Useful
Inventions
Favorite
Quotes
Game
Design
Atari
Memories
Personal
Pages

Home > Atari Memories > #Memories > Atari 2600 Video Game Release Dates for 1981

Atari 2600 Video Game Release Dates for 1981

With pop culture atmosphere.

Information compiled by Duane Alan Hahn, a.k.a. Random Terrain.

Tip Jar

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. (I get commissions for purchases made through certain links on this page.)

 

Release Date Quick List

January 1981

 

February 1981

Othello (Atari) BG

 

March 1981

Video Pinball (Atari) BG

Laser Blast (Activision) SEBG

Tennis (Activision) SEBG

Stellar Track (Sears) SEBG

 

April 1981

Missile Command (Atari) EBG

 

May 1981

Warlords (Atari) BG

 

June 1981

 

July 1981

Asteroids (Atari) BG

Freeway (Activision) BG

Kaboom! (Activision) BG

 

August 1981

Steeplechase (Sears) SEBG

 

September 1981

 

October 1981

 

November 1981

 

December 1981

Ice Hockey (Activision) BG

Stampede (Activision) BG

Skeet Shoot (Apollo) BG

Pages in this Subsection

Page last updated on: 2020y_09m_25d_0217t

Below is an incomplete list of Atari 2600 video game release dates by month in the USA for the year 1981 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 1981. 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 If you were lucky, you had an encyclopedia set at home, but it would probably be many decades out of date.

 

 

Link Colors

Links that jump to other places on this page are blue. Links that lead to other pages online are red.

 

 

Quick List and Index

For those who only want release dates and nothing else, there is a Release Date Quick List. This page also has an 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.

 

 

Best Guess

Many games are marked as a best guess. Some guesses are worse than others. Below is a list of the types of guesses that can 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.

 

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.

 

 

Copyright Date

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.

 

 

 

 

January 1981

January 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Fly Away” by Peter Allen  (Jan 10)   YT

“Woman” by John Lennon  (Jan 17)   YT

“Somebody’s Knockin’” by Terri Gibbs  (Jan 17)   YT   70%

“Treat Me Right” by Pat Benatar  (Jan 17)   YT

“Flash’s Theme” by Queen  (Jan 17)   YT

“Kiss On My List” by Daryl Hall & John Oates  (Jan 24)   YT   73%

“The Best Of Times” by STYX  (Jan 24)   YT

“Crying” by Don McLean  (Jan 24)   YT

“Hearts On Fire” by Randy Meisner  (Jan 24)   YT

“Too Tight” by Con Funk Shun  (Jan 24)   YT

“Rapture” by Blondie  (Jan 31)   YT   70%

“Hello Again” by Neil Diamond  (Jan 31)   YT

“What Kind Of Fool” by Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb  (Jan 31)   YT

“Ain’t Even Done With The Night” by John Cougar  (Jan 31)   YT

“Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy  (Jan 31)   YT

“Don’t You Know What Love Is” by Touch  (Jan 31)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for February >

January 1981

 

New at the Movies

Scanners  (Jan 14)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Incredible Shrinking Woman  (Jan 30)   YT   IMDb   WP

January 1981

 

New on TV

Dynasty  ABC  (Jan 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Hill Street Blues  NBC  (Jan 15)   YT   IMDb   WP

Harper Valley PTA  NBC  (Jan 16)   YT   IMDb   WP

Nero Wolfe  NBC  (Jan 16)   YT   IMDb   WP

Walking Tall  CBS  (Jan 31)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for February >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

February 1981

February 1981

 

Othello (Atari)

Best Guess using info from Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81). The earliest mention of Atari 2600 Othello in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from March 20, 1981, so this entry might need to be moved to March.

Atari Compendium has a General Radio newspaper ad that includes Othello from March 12, 1981.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81)

News:

A.N.A.L.O.G. (May/June 81 p25)

Reviews:

Book of Atari Software (83 p307)

February 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“While You See A Chance” by Steve Winwood  (Feb 7)   YT

“Don't Stand So Close To Me” by The Police  (Feb 7)   YT

“Don't Stop The Music” by Yarbrough & Peoples  (Feb 7)   YT

“And Love Goes On” by Earth, Wind & Fire  (Feb 7)   YT   80%

“8th Wonder” by SugarHill Gang  (Feb 7)   YT

“Once In A Lifetime” by Talking Heads  (Feb 7)   YT   [Bubbling Under Top 100]

“Morning Train (Nine To Five)” by Sheena Easton  (Feb 14)   YT   75%

“Just The Two Of Us” by Grover Washington, Jr.  (Feb 14)   YT

“Being With You” by Smokey Robinson  (Feb 14)   YT   60%

“How 'Bout Us” by Champaign  (Feb 14)   YT

“It's A Love Thing” by The Whispers  (Feb 14)   YT

“Angel Of The Morning” by Juice Newton  (Feb 21)   YT

“I Love You” by Climax Blues Band  (Feb 21)   YT

“Wasn't That A Party” by The Rovers  (Feb 21)   YT

“Who Do You Think You're Fooling” by Donna Summer  (Feb 21)   YT

“I Can't Stand It” by Eric Clapton & His Band  (Feb 28)   YT

“Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special  (Feb 28)   YT   55%

