Scott Stilphen Posted February 12, 2017 Report Share Posted February 12, 2017 (edited) A beautiful-looking book, albeit a misnamed one. From the moment you flip open the front cover, you immediately realize the focus is on Atari’s VCS/2600 games, which is a shame since Atari was a coin-op company for 5 years before the VCS was released, and coin-op games are only briefly covered. The author probably should have stuck to the topic of game artwork, instead of veering into other areas (like prototype hardware), and attempts at being a historical reference book only succeed in making some of the factual errors within even more glaring. Starting at pg. 57, there’s plenty of photos of VCS game boxes, although some of the boxes photographed are noticeably creased or damaged – starting with the first box, Air-Sea Battle. Hundreds of thousands of copies were made and sold of the games in question. Time should have been spent finding better copies to photograph, considering the overall look (and price) of either edition. Also, the games appear in random order, not alphabetically, so finding a specific game requires use of the index. The first and last 3 pages are all screenshots of VCS games – except one. Of the 108 screenshots, one is the 7800 version of Galaga. Two are of games originally released by Coleco (Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior), and one is a bad screenshot of BASIC Programming (which was used again on page 98). Notable errors (considering Marty Goldberg is credited for his "fact-checking", I suppose this is yet another book he has corrupted): Pg. 18, 49 The 7800 was initially released by Atari Inc. in 1984, not Jack Tramiel’s Atari Corp., who re-released it in 1986. Pg. 61 Cliff Spohn talks about Atari wanting to cut the artwork off from the outer edges. Only the original, gate-fold Combat boxes included the full artwork as shown. The 2nd trimmed should have been included for comparison. Pg. 64 Atari’s coin-op Starship 1 was released in 1976, not 1977; the VCS version (Star Ship) was released in 1977. Pg. 66 There were 3 coin-op “snake” games released in 1976 - Barricade (Ramtek), Bigfoot Bonkers (Meadows) and Blockade (UPL, Gremlin). Pg. 76 “I thought of Monte Carlo, outdoors, images of the car…” Should be “images of the cards”. Pg. 86 Night Driver was the first VCS driving video game to offer a 1st-person perspective, but the arcade game was inspired by Nürburgring 1 (Dr.-Ing. Reiner Foerst GmbH 1976). Pg. 87 No mention of Outlaw’s artwork being a copy of that found on the poster for the movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales. Pg. 113 The interior manual artwork appears in the 1988 re-release of Pele’s Soccer. Pg. 115 As with Outlaw, there’s no mention of the artwork for VCS Space Invaders being a close copy of the artwork for Boston’s early albums, particularly their 2nd album, “Don’t Look Back”, except for in the book's afterword. The artist for the Boston artwork was Gary Norman, but the artist for S.I. is simply Norman. There's no other information the book about him or whether or not he's the same artist, or why an in-house artist wasn't used. Pg. 123 The Asteroids artwork is turned 90 degrees to the right, compared to how it appeared on the packaging. Pg. 130 Only half of the interior 5200 Missile Command artwork appears in the manual, and only in 1 color (red). Pg. 133 Both the coin-op and VCS versions of Warlords were developed concurrently. The coin-op version was released first and featured multiple balls. Programmer Jim Huether was the model Steve Hendricks used for his artwork, but the book makes no mention of this. Pg. 135 States the photo on the preceding page was for a 4-player Football ad, but the photo shows a baseball pitcher. Atari never released a 4-player Baseball coin-op. Pg 136 States the VCS wasn’t able to reproduce the arcade game’s speech, which is incorrect. Not only was the VCS capable of digitized speech, as shown with Quadrun and Open Sesame, Mike Mika released a version of Berzerk in 2002 that included voice samples during the game. Also, the interior artwork shown is cropped, compared to how it appears in the manual. Pg. 152 There’s no mention of this but besides Elliot’s expression, another change was made with the artwork – the “diamonds” around the center of the spaceship were made smaller. The large diamonds appeared on a promo box and the initial run of cartridges. Pg. 164 States, “Atari paid handsomely for the exclusive rights to bring Pac-Man to the 2600.” According to Al Alcorn, Atari signed a deal with Namco in 1978 for $1 million that gave Atari the rights to all of Namco's arcade games. Pac-Man (AKA Puck Man) didn't exist in 1978, and considering the success the game would eventually have, Atari paid far less than it was truly worth, and Atari also got Galaxian as part of the same deal. Pg. 170 States, “the technical aspects of the 2600 made creating a mirror image of the arcade counterpart nearly impossible”, which is incorrect. Several hacks and homebrews have been created in the last 15+ years to prove a better version could have absolutely been done with only 4K. Pg. 182 The RealSports cover art is reversed on the packaging. Also, only the 2nd interior artwork appears in the VCS and 5200 manuals, and both are in color. Pg. 202 Ralph McQuarrie - the most famous artist outside of Atari mentioned in the book - did the artwork for VCS Vanguard and yet there's no story as to how this came about. His name isn't even included in the index. Pg. 206 The photo caption states the artwork shown appeared in the Yars’ Revenge manual, but it didn’t. Pg. 211 The description for Big Bird’s Egg Catch says you have to catch eggs from one of two chutes, but different variations offer anywhere from 2 to 5 chutes, and a screenshot for the game on the first page shows 4 chutes. Pg. 221 The top photo caption states the color guide and marker comp was for the 400/800 version, but the illustrated screenshot is clearly for the VCS version. Pg. 222-223 The artwork shown is for the 400/800 versions, but the screenshots shown are for the VCS versions, which weren’t done by Atari but rather Coleco. Pg. 234 Incorrectly states players in Mario Bros. hurl fireballs. Pg. 238 The first interior artwork shown did not appear in either the VCS or 5200 manuals. Pg. 244 The Pole Position artwork shown is actually for Pole Position II. Pg. 246 The artwork shown on page 247 also appeared on the July/Aug 1983 V2N2 cover of Atari Age magazine. Pg. 262 Incorrectly states the winner of the SwordQuest FireWorld contest, Michael Rideout, melted down the Chalice prize to pay for college. The winner of the SwordQuest EarthWorld contest, Steven Bell, is the one who melted down his Talisman prize to pay for college. Pg 264 Claims the SwordQuest WaterWorld contest was held and the Crown prize awarded, but as of yet, there’s no evidence that any of this happened. Pg. 266 Claims the final 2 SwordQuest prizes were returned to the Franklin Mint and ultimately destroyed, but again, there’s no evidence that any of this happened. Pg. 258 No high-resolution packaging artwork for SwordQuest EarthWorld; instead, a picture of a box with creases. Also, Atari Age magazine is written as one word “AtariAge”. Pg. 260, 262. Atari Age magazine is written as one word “AtariAge”. Pg. 276 Jr. Pac-Man featured a side-scrolling maze in the arcade version, but the VCS version features a vertically-scrolling maze. Pg. 279 The first photo caption states this was interior manual art for the 2600 and 5200 versions, but it only appeared in the 5200 manual. Pg. 280 Incorrectly states the artwork shown was for the VCS manual. It didn't appear in the manual, but was featured in an ad for the game, on the back cover of Atari Age magazine (V2,N5). Pg. 291 Incorrectly states KLAX was released 12 years after the VCS system was released; it was 14 years. Pg. 298 The VCS model 2600A was a 4-switch version, not 6-switch as incorrectly stated. Also, the Space Age joystick is a copy of Milton Bradley's proposed HD2000 joystick, and not based on the prototype trigger controllers shown. Pg. 303. The 5200 controllers were not “spin-sensitive”. Pg. 317 Axlon is misspelled as “Axalon”. Pg. 321 “Tank II was to be the numerical sequel to Atari’s Tank arcade game.” Atari (under Kee Games) released a Tank II arcade game in 1974, the same year as the original. The “II” moniker for the home console was likely to indicate it was for 2 players. Pg. 328 Atari Age magazine is written as one word “AtariAge”. Pg. 329 Key Games didn’t just clone Atari games, they released many exclusive games, like Drag Race, Sprint One, Sprint 2, Super Bug, Tank, and Ultra Tank. Edited February 17, 2017 by Scott Stilphen Lost Dragon, Atari 5200 Guy, GRay Defender and 1 other 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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