.
In Dodge ‘Em, a new drivers' game, the player/driver tries to avoid colliding with an oncoming computer car while gaining points for completing laps. However, with each successful lap the game gets harder.
A new dealer support plan from Atari includes the firm’s largest advertising campaign, National and local advertising, promotions, cooperative ads. display materials and an expanded public relations program are part of the campaign.
The ad campaign was slated to begin in early September with advertisements on primetime and major sports-event shows. Three different ads are involved, two for the VCS unit itself and one for the game cartridges.
Television advertising will be complemented by print ads in top consumer magazines.
Atari has also scheduled two special promotions for the third and fourth quarters. The Keyboard Savings promotion, which kicked off July 1 and will continue until September 30, gives a free set of keyboard controllers to consumers who buy A Game of Concentration and Codebreaker.
From November 15 to January 15, 1981, Atari will offer $5 rebate coupons on any two of 20 selected game cartridges. This promotion will be supplemented by direct-mailings to all registered VCS owners.
Posters for both the promotions are offered to dealers for display in their stores with Atari VCS cartridge catalogs.
The firm is also providing ready-made ad slicks, suggested radio announcements and suggested layouts for the dealer’s own ads. In addition, a five percent co-op allowance will be available to dealers.
The new public relations program will be geared to draw attention and major news coverage to Atari's major role in electronic games. A highlight of the program will be the Space Invaders/Breakout National Championships.
Activision, Independent designer and marketer of video game cartridges says orders booked during the first 100 days since its new game cartridges were released are more than double the company's original projections. The recently formed firm also reports that its planned 1980 production was “virtually sold out” during the recent Consumer Electronics Show which was held in Chicago.
Activision president Jim Levy notes that “programmable video game sales continue to grow at an annual 40 to 50 percent rate despite current economic unrest. In contrast to the uncertainty of sales of many other products, video game dealers find continued strength in game cartridge sales.”
The company demonstrated its first four games, designed for use with the Atari Video Computer System, at the summer CES. Shipments of Boxing, Fishing Derby, Checkers and Dragster commenced in July. The company also gave a sneak preview of two new titles scheduled to be released in December—Skiing and Bridge.
“Lady” by Kenny Rogers (Oct 4) YT
“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar (Oct 4) YT 75%
“Never Be The Same” by Christopher Cross (Oct 11) YT
“Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometimes” by The Korgis (Oct 11) YT
“Sometimes A Fantasy” by Billy Joel (Oct 11) YT
“I Love Women” by Jim Hurt (Oct 11) YT
“Brite Eyes” by Robbin Thompson Band (Oct 18) YT
“Private Idaho” by The B-52’s (Oct 18) YT
“Celebration” by Kool & The Gang (Oct 25) YT 65%
“Every Woman In The World” by Air Supply (Oct 25) YT
“It’s My Turn” by Diana Ross (Oct 25) YT
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” by The Police (Oct 25) YT 65%
“Suddenly” by Olivia Newton-John & Cliff Richard (Oct 25) YT
“Ashes To Ashes” by David Bowi (Oct 25) YT [Bubbling Under Top 100]
“Love On The Rocks” by Neil Diamond (Nov 1) YT
“Guilty” by Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb (Nov 1) YT
“(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon (Nov 1) YT 65%
“I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt (Nov 8) YT 65%
“Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen (Nov 8) YT
“Stop This Game” by Cheap Trick (Nov 8) YT
“Could I Be Dreaming” by Pointer Sisters (Nov 8) YT
“The Tide Is High” by Blondie (Nov 15) YT 65%
“Remote Control” by The Reddings (Nov 15) YT
“Passion” by Rod Stewart (Nov 22) YT
“The Winner Takes It All” by ABBA (Nov 22) YT
“I Made It Through The Rain” by Barry Manilow (Nov 22) YT
“Time Is Time” by Andy Gibb (Nov 22) YT
“One Step Closer” by Doobie Brothers (Nov 22) YT
“Killin’ Time” by Fred Knoblock & Susan Anton (Nov 22) YT
“He Can’t Love You” by Michael Stanley Band (Nov 22) YT
“I Need Your Lovin’” by Teena Marie (Nov 22) YT
“9 To 5” by Dolly Parton (Nov 29) YT 60%
“Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon (Nov 29) YT
“Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan (Nov 29) YT 70%
“Miss Sun” by Boz Scaggs (Nov 29) YT 80%
“Smokey Mountain Rain” by Ronnie Milsap (Nov 29) YT
“Cold Love” by Donna Summer (Nov 29) YT
“Giving It Up For Your Love” by Delbert McClinton (Dec 6) YT
“Games People Play” by Alan Parsons Project (Dec 6) YT
“Heartbreak Hotel” by The Jacksons (Dec 6) YT 95%
“Fashion” by David Bowie (Dec 6) YT
“Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg (Dec 13) YT
“I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It” by Stevie Wonder (Dec 13) YT
“A Little In Love” by Cliff Richard (Dec 13) YT
“Ah! Leah!” by Donnie Iris (Dec 13) YT 60%
“Breakfast In America” by Supertramp (Dec 13) YT 80%
“What Can You Get A Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb?)” by Star Wars Intergalactic Droid Choir and Chorale (Dec 13) YT
“Seven Bridges Road” by The Eagles (Dec 20) YT
“Back In Black” by AC/DC (Dec 20) YT 55%
“Who’s Making Love” by The Blues Brothers (Dec 20) YT
“(Ghost) Riders In The Sky” by The Outlaws (Dec 27) YT
“United Together” by Aretha Franklin (Dec 27) YT
“I Yam What I Yam” by Robin Williams (Popeye) (Dec 27) YT [Bubbling Under Top 100]
CBS Commercial Breaks - December 3, 1980 (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) YT
Atari 2600 Game History: 1980
Information Compiled From the Following Sources
Some people appear to have a mental illness because they have a vitamin B deficiency. For example, the wife of a guy I used to chat with online had severe mood swings which seemed to be caused by food allergies or intolerances. She would became irrational, obnoxious, throw tantrums, and generally act like she had a mental illness. The horrid behavior stopped after she started taking a vitamin B complex. I’ve been taking #ad Jarrow B-Right for many years. It makes me much easier to live with.
Unfermented soy is bad! “When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.” Fermented soy doesn’t bother me, but the various versions of unfermented soy (soy flour, soybean oil, and so on) that are used in all kinds of products these days causes a negative mental health reaction in me that a vitamin B complex can’t tame. The sinister encroachment of soy has made the careful reading of ingredients a necessity.
If you are overweight, have type II diabetes, or are worried about the condition of your heart, check out the videos by William Davis and Ivor Cummins. It seems that most people should avoid wheat, not just those who have a wheat allergy or celiac disease. Check out these books: #ad Undoctored, #ad Wheat Belly, and #ad Eat Rich, Live Long.
Negative ions are good for us. You might want to avoid positive ion generators and ozone generators. Whenever I need a new air cleaner (with negative ion generator), I buy it from surroundair.com. A plain old air cleaner is better than nothing, but one that produces negative ions makes the air in a room fresher and easier for me to breathe. It also helps to brighten my mood.
Never litter. Toss it in the trash or take it home. Do not throw it on the ground. Also remember that good people clean up after themselves at home, out in public, at a campsite and so on. Leave it better than you found it.
Seems like more people than ever finally care about water, land, and air pollution, but the climate change cash grab scam is designed to put more of your money into the bank accounts of greedy politicians. Those power-hungry schemers try to trick us with bad data and lies about overpopulation while pretending to be caring do-gooders. Trying to eliminate pollution is a good thing, but the carbon footprint of the average law-abiding human right now is actually making the planet greener instead of killing it.
Watch these two YouTube videos for more information:
Take a look at my page called The H Word and Beyond.
View this page and any external web sites at your own risk. I am not responsible for any possible spiritual, emotional, physical, financial or any other damage to you, your friends, family, ancestors, or descendants in the past, present, or future, living or dead, in this dimension or any other.
If reading this page opens a time vortex back to 1980, the good news is that I've heard there are infinite timelines and you can't do any damage to the timeline you came from. The bad news is that you can't return to your original timeline in the future, so enter the time vortex at your own risk.