“Mister Sandman” by Emmylou Harris  (Feb 28)   YT

“Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)” by The Gap Band  (Feb 28)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for March >

February 1981

 

New at the Movies

Fort Apache, The Bronx  (Feb 6)   YT   IMDb   WP

American Pop  (Feb 13)   YT   IMDb   WP

Eyewitness  (Feb 13)   YT   IMDb   WP

February 1981

 

New on TV

The Brady Brides  NBC  (Feb 6)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for March >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

March 1981

March 1981

 

Video Pinball (Atari)

Best Guess using info from Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81) and gamasutra. The earliest mention of Atari 2600 Video Pinball in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from April 9, 1981, so this entry seems to belong here in March.

Atari Compendium has a General Radio newspaper ad that includes Video Pinball from August 28, 1981.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81)

Reviews:

Electronic Games (Mar 82 p66)

March 1981

 

Laser Blast (Activision)

Super Extreme Best Guess using info from the Klove list. The earliest mention of Laser Blast in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from March 20, 1981, so this entry seems to belong here in March.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Reviews:

Creative Computing Magazine (Mar 81 p64)

Creative Computing Magazine (Sep 81 p240)

Electronic Games (Winter 81 p42)

March 1981

 

Tennis (Activision)

Super Extreme Best Guess using info from the Klove list. The earliest mention of Tennis in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from March 20, 1981, so this entry seems to belong here in March.

Atari Compendium has a General Radio newspaper ad that includes Tennis from April 9, 1981.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Reviews:

Creative Computing Magazine (Mar 81 p64)

Creative Computing Magazine (Sep 81 p238)

Electronic Games (Winter 81 p42)

Ads:

Don't Just Reserve a Court. Own One. - Playboy Guide Electronic Entertainment (Fall/Winter 81)

Don't Just Reserve a Court. Own One. - Electronic Games (Winter 81)

March 1981

 

Stellar Track (Sears)

Super Extreme Best Guess. Stellar Track was a Sears exclusive. The earliest mention of Stellar Track in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from March 4, 1981. That's why this entry is in March for now.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

News:

Analog Computing (May/Jun 81 p25)

March 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Sukiyaki” by A Taste Of Honey  (Mar 7)   YT

“A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do) ” by Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio  (Mar 7)   YT

“Sweetheart” by Franke & The Knockouts  (Mar 7)   YT

“Her Town Too” by James Taylor & J.D. Souther  (Mar 14)   YT   75%

“Time Out Of Mind” by Steely Dan  (Mar 14)   YT   60%

“96 Tears” by Garland Jeffreys  (Mar 14)   YT

“Take It On The Run” by REO Speedwagon  (Mar 21)   YT

“Living Inside Myself” by Gino Vannelli  (Mar 21)   YT

“Too Much Time On My Hands” by STYX  (Mar 21)   YT   90%

“You Better You Bet” by The Who  (Mar 21)   YT

“I Missed Again” by Phil Collins  (Mar 21)   YT   60%

“Another One Rides The Bus” by Weird Al Yankovic  (Mar 21)   YT   [Bubbling Under Top 100]

“Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes  (Mar 28)   YT   80%

“Jessie's Girl” by Rick Springfield  (Mar 28)   YT

“Watching The Wheels” by John Lennon  (Mar 28)   YT

“What Are We Doing In Love” by Dottie West  (Mar 28)   YT

“Say You'll Be Mine” by Christopher Cross  (Mar 28)   YT

“Love You Like I Never Loved Before” by John O’Banion  (Mar 28)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for April >

March 1981

 

New at the Movies

All Night Long  (Mar 6)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Devil and Max Devlin  (Mar 6)   YT   IMDb   WP

On the Right Track  (Mar 6)   YT   IMDb   WP

Back Roads  (Mar 13)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Funhouse  (Mar 13)   YT   IMDb   WP

Modern Romance  (Mar 13)   YT   IMDb   WP

Omen III: The Final Conflict  (Mar 20)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Postman Always Rings Twice  (Mar 20)   YT   IMDb   WP

March 1981

 

New on TV

The Greatest American Hero  ABC  (Mar 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for April >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

April 1981

April 1981

 

Missile Command (Atari)

Extreme Best Guess based on an article at gamasutra and A History of … Games. The earliest mention of Missile Command in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from May 8, 1981, so this entry seems to belong here in April.

