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Scott Stilphen

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Everything posted by Scott Stilphen

  1. Aside from a few 'test' units (some of which were sent out to developers broken), nobody has seen it physically. One source of Atari Pokey chips just stated it ran out: https://forums.arcade-museum.com/showthread.php?t=456401 "Well, in the last year, HSS (HighScoreSaves.com) has sold almost 1000 Pokeys....now the sad day is here....no more stock. Barring any tubes that may have been misplaced in the move, my supply is dried up. We had about 200 to 300 when we finished up the Braze kits and included those in the Asteroids Multi....and I purchased approximately 700 from the UK years ago. I did basic testing....IIRC, only one or two ever came back as a return. I'd pop them in a Millipede PCB to test function. Did it happen with each one? No. I'd be there for weeks. They were all NOS from the UK, the Multipede were a mix of both. " I asked him if Vendel had bought any from him, and he said probably not since he didn't recognize the name. Arcadechips.com mentioned they have a few left, but there's a limit of 1 per customer, and they want $60 (!) each for them: http://www.arcadechips.com/product_info.php?products_id=168 So unless Vendel had the foresight to purchase several hundred of these years ago (which would really be out of character for Vendel), the only way the XM will see the light of day is if someone is able to make a reproduction of it (at least 2 people have been working on it, with the latest being the PokeyONE, at $40 each, but it's not a fully-functional Pokey and only works with Atari arcade machines: https://hotrodarcade.com/products/pokeyone-atari-pokey-chip-replacement-for-atari-arcade-games?fbclid=IwAR3u92zWhFkpFnCVQTZVpDpH8v0uUKpkN8Pj1X2-tbyCKZ-L-6AwdFx-raY). And since the XM was advertised - and sold - as featuring a real Pokey chip, the 'elephant in the room' isn't going to go away until he finally comments on it.
  2. 6 months later since my last post, and still no XMs. Now I read he's redesigning the board yet again, this time for SMD components? I thought he purchased all the through-hole DIP parts for these years ago, along with new soldering tools? And how's that going to work with POKEY chips, because there's no SMD version of those? He sure knows how to p--s away money, especially when it's someone else's (in this case, the nearly 200 people who prepaid for this thing close to 9 years ago). He also stopped giving updates on Atariage, instead using his Facebook page, where he apparently last posted about spending time fixing some 1200XLs...?? This project might not have started out to be a scam, but that's exactly what it is at this point. It's flat-out fraud. If you prepaid for one of these things and never thought to press him for a refund, what in the world are you waiting for? The 10-year anniversary? If this thing ever ships (and that's a huge 'if' at this point), you could always reorder it, but at least get your money back, and get off that circus train.
  3. Not really, when you consider they were 2 separate companies at that point. Jack Tramiel started Commodore with selling typewriters and calculators. He was purely a hardware guy. That's all he ever really knew, and he didn't give 2 squats about the software side of it. Yeah, you'd think he would have learned that with the C-64's huge success, but right on the heels of that, he wanted to release a computer to compete with the Timex Sinclair - truly low-end hardware - when all his engineers were hoping to jump into the 16-bit market and compete with Apple and IBM. It's no surprise most of them left Commodore right after that. When his own Board kicked him out, he bought Atari for the sole purpose of getting revenge against Commodore. Atari's legacy as the dominant video game company meant nothing to him, and him laying off a huge majority of the in-house programmers and mothballing the then-new 7800 was proof of that. The industry was passing him by before he took Atari over, and all he did while at Atari was try and catch up to it. Douglas Newbauer started Solaris in 1984, and continued to work on it after leaving Atari (when Tramiel took over). He was just another outside developer contracted to make VCS games, and all 3 of his (Solaris, Radar Lock, and Super Football) were the result of that. I don't know how accurate that Marketing claim is (ex. could it only do that if it was simply moving sprites around w/o doing anything else), or if that figure can be surpassed by today's programmers (Bob C. would probably know better than anyone).
  4. Desert Falcon was an Atari Inc.-era title that was developed by GCC. Atari Corp. didn't develop many games in-house, instead choosing to sub-contract development out. I know Rob Zdybel did Atari 8-bit Bug Hunt and Lynx Warbirds in-house, but I don't know if he did any others. As far as VCS development, I don't think anything was done in-house under Tramiel, aside from Dave Staugas writing the code to support a light gun (for Sentinel and Shooting Arcade).
  5. Atari made a pile of bad decisions once Warner took over. In regards to the home market, after the 8-bit computers were released in 1979, Atari didn't release any new hardware under Warner, which is truly shameful considering all the time and money that was spend on developing new hardware internally. On top of it, they turned to GCC to design their next game console. Quite simply, under Ray Kassar, Atari was brain dead.
