Atari Games in Movies, Shows, and Videos

 

MOVIES

 

AIRPLANE!
Some of the extras can be seen playing Basketball towards the end of the movie.


AIRPLANE II: THE SEQUEL

During or shortly after the opening credits a space shuttle approaches the airport. The gorgeous air traffic controller sets the controls to bring the plane in automatically while a tourist group of kids passes through. Gorgeous air traffic controller steps away from the controls. One of the kids then sits down and begins playing the controls like a video game. Sounds of Yars' Revenge can be heard as the shuttle plummets to oblivion.


BEST FRIENDS

There is a scene where they are visiting at Burt's mother's house. When they try to get to sleep his nephews jump on their fold out couch and start playing Space Invaders while Goldie is trying to rest.


BLIND DATE

(to be confirmed) the star was blind but had an electronic vision device plugged into his brain (based on sonar so he couldn't see a television.) He wanted to play a 2600, so he plugged it into the device, and he went on a massive head trip.
 

CANNONBALL RUN II
Jackie Chan plays Pac-Man about 5 minutes before the movie ends (I remember him getting a really pathetic score, something in the double digits, and a computer voice calls him an "average player".)
 

CASHBACK
2 kids are shown playing Video Olympics.


CLOAK & DAGGER

Atari products played a major role in this film. The game cartridge the spies are after is for the 5200. While the Cloak & Dagger game never existed for the 5200, there were several mock up cartridges and boxes made up which can be seen at the "computer geek's" store. It is filled with Atari stuff, along with a dedicated Cloak & Dagger arcade machine! Although the movie has gained a reputation for being something of an Atari 5200 commercial, there is a ColecoVision, the 5200's main competitor, visible in the main room of the Game Keeper. It's visible at the top of the screen as Davie is collapsing the walkie-talkie's antenna after talking to Rice.


 

THE CREATURE THAT WASN’T NICE (AKA Naked Space AKA Spaceship)
Another Leslie Nielsen comedy with an Atari VCS game in the mix, which has Nielsen playing an upside-down Space Invaders.


THE DEAD ZONE

In the kid’s bedroom (who Christopher Walken is tutoring), there’s a VCS system on the table, with 2 joysticks and what looks like a couple of boxed games. A pair of paddles is on top of the TV (which looks very much like a Commodore TV/monitor.

 


DEVIL FISH – MST2K

In the movie Devil Fish (which aired on Mystery Science Theater) one of the actresses is shown playing Seaquest. Then Tom Servo remarks, "Abyss 2 isn't very good."


E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

There's an Atari VCS on top of the TV in the living room with joysticks.


ELECTRIC DREAMS

Early in the movie, there’s a scene in a computer store and there’s a counter full of Imagic games (VCS and Intellivision).


IN COUNTRY

In one scene Emily Lloyd is coming home and you can see Bruce Willis lying on the couch with one arm behind his head. In the other hand he is holding a Proline joystick, controlling it only with his thumb. On the couch table there is an Atari 7800 ProSystem console. Then they have a quick shot of Ms. Pac Man being played on the TV.


GREMLINS
Boxed copies of some Atari VCS games - including a SwordQuest WaterWorld one with the early promo artwork - appear in the department store scene.


THE JEFFERY DAHMER FILES
A scene shows Dahmer playing Pitfall! in a grocery store.  The store is Koppa's Fulbeli Deli In Milwaukee, WI and they have an area set up with a Sears version of an Atari Video Game Selection Center (2nd photo).


JAWS 2

(unconfirmed) A scene where Brody is leaving the house in some sort of temper tantrum while the kids are playing a VCS.


MAX DUGEN RETURNS

There is a scene where you see Matthew Broderick's room, and all of his shelves are full of Atari VCS games, new in the boxes.


MIDNIGHT MADNESS

This obscure Disney comedy has a character played by Stephen Furst using an Atari VCS CX40 joystick to play a computer game about 20 minutes or so into the movie (the game itself is not an Atari game, it's some black & white Pong/Breakout variant).

 


MODERN PROBLEMS

This Chevy Chase movie has a shot of a TV playing Space Invaders.


NATIONAL LAMPOON’S REVENGE OF THE NERDS

Wormser (the kid) can be seen playing an Atari VCS several times. It looks like a Vader model, and he is playing Spacemaster X-7. The first shot is from the gym, and is the best one. The second time the Atari can be seen is when Wormser and Lamar are working out. Finally, you can also see Wormser playing it again when Louis announces that they have an interview with Lambda Lambda Lambda.


 


NIGHT OF THE DEMONS
Sound f/x from VCS Pac-Man can be heard in the convenience store scene.


ONE OF THE GUYS

Terri's brother Buddy has a VCS in his room.


POLTERGEIST

There is an Atari VCS machine on top of the TV in the parents room. It can be seen as Carol Ann first meets the ghosts and utters the famous phrase, "They're here!" But it can be seen better in this scene when Robbie is afraid of the lightning and visits his parents who are busy smoking a joint.


THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

The movie takes place in 1981. Towards the end of the movie there is one scene where Will and his son are in an electronics store. The son is in the background playing Asteroids on the VCS! (or is it Minestorm/Vectrex)?


ROLL BOUNCE

Asteroids is shown being played. However, the movie’s setting is the summer of 1978, well before even the arcade version was released!