Trivia:

STARLOG had a three-issue, three-part, prize-laden fifth anniversary contest. The grand prize was an Atari Home Video Computer System, complete with two game cartridgesthe popular “Combat” game and Atari’s brand-new “Missile Command.” STARLOG #48 (Jul 81 p40)

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Reviews:

JoyStik (Dec 82 p57)

How To Win At Home Video Games (82 p57)

Electronic Games 1983 Software Encyclopedia (83 p27)

Book of Atari Software (83 p310)

Tips & Tricks:

Be A Home Videogame Superstar (82 p82)

April 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Find Your Way Back” by Jefferson Starship  (Apr 4)   YT

“Super-Trouper” by ABBA  (Apr 4)   YT

“I Don't Need You” by Rupert Holmes  (Apr 4)   YT   90%

“Stars on 45 Medley” by Stars on 45  (Apr 11)   YT   75%

“Winning” by Santana  (Apr 11)   YT   75%

“Since I Don't Have You” by Don McLean  (Apr 11)   YT

“Ai No Corrida” by Quincy Jones Featuring the vocals of Dune  (Apr 11)   YT   75%

“Lately” by Stevie Wonder  (Apr 11)   YT

“Time” by Alan Parsons Project  (Apr 18)   YT   90%

“Fool In Love With You” by Jim Photoglo  (Apr 18)   YT   75%

“Still Right Here In My Heart” by Pure Prairie League  (Apr 18)   YT

“One Day In Your Life” by Michael Jackson  (Apr 18)   YT

“America” by Neil Diamond  (Apr 25)   YT

“This Little Girl” by Gary "U.S." Bonds  (Apr 25)   YT

“Is It You” by Lee Ritenour  (Apr 25)   YT   78%

“I Can Take Care Of Myself” by Billy & The Beaters  (Apr 25)   YT

“Just So Lonely” by Get Wet  (Apr 25)   YT

“Give A Little Bit More” by Cliff Richard  (Apr 25)   YT

“Make That Move” by Shalamar  (Apr 25)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for May >

April 1981

 

New at the Movies

Hardly Working  (Apr 3)   YT   IMDb   WP

Excalibur  (Apr 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

Going Ape!  (Apr 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Howling  (Apr 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

Knightriders  (Apr 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

Nighthawks  (Apr 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

Caveman  (Apr 17)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Hand  (Apr 24)   YT   IMDb   WP

April 1981

 

New on TV

Private Benjamin  CBS  (Apr 6)   YT   IMDb   WP

Checking In  CBS  (Apr 9)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for May >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

May 1981

May 1981

 

Warlords (Atari)

Best Guess using info from Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81). A.N.A.L.O.G. said the game was due to be released at the end of June. A gamasutra article claims the game was released in April. The earliest mention of Warlords in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from May 7, 1981, so this entry might need to be moved to April.

Atari Compendium has a General Radio newspaper ad that includes Warlords from August 28, 1981.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81)

News:

A.N.A.L.O.G. (May/June 81 p25)

Reviews:

Honerable Mention and Best Pong Variant - Electronic Games (Mar 82 p48)

Electronic Games 1983 Software Encyclopedia (83 p34)

Tips & Tricks:

Atari Age (V1N2 Jul/Aug 82 p10)

May 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“You Make My Dreams” by Daryl Hall & John Oates  (May 2)   YT   70%

“Sweet Baby” by Stanley Clarke & George Duke  (May 2)   YT

“The Waiting” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers  (May 2)   YT

“Shaddap You Face” by Joe Dolce  (May 2)   YT

“Can You Feel It” by The Jacksons  (May 2)   YT   70%

“Theme From ‘Greatest American Hero’ (Believe It Or Not)” by Joey Scarbury  (May 9)   YT   65%

“Modern Girl” by Sheena Easton  (May 9)   YT

“Nobody Wins” by Elton John  (May 9)   YT

“The One That You Love” by Air Supply  (May 16)   YT

“Elvira” by Oak Ridge Boys  (May 16)   YT

“The Stroke” by Billy Squier  (May 16)   YT   55%

“Stronger Than Before” by Carole Bayer Sager  (May 16)   YT

“Double Dutch Bus” by Frankie Smith  (May 16)   YT   90%

“All Those Years Ago” by George Harrison  (May 23)   YT   70%

“Boy From New York City” by The Manhattan Transfer  (May 23)   YT

“Hearts” by Marty Balin  (May 23)   YT

“The Breakup Song” by Greg Kihn Band  (May 23)   YT

“A Life Of Illusion” by Joe Walsh  (May 23)   YT

“Slow Hand” by Pointer Sisters  (May 30)   YT

“Queen Of Hearts” by Juice Newton  (May 30)   YT   90%

“In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins  (May 30)   YT   60%

“Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through” by Jim Steinman  (May 30)   YT

“Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James  (May 30)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for June >

May 1981

 

New at the Movies

Friday the 13th Part 2  (May 1)   YT   IMDb   WP

Happy Birthday To Me  (May 15)   YT   IMDb   WP

Take This Job and Shove It  (May 15)   YT   IMDb   WP

Bustin' Loose  (May 22)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Four Seasons  (May 22)   YT   IMDb   WP

