Atari 2600 Video Game Release Dates for 1981

With pop culture atmosphere.

Information compiled by Duane Alan Hahn.

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Release Date Quick List

January 1981


February 1981

Othello (Atari) BG


March 1981

Video Pinball (Atari) BG

Laser Blast (Activision) SEBG

Tennis (Activision) 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


September 1981


October 1981


November 1981


December 1981

Ice Hockey (Activision) BG

Stampede (Activision) BG

Skeet Shoot (Apollo) BG


Need a Month 1981

Steeplechase (Sears)

Stellar Track (Sears)

Page last updated on: 2018y_05m_20d_1618t


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, movies, and 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 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 If you were lucky, you had an encyclopedia set at home, but it would probably be many decades out of date.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 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

“Woman” by John Lennon  (Jan 17)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

“Crying” by Don McLean  (Jan 24)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for February >

January 1981


New at the Movies

Scanners  (Jan 14)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Incredible Shrinking Woman  (Jan 30)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

January 1981


New on TV

Dynasty  ABC  (Jan 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Hill Street Blues  NBC  (Jan 15)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Harper Valley PTA  NBC  (Jan 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Nero Wolfe  NBC  (Jan 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Walking Tall  CBS  (Jan 31)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for February >

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February 1981

February 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for March >

February 1981


New at the Movies

Fort Apache, The Bronx  (Feb 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

American Pop  (Feb 13)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Eyewitness  (Feb 13)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

February 1981


New on TV

The Brady Brides  NBC  (Feb 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for March >

Back to Top





March 1981

March 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for April >

March 1981


New at the Movies

All Night Long  (Mar 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Devil and Max Devlin  (Mar 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

On the Right Track  (Mar 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back Roads  (Mar 13)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Funhouse  (Mar 13)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Modern Romance  (Mar 13)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Omen III: The Final Conflict  (Mar 20)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Postman Always Rings Twice  (Mar 20)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

March 1981


New on TV

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

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.


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 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

“Super-Trouper” by ABBA  (Apr 4)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

“Lately” by Stevie Wonder  (Apr 11)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

“America” by Neil Diamond  (Apr 25)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for May >

April 1981


New at the Movies

Hardly Working  (Apr 3)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Excalibur  (Apr 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Going Ape!  (Apr 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Howling  (Apr 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Knightriders  (Apr 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Nighthawks  (Apr 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Caveman  (Apr 17)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Hand  (Apr 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

April 1981


New on TV

Private Benjamin  CBS  (Apr 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Checking In  CBS  (Apr 9)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for May >

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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 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hearts” by Marty Balin  (May 23)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for June >

May 1981


New at the Movies

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

Happy Birthday To Me  (May 15)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

Bustin' Loose  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Four Seasons  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Death Hunt  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

Outland  (May 22)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

May 1981


New on TV

SCTV  NBC  (May 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for June >

Back to Top





June 1981

June 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

“Tom Sawyer” by Rush  (Jun 6)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for July >

June 1981


New at the Movies

Force: Five  (Jun ?)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

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

Clash of the Titans  (Jun 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

Raiders of the Lost Ark  (Jun 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Cannonball Run  (Jun 19)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Superman II  (Jun 19)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Dragonslayer  (Jun 26)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

For Your Eyes Only  (Jun 26)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Great Muppet Caper  (Jun 26)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Stripes  (Jun 26)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for July >

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, A.N.A.L.O.G. (N2 Mar/Apr 81 p8), 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.”






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

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 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

“Urgent” by Foreigner  (Jul 4)   YouTube

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

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

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

“Breaking Away” by Balance  (Jul 11)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for August >

July 1981


New at the Movies

Nobody's Perfekt  (Jul ?)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

S.O.B.  (Jul 1)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Escape from New York  (Jul 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Fox and the Hound  (Jul 10)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Arthur  (Jul 17)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Endless Love  (Jul 17)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Zorro, The Gay Blade  (Jul 17)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Blow Out  (Jul 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Comin' at Ya!  (Jul 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Eye of the Needle  (Jul 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Tarzan, The Ape Man  (Jul 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Wolfen  (Jul 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Under the Rainbow  (Jul 31)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Victory  (Jul 31)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for August >

