Shark Jaws

Shark Jaws was a video arcade game created by Atari and released in 1975, an obvious attempt to ride the massive popularity wave of Steven Spielberg’s film “Jaws”, while skirting licensing regulations.

Atari head Nolan Bushnell attempted to officially license the name Jaws for the game, but was unable to secure a deal with Universal Pictures. Undeterred, the company used the “Shark Jaws” name, using tiny print for “Shark” and large all-caps “JAWS” on the game cabinet. In order to protect Atari from a possible lawsuit, a second hidden subsidiary corporation, Horror Games was formed, acting as the game’s producer.

According to the video game history website The Dot Eaters:

In the game, the player controls a SCUBA diver trying to spear a small fish swimming around the screen. On his tail is a bigger fish to fry, a shark intent on finishing him off. Bushnell and Atari swim through the bloodied waters of copyright infringement unscathed: Universal doesn’t bite. Full article here

Here’s a YouTube video of the game being played


Leave a Reply