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Repairing Atari's Gran Trak 10 - Ed Fries latest arcade article

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#1 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 06:16 AM


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#2 Lost Dragon

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 11:20 AM

Great article.


I did spot a glaring mistake though it claimed:


"Marty Goldberg, (who) knows everything about Atari.."


Sorry but NO...


No man is an island and none of us are experts/know EVERYTHING on Atari..what we do is research, use press articles as starting points, ask as many sources as we can, so we get best idea as what might of happened/why things did or indeed didn't happen and we pool resources/share info.


New info comes to light constantly.


Sorry but Marty's knowledge on the Panther alone has huge gaps.


3 seperate researchers now have looked into his claims 'The only games on Panther were Cybermorph, Plasma Pong and Crescent Galaxy'.


Ex-Atari Corp sources (who don't wish to be named) say NOTHING on Jaguar started out on Panther, 2 seperate ATD sources cannot recal Panther Cybermorph either.


A new ahem 'voice' on scene spoke to Leonard tramiel who said nothing on Jaguar started as Panther game (and feels Cybermorph would of been impossible to do on Panther).


That's before you look at work HMS was doing on Panther (Elite was up n running within days), the graphics work Pete Johnson did with SOTB, let alone the moved from Konix M.System RPG The Crypt and approved for conversion version of Strider 2...


No offence to Edd, but people really need to stop posting this lie Marty is an expert/knows everything...Atari.


Atari spanned a lot of Regions, platforms etc, not everything was documented and dumped in a dumpster to be stolen after dark in the USA.

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#3 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 07:13 AM

I'm surprised to see a credit for Van Burnham.  Her website (http://www.vanburnham.com/) states she's a former production director and contributing editor for Wired magazine.  I never heard of her until she showed up at CGE to promote her crappy Supercade coffee table book.  Although she is credited as the author for it, she was mainly just the editor – several other well-known writers in the genre contributed, such as Leonard Herman (who wrote the chapter on the Atari VCS/2600), Steven Kent (who's not the most reliable as far as facts are concerned), Lauren Fielder, and Joe Fielder.  Most of the photos used are either low-quality scans of arcade flyers or MAME screenshots, all of which can easily be found online.


Promotion for the book involved a homebrew VCS game called Escape From Supercade that was made by Ebivision (Eric Bacher and Igor Barzilai).  100 copies were to be produced in conjunction with the book, but it didn't happen.  At least 1 was made and was shown at CGE2K, at which there was both a high score contest (the winner, David Nelson, was to receive the "prototype" show copy) and a drawing to give away 25 copies.  Needless to say, nobody received any copies.  Ebivision programmed the game but reportedly was never paid by Burnham, so 2 years later they renamed and released it as Power Off.  Van Burnham first claimed there was a chip shortage for the reason the game wasn't released (for a 4K game?  Really?), and years later claimed the company who was making the carts for her went out of business, which they didn't.  She never mentioned who this mystery company was (it was Ebivision), and never publicly sought help from anyone to make the carts.  It's pretty obvious she used people to help sell her book and never had any intention of releasing the game.  From Van Burnham's website 7-24-00: "Following the presentation, the first 26 of the 100 signed and numbered boxed cartridges will be awarded to selected guests who register to win at the Classic Gaming Expo show booth.  Winners will be selected from the names submitted, and announced following the game's release on this Website.  The ROM image for Escape From Supercade! will later be made available online for free digital download so that videogame fans can play the game via emulator on their computers."  Later posting: "Due to the revised release date for Supercade, finished cartridges will not be available until Fall 2001.  Winners will be contacted via email to confirm address and contact information prior to shipment.  We apologize for the delay.  And the winners are: 01 BILL AUGUSTINE, 02. AL BACKIEL, 03. CHRIS CAVANAUGH, 04. TOM CERNIK, 05. BILL COMBS, 06. RON CORCORAN, 07. PAUL CORTEZ, 08. ROLOFF "DELETO" DE JEU, 09. JOHN DONDZILA, 10. CHARLES DYSERT, 11. CARL FORHAN, 12. NICHOLAS FREEMAN, 13. LAURA IM, 14. BRIEN KING, 15. WENDY LAMBRIGHT, 16. DARYL LYTLE, 17. MATT MASON, 18. CAROLE-LYNE MIZE, 19. RUSS PERRY, JR., 20. DON ROGERS, 21. LEE SEITZ, 22. GUS SEPULVEDA, 23. HIROKO SHIGEMOTO, 24. PJ SODASKI, 25. GEOFF VOIGT, 26. AARON WHITE"


Here's some relevant Atariage posts:


http://www.atariage....ums/topic/4383-  “Please help me”

http://www.atariage....ms/topic/13304-  “I’m stunned and saddened to learn....” people I ignored and lied to are mad…  Leonard Herman mentioned she broke several contracts with the people who actually wrote the book for her, and were even contemplating suing her:



I am not the only one who was screwed by Van. In addition to me and Seamus (she had his baby a few months ago), several other writers, including Steven Kent, Lauren Fielder, and Joe Fielder, informed me that they too hadn't received books that were promised to them in their contracts. Lauren wanted to get us all together to sue Van but realized that it just wasn't worth it.


Maybe we should call her Van "Burn'em"?  


Burnham is also known for marrying Seamus Blackley, who was part of the original XBOX team.  Blackley would later assemble a 'dream team' of former Atari arcade game designers and form the company Innovative Leisure in 2012, with the intention of designing mobile games.  And that was the last anybody has heard from them...


Other than that, I have no idea what Burnham has done.  Like Goldberg, her reputation really isn't built on anything other than a lousy book and the ability to run her mouth.

Attached Thumbnails

  • vanburnham.jpg

Edited by Scott Stilphen, 27 September 2017 - 11:09 PM.

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#4 btbfilms76


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Posted 02 July 2017 - 12:18 PM


This was a great read, thanks for posting it!
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#5 Lost Dragon

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 02:18 AM

Scott always points me in the direction of fantastic reading material I would otherwise of missed.
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#6 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 11:30 PM

I just finished up an interview with someone who worked at Innovative Leisure.  According to him, Vanessa pretty much destroyed that company from within.  Seamus hired a bunch of successful and extremely experienced programmers, but yet both him and Van felt they knew how to design games.  Not sure why they bothered hiring veteran game designers, when they could have hired anybody right out of school.  Anyway, Van decided to make one of the IL games her little personal project, and started dictating how the game should be done.  But she didn't take too kindly to any constructive criticism, and became extremely hostile to anyone at the company and ignored their emails or messages.  The company soon imploded under the stress, and Seamus and Van's marriage soon after that.


Maybe her next book will be called Supernova.

Edited by Scott Stilphen, 01 October 2017 - 02:15 PM.

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