Atari 2600 Video Game Release Dates for 1981

With pop culture atmosphere.

Information compiled by Duane Alan Hahn.

Pages in this Subsection


Release Date Quick List





Othello (Atari) BG



Video Pinball (Atari) BG

Laser Blast (Activision) SEBG

Tennis (Activision) SEBG



Missile Command (Atari) EBG



Warlords (Atari) BG






Asteroids (Atari) BG

Freeway (Activision) BG

Kaboom! (Activision) BG















Ice Hockey (Activision) BG

Stampede (Activision) BG

Skeet Shoot (Apollo) BG

Page last updated on: 2017y_05m_27d_0735t


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 40 music, movies, and TV shows to help summon your treasured memories of the Atari 2600 and the 1980s 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 short video clips or commercials for the movies and TV shows (in order) and you might start to feel what it was like back then in 1981. There were no smartphones or 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 If you were lucky, you had an encyclopedia set at home, but it would probably be many decades out of date.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.




To help make your experience even more enjoyable, most items have a link next to them that will lead you to related search results at YouTube where you might find video game commercials, gameplay footage, music videos, and clips from TV shows or movies.



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 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Who's Making Love” by The Blues Brothers   YouTube

“Games People Play” by Alan Parsons Project   YouTube

“A Little In Love” by Cliff Richard   YouTube

“Heartbreak Hotel” by The Jacksons   YouTube   95%

“Cold Love” by Donna Summer   YouTube

“I Ain't Gonna Stand For It” by Stevie Wonder   YouTube

“Woman” by John Lennon   YouTube

“Treat Me Right” by Pat Benatar   YouTube

“Smokey Mountain Rain” by Ronnie Milsap   YouTube

“Crying” by Don McLean   YouTube

“The Best Of Times” by STYX   YouTube

“Back In Black” by AC/DC   YouTube   55%

“Hello Again” by Neil Diamond   YouTube

Next Month

January 1981


New at the Movies

Scanners  (January 14)   YouTube   IMDb

The Incredible Shrinking Woman  (January 30)   YouTube   IMDb

January 1981


New on TV

Dynasty  ABC  (January 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Hill Street Blues  NBC  (January 15)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Harper Valley PTA  NBC  (January 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Nero Wolfe  NBC  (January 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Walking Tall  CBS  (January 31)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to Top





February 1981

February 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Too Tight” by Con Funk Shun   YouTube

“United Together” by Aretha Franklin   YouTube

“Kiss On My List” by Daryl Hall & John Oates   YouTube   70%

“Ah! Leah!” by Donnie Iris   YouTube   60%

“Rapture” by Blondie   YouTube   70%

“What Kind Of Fool” by Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb   YouTube

“(Ghost) Riders In The Sky” by The Outlaws   YouTube

“Don't Stand So Close To Me” by The Police   YouTube

“Flash's Theme” by Queen   YouTube

“Morning Train (Nine To Five)” by Sheena Easton   YouTube   75%

“Love On The Rocks” by Neil Diamond   YouTube

“Don't Stop The Music” by Yarbrough & Peoples   YouTube

“Angel Of The Morning” by Juice Newton   YouTube

“While You See A Chance” by Steve Winwood   YouTube

“Somebody's Knockin'” by Terri Gibbs   YouTube   70%

Next Month

February 1981


New at the Movies

Fort Apache, The Bronx  (February 6)   YouTube   IMDb

American Pop  (February 13)   YouTube   IMDb

Eyewitness  (February 13)   YouTube   IMDb

February 1981


New on TV

The Brady Brides  NBC  (February 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to Top





March 1981

March 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“And Love Goes On” by Earth, Wind & Fire   YouTube   80%

