Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded Atari in 1972 to create and market games. Their first product, Pong, was an instant success and by 1974 they were releasing a new game every six weeks.
By 1977 they found themselves deep in debt and were saved by a partnership with Warner Communications. From that point on financial problems, internal squabbles and missed sales figures kept them on a roller coaster ride. Despite this they were a force in the game industry and, in 1979, produced the Atari line of home computers.
In 1994 Warner Communications and Time Life Inc. merged to form Time-Warner and Atari simply became one of the assets. Various attempts at reviving the Atari name have not proved particularly successful.