In the beginning, there was only Atari.
However, after a select group of game programmers split from Atari after feeling they were not getting adequate credit for their creativity and hard work (Atari had a philosophy that the best coder was no better than the receptionist at the front door), the third-party system of game publishing was born. First, Activision hit the scene with its salvo of clever games such as Kaboom and Pitfall!, and in a matter of months, many more followed.
While the opening of new talent houses such as Activision and Imagic resulted in some of the best games for the Atari 2600, this freedom was eventually abused. Third-party publishers saw a quick buck making games for the white hot Atari 2600 and proceeded to shovel hundreds of gaming into the hungry marketplace.
One of those publishers was Xonox, a Minnesota-based publisher of Atari 2600 games (and later, the Colecovision) that hit upon the clever idea of packaging two games in a single cartridge. The elongated cartridges contained two games, each playable by inserting one end of the cartridge into the Atari 2600. The concept would convince the customer they were getting additional value from their Xonox purchase, as it had the same price as a regular Atari cartridge. Why buy just Venture for the 2600, when for the same price, you could take home a single box with Ghost Manor and Chuck Norris Superkicks?