“Just The Two Of Us” by Grover Washington, Jr.   YouTube

“I Love You” by Climax Blues Band   YouTube

“Ain't Even Done With The Night” by John Cougar   YouTube

“I Can't Stand It” by Eric Clapton & His Band   YouTube

“Her Town Too” by James Taylor & J.D. Souther   YouTube   75%

“Who Do You Think You're Fooling” by Donna Summer   YouTube

“Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy   YouTube

“Being With You” by Smokey Robinson   YouTube   60%

“It's A Love Thing” by The Whispers   YouTube

“How 'Bout Us” by Champaign   YouTube

“Sweetheart” by Franke & The Knockouts   YouTube

“Too Much Time On My Hands” by STYX   YouTube   90%

“Time Out Of Mind” by Steely Dan   YouTube   60%

“Take It On The Run” by REO Speedwagon   YouTube

“I Don't Need You” by Rupert Holmes   YouTube   90%   *

Next Month

March 1981


New at the Movies

All Night Long  (March 6)   YouTube   IMDb

The Devil and Max Devlin  (March 6)   YouTube   IMDb

On the Right Track  (March 6)   YouTube   IMDb

Back Roads  (March 13)   YouTube   IMDb

The Funhouse  (March 13)   YouTube   IMDb

Modern Romance  (March 13)   YouTube   IMDb

Omen III: The Final Conflict  (March 20)   YouTube   IMDb

The Postman Always Rings Twice  (March 20)   YouTube   IMDb

March 1981


New on TV

The Greatest American Hero  ABC  (March 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to Top





April 1981

April 1981


Missile Command (Atari)

Extreme Best Guess based on an article at gamasutra and A History of … Games.


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)







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 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes   YouTube   80%

“Watching The Wheels” by John Lennon   YouTube

“You Better You Bet” by The Who   YouTube

“Living Inside Myself” by Gino Vannelli   YouTube

“Mister Sandman” by Emmylou Harris   YouTube

“Say You'll Be Mine” by Christopher Cross   YouTube

“I Missed Again” by Phil Collins   YouTube   60%

“Sukiyaki” by A Taste Of Honey   YouTube

“Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special   YouTube   55%

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

“Wasn't That A Party” by The Rovers   YouTube

“What Are We Doing In Love” by Dottie West   YouTube

“America” by Neil Diamond   YouTube

Next Month

April 1981


New at the Movies

Hardly Working  (April 3)   YouTube   IMDb

Excalibur  (April 10)   YouTube   IMDb

Going Ape!  (April 10)   YouTube   IMDb

The Howling  (April 10)   YouTube   IMDb

Knightriders  (April 10)   YouTube   IMDb

Nighthawks  (April 10)   YouTube   IMDb

Caveman  (April 17)   YouTube   IMDb

The Hand  (April 24)   YouTube   IMDb

April 1981


New on TV

Private Benjamin  CBS  (April 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Checking In  CBS  (April 9)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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, so it's possible that May is incorrect. A gamasutra article claims the game was released in April.






Atari Age (V1N1 Spring 81)


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


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 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Super-Trouper” by ABBA   YouTube

“This Little Girl” by Gary "U.S." Bonds   YouTube

“Since I Don't Have You” by Don McLean   YouTube

“Stars on 45 Medley” by Stars on 45   YouTube   75%

“Ai No Corrida” by Quincy Jones   YouTube   75%

“One Day In Your Life” by Michael Jackson   YouTube

“Jessie's Girl” by Rick Springfield   YouTube

“The Waiting” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers   YouTube

“Winning” by Santana   YouTube   75%

“Can You Feel It” by The Jacksons   YouTube   65%

“You Make My Dreams” by Daryl Hall & John Oates   YouTube   65%

“Modern Girl” by Sheena Easton   YouTube

“Still Right Here In My Heart” by Pure Prairie League   YouTube

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

“Just So Lonely” by Get Wet   YouTube

“Is It You” by Lee Ritenour   YouTube   75%

“The One That You Love” by Air Supply   YouTube

“All Those Years Ago” by George Harrison   YouTube   65%

“Fool In Love With You” by Jim Photoglo   YouTube   70%

“I Can Take Care Of Myself” by Billy & The Beaters   YouTube

“Nobody Wins” by Elton John   YouTube

Next Month

May 1981


New at the Movies

Friday the 13th Part 2  (May 1)   YouTube   IMDb

Happy Birthday To Me  (May 15)   YouTube   IMDb

Take This Job and Shove It  (May 15)   YouTube   IMDb

Bustin' Loose  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb

The Four Seasons  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb

Death Hunt  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb

The Legend of the Lone Ranger  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb

Outland  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb

May 1981


New on TV

SCTV  NBC  (May 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to Top





June 1981

June 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Hearts” by Marty Balin   YouTube

“The Stroke” by Billy Squier   YouTube   55%

“Elvira” by Oak Ridge Boys   YouTube

“Time” by Alan Parsons Project   YouTube   90%

“Sweet Baby” by Stanley Clarke & George Duke   YouTube

“Gemini Dream” by Moody Blues   YouTube   90%

“Queen Of Hearts” by Juice Newton   YouTube   90%

“Don't Let Him Go” by REO Speedwagon   YouTube

“A Life Of Illusion” by Joe Walsh   YouTube

“Slow Hand” by Pointer Sisters   YouTube

“Some Changes Are For Good” by Dionne Warwick   YouTube

Next Month

June 1981


New at the Movies

Force: Five  (June ?)   YouTube   IMDb

Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams  (June 5)   YouTube   IMDb

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia  (June 5)   YouTube   IMDb

Clash of the Titans  (June 12)   YouTube   IMDb

History of the World: Part I  (June 12)   YouTube   IMDb

Raiders of the Lost Ark  (June 12)   YouTube   IMDb

The Cannonball Run  (June 19)   YouTube   IMDb

Superman II  (June 19)   YouTube   IMDb

Dragonslayer  (June 26)   YouTube   IMDb

For Your Eyes Only  (June 26)   YouTube   IMDb

The Great Muppet Caper  (June 26)   YouTube   IMDb

Stripes  (June 26)   YouTube   IMDb

June 1981




    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


Freeway (Activision)

Best Guess using info from Leisure Time Electronics and the Klove list.


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.”






Leisure Time Electronics


Electronic Games (Winter 81 p42)

Creative Computing Magazine (Sep 81 p238)


Inside Gaming - Electronic Games (Winter 81 p12)


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

July 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Touch Me When We're Dancing” by The Carpenters   YouTube

“Urgent” by Foreigner   YouTube

“The Breakup Song” by Greg Kihn Band   YouTube

“Double Dutch Bus” by Frankie Smith   YouTube   90%

“In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins   YouTube   60%

“(There's) No Gettin' Over Me” by Ronnie Milsap   YouTube

“Lady (You Bring Me Up)” by The Commodores   YouTube

“Endless Love” by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie   YouTube

“Tom Sawyer” by Rush   YouTube

“Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through” by Jim Steinman   YouTube

“Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James   YouTube

“Fire And Ice” by Pat Benatar   YouTube

“The Kid Is Hot Tonight” by Loverboy   YouTube

“Cool Love” by Pablo Cruise   YouTube

Next Month

July 1981


New at the Movies

Nobody's Perfekt  (July ?)   YouTube   IMDb

S.O.B.  (July 1)   YouTube   IMDb

Escape from New York  (July 10)   YouTube   IMDb

The Fox and the Hound  (July 10)   YouTube   IMDb

Arthur  (July 17)   YouTube   IMDb

Endless Love  (July 17)   YouTube   IMDb

Zorro, The Gay Blade  (July 17)   YouTube   IMDb

Blow Out  (July 24)   YouTube   IMDb

Comin' at Ya!  (July 24)   YouTube   IMDb

Eye of the Needle  (July 24)   YouTube   IMDb

Tarzan, The Ape Man  (July 24)   YouTube   IMDb

Wolfen  (July 24)   YouTube   IMDb

Under the Rainbow  (July 31)   YouTube   IMDb

Victory  (July 31)   YouTube   IMDb

Back to Top





August 1981

August 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Really Wanna Know You” by Gary Wright   YouTube

