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Scott Stilphen

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Scott Stilphen last won the day on March 18 2023

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  1. Latest version. Cylon_Attack-v2.bin
  2. Here's an ad that was recently posted in the Atari 2600 Facebook group. I've asked where it game from but as of yet nobody has offered a source for it. The text posted over it obviously wasn't originally part of it, but note the different box art for Gravitar!
  3. I've never seen this one, either. What's the source for it? Some issues with it that make me think it's either not from Atari, or not shown in the U.S., or not real: As was pointed out, the screenshot on the TV is of Pitfall, which would rule it out from coming directly from Atari. Atari never hyphenated Atari Club, and the address shown (1265 Borregas Ave) was Atari's headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. The ad mentions filling out the form to join the club, but doesn't mentioned the city, state, or zip code. The early Atari Age newsletters mention the Atari Game Club and the club and the newsletter were based in Half Moon Bay, CA. The Atari Age magazine talks about the Atari Club (no hyphen) and was based in Philadelphia, PA. Galaxian was released in March 1983 and was the newest game of all the others mentioned (Asteroids, Vanguard, Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede), so if this ad is real and was published somewhere, it likely would have been sometime in early 1983.
  4. All the issues of this are on my site and have been for years: https://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/newsletters/atari_owners_club/owners_club.html
  5. Brad at Best Electronics sells them for $5.95 each, but you're limited to 2. I asked Luke at Console5 if they plan on selling them, and he replied: "Ordering and testing samples of lots of cartridge connectors for various systems right now. If everything passes checks we'll have 5200 connectors available in 1-2 weeks."
  6. You certainly don't have to test every cartridge when testing a system. I never said you did. In your case, the customer should have absolutely told you up front the issue they were having, and why they thought having a 4-port OS would have fixed it. Had they done that, you could have told them having a 4-port OS wouldn't fix their issue with it, because as far as compatibility issues with original carts, the 3 you mentioned are the only 3: https://www.ataricompendium.com/game_library/easter_eggs/5200/52supersystem.html The customer needs a new catridge connector IMO. They also need to clean the edge connector in their Decathlon cart. Yes, it's a known issue with Activision carts that they used a pcb that's slightly thinner than Atari's own. This wasn't an issue 40 years ago, but over time those cartridge connectors are now worn and don't connect as tightly. You're seeing that with your own systems. The best 'upgrade' people can do with their systems at this point is to replace that connector. As for the Rockwell CPU issue, any 2-port models with that specific CPU should already have had the R-C network added to it from the factory, since the Atari Tech Tip about it (#7) is dated 1-20-83, and the 5200 was released in fall 1982. "If the diagnostics say everything is good, and the games I play on it via flash cart work then I don't have any reason to believe there is anything seriously wrong with the console. I also don't consider a single game that doesn't seem to work as dictating there is a failure with the console. There has to be other games that would fail in similar fashion if there was a console fault and I and my client didn't encounter any issues other than my client having issues with his Decathlon cartridges" Flash carts like AtariMax and Backbit Pro can help work-around some compatibility issues, but they also create their own issues sometimes. https://atariage.com/forums/topic/314153-issues-with-pac-man-on-atarimax-multicart-why/ https://atariage.com/forums/topic/290185-can-anyone-help-me-fix-grapthic-issue-on-the-atarimax-sd5200/ Some of Steve Tucker's other products also have their own issues. His Atari 800 APE interface has an issue with running several programs (for example, there's no paddle sould in Super Breakout when using it). Also, his Maxflash programer tries to pull an amp through your USB ports and that cost a friend of mine his laptop power supply. And I just mentioned a recent issue that was found with VCS Berzerk that illustrates why you can't always rely on diagnostic carts, and how a faulty IC can apparently affect a particular game (in that case, a common 4K game). So, I would advice not assuming your diagnostic cart will detect everything. Atari's own arcade games back then have a built-in test program for troubleshooting problems, and guess what? They're horribly inadequate, and sometimes will indicate a chip to be faulty when it isn't.
  7. Then your client needs to send the system back to you since there's still an issue with it in regards to Decathlon, and it's clear Atari's diagnostic carts can't detect it. Atari's VCS diagnostic cart doesn't do any in-depth testing of the CPU, and "alex_79" wrote a simple test program for testing it, which he posted in this thread: https://forums.atariage.com/topic/349009-atari-2600-berserk-issue/#comment-5220321 Perhaps he can write a similar one for the 5200.
  8. If you still have your client's system, I'd start changing the major ICs one by one. Someone on AA recently ran into an issue with Berzerk where the game was unplayable, and it turned out their system's CPU chip was at fault.
