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In 6th Grade I Wrote My Own Atari Strategy Guide. Here it is:


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I’d like to share something very special with you guys. This is an Atari Strategy Guide I began writing in 6th Grade. It's all true. Atari I/O started on paper! 

I was 11 years old when I made this. If you flip through the pages of the Strategy Guide and squint hard enough, you’ll recognize similarities with our Atari I/O Blog posts, particularly the game reviews that I do with BTB.

I thought you guys might think this is cool to see. I’ve been talking with @btbfilms76, @Atari Creep and @Gianna about my days collecting Atari games in the early '90s, how some of the most interesting stuff in my collection are documents from Atari, and what it was like trying to do all this before the internet. My conversations with them inspired me to share this as a PDF for all of you to enjoy. It’s more of a sentimental curiosity than anything really useful, but if you read closely you’ll find a helpful tip or two in there.

It's also a bit of an artifact from a pre-internet Justin who way back then was just as fascinated and enthralled with the World of Atari as I am today. This little Strategy Guide was absolutely the beginning of what would become my Atari website and would evolve in time to become Atari I/O. It really did start on paper.

I scanned the original documents and compiled them in a PDF file as a digital recreation of the real thing. I also added a Table of Contents to help you find your way around, and a Preface which you see above.

I didn't get very far with the guide, but the games covered include these 7800 titles:


The Strategy Guide also contains 2600/7800 cartridge price lists and customer service ordering forms from Atari Corp. from 1993.

If you manage to make out my sloppy 6th Grade handwriting, you'll notice that I get some details wrong. I began writing this Strategy Guide before the internet was available to me. Digging up historical info on Atari, we had to get resourceful. Whatever I knew I learned from my own experience of piecing together historical details from Atari catalogs and game boxes, checking out books from the school library, talking with @Video 61 for hours at a time, or calling Atari directly and speaking with Geraldine at the front desk. "Hi is Sam there?"

In a way it’s sad that Jack Tramiel’s Atari didn’t give us nice things like expansive Strategy Guides, big beautiful fold-out maps, a magazine as cool as Nintendo Power, or the type of immersive games that would’ve created a huge demand for things like this. Little 6th Grade me took it upon myself to make this, because what else was I supposed to do? I was still excited about Atari, I wanted to share Atari with as many people as I could. I don’t know who I was writing this for at the time, friends I guess, but apparently I was writing it for you guys. It just had to sit in a time capsule first.

⬇️ The PDF is attached below. ