atari corporation

The Atari Panther was an unreleased video game console co-developed by Atari Corporation and Flare Technology. It was scheduled to be released in 1991 as a competitor for the Sega Genesis and the Super NES.

In 1988, Atari started research on next-generation video game consoles and started on two project: a 32-bit console codenamed Panther and a 64-bit console codenamed Jaguar. Progress on the Jaguar project far exceeded progress made on the Panther project, so the Panther was scrapped in favor of the Jaguar which saw release in 1993.

It is said that the Jaguar controllers were originally developed for the Panther.

Four games were developed for the Panther: Panther Pong, Cybermorph, Dino Dudes, and Crescent Galaxy. After the Panther was scrapped, Cybermorph and Crescent Galaxy - later titled Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy - were ported to the Jaguar and became two of the Jaguar’s three launch titles along with Raiden. Dino Dudes would later be released for the Jaguar as Evolution: Dino Dudes.

In 1986, Atari Corporation debuted the Atari Mega ST series. The Atari Mega ST series featured a sturdy case, internal expansion slots, and a detachable keyboard. The Atari Mega 2 shipped with 2 megabytes of RAM, while the Atari Mega 4 shipped with 4 megabytes of RAM. When coupled with the Atari SLM804 laser printer, the Atari Mega ST was the most affordable desktop publishing package at the time, and for that it received critical acclaim and was featured on the cover of Computer Shopper.

After the Atari 1200XL was discontinued in 1983, Atari replaced the Atari 400 with the Atari 600XL.

The Atari 600XL had several HUGE advantages over the Atari 400:

  • It was lightweight and had a smaller form factor.
  • It featured built-in BASIC. (The Atari 400 required a separate BASIC cartridge.)
  • It featured a real keyboard, as opposed to the Atari 400’s hard-to-use membrane keyboard. (The Atari 400 had third-party keyboard upgrades.)
  • Its memory capacity could be easily upgraded to a full 64 KB by adding the Atari 1064 memory expansion module which plugged into the Atari 600XL’s rear expansion port. (At the time, the Atari 400’s memory capacity could be upgraded to 48 KB by Atari service personnel.)
  • It featured a built-in self-test which tested the RAM, the POKEY, and the keyboard.

The Atari 600XL debuted in 1983. Production of the Atari 600XL - along with the Atari 800XL - ended in 1984 when Tramel Technologies, Ltd. - the holding company founded by Commodore founder Jack Tramiel - purchased Atari’s consumer electronics division from Warner Communications and formed Atari Corporation. Atari Corporation would go on to sell the remaining stock of 600XLs and 800XLs into 1985 when they introduced the Atari 65XE and the Atari 130XE.