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Things Atari nailed.... and then screwed up.

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#41 Lost Dragon

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 08:15 AM

MOMENTUM..and as a UK Gamer i really cannot stress this aspect enough, regarding the ST:


Looking back at it, bloody hell talk about small island BLINKERS...though UK Press reported on scene in USA, i pretty much ignored the warning signs, but they were there.


Atari had been the 'Darling' of the PCW show in the UK for a number of years running, from the excitement of the ST being star of the 1985 show, to Atari having bigger and better stands (The Atari Village) in 1986, 1987...


But by autumn 1988 it was very clear the amiga was killing the ST dead in the USA..and what was Atari's response?


To say they were pleased but not excited by news Amiga sales were taking the very Home Micro Market Atari had planned to capture with the ST..WTF? your PLEASED?


Atari apparently would now be concentrating on the Games side of the US industry as this had shown enormous growth recently..cue claims of ST Console, then Panther etc...


But when asked about the rumoured Super ST which press were expecting to be able to put all 4096 colours on screen for games at this point, cue The Amiga Beater, this was then downgraded by UK Press to 256 colours on screen from 4096, but still seen as THE key area the Super ST would kill the Amiga...(reality 16 from 4096..Oh dear...)...Atari denied such a device was in R+D, but said if there were such a thing, it'd be along the right lines...


When Commodore annouced they'd sold 200,000 Amiga 500 computers in the UK, Atari did nothing but dispute the claim....


Atari bragged to UK Press of holding a special, 2 day Developers conference in Oxfordshire, where likes of the STE and Lynx were shown to over 90 UK delevopers...


Remind me again just how many KEY UK developers signed up to develop on the STe or Lynx Atari?




Edited by Lost Dragon, 03 June 2017 - 01:47 PM.

#42 Lost Dragon

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 09:35 AM

UK Press reporting on the decline of the ST in face of the Amiga and how The Tramiel's were going to do nothing of note to reverse the situation, other than annouce 'odd ball' projects like The Panther, rather than highlight why the ST was great VFM...

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Edited by Lost Dragon, 04 June 2017 - 09:36 AM.

#43 RickR


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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:00 AM

Now that's a depressing one.

They don't mention the context of the times -- PC's and their dreaded expand-ability and open design.  That's what eventually did in both Atari and Commodore.  More interesting is how Chuck Peddle at Commodore foresaw this and wanted to take on the PC way back in the PET days.  Of course, he got let go during the VIC-20 and C64 "Computers for masses, not classes" era. 

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#44 Lost Dragon

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 12:22 PM

It is a bloody depressing one and trust me my friend it was even worse IF you were an ST owner like myself at the time, watching St releases arrive late, if at all, whilst Amiga and PC were getting the killer games, month after month and Atari were wasting time and resources pushing the St as now a serious micro via the STE and also a supposed games machine, via different bundles, but old games put in with the STE..The STFM had been phased out by Atari, seen as yesterdays news, whilst before it was promoted as the machine atari wanted to attract 1st time users and those looking to ditch Ye Oldie 8 bit systems..


Annoucing they were going to release things like a CD drive for the ST and indeed the CD ST were seen as too little...far too late (as was the STE) and wouldn't reverse the ST's fortunes.


The Console based ST had been rumoured (ST Plus) , never appeared...


Panther sounded amazing..on paper, but then Atari annouced that too was canned....



Hopefully by putting up as much UK Press as i can, US readers can get a far better 'feel' for why Atari struggled so much to be taken seriousily by UK Press at time of Jaguar...


Far too many promises made, hardware annouced only to never appear, ditto games, warnings from press simply ignored...


It's all laid bare here for all to see.


UK 'writers' can attempt to re-write history to suit any personal biasis they might have, but when your presented with so much coverage, from A8/5200/7800 era onwards, i think folks are intelligent enough to decide for themselves IF the Press had it in for atari, or Atari's downfall was in large part their own making...

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Edited by Lost Dragon, 04 June 2017 - 12:25 PM.

#45 Lost Dragon

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 01:13 PM

And how depressing is this?


As C+VG said, If anyone could mess up the Lynx, it'd be The Tramiel's...and oh boy, mess it up they did...

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#46 Mcorleonep


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Posted 04 June 2017 - 02:06 PM

How about management? Bushnell had a vision for Atari's future but after he sold Atari, he disagreed with those corporate tools from Time Warner who ultimately ran the company into the ground. Quality suffered which in part led to the crash and Atari never recovered it's former position in the industry. Remember that Apple had a similar history in the late 80s when Jobs was fired but they bounced back after he was rehired...
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#47 Lost Dragon

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 03:38 PM

Trouble is, build qualty suffered under Tramiel era, those low prices had a real 'hidden' cost..from A8 Tape decks, to Lynx paint peeling off, wonky AC sockets, i went through numerous 800XL's with faulty chips, 


Then you had the head in sand approach when developers said your (Panther+Jaguar) hardware is bugged...or we need bigger carts to pull this off...


Atari appointing 'Managers' to oversee Jaguar titles often backfired, but i can see why they felt the need, back in 7800 era you had companies like Imagitec Design promising they could handle multiple 7800 titles at once, Atari never seeing results (ditto Jaguar era, Space Junk missing milestone submissions on things as basic as a script)....


I think problem with Bushnell is often his vision failed to result in finished goods..after he left Atari..promising an affordable Home VR system within 3 years..never appeared.


Backing the Commodore CDTV as the future of home entertainment-Epic Flop.


The thing with Atari is:It had every chance TO recover after the crash, but decisions made were so often on a knee jerk basis.


Here in UK the price cut to the A8 hardware came far too late.


The STE arrived far too late...


 The Falcon and Panther were horrible from design point of view, too comprimised in key areas, Jaguar the same.


With the Lynx Atari had the then cutting edge hardware, even having (slight) technical edge over NEC's colour handheld later on, but atari squandered it.


I struggle looking back now to find sympathy with Atari.

#48 Lost Dragon

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 08:56 AM

Sticking with the familar subjects :)


Again, you look back through UK Magazines duruing the ST era..look at the news headlines:


Atari fumbles new machines--Atari ignore both the TT Unix and STACY at the 1989 PC Show, the STE? nowhere to be seen.


Atari said to be furious with UK STE developers/coders after they publically stated the hardware was too little, too late.Atari threatening to withdraw STE development hardware, saying whilst developers were entittled to theier views, they should keep them to themselves...


Then there was what Atari described as it's new, agressive pricing/marketing...


Basically i feel the pain of any day 1 STE owner as the price cuts were mere weeks away from happening.


An inital price drop from £400 to £359 was followed a mere 2 months later with a new bundle, the 520STE Discovery Extra, going on sale at a RRP of now £299!.


Atari attempting to recapture the sales magic the original 520STFM Discovery Pack had seen, but where as that had stacks of software, all STFM based, what wonders did Atari bundle in with the STE?


Dragon's Breath (Palace) decent title, but old even by STFM standards...Tiertex's Indy Jones:Last Crusade..a very old STFM game, Anarcy-very good defender clone and Super Cycle! an ancient ST conversion of an ancient C64 title.


Nothing in here to showcase the STE hardware as such.


Atari thinking at £299 it presented the best VFM bundle to 1st time buyers..but hadn't you sold those the STFM Discovery Pack not so long before, Atari?.


Then you have Sam Tramiel playing the Blame Game..


1990 sales down 3% on year before? Ohh that'll be due to:The Gulf war says Sam......


Other excuses Sam has used for poor results:


The Exchange Rate Fluctuation...but that's something all buisnesses have to deal with Sam...