Death Hunt  (May 22)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Legend of the Lone Ranger  (May 22)   YT   IMDb   WP

Outland  (May 22)   YT   IMDb   WP

May 1981

 

New on TV

SCTV  NBC  (May 16)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for June >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

June 1981

June 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Gemini Dream” by Moody Blues  (Jun 6)   YT   90%

“Tom Sawyer” by Rush  (Jun 6)   YT

“Don't Let Him Go” by REO Speedwagon  (Jun 13)   YT

“Lady (You Bring Me Up)” by The Commodores  (Jun 20)   YT

“Touch Me When We're Dancing” by The Carpenters  (Jun 20)   YT

“The Kid Is Hot Tonight” by Loverboy  (Jun 20)   YT

“Some Changes Are For Good” by Dionne Warwick  (Jun 20)   YT

“(There's) No Gettin' Over Me” by Ronnie Milsap  (Jun 27)   YT

“Everlasting Love” by Rex Smith/Rachel Sweet  (Jun 27)   YT

“Walk Right Now” by Jacksons  (Jun 27)   YT   75%

“Someday, Someway” by Robert Gordon  (Jun 27)   YT   [Not as good as the Marshall Crenshaw version.]

“Don’t Let Go The Coat” by The Who  (Jun 27)   YT

“On And On And On” by ABBA  (Jun 27)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for July >

June 1981

 

New at the Movies

Force: Five  (Jun ?)   YT   IMDb   WP

Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams  (Jun 5)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia  (Jun 5)   YT   IMDb   WP

Clash of the Titans  (Jun 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

History of the World: Part I  (Jun 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Raiders of the Lost Ark  (Jun 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Cannonball Run  (Jun 19)   YT   IMDb   WP

Superman II  (Jun 19)   YT   IMDb   WP

Dragonslayer  (Jun 26)   YT   IMDb   WP

For Your Eyes Only  (Jun 26)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Great Muppet Caper  (Jun 26)   YT   IMDb   WP

Stripes  (Jun 26)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for July >

June 1981

 

History

     

    Text below from Leisure Time Electronics (Summer 1981)

     

    Activision Releases Two New Video Cartridges

    Activision releases two new videogame cartridges designed for use with the Atari Video Computer System and Sears Tele-Game Video Arcade programmable games.

     

    Freeway and Kaboom! bring to 10 the number of game cartridges available from the independent software design firm.

     

    Freeway features eight different games with variations of 10 lanes of traffic--from a few scattered cars moving slowly, to high-speed. bumper-to-bumper cars and trucks. The player uses the joystick controller to maneuver a chicken from one side of the freeway to the other. Each successful crossing scores a point. The game may be played by one or two players.

     

    Kaboom! features a “Mad Bomber“--a meticulously animated cartoon convict, complete with a mask and a variety of facial expressions. He roams back and forth across the top of the television screen dropping black bombs with fuses. The player controls a group 3 of three water buckets with a paddle controller and must catch the bombs as they fall, thus dousing the fuses.

     

    Each bomb caught adds to the player's point total. When a bomb is missed, all bombs on the screen explode, and the player loses one of his water buckets. When all buckets are gone, the game is over. Up to two can play.

     

    Both games carry a suggested retail price of $22.95 and will be shipped in July.

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

July 1981

July 1981

 

Asteroids (Atari)

Best Guess using info from Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81) and A.N.A.L.O.G. The earliest mention of Asteroids in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from May 7, 1981 if you can believe the ad or August 7, 1981 if you can't.

Atari Compendium has a General Radio newspaper ad that includes Asteroids from August 13, 1981.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81)

News:

A.N.A.L.O.G. (May/June 81 p25)

Reviews:

Electronic Games 1983 Software Encyclopedia (83 p16)

July 1981

 

Freeway (Activision)

Best Guess using info from Leisure Time Electronics, A.N.A.L.O.G. (N2 Mar/Apr 81 p8), and the Klove list. The earliest mention of Freeway in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from July 16, 1981, so this entry seems to belong here in July.

Trivia:

David Crane said the following according to the book Video Invaders (82 p52):

    “In the case of Freeway, we were on the wrong side of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and were having trouble getting across, and somebody just said, ‘Hey, this is a great game idea.’ Most of the time we’re joking. Only one out of 50 crazy ideas will ever become anything. A tree falls down, try to get out from under itobviously nothing will come of that. But that’s how we come up with the original game ideas.”

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

A.N.A.L.O.G. (N2 Mar/Apr 81 p8)

Leisure Time Electronics

Reviews:

Electronic Games (Winter 81 p42)

Creative Computing Magazine (Sep 81 p238)

Articles:

Inside Gaming - Electronic Games (Winter 81 p12)

Ads:

Are You Chicken Enough to Play Freeway? - Boys' Life (Dec 81)

July 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Urgent” by Foreigner  (Jul 4)   YT

“Cool Love” by Pablo Cruise  (Jul 4)   YT

“Really Wanna Know You” by Gary Wright  (Jul 4)   YT

“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne  (Jul 4)   YT   [Bubbling Under Top 100]

“Endless Love” by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie  (Jul 11)   YT

“Breaking Away” by Balance  (Jul 11)   YT

“Don’t Give It Up” by Robbie Patton  (Jul 11)   YT

“Nothing Ever Goes As Planned” by Styx  (Jul 11)   YT

“Who's Crying Now” by Journey  (Jul 18)   YT

“Fire And Ice” by Pat Benatar  (Jul 18)   YT

“Medley II” by Stars On 45  (Jul 18)   YT

“Stop Draggin' My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers  (Jul 25)   YT

“For Your Eyes Only” by Sheena Easton  (Jul 25)   YT

“Step By Step” by Eddie Rabbitt  (Jul 25)   YT

“Hold On Tight” by ELO  (Jul 25)   YT   65%

“The Beach Boys Medley” by The Beach Boys  (Jul 25)   YT

“General Hospi-Tale” by Afternoon Delights  (Jul 25)   YT

“Summer ’81 Medley” by The Cantina Band  (Jul 25)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for August >

July 1981

 

New at the Movies

Nobody's Perfekt  (Jul ?)   YT   IMDb   WP

S.O.B.  (Jul 1)   YT   IMDb   WP

Escape from New York  (Jul 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Fox and the Hound  (Jul 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

Arthur  (Jul 17)   YT   IMDb   WP

Endless Love  (Jul 17)   YT   IMDb   WP

Zorro, The Gay Blade  (Jul 17)   YT   IMDb   WP

Blow Out  (Jul 24)   YT   IMDb   WP

Comin' at Ya!  (Jul 24)   YT   IMDb   WP

Eye of the Needle  (Jul 24)   YT   IMDb   WP

Tarzan, The Ape Man  (Jul 24)   YT   IMDb   WP

Wolfen  (Jul 24)   YT   IMDb   WP

Under the Rainbow  (Jul 31)   YT   IMDb   WP

Victory  (Jul 31)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for August >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

August 1981

August 1981

 

Steeplechase (Sears)   [a.k.a. Steeple Chase]

Super Extreme Best Guess. Steeplechase was a Sears exclusive. The earliest mention of Atari 2600 Steeplechase in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from August 7, 1981. That's why this entry is in August for now.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

News:

Analog Computing (May/Jun 81 p25)

Reviews:

Electronic Games (May 82 p73)

August 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“We're In This Love Together” by Al Jarreau  (Aug 1)   YT

“Tempted” by Squeeze  (Aug 1)   YT   60%

“We Can Get Together” by Icehouse  (Aug 1)   YT

“Super Freak” by Rick James  (Aug 8)   YT

“In Your Letter” by REO Speedwagon  (Aug 8)   YT

“Draw Of The Cards” by Kim Carnes  (Aug 8)   YT

“Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross  (Aug 15)   YT   75%

“When She Was My Girl” by Four Tops  (Aug 15)   YT

“Burnin' For You” by Blue Oyster Cult  (Aug 15)   YT

“Start Me Up” by Rolling Stones  (Aug 22)   YT

“The Night Owls” by Little River Band  (Aug 22)   YT   55%

“I've Done Everything For You” by Rick Springfield  (Aug 22)   YT   75%

“Theme From ‘Hill Street Blues’” by Mike Post  (Aug 22)   YT

“She's A Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton  (Aug 22)   YT   90%

“Not Fade Away” by Eric Hine  (Aug 22)   YT   [The song “Footloose” sounds like it was based on this.]

“Private Eyes” by Daryl Hall & John Oates  (Aug 29)   YT   75%

“Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go-Go's  (Aug 29)   YT   80%

“Alien” by Atlanta Rhythm Section  (Aug 29)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for September >

August 1981

 

New at the Movies

Heavy Metal  (Aug 7)   YT   IMDb   WP

Hell Night  (Aug 7)   YT   IMDb   WP

Student Bodies  (Aug 7)   YT   IMDb   WP

An Eye for an Eye  (Aug 14)   YT   IMDb   WP

Deadly Blessing  (Aug 14)   YT   IMDb   WP

Body Heat  (Aug 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

An American Werewolf in London  (Aug 21)   YT   IMDb   WP

First Monday in October  (Aug 21)   YT   IMDb   WP

Honky Tonk Freeway  (Aug 21)   YT   IMDb   WP

Prince of the City  (Aug 21)   YT   IMDb   WP

Chu Chu and the Philly Flash  (Aug 28)   YT   IMDb   WP

Gallipoli  (Aug 28)   YT   IMDb   WP

Private Lessons  (Aug 28)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for September >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

