Atari Compugraph Foto: An ASCII Art Photo Booth

Did you know that Atari was once in the “photo” making business? In 1975 — 3 years after it’s founding — the young video game company launched the Compugraph Foto, a large coin-operated machine that snapped photos and printed them out as ASCII portraits. Subjects stood in front of a monitor showing their face and then pressed a series of buttons, triggering the 950-pound machine to print out the portrait as a 14×11-inch “photo” on computer paper.

(via The Arcade Flyer Archive via Gizmodo)

  • Matt

    They had a similar machine at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis in 1984. I remember because you could get your photo taken with another person (old girlfriend) and they’d stick your face in an ASCII version of Grant Wood’s American Gothic. I think it cost a buck or two. There was a Grant Wood show on at the time.

  • Nate Parker

    I can’t believe this was only 30 years ago!

  • Terrance Lam

    My father brought home a set of T-shirts made from these for himself and all the kids. Brings back memories.