Over the holidays I was lucky enough to be able to go and see Atari's old headquarters in Sunnyvale CA. I knew that all that remained of Atari's former glory was a set of vacant office buildings, but I still wanted to go and see these monuments for myself. So after a short 45 minute car ride (which included 20 minutes of trying to explain to my fiancee exactly why were going go see an old office building) I was there.
Atari actually occupied several different buildings in the Sunnyvale area during the 80's and early 90's, but I was only interested in seeing two of them: 1265 Borregas which served as Atari's headquarters during the Warner years (1976 - 1984) and 1196 Borregas which served as Atari's headquarters during the Tramiel years (1984 - 1996).
My first stop was 1265 Borregas Ave., site of Atari's first headquarters. The building was currently unoccupied, but looked like it was being well cared for.
Unfortunately the building was locked, but looking through the windows you can see diagrams of the building layout for potential customers.
Got a few hundred thousand laying around? This historical building could be yours!
My second stop was 1196 Borregas Ave, site of Atari's second headquarters (and the more famous of the two buildings). Not only was 1196 a much more interesting looking building than 1265, but it was actually occupied! Thankfully due to it being a Saturday, there was no one around to question why a thirty-something Atari nerd was taking pictures of an office building.
Here's a view from the street. That little sign probably says 'No Trespassing' or something equally unimportant...
Walking around the back of the building, we find the picnicking area where Atari employees relaxed and talked about their next big game ideas (or just ate lunch).
Due to it being a holiday weekend, this building was locked up tighter than Fort Knox, but I still managed to snap some pictures of the lobby. Unfortunately we can't see the famous Atari reception desk from these shots.
Thus ended my trip through Atari history. In the end even though I knew these were just old office buildings, I felt like I had been taken back in time. I could almost imagine what it must have been like to have worked here during Atari's heyday (minus the long hours and grueling work load). Although now all that remains are empty concrete shells, Atari's history is still alive in the hearts and minds of fans who take the time to make the pilgrimage to this holy site.
Next stop: Imagic's old headquarters in Los Gatos. But that's another story...