Apr 22, 2021

Toys R' Us During The Atari Age

Toys R Us (1983)
This awesome photo was recently shared by Atari programmer Michael Mika.  The foreground shows the display cases of what I believe to be an Atari 800 XL with Milton Bradley's Dark Tower game on the shelves below.

Behind the man and woman in this photo, you can see the display of Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and IBM PC games.  It's a little blurry, but I could make out the box art for Towering Inferno, Sky Jinks, and Pac-Man.  The awesome game posters above the display are much easier to see.  From left to right, they are Enduro, Keystone Kapers, Kangaroo, Q-Bert, Mash, Gorf, River Raid and Super Cobra

The video game aisles in Toys R' Us stores didn't have the games themselves on the shelves.  Instead, there were plastic Vidpro display cards for the games that were available for purchase hanging on the peg hooks like the ones you can see in this photo on the back wall.  Shoppers would take these cards to the register to purchase a game.

It's funny to think that the store put these on the shelves to prevent people from shoplifting the game cartridges, and today the display cards are sold to gamers for as much or more than the games themselves cost.