  6. There's 2 pieces to the dust shield plus the spring. It's not really that complicated. Besides, you don't really have to take it apart to remove or replace the board. I have several hundred Atari shells for sale at $1 each: http://www.ataricompendium.com/game_library/classifieds/cases/vcs_cases.html
  7. John Champeau proves once again why he's the best at doing arcade ports for the VCS (and puts the 7800 version to shame in the process):
  8. This is an early 7800 console model (with the Expansion port) that's been modified with Eckhard Stolberg's Atari 7800 Developers code. With the added PC parallel port cable, you can dump 2600 and 7800 carts, as well as develop 2600 and 7800 games. For 2600 games, you can upload files maybe 10 times faster than a Supercharger! See the link to Eckhard's page above for the software and instructions on how to use it. One corner of the case has been cracked, but the system works perfectly fine otherwise. The system has also been modified to use a VCS/2600-style power supply in addition to the original 7800 power supply. This package includes: • Atari 7800 ProSystem with developer package • AC Adapter • RF cable with coax adapter • 25 game cartridges (listed below) Atari VCS/2600 carts Air-Sea Battle Asteroids Berzerk Bowling Casino Circus Atari Combat Defender Demons to Diamonds Dodge 'Em Football Haunted House Home Run Human Cannonball Maze Craze Missile Command Night Driver Pac-Man Space Invaders Super Breakout Video Pinball Warlords 7800 carts Dig Dug Ms. Pac-Man Xevious All the cartridges have been tested and are fully functional as well. Price $100 plus $25 shipping (continental U.S.). *** THIS IS SOLD ***
  9. Yes! Finally And very cool of Ron Fortier to chime in.
  10. I agree. From what he's said were his plans for AirWorld over the years, it was far from yet another rehash of the same game, which is all FireWorld and WaterWorld were (and in retrospect why the whole contest was pretty much doomed from the start, since there was never a great vision for the games to begin with). It's a shame he never kept a copy of the code he had at the point it was cancelled, but there's only one person on the planet who could possibly make the game, because he's the only one who had the idea for it. I don't know if doing a Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign would be enough to 'light a fire' under him, and given how often he changes his accounts of his experiences at Atari, and how 'serious' he claims to have been back then about his work, there are plenty of stories about how goofy and doped up he was, and how hard it was to motivate him to complete projects (his former manager at Atari, Dennis Koble, stated Tod had trouble focusing on deadlines even back then, so it would appear that's still very much an issue with him). If he made a concerted effort to show he was serious about doing it, I have no doubt he'd have plenty of backers from the community, but unless he does, I think it would be a wasted effort for anyone to initiate it. But personally, I'd sooner start a fund campaign to have the 4th comic book done
  11. Yeah, Tod claims he has plenty of time to defend his Pac-Man game - a game that by every possible metric is undefendable. Yet for all his plans to recreate all his tech demos, to fix Pac-Man (which several people have already done), and to finish up SwordQuest AirWorld, he's quick to admit he probably won't get around to doing them.
  12. The nubs fit into holes that are in the controller jacks on the 2600 JRs, Sears Video Arcade II, 2800, and 7800 systems, with the intention likely being to make the controller plugs fit more securely in the jacks, to keep them from falling out during use. The same design was also used on the 5200 jacks and controller plugs. The easy 'fix' to making them fit the older-style jacks is to simply file them down
  13. All the games in that list were made in 1981 or earlier, with some being released in 1982 (like Ms. Pac-Man). Jack the Giantkiller (which I don't think is the game in question) was made and released in 1982.
  14. That controller was originally designed by Atari for "Army Battlezone": http://www.ataricompendium.com/game_library/easter_eggs/arcade/arcadebattlezone.html
  15. I don't know of any source code available for this game, but being it's only 2K, it shouldn't be difficult for any 6502 programmer to do.
