CommaVid 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]

Computer Magic Video
IndustryVideo game development and publishing
  • Irwin Gaines
  • John Bronstein
  • Joseph Biel
United States

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


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.[6] According to CommaVid co-owner Gaines, 50 to 100 MagiCard cartridges were produced.[2]

Video Life

Video Life is a version of the cellular automaton known as Conway's Game of Life for the Atari 2600.[7] 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 ever made.[8] A 2003 report in the Chicago Reader by Jeffrey Felshman estimates that cartridges would sell for as much $3000 at the time.[9]

Unreleased prototypes

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


  1. "CommaVid". AtariAge.
  2. Santulli, Joe. "The Story of CommaVid". Digital Press.
  3. "Cakewalk Manual" (PDF).
  4. Ida, Keita. "Cakewalk". AtariHQ.
  5. Goodman, Danny (Spring 1983). "Home Video Games: Video Games Update". Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games. p. 32.
  6. "MagiCard". AtariAge.
  7. "Video Life". AtariAge. Retrieved 2007-01-23.
  8. Joe Santulli (September 14, 2003). "The Story of CommaVid". Collector's Corner. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  9. Jeffrey Felshman (September 11, 2003). "Game Boy". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
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