Atari Cosmos

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The Atari Cosmos was an unreleased product by Atari Inc. for the handheld/tabletop video game system market that uses holography to improve the display. It is similar to other small video games of the era that used a simple LED-based display, but superimposes a two-layer holographic image over the LEDs for effect. Two small lights lite up one or both of the holographic images depending on the game state. The system was never released, and is now a coveted collector's item.


The Cosmos was created by Atari Inc. engineers Allan Alcorn, Harry Jenkins and Roger Hector. Work on the Cosmos began in 1978. Atari Inc. purchased most of the rights to holographic items so that they could make this system. The Cosmos was to have nine released games, but all of the game logic was included the Cosmos itself – the cartridges only contained the holographic images and a notch to identify what game it was. This technically made the Cosmos a dedicated console, but Atari Inc. didn't publicize this fact.

In ads made for the system before the Cosmos' cancellation, Atari Inc. claimed that the holographic images were life like and 3D. While this may have been true, the images didn't influence the actual gameplay at all. There were only two images to a game, though they did enhance each game's appearance. The system was intended to run off of an AC adaptor, not batteries. The Cosmos would have supported up to 2 players.

In 1981, the Cosmos was exhibited at the 1981 New York Toy...
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