A 'Depressed' US VideoGames Sales Market, due to Nintendo tying up exclusive coin-op conversion deals for the NES..but again, isn't this just part of business, Sam?..you know business being WAR and all that...or did you only want the war fought on YOUR terms?

Edited by Lost Dragon, 05 June 2017 - 02:59 PM.

#49 Lost Dragon

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 03:11 PM

I DO however feel sorry for various Atari UK staff over the years...


In August 1990, we had Atari UK's Bob Gleadow telling US...


Don't expect the CDST (in response to CBM's CDTV), CD technology is immature...yet across the pond, Sam Tramiel is telling press it was only 12 months away, there'd also be a low cost CD Drive for the ST, 10 developers were working on ST CD games, he'd happily launch it with 5 good games, hell even launch it with NO games...


Sam later U-turns on the whole CD aspect of gaming, refuses to confirm/deny wether Falcon would launch with a CD Drive when asked by UK press, just saying he thought the CD Market was currently too small to consider investing in...


At this point Bob Gleadow is saying he thought Atari could do better CD games on the falcon, than Phillips could do on the CDi...


Hmnn...CDi had likes of:Burn Cycle, 7 th Guest, Litil Divil, Creature shock, Int.Tennis Open, Lost eden, Inca, Kether etc...


Falcon Space Junk never even arrived....



Darryl Still (Atari UK Marketing Manager) said he would rather see 20 Falcon games that would blow peoples minds, rather than 200 PC conversions...we didn't see either!


Then by time of Jaguar, Bob Gleadow was saying he wanted Jaguar to have games you couldn't get on other platforms, to set new standards..to usher in a new generation of games, rather than have more platform games and people look at them and ask if they were faster than Sonic....




What did we see:Bubsy...Zool 2...platform/Sonic clones.


Sensible soccer, Cannon Fodder etc..Amiga/ST Ports


Pitfall, Fever Pitch, Dragon etc..MD /SNES ports...


Sometimes you could just sense the frustration from them.

#50 Lost Dragon

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:51 AM

Sorry this is AGAIN, UK Based, but it never gets reported by our supposed 'Experts'... 



It was soon very clear that Atari, under The Tramiel's was a company that put HARDWARE R+D far above SOFTWARE R+D, in terms of priority..new hardware annouced so, so often...no-one is disputing this aspect, however when you look at the P.R statements The Tramiel era Atari were giving to UK Press... Talk of Market research showing the consumer was no longer interested in what Atari classed as 'Joe Sixpack' BUDGET software, no they expected more from software on machines like the ST and rest assured Atari WOULD be providing that.... 



So, remind me, what was bundled with the 520STFM each time? ohhh that's right, stacks of OLD, BUDGET ST software that had passed it's commercial sales value for the original publisher... Was the STE Discovery Pack any different? NO... Prior to the ARC Label, what software did Atari bring to the ST? ST Versions of Ye oldie coin-ops: Crystal Castles, Battle Zone, Missile Command, Moon Patrol, Joust etc..ALL titles i'd played on the 2600, all priced at BUDGET prices. Then games like Moonbase, aimed at younger players, Cracked and Star Raiders..8 bit conversions, BUDGET Price. 


Atari claim this was simply them reintroducing themselves to software development..what by producing games your own market research has apparently told you people didn't want? WTF?

Edited by Lost Dragon, 06 June 2017 - 08:52 AM.

#51 kamakazi20012


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:23 AM

it looks like I am going to be alone in this one. But it is proof how obsessed I really am with the 5200. Despite the facts I enjoyed the 5200. It never got a days rest and was played for hours each day. I didn't have issues with the controllers at all during that time and I loved the overall design of the system, games, and packaging. I did not miss the end labels at all and thought the silver paper and labels were futuristic and gave the 5200 character. For me the 5200 was more that I dreamed for in a game console and I have always been happy with it.

I agree about the 7800...I did not know it existed until a toy store in a mall got them in. By that time, however, the 7800 did not matter because we were already in the 16-bit era.
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