Besides continuing work on Stella, Atari’s Home Division released several products in 1977. The most interesting was named Atari Video Music. Video music was designed by designed by Bob Brown, and reportedly, conceived during one the Bushnell’s infamous offsite “retreats”.
“Bob Brown had designed Video Music, our weirdest product ever. Hook it up to your stereo and TV at the same time, and the sound triggered some pretty psychedelic visuals. The Sears guys took one look and asked what we'd been smoking when we did that. Naturally, one of our techs lit up a joint and showed them." cv - Al Alcorn
1977 was pretty much the end of these types of units for Atari. Rumors have it that some time in 1978, Atari had so many dedicated game units left unsold, that they were just going to throw them away. Instead, they took them outside their warehouse on Borregas Street, ran them over with a semi cab, and threw them into dumpsters so no one could reuse them.cviii
The most important project at Atari in 1977 was the interchangeable games console, Stella. The final version of “Stella”, now renamed by marketing as the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) contained the following:
The target was to support Pong and Tank!-style games. For this they included 2 8-bit “player” objects, and 3 1-bit “ball” objects plus a low-resolution playfield supported in hardware.
With the millions of dollars Warner poured into the company, Atari was able to attract some of the best engineering talent around to make games for the system. Atari put an ad out to hire programmers for the their new machine. Larry Kaplan was one of the first to get hired, along with Alan Miller, Larry Wagner and Ed Riddle.
"I saw their ad in the Mercury News and applied for the job. I was among 100 applicants and Bob Brown later told me they hired me because I had purchased an Altair 8800 (the first home computer kit."cix - Larry Kaplan