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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Company typePrivate
IndustryVideo games
Key people
Bill Grubb
Dennis Koble
Bob Smith
Rob Fulop

Imagic (/ɪˈmæɪk/ i-MA-jik) was an American video game developer and publisher that created games initially for the Atari 2600. Founded in 1981 by corporate alumni of Atari, Inc. and Mattel, its best-selling titles were Atlantis, Cosmic Ark, and Demon Attack.[1] Imagic also released games for Intellivision, ColecoVision, Atari 8-bit computers, TI-99/4A, IBM PCjr, VIC-20, Commodore 64, TRS-80 Color Computer, and Magnavox Odyssey². Their Odyssey² ports of Demon Attack and Atlantis were the only third-party releases for that system in America. The company never recovered from the video game crash of 1983 and was liquidated in 1986.


Imagic was the second third-party publisher for the Atari 2600, formed after Activision.[2] Founders included Bill Grubb, Bob Smith, Rob Fulop, and Denis Koble from Atari, Inc.,[3] Jim Goldberger, Dave Durran and Brian Dougherty from Mattel[4] as well as Pat Ransil [5] and Gary Kato. Grubb previously served as the vp of sales and marketing for Atari for 18 months.[6] Before that, he was with the marketing department at Black and Decker for 11 years.[7] It was Grubb's goal to take Imagic public[8] and to eventually overtake Activision as the number one third-party video game publisher.[7] Fulop, meanwhile, was previously a programmer at Atari, and claimed in a 2019 interview with Paleotronic Magazine that he left the company in favor of Imagic after being paid for developing the Atari 2600 port of Missile Command with a Safeway coupon for a free turkey rather than the monetary Christmas bonus he had expected.[9]

Atari sued Imagic over Demon Attack because of its resemblance to Phoenix,[10] to which Atari had the exclusive home-version rights. The case was settled out of court.

Despite initial success and sales greater than projections, the company's fortunes reversed after the stock market dumped videogame stocks in late 1982, scuttling Imagic's initial plan to become a publicly traded company.[11]

Fan club[edit]

During its height, Imagic ran a fan club for their games, the Numb Thumb Club, which published an annual newsletter.[12] Only two issues were published before Imagic's demise in 1983.[12]


Although Imagic grew quickly in its early years, it was irreparably harmed by the video game crash of 1983. It released 24[citation needed] games before going out of business by 1986, but the exact time it disbanded is unknown. In 1983, the company laid off 40 of their 170 employees[13] but appeared at the 1984 Consumer Electronics Show with plans for four IBM PCjr games.[14] The rights to Imagic's most popular titles have been owned by Activision since the late 1980s,[citation needed] and they have been re-released on several occasions.


Imagic 2600 cartridges were distinct from both Activision and Atari cartridges with an extended ridge at the top of the cart. Packaging was distinctive due to the use of reflective silver on the boxes, with a tapered, ridged end intended for an easy grip. The years are for the original versions only, not subsequent ports.





  1. ^ "Demon Attack". Atari Age. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  2. ^ "Classic Gaming Expo Distinguished Guest: Alan Miller". Classic Gaming Expo. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved 2006-08-30.
  3. ^ "Playing Catch Up: Night Trap's Rob Fulop". Gamasutra. CMP. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  4. ^ "Making of Atlantis Video Game - Part 1 Imagic - LiveVideo.com". Archived from the original on 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  5. ^ "Just Kidding TV show - the Making of Imagic's Wing War". YouTube.
  6. ^ Hayes, Thomas C. (22 November 1982). "Imagic Scores in Video Games". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Video Games Interview: Bill Grubb and Dennis Koble". Video Games Magazine. Atari HQ. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  8. ^ "All in the Game - Imagic: The Making of Atlantis". Enterprise. PBS. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  9. ^ "An Interview with Atari 2600 developer and Imagic Co-Founder Rob Fulop". Paleotronic Magazine. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  10. ^ "Demon Attack: This game is pure Imagic!". Atari Times. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  11. ^ "Making of Atlantis Video Game - Part 3 Imagic - LiveVideo.com". www.livevideo.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-24.
  12. ^ a b "Imagic Titles for Intellivision". Intellivision Lives. Intellivision Productions. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  13. ^ "Imagic Layoffs". The New York Times. 17 September 1983.
  14. ^ Cook, Karen (1984-03-06). "Jr. Sneaks PC into Home". PC Magazine. p. 35. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Atari 2600 VCS Fire Fighter : Scans, dump, download, screenshots, ads, videos, catalog, instructions, roms".
  16. ^ "Intellivision Classic Video Game System / Imagic for Intellivision". www.intellivisionlives.com. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  17. ^ "Availability Update". The Video Game Update. Vol. 2, no. 1. April 1983. p. 4.
  18. ^ Holyoak, Craig (1984-05-30). "Here are ColecoVision's jewels". Deseret News. pp. 4 WV. Retrieved 10 January 2015.