September 1981

September 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Working In A Coal Mine” by Devo  (Sep 5)   YT

“Say Goodbye To Hollywood” by Billy Joel  (Sep 12)   YT

“Sausalito Summernight” by Diesel  (Sep 12)   YT

“At This Moment” by Billy and the Beaters  (Sep 19)   YT

“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police  (Sep 26)   YT   85%

“Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)” by Air Supply  (Sep 26)   YT

“My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” by Chilliwack  (Sep 26)   YT   80%

“No Reply At All” by Genesis  (Sep 26)   YT   65%

“More Stars on 45 (Medley)” by Stars On 45  (Sep 26)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for October >

September 1981

 

New at the Movies

The French Lieutenant's Woman  (Sep 16)   YT   IMDb   WP

Continental Divide  (Sep 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

Raggedy Man  (Sep 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

Carbon Copy  (Sep 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

Chariots of Fire  (Sep 25 Los Angeles, 26 New York City)   YT   IMDb   WP

Mommie Dearest  (Sep 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

Neil Simon's Only When I Laugh  (Sep 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

So Fine  (Sep 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

Southern Comfort  (Sep 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

True Confessions  (Sep 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

September 1981

 

New on TV

Best of the West  ABC  (Sep 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

Blackstar  CBS  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Goldie Gold and Action Jack  ABC  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!  NBC  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Smurfs  NBC  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Space Stars  NBC  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends  NBC  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Kwicky Koala Show  CBS  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Trollkins  CBS  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Spider-Man  Syndication  (Sep 12)   YT   IMDb   WP

Entertainment Tonight  Syndication  (Sep 14)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for October >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

October 1981

October 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Physical” by Olivia Newton-John  (Oct 3)   YT   65%

“Let's Groove” by Earth, Wind & Fire  (Oct 3)   YT   90%

“Promises In The Dark” by Pat Benatar  (Oct 3)   YT

“Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner  (Oct 10)   YT

“The Old Songs” by Barry Manilow  (Oct 10)   YT

“Harden My Heart” by Quarterflash  (Oct 17)   YT

“The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)” by Juice Newton  (Oct 17)   YT

“Young Turks” by Rod Stewart  (Oct 17)   YT

“Why Do Fools Fall In Love” by Diana Ross  (Oct 17)   YT

“Take My Heart” by Kool & The Gang  (Oct 17)   YT

“I Surrender” by Arlan Day  (Oct 17)   YT

“Turn Your Love Around” by George Benson  (Oct 24)   YT   65%

“Leather And Lace” by Stevie Nicks with Don Henley  (Oct 24)   YT

“Trouble” by Lindsey Buckingham  (Oct 24)   YT

“I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World” by Ronnie Milsap  (Oct 24)   YT

“Twilight” by ELO  (Oct 24)   YT   65%

“Controversy” by Prince  (Oct 24)   YT

“Hooked On Classics” by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  (Oct 31)   YT

“More Than Just The Two Of Us” by Sneaker  (Oct 31)   YT

“Don't Stop Believing” by Journey  (Oct 31)   YT   75%

New on Top 100 Radio for November >

October 1981

 

New at the Movies

Paternity  (Oct 2)   YT   IMDb   WP

Rich and Famous  (Oct 9)   YT   IMDb   WP

My Dinner With Andre  (Oct 11)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Evil Dead  (Oct 15)   YT   IMDb   WP

…All the Marbles  (Oct 16)   YT   IMDb   WP

Halloween II  (Oct 30)   YT   IMDb   WP

Looker  (Oct 30)   YT   IMDb   WP

October 1981

 

New on TV

Mr. Merlin  CBS  (Oct 7)   YT   IMDb   WP

Behind the Screen  CBS  (Oct 9)   YT   IMDb   WP

Laverne & Shirley in the Army  ABC  (Oct 10)   YT   IMDb   WP

Fitz and Bones  NBC  (Oct 24)   YT   IMDb

Today's F.B.I.  ABC  (Oct 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

Love, Sidney  NBC  (Oct 28)   YT   IMDb   WP

Gimme a Break  NBC  (Oct 29)   YT   IMDb   WP

Lewis & Clark  NBC  (Oct 29)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for November >

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

November 1981

November 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Centerfold” by J. Geils Band  (Nov 7)   YT   80%

“Cool Night” by Paul Davis  (Nov 7)   YT

“Yesterday's Songs” by Neil Diamond  (Nov 7)   YT

“Under Pressure” by Queen & David Bowie  (Nov 7)   YT

“I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)” by Daryl Hall & John Oates  (Nov 14)   YT   100%