SOLARIS
The sound f/x from SwordQuest EarthWorld are supposedly used in the scene where the ship is breaking up.

SUPERMAN III
Atari animated the famous Grand Canyon "video game" sequence, one frame at a time.  Articles about it can be found in the Atari Age (September/October 1983), Atari Connection (Fall 1983), and InfoWorld (Sept. 12, 193) magazines.  During the sequence, sound effects from VCS Pac-Man and Star Raiders can be heard. 

 


TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY

Features an arcade scene with many classics.  Sounds of VCS Donkey Kong can also be heard in the background.

 


THE THING

In the 1982 John Carpenter remake, there is a VCS sitting on top of a TV.

 

 

 

TIMES SQUARE
A boxed VCS and some games (including Video Chess) appear in the window of an electronics store.

 

 

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
An Atari Paddle controller and a SVI Spectravideo QuickShot (model QS-115) are shown being used to control a drone.



VIDEODROME
There is an Atari VCS CX-40 joystick on top of a TV.


THE WRESTLER
A fake NES game called Wrestle Jam was created for the movie, which features sound effects from VCS Donkey Kong and Pac-Man.
 

 

 TV SHOWS and VIDEOS


 


Alf
Alf plays Space Invaders with a Suncom TAC-3 joystick (video).

 

 

 

Alias
Marshall was seen playing a game offscreen.  Sloane comes in and interrupts him, with a "what are you doing?" glare, Marshall then holds up an Atari VCS CX-40 joystick and an Asteroids cartridge and says, "You can't beat the classics!"

 

 

 

Aqua Teen
An episode with the Mooninites up to their usual antics was filled with sampled sound effects from Pac-Man and other classic VCS games.

 

 

CSI Miami
An Atari VCS is shown in one episode.
 

 

Electric Youth - "Tomorrow"

A photo of the Atari 2700 appears.

 

 

 

Everybody Hates Chris

In episode 10 of the first season, 2 boys are shown playing several VCS games including Missile Command.

 

 

 

 

 

Freaks and Geeks

“The Garage Door” features a store with a stand full of VCS (Combat, Berzerk, Robot Tank, and Space Invaders), 5200, and Intellivision games.  An Atari VCS console is actually part of the plot.  Also shown is Adventure and coin-op Asteroids on a TV!

 

 

 

Forbidden Science (2009)
In the new sci-fi series "Forbidden Science," there is a scene where
an employee is playing the Atari VCS version of Ms. Pac-Man on her
computer.

 

Halt and Catch Fire
An Atari 2600 JR and 600XL appear in an episode.


Knight Rider
At the start of the episode "Soul Survivor" (Nov. 1983), David Hasselhoff is playing the arcade version of Pac-Man, but he's not using an Atari joystick to play it.  It's hard to make out but it looks like he as a high score of 6290(?).  And 1up 3240 is flashing in the top left corner. The sound effects are authentic.  Later on we see a computer hacker using a computer keyboard with an Atari VCS CX-40 joystick to drive KITT.  He also plays Pac-Man with the same joystick.

There's also an episode showing Michael playing Intellivision’s Auto Racing on KITT’s monitor with an Atari VCS CX-40 joystick!


Paul McCartney - "Appreciate"
Kids are shown playing Pac-Man on a 6-switch console, using Pro-Line joysticks.


My Name Is Earl
An Episode features Crab Man playing an unknown vertical shooter on the VCS.

 

 

In the Joy's Wedding episode, Darnell is playing Berzerk (referred to as "Berzerker").  Earl comments on the nice score, and Darnell says something like, "Yeah, this one's going on the wall of fame" and motions in the direction of the wall, which has a bunch of Polaroids of Berzerk screens with scores written underneath - all 6-digit scores! 

 

 

Pawn Stars
An episode featured a Centipede coin-op machine, but the only sound f/x were from VCS Donkey Kong!  Another episode features Austin "Chumlee" Russell checking out a Donkey Kong coin-op, and when he goes to play the game, the first thing you hear is the sound f/x from VCS Donkey Kong of somebody jumping and immediately dying (LINK).


Robot Chicken
On the season 3 DVD there’s a deleted scene featuring VCS E.T., the infamous landfill, and Howard Scott Warshaw. The scene was never finished (not animated).


Sliders

Sound effects from VCS Donkey Kong can be heard in the pilot episode, and both Donkey Kong and VCS Pac-Man can be heard in episode 6 "Time Again, and World"


South Park

In the "You're Getting Old" episode, the arcade game in the background when Randy does his tween wave performances is Custer's Revenge!


Teddybears feat. Mad Cobra - "Cobrastyle"

Music video showing a 6-switch VCS and several cartridges, including a custom "Teddybears" game.


Three's Company

Furley vs Furley episode - Jack and Janet are playing a football game on the VCS, but the sound f/x are obviously incorrect (not even from a VCS), and there’s not even a cartridge in the system.


“V”

Robin Maxwell and the Visitor Youth leader Brian play Space Invaders at the beginning of the "V" miniseries.


The Walking Dead - "Hostiles and Calamities"

The character Eugene is shown playing Yars' Revenge and also mentions Warlords.


 

Wintergreen - "When I Wake Up"
The video shows the band playing E.T. and then going to the Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill to dig up hundreds of buried cartridges.

 

 


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