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.


AMERICAN MADE
Snoopy and the Red Baron
is shown being played in one scene.

 

ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD: THE MOVIE
Atari and E.T. are predominantly featured.


AU PAIR

There's a scene where a boy is playing a GameBoy, but the sounds of Pac-Man are heard.


THE BABY SITTER: KILLER QUEEN

Atari VCS controllers are shown, and what might be Millipede is heard offscreen.

 

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 (1984)

Super Breakout appears in some scenes, the most notable being when the lead character plugs the output of his VCS into an experimental device that sends the video signal directly into his brain.


 

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 WASNíT 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.


D.A.R.Y.L.

There is a scene where Daryl is playing the Atari home version of Pole Position on a 600XL computer. A fake high score screen is also shown, along with an impossibly-high score.  In another scene, heís playing Caverns of Mars and Missile Command.

 

THE DEAD ZONE
In the kidís bedroom (who Christopher Walken is tutoring), thereís 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 (Shark: Rosso nell'oceano)

One of the actresses is shown playing Seaquest. In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, 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, thereís a scene in a computer store and thereís 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, along with an Atari 810 disk drive.  There's also an Atari 800 computer on a shelf.


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 LAMPOONíS REVENGE OF THE NERDS

Wormser (the kid) can be seen playing Spacemaster X-7 on an Atari 2600 "Vader" model several times. 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.

POLICE STORY
An 800XL running SynCalc is featured in a few scenes.

 

POLTERGEIST
There is an Atari VCS machine on top of the TV in the parent's 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 movieís 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.


THE STUFF
An Atari 800 computer is shown on top of a TV with Zaxxon on the TV, only itís not the 800 version, itís the Colecovision version. The sounds they used in the movie are from the arcade version of Joust.

 

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
They use the original Atari 800 extensively throughout the movie. Also in the screen shots of the LaserDisc there is an Atari CX-40 joystick on top of a TV.


WALL∑E

A VCS appears that's apparently playing a Pong-type game, although the game shown isn't any known VCS game.

 

 

 

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


 


3% - "Sun" S4E7

At least one "Darth Vader" VCS (and possibly more) appear about 10 minutes in as Rafael, Elisa, and Joana flee a group of homicidal Inlanders.

 

 

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.

 

 

Ash vs Evil Dead
An episode from season 2 has Ash going to his childhood room where he has a huge Yars' Revenge poster on the wall.

 

 

 

Chocky
An Atari 800 appears in the first episode.

 

 

 

CSI Miami
An Atari VCS is shown in one episode.
 

 

Electric Youth - "Tomorrow"

A photo of the Atari 2700 appears.

 

 

 

Everybody Hates Chris

S1E10 Two boys are shown playing several VCS games including Missile Command.

 

 

 

 

 

Freaks and Geeks - "The Garage Door"

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)
There is a scene where an employee is playing the Atari VCS version of Ms. Pac-Man on her computer.

 

The Goldbergs - "A Wall Street Thanksgiving"
E.T. makes an appearance.


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


Home Improvement

An episode in season one shows a 7800 system.




How I Met Your Mother
There's an episode where Ted and Marshall are playing an Xbox 360 but the sound effects are from a VCS game (possibly Pac-Man).


Knight Rider - "Soul Survivor"
At the start of the episode (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 Intellivisionís Auto Racing on KITTís monitor with an Atari VCS CX-40 joystick!


Magnum P.I. - "Smaller Than Life"
S4E3 Magnum is using an Atari 400 with a Microtronics aftermarket keyboard, along with an 830 modem, although the text shown onscreen is fake.  The close-up typing shots show an 800 with the ATARI 800 badge removed.  Later on in the same episode, he's shown playing Missile Command.


Married with Children - "Naughty But Niece"
A
5200 can be seen in Budís bedroom.


"Old College Try"
An Atari ST computer is shown in Bud's dorm.


Modern Family
One episode has Mitchell and Claire  in their dad's garage and Mitchell takes a VCS out of a box.


MTV Lost Weekend with Van Halen promo
One of the prizes to this spec-tacular contest was an Atari 5200 system with 3 games - Mario Bros., Joust, and Pole Position.

  

 

 

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! 

 

 

 

My Two Dads
One of the episodes shows a 7800 console being played.


Parker Lewis Can't Lose

One of the episodes shows a 7800 console being sold in a store.


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


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).


Rick and Morty - "Anatomy Park" (S1E3)
Sound f/x from VCS Donkey Kong can be heard at the end.

"Blipz and Chitz" (S2E2)
Sound f/x from VCS Donkey Kong and arcade Pac-Man can be heard.


Robot Chicken

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


Saturday Night Live
Pong was shown in skits in 4 shows in the first season: 11-8-85, 11-15-75, 12-13-75, 12-20-75.


Shaun the Sheep - Shaun the Farmer"
S1E25
There's a brief scene with the farm dog playing a video game and VCS Donkey Kong can be heard.


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 - You're Getting Old"

The arcade game in the background when Randy does his tween wave performances is Custer's Revenge!


Stranger Things
S1E2 A pair of VCS carts appear on top of a TV set.


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"

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 thereís not even a cartridge in the system.  When Jack stands up to leave and decides to keep playing, a cartridge magically appears on the table.

  


ďVĒ

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.

 

 


Return to main menu