Codex Gamicus

Atari Football is a 2-player 1978 arcade game.[1] It was developed and published by Atari, Inc.. In this game, the sport of American football is accurately emulated, with players represented by Xs and Os. The game was one of the most popular arcade games in its day. In 1979, Atari released a more challenging four-player version.


Although not the first trackball game (the first was a soccer game by Taito), Atari Football was the game that is credited with popularizing the trackball. Considered physically exhausting to play, Atari Football involves spinning the trackball as fast as possible to win the game. Just 90 seconds of play could result in sore palms, and longer could cause blisters. Nevertheless, Atari Football was as popular as Space Invaders during the 1978 football season, but its popularity waned later on. Many historians credit Atari Football with being the first game to accurately emulate sports. Twenty-five cents (or one American quarter) would allow 90 seconds of playtime, while adding more quarters would allow longer play.


  1. Atari Football - Overview. allgame. Retrieved on 2009-08-13

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