Citizens' Voice newspaper ads 

 

In the 1970s when home video game consoles first became available, there were no computer stores or specialty stores.  The only places you could find them were typically in department stores like J. C. Penny's, Kmart, and Sears.  As dedicated consoles were quickly replaced by programmable ones and became more popular, appliance stores started carrying them along with the games for them.  Independent specialty toy stores soon gave way to the 'big box' chains like Lionel Kiddie City and Toys 'R' Us.  When the market hit its peak in 1982, it was not uncommon to find cartridges in hardware stores, drug stores, and even grocery stores!  It was the same with arcade machines to a lesser degree, but video games as a whole were pervasive and within reach of everyone.

Thanks to the online archive Newspapers.com, an increasing number of newspaper archives that were previously only available on microfilm in select libraries are being scanned and digitized and made available online.  The site recently added 1 of 2 local newspapers in my area, The Citizens' Voice, and I recently completed collecting every ad featuring Atari's systems and games from it.  I've chosen all the Atari ads that ran between 1980 and 1984 from the 2 stores in my area that were *the* places to find the latest games, and who offered the largest selection of games - Boscov's and General Radio.  Boscov's is a chain department store, and the location near me, in Wilkes-Barre, PA, was originally known as The Boston Store until it was purchased by Al Boscov.  General Radio was an appliance store for large items like refrigerators, washers/dryers, and TVs, and was located a few blocks away on the same street as Boscov's.  Both were quite aggressive in their advertising, and Boscov's in particular promoted Atari high score competitions in their stores and even sponsored a parade celebrating the release of Atari's VCS Pac-Man, and a visit from Pac-Man himself!  These ads also serve to help determine more accurate release dates for games, as well as reveal the immediate effects of the market's crash as is unfolded over the last 18 months of Atari, Inc.'s existence.

Click on any ad for full-size image.

 

BOSCOV'S

 

10-24-80

11-11-80 12-25-80 1-8-81 1-15-81 1-2-81 6-4-81

6-19-81

7-23-81 7-25-81 8-20-81 9-1-81 9-11-81 12-10-81

12-17-81

12-22-81 12-25-81 1-7-82 1-15-82 2-4-82 3-18-82

3-23-82

3-26-82 5-13-82 6-1-82 6-17-82 7-1-82 7-15-82

7-30-82

8-26-82 10-7-82 11-4-82 11-18-82 12-2-82 12-3-82

12-16-82

12-22-82 1-26-83 2-10-83 3-4-83 3-5-83 4-21-83

4-21-83

4-25-83 5-4-83 5-5-83 5-18-83 5-19-83 6-2-83

6-16-83

7-14-83 8-25-83 9-8-83 12-15-83 12-16-83 12-20-83
12-20-83 1-5-84 9-14-84

 

 

 

GENERAL RADIO

 

10-2-80

10-23-80 11-13-80 11-27-80 12-18-80 12-25-80 1-1-81

1-8-81

1-15-81 1-29-81 2-12-81 3-5-81 3-12-81 3-19-81

3-26-81

4-9-81 6-11-81 7-9-81 8-7-81 8-13-81 8-27-81

8-28-81

9-3-81 9-4-81 9-10-81 9-17-81 9-25-81 10-8-81

10-15-81

10-22-81 10-29-81 11-5-81 11-12-81 11-12-81 11-19-81

12-3-81

12-10-81 12-11-81 12-17-81 12-21-81 12-21-81 1-1-82

1-7-82

1-14-82 1-21-82 1-28-82 2-4-82 2-11-82 2-18-82

2-25-82

3-4-82 3-18-82 4-1-82 4-15-82 4-15-82 4-22-82

4-29-82

5-6-82 5-11-82 5-13-82 5-20-82 5-27-82 6-10-82

6-17-82

6-18-82 7-1-82 7-15-82 7-22-82 7-29-82 8-9-82

8-12-82

8-12-82 8-12-82 8-19-82 9-2-82 9-16-82 9-23-82

9-30-82

10-7-82 10-21-82 10-28-82 10-28-82 11-4-82 11-18-82

11-19-82

11-25-82 11-25-82 12-2-82 12-16-82 12-16-82 12-29-82

1-6-83

1-27-83 2-10-83 2-17-83 2-24-83 3-3-83 3-10-83

3-17-83

3-24-83 3-31-83 4-7-83 4-14-83 4-28-83 5-5-83

5-12-83

5-19-83 5-26-83 6-2-83 6-9-83 6-16-83 6-30-83

7-14-83

7-21-83 7-28-83 8-4-83 8-11-83 8-18-83 8-25-83

9-1-83

9-8-83 9-15-83 9-22-83 9-30-83 10-6-83 10-20-83

10-27-83

11-3-83 11-10-83 11-24-83 12-1-83 12-8-83 12-9-83

12-12-83

12-14-83 12-15-83 12-15-83 12-22-83 12-22-83 12-29-83

1-5-84

1-19-84 3-1-84 3-8-84 3-29-84 4-5-84 7-7-84

8-16-84

8-24-84 8-31-84 9-14-84 9-14-84 9-25-84 12-13-84

 


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