Tengen, Inc. records
The Tengen, Inc. records are arranged into five series, two of which have been further divided into subseries. The collection is housed in three full map cases and four archival document boxes. The map cases are located in a storage area separate from the library and archives space, so please allow additional time for retrieval by staff members.
- 1985 - 1995
- Majority of material found within 1987 - 1994
- Tengen, Inc. (Firm) (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Please see The Strong's Digital Games Files Access Policy
Conditions Governing Use
102 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 43 flat file drawers)
Atari, Inc. was established in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. In 1977, Atari entered the home console market with its Video Entertainment System, and Bushnell sold his majority share of the company to Warner Brothers. In 1984, Jack Tramiel, the former head of Commodore, acquired the home and computer division of Atari from Warner, renaming the company Atari Corporation. Soon after, Warner sold its 60% majority share of the coin-op division to Namco. Namco subsequently renamed the arcade division Atari Games. As part of a deal Warner made with Tramiel, Atari Games could not create hardware or software that competed with Atari Corporation under the Atari name.
In 1987, Atari Games formed a subsidiary called Tengen, which would produce licensed games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and other home consoles. Tengen ran into legal trouble with Nintendo in 1988 following attempts to circumvent Nintendo’s strict licensing agreements by mimicking the NES code, so that their unauthorized games could be played on the NES. After Nintendo blocked Tengen from selling these unlicensed games, Tengen sued Nintendo for unfair competition; Nintendo countersued Tengen for copyright and patent infringement. Tengen lost its legal battle against Nintendo in 1994.
Despite Tengen’s years-long, public skirmish with Nintendo, it produced games for several different consoles, including the Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, and TurboGrafx-16. In 1994, Time Warner purchased a controlling share of Atari Games, consolidating both Atari Games and Tengen into Time Warner Interactive.
System of Arrangement
Series I: Promotional materials, 1986-1993
Subseries A: Sell sheets
Subseries B: Trade show materials and catalogs
Subseries C: Posters
Subseries D: Promotional artwork
Series II: Artwork, 1985-1995
Subseries A: Box artwork
Subseries B: Manual artwork
Series III: Assembly drawings and schematics, 1988-1994
Series IV: Corporate stationery, 1986-1988Series V: Floppy disks, 1988-1991
- Tengen, Inc records
- Tyler Kassten, Dane Flansburgh, and Julia Novakovic
- January 2016
- Description rules
- Language of description
Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA