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What ever happened to the Swordquest prizes?


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28 replies to this topic

#1 RickR

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 04:50 PM

Link stolen from Facebook post by Marty Golberg

http://www.atlasobsc...dium=atlas-page

Interesting research on what happened to the prizes that were and weren't awarded. Looks like only the chalice remains.
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#2 PotatoBox

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 06:13 PM

Quite sad, knowing that some of the prizes are forever lost. :( 


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#3 jmjustin6

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 09:01 PM

I still have hope that they are still sitting in someone man cave/ game room
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#4 Clint Thompson

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:35 AM

I was originally quite excited to read about this because I was for sure it had meant that something had been uncovered.

 

Spoiler: nope.  ;)


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#5 RickR

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:23 AM

I was originally quite excited to read about this because I was for sure it had meant that something had been uncovered.

 

Spoiler: nope. ;-)

I don't know man...the fact that they legally had to hold a private contest for the third prize was kind of surprising.  Was that third prize ever awarded? 

 

“They held a very quiet, non-public contest with the 10 people who solved the Waterworld contest. The crown was awarded to the third prize winner.” While we could find no hard evidence of this contest, Vendel says the contest had to take place by law.


Edited by RickR, 09 March 2016 - 11:24 AM.

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#6 fergojisan

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 03:34 PM

I don't know man...the fact that they legally had to hold a private contest for the third prize was kind of surprising.  Was that third prize ever awarded? 

 

“They held a very quiet, non-public contest with the 10 people who solved the Waterworld contest. The crown was awarded to the third prize winner.” While we could find no hard evidence of this contest, Vendel says the contest had to take place by law.

That's the part I hadn't heard about, but I can't tell if Curt is speculating or not.


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#7 jmjustin6

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:49 PM

I don't know man...the fact that they legally had to hold a private contest for the third prize was kind of surprising. Was that third prize ever awarded?


“They held a very quiet, non-public contest with the 10 people who solved the Waterworld contest. The crown was awarded to the third prize winner.” While we could find no hard evidence of this contest, Vendel says the contest had to take place by law.

I like to think that the contest was held and that there truly is atari royalty somewhere out there. I also think that if someone has the crown they might have been sworn to secrecy

Edited by jmjustin6, 09 March 2016 - 10:50 PM.


#8 Yo-Yo

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 04:14 AM

I really want to like Swordquest but I find it hard to follow, even with the comic books. It's a cool idea that was probably too big for the 2600 to do very well.
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#9 fergojisan

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:50 AM

Swordquest is all about the contest, the games are just a tool to enter the contest. Two of them are okay games, but all of them are kind of pointless if you're not entering the contest.


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#10 MalakZero

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 02:32 AM

They're buried in the tomb of Jack Tremiel. Let us form a mighty party and quest for them!

tumblr_n55xdgrwYj1qc5dpuo2_500.gif


Edited by MalakZero, 07 June 2016 - 02:36 AM.

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#11 Lost Dragon

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 05:22 AM

A very nice read, but like Clint, i went in expecting something presumed lost forever, had been found as article opens with:

 

"In the 1980s Atari offered golden treasures as gaming prizes, most of which were lost to time. Until now."

 

And whilst we get some very sad confirmation regarding what happened to at least one of the prizes:

 

 "......confirmed that Bell had in fact melted down the amulet for cash."

 

There still remains an element of speculation, even after previous suggestions like this one cleared up, thanks to further research:

 

"Even lead designer Frye told us that he believed the prizes went to Tramiel. “As best I can determine, [the remaining] three prizes were part of the Atari assets, and were transferred to the Trameil family in '84,” he says. Vendel, however is vehement that this is all fantasy. “[What] did not belong to Atari, nor was purchased by Tramel Technologies were the Swordquest prizes, because they were owned by Warner Communications, and were being held by Franklin Mint,” he says. “They’re not sitting on Jack Tramiel’s mantel, nor is the sword sitting over Jack Tramiel’s fireplace. He never had the rights or access...."

 

So, that aspect is superb, we can clear up speculation over prizes going to the Tramiels, but the issue of the final contest still has some unanswered questions:

 

“They held a very quiet, non-public contest with the 10 people who solved the Waterworld contest. The crown was awarded to the third prize winner.” While we could find no hard evidence of this contest, Vendel says the contest had to take place by law"

 

I too am not overly sure if this is Curt speculating, whilst it's made clear they could find no hard evidence and points out by law Atari would of had to of held said contest, that doesn't by default mean it actually took place.

 

Was anyone really going to take Atari to court over such a thing if it hadn't taken place is the question that still hangs in the air.

 

 

The thing is, to try and find any of the 10 people who solved the Waterworld contest, would be akin to trying to find a proverbial needle in numerous haystacks and that's assuming the majority are still with us, could remember that far back, wanted to talk about it etc.

 

I guess this will remain 1 of those unanswered questions.

 

It's always a crying shame to hear items are now lost forever.

 

I was gutted to hear The Hag from Cauldron 2's advert (sse my profile Piccy) is believed broken, that would of been a fantastic museum piece for someone.

 

But with so much of the unfinished, unreleased game code, let alone peoples accounts of working on said games, now gone for ever, it's a sad fact of life that once it's gone, it's gone.


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#12 correagonzalez

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 04:06 PM

I still would like this series finalized, regardless if it's Atari or anyone else for that matter, and an actual competition, not expecting anything like back in the 80's I'm pretty sure no one would sponsor that, maybe a local contest from atariage?
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#13 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 05:18 PM

I've done more research on the SwordQuest games than anyone else in the hobby.   Here's my SwordQuest Revisited article, which is a compilation of everything to date:

 

http://www.ataricomp..._revisited.html

 

I also recovered the SwordQuest Archive of Adventure website that Lafe Travis created in 1997, which featured Russy Perry Jr.'s solutions for the first 3 games in the series which originally appeared in the 2600 Connection newsletter:

 

http://www.ataricomp..._solutions.html

 

My Revisited article was meant to be a companion to the AoA. I also created the interview webpage for the Michael Rideout interview (on Digital Press).

 

After reading Eric Grundhauser's article (which btw, features some of my photos but doesn't credit me for them) and seeing that he quoted Vendel and Goldberg, who are less historians and more historical revisionists, I expected it would include some incorrect and/or unproven "facts".

 

"Earthworld sold around 500,000 copies, and around 5,000 players ended up submitting their answers to the final tournament. "

 

In the Volume 2, Number 10 issue of Atari Life (Atari's internal newsletter), CED Product Manager Joel Oberman claimed more than half a million EarthWorld cartridges were sold in the U.S., and of those, only 1% - 5,000 - were semi-finalists.

 

According to Robert Ruiz Jr., who created the "Adventurer's Club" in 1984, over 4,000 entered the contest.

 

 

"Work had begun on both the game and comic book of Airworld, which would have been patterned after the I Ching, but neither was ever created,"

 

Should have said neither were either completed.

 

 

 

"Vendel confirmed that Bell had in fact melted down the amulet for cash. "

 

Was this confirmed with Bell himself?  If so, why is there no proof of it online?  Why has this never been mentioned anywhere?  As of now, it has NOT been confirmed.

 

 

"As to the Crown of Life that would have been given to the winner of the Waterworld competition, Vendel says that it was awarded, but during a semi-secret tournament, the winner of which has never been revealed. “Under contract, Warner was obligated to complete the contest for Waterworld, because players had submitted correct answers, and the game was sold to the public based on the fact that whomever solves the puzzle in the game would be awarded a prize,” says Vendel.
 

 

“They held a very quiet, non-public contest with the 10 people who solved the Waterworld contest. The crown was awarded to the third prize winner.” While we could find no hard evidence of this contest, Vendel says the contest had to take place by law."
 
Again, where's the proof behind this statement?  If someone won a $25,000 crown, you better believe we would have heard about it before now, either from the person who won it or someone who knows them.  Also, the SwordQuest Challenge was a nationally-advertised contest.  Vendel's claim that the WaterWorld contest had to be completed for the sole reason the game was released and people submitted entries for it doesn't ring true because the contest was comprised of FOUR games.  Each game's contest was part of reaching the overall contest- to win the sword!  Why else would Atari have paid off the winners of the EarthWorld and FireWorld contests if they legally didn't have to (because AirWorld was never released)?
 
From Michael Rideout:
 

 

"When Atari discontinued the contests, Steven and I each received compensatory checks for $15,000, and the 15(?) WaterWorld qualifiers each received compensatory checks for $2,000(?). I'm not positive about the number of WaterWorld qualifiers, but I believe it was 15 (see the next paragraph). I'm also not sure if the $2,000 figure is correct; it may have been $3,000 or even $5,000. All of my notes and documents related to Swordquest are stashed in a box somewhere, and it was over ten years ago, so my memory is a bit hazy."
 
So if Atari indeed had some "super secret" playoff, what of the rumor of Atari paying off the WaterWorld finalists?   If Atari paid off the 10 finalists at least $2,000 each, that would be nearly as much as what the Crown was valued at!
 
But again, no finalists have ever come forward to corroborate this semi-secret, non-public playoff, and IMO until someone does, this is just another unfounded rumor.
 
Finally, as to the whereabouts of the remaining prizes, there lies the ultimate rumor.
 

 

"So what did happen to the Philosopher’s Stone and the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery? Vendel told us he got the scoop from a former member of Warner management. “Once Atari was sold, those prizes languished at Franklin Mint,” he says. “At some point Franklin Mint disposed of them. They were not retained, because why would they retain the prizes? It’s a lot easier just to smelt it back down and turn them into gold coins or other things they could sell.”
 
The Philosopher's Stone was housed in an 18K gold box, but the stone itself was actually a large piece of white jade, and not something that could be "smelted back down".  If the remaining prizes ended up back with the Franklin Mint, I'm surprised nobody there would have the foresight to hold on to them because, even though their base materials would always fluctuate in value, the prizes themselves would have eventually been worth more, being they would always be unique, one-of-a-kind items.
 

 

"According to Vendel, the rumor stems from an Atari employee who did see a sword over the mantel, but it was a family heirloom, not the Swordquest sword."
 
For one thing, that rumor stems from Vendel himself, from a post Vendel made on the rec.games.video.classic newsgroup back in 1998:
 
 

 

Curt Vendel
 
4/13/98
 
Other recipients: ah...@freenet.carleton.ca
 
Hi Bill,
    Go to www.atari.nu, goto the Atari Archives Section and read the
Other Atari Projects area titled: Atari SwordQuest, you'll find out
quite a bit, also if you decide to play the game, there is also a link
to the SwordQuest Solution Site, also go to www.atarihq.com, there is an
interview with the winner of the Fireworld contest.
 
   In breif, Earthworld and Fireworld were widely released, both
contests were run, WaterWorld was only released to Atari Club members
through Atari Age magazine, since it was released in limited quantities
and the company was in the middle of being sold, the Waterworld contest
was cancelled, as to what happened to the crown prize is unknown,
AirWorld was never started and as for the Knowledge Stone prize, that
too is unknown.   However I found out several months ago from a close
friend of Jack Tramiel the former owner of Atari, that the $50,000 sword
of ultimate power is hanging over his fireplace in his home in
California.
 
Curt
 
 
So which is, and who was it?  Was the unnamed person a close friend or an Atari employee?  What's the person's name?  Were they a man or a woman?  lol  He offered no other information other than it was a close friend... or an Atari employee.  In my experience, you need to identify your source(s) of information, so that others can independently verify the information, because without that, your story is just that - a story - and it has no value or meaning.
 
Vendel also claimed in his RGVC post that the WaterWorld contest was cancelled and that AirWorld was never started.  All I know is, if Tod Frye - the person who CREATED the SwordQuest contest to begin with believes the prizes ended up with Jack Tramiel, then until I see some definite proof otherwise, at this time that's the story.
 
Lastly, the Atari-Warner Bros.-Franklin Mint connection was found by John Hardie, as he mentioned in his Michael Rideout interview:
 

 

"Epilogue: Shortly after this interview, my research turned up a few more facts. I could never see the reasoning behind having the Franklin Mint design the prizes. I made a couple of calls to them and discovered that they were owned by Warner Communications at the time. There was the link. I spoke with someone in the Public Relations department who checked to see if any records were kept as to the current whereabouts of the prizes. Unfortunately, they had no records at all on the matter. The gentleman who designed the prizes was still with the company but was not available for comment. Recently, it was brought to my attention by a friend, that the remaining prizes in the contest are now in the possession of Jack Tramiel, who as we all know, bought Atari from Warner Communications. Whether he cancelled the contest as part of cost-cutting measures he was implementing at the time or he just took a liking to the prizes remains to be seen..."
 
 

Edited by Scott Stilphen, 28 January 2017 - 07:10 PM.

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#14 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 10:36 PM

In the book, "Art of Atari" by Tim Lapetino, the following info appears on page 264:

 

"Faced with plummeting sales and the video game market crash, Atari canceled the competition in mid-1984, and previous participants were bought out of their opportunity to compete in the final round with prizes of $15,000 and an Atari 7800 each.  The contest legally needed to be completed, so the "Crown of Life" was allegedly awarded to the winner of a semi-public competition of several entrants."

 

Both Vendel and Goldberg are mentioned in the acknowledgements section, so it seems their book of errors has started to contaminate others.  At least Lapetino states the crown was "allegedly" awarded (since, as I mentioned, no evidence has been shown to prove it ever happened).

 

There's also some neat promotional artwork for the Philosopher's Stone that appears in his book, as well as a nice copy of the AirWorld box art:

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by Scott Stilphen, 03 December 2016 - 10:37 PM.

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#15 Lost Dragon

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 09:16 AM

Whilst any  'historian' can only write on information he/she has recovered, at the time, it would of been more....'helpful' had Marty perhaps of worded some of his past claims a little differently.

 

When i started looking into the Panther console for the then planned GTW feature, i found Marty's claim that the only games 'done on the Panther' were:Plasma Pong, Cybermorph and Crescent Galaxy...

 

Well that aspect simply wasn't correct, as Peter Johnson confirmed to myself he'd assisted with the graphics on the conversion of Shadow Of The Beast over to Panther, so that was a very real WIP title...

 

 

Hand Made software (Jim G.) told me they had Elite up and running on Panther, so whilst not a planned Panther title, it was at least code running on Panther and finally not a thing said on Guildo H's ex-Konix RPG, The Crypt, which had been moved to Panther, after Guildo rode in an elevator with Jack Tramiel.

 

So Marty would of been been off making clear his information was all that was known, at that time, rather than drawing a line under it, as it came across.

 

 

As to his claim both Cybermorph and Crescent Galaxy were ported to Jaguar:

 

I myself have been unable to have this confirmed:ATD (various sources) cannot recal anything, merely speculate on misc 68000  code that might of been shared between the 2 systems.

 

Everyone i contacted who'd worked on Jaguar Crescent galaxy knew nothing of Panther version, Susan McBride might of been able to shed light, but didn't reply to Q's put.

 

Plus Shinto's Ex-Atari Corp source stated NONE of the Jaguar launch titles ever started life on Panther, so it'd be nice to see sources Marty used for his statement.

 

The other thing, in terms of historical viewpoints in todays UK Press (and a key reason i stopped funding them via subscriptions) is they are given to 'writers' who never owned the hardware at the time, so were not aware of the goings on in the scene etc and just copy n paste material to fill 4-6 pages of content and have a USA proof reader, read through it.

 

 

This i fear is why the UK viewpoint of the XEGS has been miss-represented, Atari UK's intial launch plans for 5200 then 7800 never reported on, despite fact they were both well documented at the time (see various PR reports i've put up on here).

 

 

I think the wonderous thing with todays media is you don't need to purchase any publication..book, magazine etc or take 1 historians statement as fact, a quick google search can find numerous articles and better still, put you in direct contact with the people behind the games, hardware etc and you can at least try and ask them yourselves.

 

 

It hasn't stopped me buying books like Art Of Atari, far from it, i just no longer take every statement i read from likes of the ahem, established historians, on face value.



#16 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 11:53 PM

Whilst any  'historian' can only write on information he/she has recovered, at the time, it would of been more....'helpful' had Marty perhaps of worded some of his past claims a little differently.

 

And there lies the problem with their book, for all the claims it makes are 'absolutes'.  They claim they vetted all their information from multiple sources, and would like you to believe that somehow every previous book and article on the history of the company somehow got it wrong (because they can't be wrong).  I have links to some of the more egregious errors they've made in my Pac-Man article (http://forums.atari.....php/topic/915-).  I pointed out another one on Keith Smith's site, The Golden Age Arcade Historian (https://allincolorforaquarter.blogspot.com/2015/01/atari-depositions-part-1.html), courtesy of a professional author and historian, Leonard Herman.  Vendel and Goldberg claim Bushnell still worked for Nutting when he attended the Magnavox Calvacade and first saw the Odyssey, even though he didn't work for them. They claim Bushnell left Nutting on June 1st, but they picked that date out of a hat because they have no physical evidence to back it up.  From Leonard:
 

 

I had come to the conclusion that Bushnell no longer worked for Nutting when he attended the Magnavox Calvacade and saw the Odyssey.  The two men who represented Nutting, both signed in at the same time and wrote "Nutting" next to their names. Bushnell signed separately and has no company affiliation.  In their book, Marty and Curt wrote that Bushnell still worked for Nutting at the time.
 
They're basing it on Steve Bristow's memory that Bushnell came back from the demonstration and talked about the Odyssey.  Marty and Curt think that Bushnell left Nutting around June 1 and they mention it in the book, although it's only conjecture on their part.
 
Ted Dabney told me that he's pretty sure that Bushnell was gone from Nutting when he saw the Odyssey.  Ted did say that Bushnell became a contractor for Nutting to help build the two-player Computer Space and that's when he probably went back there and talked about the Odyssey.
 

So there's a perfect example of them putting a spin on a specific event to fit their opinions (assumptions).  If they're willing to make an unfounded statement like that,  then you have to scrutinize and question everything they say.   Your info about the Panther/Jaguar games is another example.  I remember reading somewhere the claim that the early Jaguar titles were originally designed for the Panther (which was the excuse for them being lackluster).  They claim to have spend 7 years investigating and interviewing people, and yet the book is filled with very few direct quotes from anyone.  And when such errors are pointed out to them, their reaction is instinctively to attack and insult.  

 
With every interview I've done (50+), I not only include a person's replies to me verbatim, I give them the courtesy of proofing the final draft before it gets published; in other words, they have the last word.
 
I bought Lapetino's book (both versions) and it's very well done, but I do have some issues with it (most books on the subject do).  On the other hand, Atari: Business is Fun has more than a few, is nearly impossible to read due to being an incomprehensible mess, and is the sort of book that's ultimately a disservice to the company and its rich history, if not an outright danger to it..

Edited by Scott Stilphen, 05 December 2016 - 06:53 PM.

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#17 Lost Dragon

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 03:58 PM

I think the trouble these days, at least in UK Press, is you get a lot of wannabie 'historians'..or Media Personality types, thinking they can make statements as absolutes, just because their work is being paid-for and appearing in a commercial publication, with a big publishing arm behind it....

 


Atari wise alone, in years i've been reading various UK Publications...suggested Lynx sales figures have been run with, despite their not being actual, recorded figures from Atari Uk, let alone rest of the world..a 'sounds about right' answer has been kinda set in stone and if you question it, your bad mouthed and when folks ask for sources to back up 'UK Historian's claims' they are left empty handed.

 

Far better a writer simply put out a claim that possible figures were around the...X,Y or Z mark and this is based on reports from.....and let reader decide for themselves.

 

All we had was Darryl Still from atari Uk, going along with a suggested figure put to him, nothing recorded within Atari UK at that time.

 

The same 'Historian' who made this claim, still claims Domark were working on Pitfighter on Panther, despite their project manager assuring myself they were not and chap from Tengen, who was in charge of ALL home conversions on console (bar handhelds) backing this claim up and it's examples like this and reading that ST Myth was released etc that has meant i'm not willing to fund any publication that prints such works as absolute fact.

 

 

What you've put up makes for very interesting reading, i was told by Goldberg that press claims by Bob Gleadlow, shouldn't be trusted as it was just one source, Bob might of had an agenda, you couldn't just assume..

 

Also you needed multiple sources when people recollecting from memory...

 


Yet from what you've put forward, they've been happy to do just that in their own works, on occassion?

 


I'm not familar with where they had their Panther info from, but i've made public my sources from Atari Corp (those who answered and those who did not), ATD, Domark, Tengen, Psygnosis, Hand Made Software etc..plus likes of Jeff Minter interview in Edge, Joel Sieder talking about his role, Guildo..etc etc....

 


In case of Guildo, it seems there was no formal internal documentation, Guildo just talked to Jack in an elevator, so maybe i just struck lucky there?

 


1 Ex-Atari Corp source did not wish to be named or quoted so respecting that, i cannot add another name to the list, it might/might not be same source Sinto used, i've honestly no idea...

 


But what has become clear over the years is despite so many of us interviewing Ex-ATD/Imagitec/Domark/Atari Corp etc sources..there hasn't been a shred of video footage or code found or even remembered of Panther:Cybermorph, Crescent Galaxy, let alone claimed early Panther versions of Raiden etc.

 


It may well be lurking somewhere yet to be found, but as it stands? it's pure speculation at this stage to claim launch Jaguar games started out on Panther.

 


We know SOTB was started, Minter had done test routine/tech demo's, for planned Star Raiders-esq epic, HMS had Elite running on it and Guildo had moved The Crypt from Konix to Panther.

 

As a paying customer, shouldn't the historians/freelancers have discovered all this?

 

Plus i personally put no faith in those claiming Jeff Minter had worked on Lynx Ultra star Raiders, when he'd already detailed why Llamasoft had done no Lynx development..company was far too small...or claimed Tiertex's Strider II was used by Capcom for Strider II coin-op, or ST Robocop was 100% conversion from Data East Coin-op....

 


I've always wanted those who attack people researching and sharing info for FREE, to come forward with the info, no-one else had yet discovered:

 


If Imagitec had done Panther games.

 


Which unreleased Jaguar Games Telegames still had or were in possession of....

 


Just how far along Beyond Games got with AVP II

 


Yet despite buying UK mags with big features on all the companies mentioned above, there was not a single piece of new information in any of the articles.

 


I'd rather browse fantastic sites like this and discover articles/info from likes of yourself or Clint T (who kindly shed far more light on Phear than any writer i've previousily come across), than 'chance' a magazine or book purchase in vain hope it had answers i sought.

 

Hell even Unseen64 who admit have little Jaguar experience got me answers to Jaguar Return Fire....

 

 

The knee-jerk insult reaction is pure sticks n stones to myself, it never stopped me looking, asking and sharing info..i'd advise it not stop anyone else either.

 


At 1 point i had Atari: Business is Fun, down on a save on Amazon, until a good friend suggested i read through some sample pages...

 

Book seemed in need of a good editor, if nothing else...everything seemed thrown in, little thought to pacing, structure etc.

 

Plus, writers seemed to lack any grasping of how modern assembly lines work and seemed surprised engineers would use a rubber mallet...as an ex-engineer myself who works with T.P.M in a modern factory enviroment myself still,it took me by surprise....

 


But it was the grammar and punctuation that did my head in, sure MY VERY OWN, IS appalling :) but i'm just putting info up on a forum or for a website to use as they see fit, not putting together a professional publication and charging for it.

 

 

I couldn't do any better, but then i've never attempted to..my findings on Panther were as folks know, intended as raw data for GTW and from this Frank Gasking would write the article, when plans changed, info seemed too good to waste so plonked it online.

 

It would need a lot of re-working to fit into a timeline or structured article on the Panther, i believe Unseen64 might use some of it for such an article, but it'll be online/free viewing.

 

This is the crux paid for publications need to grasp..if you present fanzine grade material, but at profesional prices, you have to expect 3 star or below reviews on sites like Amazon...

 

People are paying for a standard, enthusiam, recovered documents and interviews, wether in person, over SKYPE/FB or email,still need to be woven carefully into any product.


Edited by Justin, 06 December 2016 - 01:48 PM.


#18 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 08:50 PM



At 1 point i had Atari: Business is Fun, down on a save on Amazon, until a good friend suggested i read through some sample pages...

 

 

I wasn't about to spend 1 cent on that book, especially since most of it is online for free at Google Books:

 

https://books.google...epage&q&f=false

 

 

Book seemed in need of a good editor, if nothing else...everything seemed thrown in, little thought to pacing, structure etc.

 
Plus, writers seemed to lack any grasping of how modern assembly lines work and seemed surprised engineers would use a rubber mallet...as an ex-engineer myself who works with T.P.M in a modern factory enviroment myself still,it took me by surprise....
 

But it was the grammar and punctuation that did my head in, sure MY VERY OWN, IS appalling :) but i'm just putting info up on a forum or for a website to use as they see fit, not putting together a professional publication and charging for it.

 

 

Of all the books I've ever read, I have never come across one so appallingly bad as that one, that contains nearly every conceivable grammatical error possible.  It's as though it began as 2 separate books that ended up having a head-on collision with each other, and that's the result.  The punctuation and spelling errors alone should have been enough for any publisher to refuse it (their posts on Atariage are pretty much the same.  I'm quite certain Goldberg still doesn't know Berzerk contains a 'z' instead of an 's'...), but when the tense starts changing all over the place, and you have photos with the incorrect captions (or quite often, no captions)...  it's just a mess from cover to cover, and an insult to anyone with a basic grade school education to try and read it, let alone those with higher education, but then to charge people some $80 for a copy?  And at the end of the day, that's what it comes off as - a money grab.  Leonard Herman told me he sent a copy to Ralph Baer, and he put it down after a few pages.  Shame he attached his name to it.

 

The editor, Loni Reeder, used to write articles for RePlay magazine.  She was never an editor, and judging from the condition of the book, she still isn't.   She happens to be a friend of Vendel (and I'm guessing her name was attached for no other reason than she used to be associated with an industry mag).  They go back as far as 1999, when Vendel was involved in a scandal involving that year's CGE show:

 

https://groups.googl...sic/3Hlg1l8T16U

(major thread on CGE/Nolan scandal.  Loni is posting under "LONBO")

 

(vendel’s famous backing-out letter, posted under the fake account “mylar”)

 

What happened was, Vendel wanted to be part of the CGE show, and the people organizing the show had prior (bad) dealings with him, so they weren't about to team up with him.  Vendel decided to try and sabotage the show, using a fake email address that appeared as though he was part of it.  He succeeding in convincing Nolan Bushnell (who was planning on attending the first CGE show) via Loni Anderson (who was the contact person between them) to back out.  When the organizers found out what he had done, they publicly outed him on the newsgroups, and a huge flamewar broke out over it.  Vendel responded by erasing not only his posts, but some from others as well, which resulted in even more backlash against him.  He broke a cardinal rule of the newsgroup in an effort to "calm things down" (ie. save face), but that's typical Vendel.

 

Even the much-touted photos need to be fixed.  Photos from the 80s and earlier commonly suffer from incorrect color saturation (usually too much red).  The photos on page 786 are a perfect example of this:

 

https://books.google...epage&q&f=false

 

How much time would it have taken someone to color-correct them?  Well, it took me less than 5 minutes with Photoshop to drastically improve them.  I'm not sure what they did in the claimed 7 years of putting this book together, but I can tell you what they didn't do...

 

Lost Dragon, it sounds like you've done some comprehensive research in the Panther's history, as far as which games existed for it.  If everyone you've talked with said there were no "cross-over" games between the Panther and Jaguar, then you're probably right.  If they want to claim the opposite, they need to reveal their source(s), especially since as you mentioned, they're charging people to buy their book.

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Edited by Scott Stilphen, 06 December 2016 - 09:53 PM.

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#19 Lost Dragon

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 06:29 AM

:) As i stated in the Batman VS Superman thread, when it comes to constructive critiscm, i do pay for a product before making clear why i feel so strongly over certain aspects and yes, a lot of good money been wasted on over hyped products, be they films (last Star Wars, plus Batman Vs Superman), more games on more formats than i dare to look back on, let alone magazine subscriptions and book purchases.

 

But this fact often seems 'lost' on magazine editors..i pointed out how, for myself, Dead Space II on PS3 was far from the 10/10 Gamestm gave it, having loved the original, but was shot down on forum at the time by mags editor, niether Edge nor RetroGamer magazine take critiscm well, yet they had my time and money and were keen that continued....

 

However with Atari Inc, for all the praise given, i'd read a lot of 3 star and well below reviews on Amazon (.Co.Uk and.Com) and various other feedback sites and given price of book, i needed to sample a good few preview pages myself, to see if it was for me...

 

I'd been burnt far too often in the past, paying say £4.99 for a magazine as it had big feature on say Imagitec and i was hoping to learn more on Space Junk, Freelancer 2120 etc on Jag CD , or Beyond Games and wanted to know more about Jaguar Battlewheels/AVP II etc as writer was big Jaguar fan and had been promising people he had so much information left to share, only to find it contained far less than i'd read years ago in Edge magazine, Gamesmaster, etc at the time or online for free on Unseen64.

 

The Big 5 article was most recent worst mistake ever, as i'd literally paid to read the entire Big 5 website put in print, not a scrap of new info....

 


So i'm very, very cautious these days.

 

However weak magazine articles have been, they at least employ professional proof readers, spell checkers etc so even if your not learning anything new and material is presented in a rather dry, droning, spreadsheet-esq manner at times, it is readable, but from what i'd read of the Atari Inc book...woah, in it's original form, how this made it to release is beyond me, it needed serious work.

 

I'd wager a good few simply gave up on the book, which would of been a shame as there seems plenty of material waiting to be discovered, if your only now looking to discover more about Atari, but you needed to be ready for a long, long road to walk it seemed.

 


I've seen Marty express his personal feelings on Nolan Bushnell on certain other Atari forum over the years and these are indeed his own, which he's perfectly entitled to air, as are any of us, but reading them did make me question somewhat how impartial you could be, having such strong feelings, when attempting a book like this, but that was just my personal take...

 


I think the issue the future Atari Inc book faces, as well as any publication looking to cover Atari from a historical angle, is simply the fact that in this day and age, it's pretty much been done, so many of us been lucky enough to speak to people involved or found interviews done from the time, had them scanned, put up online and from the collected works, we can build our own picture of what really happened, we don't need to wait for a magazine to run a feature, a 2nd volume of a book to appear.....

 


It makes me chuckle looking back, Retro Gamer supporters used to claim that only the magazine had the contacts needed for the articles, implied notion industry figures beyond our reach..utter B.S :)

 


It then got even more funny as you'd see the writers posting on forums asking for ideas/suggestions as they were writing an article, so basically needed others to do their research..i've seen old posts on the Ocean forum, numerous Atari/Amiga forums etc, i know group FB interviews were done for Imagitec article etc.

 


There's no black magic or dark arts involved.

 

I've been invited to London, L.A etc to sit down and chat in person with folks when i was just messing about doing interviews, it wasn't something i was doing for a 'living' :)

 

Regarding Panther research....

 

 

Long story, short, Frank over at GTW had originally planned to do an online article on Jaguar Conan, i explained there wasn't much room for depth as so little had been completed (the then experts said 2 levels) and people had attempted to contact coders, had no luck, but i'd give it a shot....i struck gold, by pure chance, discovered not even 1 level finished etc., shared findings and said to Frank what do you want to do?

 

He said he still wanted a crack at an Atari article, but wasn't sure in which direction to now head...i said what about The Panther? it's been covered by The One magazine, before, plus Jeff Minter has spoken to Edge about his time on the machine, lot of claims about games in development, plus moved to Jaguar..you go to Retro Events, will be seeing Jeff, have Susan McBride on Facebook (something i never use) you follow up on these 2, i'll look into various Atari UK PR statements and mag coverage and we will pool the raw material.

 


So, emailed Ex-Atari UK folk like Darryl Still, Bob Katz, Les Player (RIP), Mike Fulton etc, tried to find a few others..dead ends sadly, but still had the press statements claiming why machine was canned.

 


I'd already been speaking to ex-Domark folk for Classic Console magazine, kept looking, found Domark's project manager, put The One's claim to him about Panther Pitfighter, which he shot down there and then, then asked people at Tengen if perhaps they'd been given the project as it was home console? again, very definite no, if it was ever planned they'd of known about it.

