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International Arcade Museum® — Killer List of Videogames®

Atari Football Atari Football - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Atari Football - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


An American football game where the player characters are represented as X's and O's on a monochrome screen. Players select either offensive or defensive plays and then control one of the characters on each team by rolling a trackball. Two versions were released; one for two players and another for two or four players.

Atari Football was produced by Atari in 1979.

Atari released 137 machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1972. Atari was based in United States.

Other machines made by Atari during the time period Atari Football was produced include: Sky Raider, Fire Truck, Avalanche, Orbit, Skydiver, Hercules, Superman, Atari Soccer, Atari Baseball, and Asteroids


Name Atari Football
Developer Atari (United States)
Year 1979
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 13018
Class Wide Release
Genre Sports
Conversion Class unique
# Simultaneous Players 4
# Maximum Players 4
Game Play Either
Control Panel Layout Multiple Player
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Table/Island - 2 Player
  • Table/Island - 4 Player-280 lbs
Instructions Atari Football Instructions Image
Control Panel Atari Football Control Panel Image

Game Introduction

This can be one of the most physically challenging games that was ever manufactured. Since the speed of each player depends on how fast the trac-ball is spun, your shoulders must be strong and your hands must be tough. Painfully sore palms and pinched fingers have rendered the hands of unseasoned players useless for days.

The two-player game requires one person to play offense and one to play defense. The four-player game requires two people on offense -- a Quarterback and wide receiver -- and two on defense as tackles. The four-player game is infinitely more challenging than the two-player.

Plays are chosen by the play select button, and the same button is used by the offense to pass the ball to a receiver. The Quarterback is often heard yelling 'I pushed it' immediately before getting sacked.

Game Play

The offensive characters are the O's and the defensive characters are the X's. Select a play with the trackball and press the button. Roll the trackball in the direction you would like to travel. Rolling the control faster will move your X or O faster. Pass the ball by pressing the button. Tackles are made by simply touching the character with the ball.

The four-player game has an additional offensve play: Punt/Field Goal. Use the button to kick the ball.

Atari Football KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 3.60 (8 votes)

Fun Factor: 4.21

Overall Like 4.29
Fun (Social) 4.71
Fun (Solo) 3.40
Collector Desire 4.14

Technical Rating: 3.38

Gameplay 4.14
Graphics 3.14
Originality 4.43
Sound/Music 2.63

Personal Impressions and Technical Impressions each account for half of the total score. Within the Personal Impressions category, Like carries a little more weight than the other factors.

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Cheats, Tricks, Bugs, and Easter Eggs

Wear a pair of gloves to minimize blisters. For maximum speed, use two hands to spin the Trak-ball when running.

In some two-player models built in late 1978 and early 1979, there was a bug that would allow the QB to throw a pass after crossing the line of scrimmage, then going back behind it. When the QB crossed scrimmage, all the defending X players would leave their receivers open as they pursued the run, making long completions easy.



This was the first game to use a trac-ball as the controller. Chances are that you will be more worn our after playing this game than after playing an actual game of football!

Cabinet Information

Players stand at opposing ends of the cabinet and text messages appear, oriented for each player. Additionally, information is displayed vertically down the side of the monitor.

With regards to the four-player cabinet, the control panel on each side of the machine contains two Trak-balls and a button. The right-hand Trak-ball on each side is the quarterback -- the other is the receiver.


The "Kick" defense was very effective against the pass, often resulting in Quarterback sacks.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Atari Football Census

There are 14,959 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,548 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 165,366 machines (6,939 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 146 known instances of this machine owned by Atari Football collectors who are active members. Of these, 139 of them are original dedicated machines. 7 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 15 active VAPS members with a Atari Football machines for sale.

Wanted - Popular - There are 13 active VAPS members currently looking for Atari Football. There is one active VAPS member looking for a Atari Football circuit board set.

This game ranks a 38 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 25 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census want list records.

Rarity and Popularity independently are not necessarily indications of value. [More Information]



It's a good idea to replace the shafts in the Trak-balls if they are the originals.


Foto-Finder® (Books)

  1. Arcade Treasures Kurtz (ISBN 088740619X) Page: 104; Color photo
  2. Arcade Fever Sellers (ISBN 0762409371) Page: 34; Color photo

Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Walkup (White)
  2. 3D Model (External): cocktail

eBay Listings

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Ebay Compatible Application

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