The year was 1982. The movie, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, was the most popular movie ever released. Atari was the most successful video game manufacturer on the planet. It seemed like a match made in heaven.
What followed was the most disastrous event in video game history. The gameplay was confusing. The graphics were under whelming. The game was simply bad.
Out of five million cartridges, only 1.5 million were sold, and many were returned.
Atari ended up burying 700,000 cartridges in an unmarked location in the New Mexico desert, which were then later unearthed in 2014.
This event helped to lead to the decline of the original Atari, and the entire videogame industry in the United States.
Recently, Atari has had a resurgence. Nostalgia for the company has brought rise to produces like the Ataribox, a crowd-funded console resembling the Atari 2600 that they say will play current and classic Atari content.
And now, at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, Atari has made another bold announcement.
Their next great product?
Atari, as a tie-in to the movie BladeRunner 2049, is releasing a classic blue baseball cap with the Atari logo prominently displayed on the front. For many people, that would be enough incentive to buy it, but they haven't stopped there.
This is a "Speaker Hat". As a fully featured Internet of Things (IoT) device, the hat has two Bluetooth speakers built into the rim and a microphone for calls. It is designed to connect with any Bluetooth enabled device to play music and have phone conversations, etc.
Perhaps more interestingly, they say that the hats are meant to connect to each other, creating some sort of network amongst themselves. Think "walkie-talkies", without always having to press a button.
Some concerns have been expressed with their approach. For one, phone conversations are often considered to be private, and via this method, they will cause others to overhear your intimate thoughts. However, the "Speaker Hat" is merely the first of a proposed line of wearable products in the "Atari Connected Life" initiative, which could include haptic clothing and camera-wear. Atari's idea maybe to disrupt current perceptions, and instead of trying to make everything private, have natural conversations with people as if they were there beside you.
If you're interested in trying out a Speaker Hat, you can register for the chance to be an early tester.
Like their original founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari has always shown that they're not afraid of taking risks and pushing the bar forward.
Perhaps in 2049 we'll all be wearing Atari clothing, and that New Mexico landfill will stay blissfully empty.