“Who's Crying Now” by Journey   YouTube

“Stop Draggin' My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers   YouTube

“The Beach Boys Medley” by The Beach Boys   YouTube

“For Your Eyes Only” by Sheena Easton   YouTube

“Step By Step” by Eddie Rabbitt   YouTube

“Hold On Tight” by ELO   YouTube   65%

“Breaking Away” by Balance   YouTube

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

“Draw Of The Cards” by Kim Carnes   YouTube

“Start Me Up” by Rolling Stones   YouTube

“In Your Letter” by REO Speedwagon   YouTube

Next Month

August 1981


New at the Movies

Heavy Metal  (August 7)   YouTube   IMDb

Hell Night  (August 7)   YouTube   IMDb

Student Bodies  (August 7)   YouTube   IMDb

An Eye for an Eye  (August 14)   YouTube   IMDb

Deadly Blessing  (August 14)   YouTube   IMDb

Body Heat  (August 18)   YouTube   IMDb

An American Werewolf in London  (August 21)   YouTube   IMDb

First Monday in October  (August 21)   YouTube   IMDb

Honky Tonk Freeway  (August 21)   YouTube   IMDb

Prince of the City  (August 21)   YouTube   IMDb

Chu Chu and the Philly Flash  (August 28)   YouTube   IMDb

Gallipoli  (August 28)   YouTube   IMDb

Private Lessons  (August 28)   YouTube   IMDb

Back to Top





September 1981

September 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“The Night Owls” by Little River Band   YouTube   55%

“Super Freak” by Rick James   YouTube

“Private Eyes” by Daryl Hall & John Oates   YouTube   75%

“We're In This Love Together” by Al Jarreau   YouTube

“I've Done Everything For You” by Rick Springfield   YouTube   75%

“Say Goodbye To Hollywood” by Billy Joel   YouTube

“Tempted” by Squeeze   YouTube   65%

“Burnin' For You” by Blue Oyster Cult   YouTube

“She's A Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton   YouTube   90%

Next Month

September 1981


New at the Movies

The French Lieutenant's Woman  (September 16)   YouTube   IMDb

Continental Divide  (September 18)   YouTube   IMDb

Raggedy Man  (September 18)   YouTube   IMDb

Carbon Copy  (September 25)   YouTube   IMDb

Chariots of Fire  (September 25 Los Angeles, 26 New York City)   YouTube   IMDb

Mommie Dearest  (September 25)   YouTube   IMDb

Neil Simon's Only When I Laugh  (September 25)   YouTube   IMDb

So Fine  (September 25)   YouTube   IMDb

Southern Comfort  (September 25)   YouTube   IMDb

True Confessions  (September 25)   YouTube   IMDb

September 1981


New on TV

Best of the West  ABC  (September 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Blackstar  CBS  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Goldie Gold and Action Jack  ABC  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!  NBC  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Smurfs  NBC  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Space Stars  NBC  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends  NBC  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Kwicky Koala Show  CBS  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Trollkins  CBS  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Spider-Man  Syndication  (September 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Entertainment Tonight  Syndication  (September 14)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to Top





October 1981

October 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Physical” by Olivia Newton-John   YouTube

“Theme From ‘Hill Street Blues’” by Mike Post   YouTube

“Here I Am” by Air Supply   YouTube

“Working In A Coal Mine” by Devo   YouTube

“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police   YouTube   85%

“Why Do Fools Fall In Love” by Diana Ross   YouTube

“Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner   YouTube

“Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go-Go's   YouTube   75%

“Take My Heart” by Kool & The Gang   YouTube

“Don't Stop Believing” by Journey   YouTube   75%

“Let's Groove” by Earth, Wind & Fire   YouTube   90%

“Young Turks” by Rod Stewart   YouTube

“My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” by Chilliwack   YouTube   80%

Next Month

October 1981


New at the Movies

Paternity  (October 2)   YouTube   IMDb

Rich and Famous  (October 9)   YouTube   IMDb

My Dinner With Andre  (October 11)   YouTube   IMDb

All the Marbles  (October 16)   YouTube   IMDb

Halloween II  (October 30)   YouTube   IMDb

Looker  (October 30)   YouTube   IMDb

October 1981


New on TV

Mr. Merlin  CBS  (October 7)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Behind the Screen  CBS  (October 9)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Laverne & Shirley in the Army  ABC  (October 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Fitz and Bones  NBC  (October 24)   YouTube   IMDb

Today's F.B.I.  ABC  (October 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Love, Sidney  NBC  (October 28)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Gimme a Break  NBC  (October 29)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Lewis & Clark  NBC  (October 29)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to Top





November 1981

November 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“No Reply At All” by Genesis   YouTube   60%

“Harden My Heart” by Quarterflash   YouTube

“Leather And Lace” by Stevie Nicks with Don Henley   YouTube

“Trouble” by Lindsey Buckingham   YouTube

“Yesterday's Songs” by Neil Diamond   YouTube

“Centerfold” by J. Geils Band   YouTube   85%

“Turn Your Love Around” by George Benson   YouTube   60%

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

“Under Pressure” by Queen & David Bowie   YouTube

“I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World” by Ronnie Milsap   YouTube

“Twilight” by ELO   YouTube   65%

“Hooked On Classics” by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   YouTube

“Cool Night” by Paul Davis   YouTube

Next Month

November 1981


New at the Movies

Time Bandits  (November 6)   YouTube   IMDb

Absence of Malice  (November 19)   YouTube   IMDb

Ragtime  (November 25)   YouTube   IMDb

November 1981


New on TV

Code Red  ABC  (November 1)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Father Murphy  NBC  (November 3)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Fall Guy  ABC  (November 4)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Shannon  CBS  (November 11)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Strike Force  ABC  (November 13)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

This Week  ABC  (November 15)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

McClain's Law  NBC  (November 20)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Simon & Simon  CBS  (November 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Darkroom  ABC  (November 27)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Open All Night  ABC  (November 28)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to Top





December 1981

December 1981


New on Top 40 Radio  [In the Approximate Order They Hit the Top 40]

“Someone Could Lose A Heart Tonight” by Eddie Rabbitt   YouTube

“Controversy” by Prince   YouTube

“She's Got A Way” by Billy Joel   YouTube

“Waiting On A Friend” by Rolling Stones   YouTube

“Shake It Up” by The Cars   YouTube   75%

“Love Is Alright Tonite” by Rick Springfield   YouTube   75%

“More Than Just The Two Of Us” by Sneaker   YouTube

“Leader Of The Band” by Dan Fogelberg   YouTube

“Take It Easy On Me” by Little River Band   YouTube

“You Could Have Been With Me” by Sheena Easton   YouTube

“Come Go With Me” by The Beach Boys   YouTube

Back to January

December 1981


New at the Movies

On Golden Pond  (December 4)   YouTube   IMDb   [Limited Release]

Buddy Buddy  (December 11)   YouTube   IMDb

Pennies from Heaven  (December 11)   YouTube   IMDb   [Los Angeles/New York]

Rollover  (December 11)   YouTube   IMDb

Ghost Story  (December 18)   YouTube   IMDb

Heartbeeps  (December 18)   YouTube   IMDb

Neighbors  (December 18)   YouTube   IMDb

Sharky's Machine  (December 18)   YouTube   IMDb

Modern Problems  (December 25)   YouTube   IMDb

Reds  (December 25)   YouTube   IMDb

Taps  (December 25)   YouTube   IMDb

December 1981


New on TV

Bret Maverick  NBC  (December 1)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Falcon Crest  CBS  (December 4)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

December 1981




    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.

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Pages in this Subsection

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 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)



Rock on the Net: The Ark Weekly Top 40 Archives

Internet Movie Database

Wikipedia: Wide-release Movies

Wikipedia: List of Years in Television





Related Links

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

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