  9. I recently tested a Decathlon cart on a 4-port, and 3 different 2-port systems, and it worked fine with all of them.
  10. Vendel ended up with "everything that survived".... how, exactly? What's your source of this information? Did Vendel personally tell you that? Or did he publicly state that somewhere? You say all materials were trashed or auctioned off in 1996 and that the hard drives "and everything" just disappeared, and Vendel didn't seem to have it (so I guess if Vendel doesn't have it, nobody does?). "None of the BI/WN team kept anything"...? Then explain how BJ West has 2 different revisions of the game (with the later being the very last version of the game burned to disc before Atari closed up shop), plus the soundtrack? http://bjwest.com/BIWN/ In this interview with BJ West, he claims the game was some 50%-70% complete: https://www.arcadeattack.co.uk/bj-west/
  11. Prior to the Harmony cart (and subsequent Melody boards), Yarusso was getting boards from Joe Grand (AKA Pixels Past). But when the option to use flash carts opposed to programming EPROMs and soldering boards, that's when he changed over. Unfortunately, Yarusso kept a monopoly on those Melody pcbs, to the point that nobody can even purchase the boards for their own projects. Likewise, the information on how to flash them has never been shared, either.
  12. The pcbs always came from Fred - both he and Chris Walton created the Harmony, and the Melody pcb (and variants of it) are a Harmony board w/o the USB + SD interface board. But is Fred programming them, or is John C? Yarusso always printed his own labels and manuals, and possibly the boxes? (though I think he might have out-sourced those).
  13. Someone on highscore.com has a 2-port model that plays both Decathlon and Pitfall, so I'm guessing his system is one of the early 2-port versions that has the 4-port BIOS: http://www.highscore.com/scores/Atari5200/ActivisionDecathlon/77613 http://www.highscore.com/scores/Atari5200/Pitfall/76799
  14. Another keynote showing more contradictions from Tod Frye. At this year's PRGE, Frye admits what we already knew - that he didn't care much for arcade Pac-Man: https://youtu.be/Olagk6ZI_Sc?si=xAXGhbm9hXSe9v0l&t=1260 Frye talks about the development of Pac-Man, but offers a different excuse as to why he didn't use the earlier kernel he developed: "We were mastering the kernels that reused the players vertically down the screen. I didn't do that in Pac-Man. I had a kernel that did it, but I had to throw it away because I ran out of time to finish it. No, I had the kernel but I didn't have the flicker manager which is a completely different thing.": https://youtu.be/Olagk6ZI_Sc?si=3vPtIN9p0DoPbl6j&t=1468 The explanation he offered in Once Upon Atari was that he was under probation at the time, and after someone remarked that nobody had ever designed a kernel like that before, he opted not to use it (out of spite for being under probation, I guess). Later on, Frye talks about when Atari sent GCC a copy of all their VCS game source code listings. Frye claims that when GCC later sent Atari a copy of all of their VCS listings, that, "I will say with no false humility whatsoever a lot of their tech looked a lot like what I'd done in Pac-Man with horizontal columns.": https://youtu.be/Olagk6ZI_Sc?si=zoy1Q7GyMO3tkOer&t=2417 So, he not only contradicted himself with previous keynotes and interviews he's given about Pac-Man's kernel, he's done it in the same keynote! Now, how could GCC had a copy of his earlier Pac-Man kernel if he'd thrown it away? If he's mistaken about that bit and GCC actually did end up with a copy of his earlier work, and used that for the basis of their Ms. Pac-Man and other VCS games, then he has no reason to complain about it. He had the chance to use it - and be the first to use it - and didn't. But to claim he had a better kernel, but threw it out because he didn't have time to finish it... but yet had time to start over and create a new kernel? That makes zero sense. Rob Zdybel is right - there's something off about Frye's recollections, and it seems the more time that passes, the more 'fried' (pun intended) his memory seems to get. Also, Rob Z. claimed in a previous keynote that GCC never shared any of their VCS listings with Atari (or if Atari had copies of them, they never shared them with the VCS group). I again will side with Zdybel over Frye's account. We certainly know GCC didn't reuse anything from the released version of Pac-Man, because there was nothing special about how it was programmed as far as any innovative tricks. Frye also criticizes Warshaw for not asking for help with E.T. Well, he did have help with it. Jerome Domurat created 1.5K of graphics code for it. If anyone should have been asking for help, it was Frye with Pac-Man. He also mentions someone at the show told him he should have chosen to do Defender, since that was one of his favorite games. Well, Frye claimed in Once Upon Atari that he was offered first choice to do either Defender or Pac-Man, and left it up to Bob Polaro to chose; Polaro couldn't see how Pac-Man could be done (apparently without it sucking) and picked Defender. Both were poor conversions, but if given the 'stuck on an island' decision of picking one or the other, I'd pick Defender. Much like Pac-Man, Defender's kernel didn't rely on vertical separation, which is why it flickers as badly as Pac-Man. Chopper Command was clearly Activision's take on Defender, and shows what a kernel that uses vertical separation looks like.
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