Video game:Atari Raiders of the Lost Ark

Atari, Inc.1982

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play
Rochester , United States

Part of the draw of many video games is the opportunity for gamers to play as characters they know and love from comic books, movies, and television shows. However, the process of bringing a character from one medium into another involves many complicated steps, such as the legal bargaining that takes place over rights. Developers require licenses to animate characters into life. Atari, Inc released the very first movie licensed video game in 1982. Entitled "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and based off the Steven Spielberg movie of the same name, this game ushered in a new genre of video games designed for promotion.

Designed for the Atari 2600, gamers play "Raiders of the Lost Ark" as single-players and must collect items and dodge thieves while searching for the lost Ark of the Covenant. Though relatively simple, the game became popular due to the ability of gamers to play as Indiana Jones. In fact, during development, programmer Howard Scott Warshaw walked around wearing a fedora and cracking a whip, just like the character in the movie. Warshaw told "Retro Gamer Magazine" that the movie license video game attracted him because, "You get to do an original game and it has the boost of an actual movie property."

Despite graphics and sound that seem laughable based on today's standards, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" received positive reviews. "Video Games" magazine called it a "more complex adventure game" than other games released at the same time, and the game remains memorable more than 20 years after its release.


  • Title: Video game:Atari Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Creator: Atari, Inc.
  • Date Created: 1982
  • Location: Sunnyvale, CA
  • Subject Keywords: electronic game, video game, Atari
  • Type: Console Games
  • Rights: Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • Medium: plastic, metal, printed paper
  • Object ID: 110.7234

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