“Key Largo” by Bertie Higgins  (Nov 14)   YT

“Love In The First Degree” by Alabama  (Nov 14)   YT

“Someone Could Lose A Heart Tonight” by Eddie Rabbitt  (Nov 14)   YT

“Working For The Weekend” by Loverboy  (Nov 14)   YT   78%

“Walking Into Sunshine” by Central Line  (Nov 14)   YT

“Shake It Up” by The Cars  (Nov 21)   YT   80%

“Come Go With Me” by The Beach Boys  (Nov 21)   YT

“She's Got A Way” by Billy Joel  (Nov 21)   YT

“WKRP In Cincinnati” by Steve Carlisle  (Nov 21)   YT

“Leader Of The Band” by Dan Fogelberg  (Nov 28)   YT

“You Could Have Been With Me” by Sheena Easton  (Nov 28)   YT

“My Kinda Lover” by Billy Squier  (Nov 28)   YT

New on Top 100 Radio for December >

November 1981

 

New at the Movies

Time Bandits  (Nov 6)   YT   IMDb   WP

Absence of Malice  (Nov 19)   YT   IMDb   WP

Ragtime  (Nov 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

November 1981

 

New on TV

Code Red  ABC  (Nov 1)   YT   IMDb   WP

Father Murphy  NBC  (Nov 3)   YT   IMDb   WP

The Fall Guy  ABC  (Nov 4)   YT   IMDb   WP

Shannon  CBS  (Nov 11)   YT   IMDb   WP

Strike Force  ABC  (Nov 13)   YT   IMDb   WP

This Week  ABC  (Nov 15)   YT   IMDb   WP

McClain's Law  NBC  (Nov 20)   YT   IMDb   WP

Simon & Simon  CBS  (Nov 24)   YT   IMDb   WP

Darkroom  ABC  (Nov 27)   YT   IMDb   WP

Open All Night  ABC  (Nov 28)   YT   IMDb   WP

New on Top 100 Radio for December >

November 1981

 

Atari CX2600A

This new model of the Atari 2600 seems to have been released in late November of 1981. The earliest mention of the Atari CX2600A in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from November 26, 1981.

Back to Top

 

 

 

 

December 1981

December 1981

 

Ice Hockey (Activision)

Best Guess using info from catalog, Activisions, A.N.A.L.O.G., an ad in Leisure Time Electronics and the Klove list. The earliest mention of Atari 2600 Ice Hockey in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from December 11, 1981 (coming soon), December 13, 1981 (ad by itself), December 19, 1981 (in stock), so this entry belongs here in December without a doubt.

Atari Compendium has a General Radio newspaper ad that includes Ice Hockey from December 21, 1981.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Activisions Newsletter

News:

A.N.A.L.O.G. (May/June 81 p25)

Electronic Games (Winter 81 p35)

Reviews:

Electronic Games (Mar 82 p68)

Ads:

They're Coming This December - Leisure Time Electronics (Summer 81)

December 1981

 

Stampede (Activision)

Best Guess using info from catalog, Activisions, A.N.A.L.O.G., an ad in Leisure Time Electronics and the Klove list. The earliest mention of Atari 2600 Stampede in a newspaper ad that I've found so far is from December 11, 1981 (coming soon) and December 19, 1981 (in stock), so this entry belongs here in December without a doubt.

Atari Compendium has a General Radio newspaper ad that includes Stampede from December 21, 1981.

Info:

YT

Atarimania

AtariAge

Catalog

Activisions Newsletter

News:

A.N.A.L.O.G. (May/June 81 p25)

Reviews:

Electronic Games (Mar 82 p66)

Ads:

They're Coming This December - Leisure Time Electronics (Summer 81)

The Toughest Challenge Known to Man - Boys' Life (Jan 82)

The Toughest Challenge Known to Man - Electronic Games (Mar 82)

December 1981

 

New on Top 100 Radio

“Take It Easy On Me” by Little River Band  (Dec 5)   YT

“Waiting On A Friend” by Rolling Stones  (Dec 5)   YT

“Love Is Alright Tonite” by Rick Springfield  (Dec 5)   YT   80%

“Chariots Of Fire” by Vangelis  (Dec 12)   YT

“Sweet Dreams” by Air Supply  (Dec 12)   YT

“One Hundred Ways” by Quincy Jones featuring James Ingram  (Dec 19)   YT

“Through The Years” by Kenny Rogers  (Dec 26)   YT

“Abacab” by Genesis  (Dec 26)   YT

“Love Is Like A Rock” by Donnie Iris  (Dec 26)   YT   90%

“Can’t Hold Back (Your Loving)” by Kano  (Dec 26)   YT

Back to New on Top 100 Radio for January >

December 1981

 

New at the Movies

On Golden Pond  (Dec 4)   YT   IMDb   WP   [Limited Release]

Buddy Buddy  (Dec 11)   YT   IMDb   WP

Pennies from Heaven  (Dec 11)   YT   IMDb   [Los Angeles/New York]

Rollover  (Dec 11)   YT   IMDb   WP

Ghost Story  (Dec 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

Heartbeeps  (Dec 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

Neighbors  (Dec 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

Sharky's Machine  (Dec 18)   YT   IMDb   WP

Modern Problems  (Dec 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

Reds  (Dec 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

Taps  (Dec 25)   YT   IMDb   WP

December 1981

 