 


No-one who'd worked on Cybermorph at ATD (2 sources) knew anything of Panther coding, just speculated on shared 68000 code....

 

No-one from Atari Corp be it O/S, games design work etc knew of any Panther work on Crescent Galaxy...........

 


Susan McBride was only other source and despite repeated promises, never did answer Q's Frank put to her....

 


But rather than take approach a certain UK ahem..'historian' has done and put up early Jaguar Cybermorph footage, to 'suggest' what Panther Cybermorph might have looked like, i simply shared what answers came back in.

 

It's well known the Asteriods demo's running on Panther were purely intended to showcase the machines sprite handling ability, no souped up version of Asteriods as far as i'm aware, ever started.

 

Jeff's made clear the leaping Antelopes etc just test routines for his planned Star Raiders-esq epic, not this claimed Antelope Attack game....

 


Jim Gregory of HMS i simply followed up a claim made in old Lynx User Fanzine article on HMS, dropped Jim an email and sent him a physical letter via 1st class post, no need to meet in person or contact via Skype.

 


Guildo i found via Google, was initally reluctant to chat, explained what purpose was, this wan't a for profit piece, bingo..emails exchanged and in effect 2 lost games found, 1 panther, 1 Konix :)

 


Then listening to Shinto's superb Jaguar podcasts, herard him say his ex-Atari corp source said none of Jaguar games ever started on Panther.

 

So, evidence as currently stands points towards this, rather than the absolutes given that they were true, W.I.P Panther games moved to Jaguar.

 


As for Imagitec claims:Humans, Raiden...no-one i'm aware of has any Panther work listed on their C.V, it's never cropped up in RG articles, interviews C64 sites have done (though Lynx+Jaguar projects have), Atari Explorer online (even 3DO M2 work mentioned),Unseen64 etc etc.

 


We know of abandoned Lynx, 7800, Jaguar, Falcon work, so surely Panther info wouldn't of been that hard to find?

 

It's the same as the John Carmac..working on Jaguar Quake claim, an interview often referenced by the 'experts', but where/when they cannot recal and i've never found it and hell, i've looked long and hard.

 


Carmac's PR shut you out from asking him directly, rest of I.D at the time laugh at notion.

 

I'd happily welcome fresh insights into Jaguar, Panther....but not 'made up claims', seen enough of this with people lying to Nolan on Skype interviews or fabricating stories about Minter working on Lynx, loving the hardware or they themselves being behind various games, but so far it's simply not appeared by those you'd expect...

 

 

Instead i'm finding 'The Bounty' on this very site thanks to the fantastic community here.

 

 

Long may it continue.

 


This week along you've enlightened me as has Clint and it just 'cost' me reading time....

 


And this needs to be said:

 

Regarding claims made by 'UK Historians' over Imagitec Panther development, If, even as a paying customer/subscriber to the damn magazine, i'd asked why the writer, who'd now spoken to numerous good folks from the company for thae article, hadn't asked them what if claims of any Panther work were true and thus cleared up his own claims, i'd of been accussed of trolling/hounding the writer.

 


The fact is, said claims were reported as fact at the time..he know someone, who knew someone, who knew...yadda yadda...

 

Well ok, lets hear what Imagitec had to say then?

 

UK Press alone were bad enough speculating as to what Imagitec were planning (The "Attack Wave editor" they made to map attack waves from the coin-op, so they could be accurately transfered to the Amiga version..which itself ended up unreleased/unfinished) was going to be released along side it as a stand-alone product so gamers could design their own attack ways and turn the game into something along lines of the S.E.U.C.K Mk II...any truth?.

 

At least we saw Amiga screens etc at the time...Panther stuff? hell no.

 

Nothing knew given about Space Junk..a game covered on Falcon (Gamesmaster TV+Mag), Sega CD (Sega Pro), let alone Jag CD version.

 

Annouced CD32 game 'Return To The Lost World' supposed to be a similar game, Imagitec article never even mentioned it, so yet again, remind me just what i was paying for?.

 


Writers seemingly aren't allowed to be honest about a developer, constantly over hyping/over promising consumers..yeah use mock-up screens for Jag CD Freelancer, pray I.D will sell you Jag Doom engine, then realise Jag CD cannot match PC CD hardware.

 

Discovered that info for free thanks to Andrew Seed posting it on AEO.....never mentioned in paid for RG article.

 


Fact is Imagitec constanly bigged up product...Ragnarok, going to be a Battle Chess slayer..right, cue 50% review score on Amiga when it arrived, described as a poor mans Battle Chess, juist don't expect today's historians in UK to point that out...



#20 Lost Dragon

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 07:13 AM

Thought i might as well put up imagery to go with the topic, under 1 roof etc..

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