Inside GameLine: The Original Game Download Service

Musings of a Mario Minion

We no longer bat an eyelid when a new game is released as a digital download. In the days of high speed internet, incredible server sizes, and DLC, keeping your entire game library on your console is an entirely feasible, if frustratingly intangible, route to take. It must have been strange, then, when Atari 2600 owners first downloaded Cosmic Ark, Space Cavern, or Bank Heist to their systems back in the 1980s.

GameLine ad for Atari

You’d be forgiven for not recognising the games in the GameLine catalogue. Many titles that were available for the first (relatively) widely used video game downloading system were tiny unknown experiences. It’s one of the reasons the program eventually failed, but let’s take it back to the start and delve into the wonderful world of CVC.

William von Meister had already developed the technology required to send video game files over a telephone line in the early 1980s…

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