New on TV

Bret Maverick  NBC  (Dec 1)   YT   IMDb   WP

Falcon Crest  CBS  (Dec 4)   YT   IMDb   WP

Back to New on Top 100 Radio for January >

December 1981

 

History

     

    Text below from Videogaming Illustrated (August 1982, pages 7 and 8)

     

    Apollo is a subsidiary of National Career Consultants, a company founded by entrepreneur Patrick Roper. For eleven years NCC has successfully produced and distributed educational and career guidance films to high schools and colleges. Unfortunately, government belt-tightening has limited the funds available to many of NCC's customers and, early last year, NCC had no choice but to cut back on their film operation and branch into other fields. Initially. the firm considered distributing dramatic works on videocassette, but discovered that the major studios and producers of popular entertainment were already committed to other manufacturers. As for creating their own feature-length motion pictures, the high cost of such an undertaking was prohibitive. However, NCC was not unaware of the booming videogame industry; the decision to diversity in that direction was reached in October of 1981, after market research and the obvious growth of the field indicated that there was room for a newcomer.

     

    Roper decided to concentrate solely on software, adding a computer programmer to the existing staff of NCC and rushing the company's first game to the market by December of last year [December 7, 1981]. "All in all, Skeet Shoot wasn't a spectacular game to start off with," concedes Emmitt Crawford, Apollo's director of public relations. He acknowledges that the graphics were flat, little more than a box flinging pellets at a small saucer. To make matters worse, a high percentage of the cartridges had to be recalled due to image roll. But Skeet Shoot managed to cash in on the lucrative Christmas buying season and, more important, made dealers and consumers alike aware of the new company.

     

     

    Text below from Electronic Fun (Jan 1983 p62)

     

    Skeet Shoot was not the greatest game in the world. The graphics and game play were very simple, even for two years ago. But two years ago, there were so few games on the market, people were crying for new ones. Pat Roper decided that Skeet Shoot was a good enough effort for the first time out of the box, and bought the game from Ed Salvo. Despite a slight programming bug (since corrected), Skeet Shoot hit the street on Pearl Harbor Day [December 7], 1981, and was an instant success.

     

     

    Text below from Electronics For Kids (Jan/Feb 1983)

     

    Games By Apollo was founded in October of 1981 and shipped its first Atari-compatible cartridge, Skeet Shoot, two months later. After reporting over $500,000 in sales for March, 1982, four new cartridges were introduced at CES in June.

     

    ln July, Apollo announced a $6 million advertising campaign with Benton & Bowles. Original plans called for six more Atari-compatible cartridges by the end of '82 plus cartridges for the Intellivision system.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Pages in this Subsection

Atari 2600 Game History: 1977

Atari 2600 Game History: 1978

Atari 2600 Game History: 1979

Atari 2600 Game History: 1980

Atari 2600 Game History: 1981

Atari 2600 Game History: 1982

Atari 2600 Game History: 1983

Atari 2600 Game History: 1984

Atari 2600 Game History: 1985

Atari 2600 Game History: 1986

Atari 2600 Game History: 1987

Atari 2600 Game History: 1988

Atari 2600 Game History: 1989

Atari 2600 Game History: 1991

Atari 2600 Game Index (NTSC)

Atari 2600 Company List (NTSC)

 

 

 

 

Information Compiled From the Following Sources

Internet Archive

Digital Press Library

Atari Compendium Archives

The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers

I. C. When

Atari History Museum (Atari Historical Society)

AtariAge

Hot 100 Singles Chronology

US Hot 100 Bubbling Under

Rock on the Net: The Ark Weekly Top 40 Archives

Internet Movie Database

WP: Wide-release Movies

WP: List of Years in Television

 

 

 

Index

 

Amazon Stuff

 

Interesting Subjects

Atari Owners Club Bulletin / VCS Owners Club Bulletin

Find release dates for Atari 2600 games that were sold in the UK.

 

I. C. When

A chronological history of computers, video games, and related technologies (at archive.org).

Back to Top

 

 

In Case You Didn’t Know

 

B Vitamins = Good

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.

 

 

Soy = Bad

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.

 

 

Wheat = Bad

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 = Good

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.

 

 

Litterbugs = Bad

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.

 

 

Climate Change Cash Grab = Bad

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:

CO2 is Greening The Earth

The Climate Agenda

 

 

Hydrofracking = Bad

Hydrofracking is bad for you, your family, your friends, and the environment.

 

 

Hýdrø╳ýçhlørøqúîñé = Good

Take a look at my page called The H Word and Beyond.

Disclaimer

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 1981, 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.

 

Home Inventions Quotations Game Design Atari Memories Personal Pages About Site Map Contact Privacy Policy Tip Jar