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CommaVid Inc.
FormerlyComputer Magic Video
IndustryVideo game development and publishing
  • Irwin Gaines
  • John Bronstein
  • Joseph Biel
United States

CommaVid Inc. was a game developer and publisher for the Atari 2600 that released six games between 1981 and 1983, plus a programming tool for the console.[1] The company was founded by Dr. Irwin Gaines, Dr. John Bronstein, and Dr. Joseph Biel[2] under the name Computer Magic Video, which was shortened to Com Ma Vid, or CommaVid.[2] It was based in Aurora, Illinois.[3]

In addition to developing its own titles, CommaVid ported the arcade game Venture to the 2600 for Coleco.[2]



The following games were released by CommaVid:[1]

  • Cakewalk, similar to Tapper in gameplay[4]
  • Cosmic Swarm[5]
  • Mines of Minos[5]
  • Room of Doom[5]
  • Stronghold[6]


MagiCard is an Atari 2600 programming tool on a cartridge that originally came with a 100-page manual and was only available via mail order.[7] According to CommaVid co-owner Gaines, 50 to 100 MagiCard cartridges were produced.[2]

Video Life[edit]

Video Life is a version of the cellular automaton known as Conway's Game of Life for the Atari 2600.[8] Video Life was only available through a special mail order offer to owners of CommaVid's Magicard. Fewer than 20 cartridges of Video Life were made.[9] A 2003 report in the Chicago Reader by Jeffrey Felshman estimates that cartridges would sell for as much $3000 at the time.[10]

Unreleased prototypes[edit]

  • Frog Demo
  • Mission Omega[5]
  • Rush Hour
  • Underworld


  1. ^ a b "CommaVid". AtariAge. Archived from the original on 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  2. ^ a b c d Santulli, Joe. "The Story of CommaVid". Digital Press.
  3. ^ "Cakewalk Manual" (PDF).
  4. ^ Ida, Keita. "Cakewalk". AtariHQ.
  5. ^ a b c d Goodman, Danny (Spring 1983). "Home Video Games: Video Games Update". Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games. p. 32.
  6. ^ Sheinbaum, Mike (March 1984). "Stronghold". Electronic Fun with Computers & Games. 2 (5): 57.
  7. ^ "MagiCard". AtariAge. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  8. ^ "Video Life". AtariAge. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-01-23.
  9. ^ Joe Santulli (September 14, 2003). "The Story of CommaVid". Collector's Corner. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  10. ^ Jeffrey Felshman (September 11, 2003). "Game Boy". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2019.