Fine. The word “respectable” might be a stretch. And the word “developer” might also be a stretch. But there was a time when people went to Sears to get their video game fix.
Back before Nintendo and Sega started fist fighting for gaming superiority, Atari ruled the roost. In the late 1970’s 2600s were flying off the shelves, and part of that was due to Atari’s flexible branding philosophy. The company was happy to rebrand its flagship product if the money was good enough. This is how Sears got in to the console business.
Sears’s Tele-Games console was simply a 2600 that had the nameplate ripped off. The two consoles look a little different, but they were manufactured by the same people with the same parts in the same factories. All of the games were cross-compatible, regardless of the branding on the cartridge. Though, Atari developed several Tele-Games-exclusive titles that could only be purchased at Sears.
I wonder what a Sears-exclusive title would look like today.
This week the folks over at Retrovolve spent a little time dissecting the two Atari 2600 designs. You should probably check it out.