Back to Top





August 1981

August 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for September >

August 1981


New at the Movies

Heavy Metal  (Aug 7)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Hell Night  (Aug 7)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Student Bodies  (Aug 7)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

An Eye for an Eye  (Aug 14)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Deadly Blessing  (Aug 14)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Body Heat  (Aug 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

An American Werewolf in London  (Aug 21)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

First Monday in October  (Aug 21)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Honky Tonk Freeway  (Aug 21)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Prince of the City  (Aug 21)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Chu Chu and the Philly Flash  (Aug 28)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Gallipoli  (Aug 28)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Private Lessons  (Aug 28)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for September >

Back to Top





September 1981

September 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

“Sausalito Summernight” by Diesel  (Sep 12)   YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for October >

September 1981


New at the Movies

The French Lieutenant's Woman  (Sep 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Continental Divide  (Sep 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Raggedy Man  (Sep 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Carbon Copy  (Sep 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

Mommie Dearest  (Sep 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

So Fine  (Sep 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Southern Comfort  (Sep 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

True Confessions  (Sep 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

September 1981


New on TV

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

Blackstar  CBS  (Sep 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

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

The Smurfs  NBC  (Sep 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Space Stars  NBC  (Sep 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

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

Trollkins  CBS  (Sep 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Spider-Man  Syndication  (Sep 12)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Entertainment Tonight  Syndication  (Sep 14)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for October >

Back to Top





October 1981

October 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Trouble” by Lindsey Buckingham  (Oct 24)   YouTube

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

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

“Controversy” by Prince  (Oct 24)   YouTube

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for November >

October 1981


New at the Movies

Paternity  (Oct 2)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Rich and Famous  (Oct 9)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

My Dinner With Andre  (Oct 11)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Evil Dead  (Oct 15)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

…All the Marbles  (Oct 16)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Halloween II  (Oct 30)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Looker  (Oct 30)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

October 1981


New on TV

Mr. Merlin  CBS  (Oct 7)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Behind the Screen  CBS  (Oct 9)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

Fitz and Bones  NBC  (Oct 24)   YouTube   IMDb

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

Love, Sidney  NBC  (Oct 28)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Gimme a Break  NBC  (Oct 29)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Lewis & Clark  NBC  (Oct 29)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for November >

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November 1981

November 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New on Top 100 Radio for December >

November 1981


New at the Movies

Time Bandits  (Nov 6)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Absence of Malice  (Nov 19)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Ragtime  (Nov 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

November 1981


New on TV

Code Red  ABC  (Nov 1)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Father Murphy  NBC  (Nov 3)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

The Fall Guy  ABC  (Nov 4)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Shannon  CBS  (Nov 11)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Strike Force  ABC  (Nov 13)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

This Week  ABC  (Nov 15)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

Simon & Simon  CBS  (Nov 24)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Darkroom  ABC  (Nov 27)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Open All Night  ABC  (Nov 28)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

New on Top 100 Radio for December >

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December 1981

December 1981


New on Top 100 Radio  [Selected Hits in the Order They Charted]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Abacab” by Genesis  (Dec 26)   YouTube

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

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

Back to New on Top 100 Radio for January >

December 1981


New at the Movies

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

Buddy Buddy  (Dec 11)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

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

Rollover  (Dec 11)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Ghost Story  (Dec 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Heartbeeps  (Dec 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Neighbors  (Dec 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Sharky's Machine  (Dec 18)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Modern Problems  (Dec 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Reds  (Dec 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Taps  (Dec 25)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

December 1981


New on TV

Bret Maverick  NBC  (Dec 1)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Falcon Crest  CBS  (Dec 4)   YouTube   IMDb   Wikipedia

Back to New on Top 100 Radio for January >

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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Need a Month

??? 1981


Steeplechase (Sears)

Sears exclusive. The copyright date on the manual and box is 1981, so there's a pretty good chance that the game wasn't released in 1980.







Analog Computing (May/Jun 81 p25)


Electronic Games (May 82 p73)

??? 1981


Stellar Track (Sears)

Sears exclusive. The copyright date on the manual and box is 1981, so there's a pretty good chance that the game wasn't released in 1980.







Analog Computing (May/Jun 81 p25)

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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)


Hot 100 Singles Chronology

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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