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If your coffee table can cope, the Art of Atari looks like being another retro-gaming book worth your attention.

Earlier this week I raved about recently published Nintendo 64 Anthology from Geeks Line. The book, although well illustrated, is just as focused on being a comprehensive account of the Nintendo 64, detailing its inception, launch, game library and impact. Dynamite Entertainment’s Art of Atari doesn’t aim to be quite so all-encompassing but looks just as essential.

The seventies and eighties was time of beautiful art and graphic design in the games industry. It had to be appealing, evocative and exciting but it also had to fill in the gaps left by the rudimentary graphics of the time. And the art that graced Atari games – and their marketing campaigns – was some of the best.

The 352 page Art of Atari by Robert V. Conte and Tim Lapetino uncovers 40 years of illustrations used in advertisements, arcade cabinets, catalogues and box art, much of it sourced from private collections. Many classic Atari games are featured, with art included from titles such as Pong, Breakout, Asteroids, Missile Command, Centipede, Defender and E.T.

The book also contains a range of interviews with key Atari staff – George Opperman, Cliff Spohn, Susan Jaekel and Terry Hoff, to name a few – plus retrospectives of past Atari systems such as the 2600, 5200, 7800, Lynx, and the Jaguar.

Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One, also chips in with a foreword. You can’t have everything, I suppose.

Art of Atari was released last month and is now available from independent retro-gaming retailer Funstock Retro and Amazon.

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