  16. A local news station did this piece from 1982: https://wnep.com/2019/03/25/video-vault-video-games-just-a-fad/ Games shown: Galaga (Midway) Ms. Pac-Man (Midway) Pac-Man (Midway) Congorilla (Orca) Space Battle (Mattel Intellivision) Tempest (Atari) Monaco GP (Sega) Super Cobra (Stern) (unknown game to left of Super Cobra) Asteroids (Atari) Battlezone (Atari) Challenger (Centuri) Vanguard (Centuri) (unknown Universal game to right of Vanguard)
  17. There's a great documentary about it that was done in 2003: As well as a couple retrospect videos about the original and the BG 1980 'sequel': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af6wuq0h6Fc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RWpZlin6so Personally I loved the show when it first came out. Here was a show that boasted the same special effects that were in Star Wars, with ships flying around in space having laser battles. The sequence showing a Viper ship launching and hitting Turbo was also cool to see (at first..). The main characters Apollo (perfect scifi name, given the Apollo moon missions were still recent enough) and Starbuck (basically Han Solo, complete with laser pistol) were interesting enough, not to mention the bevy of beauties that were always around them. There was even a robotic dog (which was actually a monkey in a costume!). The effects were done by John Dykstra - the same person who headed Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic division which created the special effects for Star Wars. Dykstra left ILM before SW was released, and set up his own special effects company, Apogee, with a few ex-ILM folks, and the first project they worked on was BG. Seeing screens showing squadrons of Cylons and Vipers in vector graphics was also very reminiscent of Star Wars. The show borrowed from Fred Saberhagen's Berzerker series of stories, which tell about an ongoing war between humanity and the Berserkers - self-replicating war machines programmed with one main objective: destroy all life. They were created by the Builders, who were humanoids with a single, 'sliding' eye. Both found their way into Battlestar Galactica in the form of the Cylons and their Base Stars. The Cylon's sliding red eye and monotone voice was the stuff of nightmares to a kid back then It was a great audio and visual effect, which were used in Stern's Berzerk (the sliding red eye also appeared again in another show, Knight Rider). It's a shame the series was cancelled after 1 season, but watching the show years later, it's not hard to see why it was cancelled. After seeing the same handful of special effects footage shown repeatedly, and the same Viper ship launching and "turbo-ing", you realize where most of the budget went (ironically, Dykstra left ILM over Lucas being upset with the effects being over budget and over time. Have to wonder if the same issues doomed BG). Plus the stories run the gambit from very entertaining to very poor. The followup (BG 1980) was just awful, save for maybe the last episode (featuring Starbuck and the Cylons), which was certainly "too little, too late", though there was one special effect from the show that was noteworthy - the time travel visual effect. You've seen the same effect before, in Atari's Star Wars arcade game, when you destroy the Death Star. Atari had plans to create a laserdisc game based on the show, but the project only went as far as this test footage that was assembled: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoUwU6dqSsQ Notice the intro shows a similar "flying through rings" effect Mattel nearly had the first BG video game. Space Battle for the Intellivision (and Space Attack for the VCS) was to be that game, but someone failed to realize they only had the license for electronic games, not video games. The graphics were left unchanged, which is why the enemy ships look like Cylon Raiders. But BG actually influenced another game the year before - Atari's seminal Star Raiders. The game has the player battling the Zylons, with the fighters using Star Wars' Tie-Fighters and the same BG Base Stars:
  18. Battlezone Atari 2600 Difficulty: Game 1 High Score: 359,000 February 28th, 2019 Battlezone Atari 2600 Difficulty: Game 2 High Score: 182,000 February 28th, 2019
  19. It's the same basic strategy used for the original arcade version.
  20. 182,000 I use the tried-and-true strategy of turning and going in reverse. Don't let the tanks get behind you, no matter what. Keep them off to the sides. When you see a shot fly past you, that's when you turn to shoot them.
  21. http://www.ataricompendium.com/game_library/classifieds/o2carts.html
  22. FYI The video and account have been removed. There's a picture of the original "coyote" costume in my interview with Jerry Donaldson: http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/interviews/jerry_donaldson/interview_jerry_donaldson.html
  23. Most every time an old show is redone (Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Star Trek, etc), there's 'diminishing returns' you might say. It's worth nothing this is the third time TZ is being revived (the first time was in the mid-80s). In regards to the original TZ series, Rod Serling's narration was certainly memorable, but it was the quality of the writing/writers that made that show iconic. So many of the ideas and topics from that original run were truly ground-breaking, and still reverberate through other shows and films today. That was science-fiction when most of it was still truly fiction. There were shows depicting people traveling to other planets years before the first satellite (Sputnik) went into orbit, let alone the first person to reach outer space. Take a show like The Lonely (prob my fav TZ episode). Within 5 minutes, you completely forget it's in b&w and filmed in some barren area. The story and acting just grab you and everything else melts away.
  24. Another pipe dream project that went nowhere, and like the 3200, the thread only lasted 2 weeks and then.. silence. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!search/jerry$20jessop$20decoder/comp.sys.atari.8bit/fwDnS_i2Xoo/tq39rzsAWvYJ New 8-bit computer full of extra features, with plans to make 100 and sell for $120 each. Yeah, that sounds familiar, but he claimed he had the engineers to do it (I thought HE was an engineer, though?) Once again focusing on plastic shells and packaging, with the motherboard being the last part he’s focused on. Renowned former Atari alumni Jerry Jessop told him his idea of hacking the system to offer RGB output wasn't possible, and the project became vaporware soon after that.
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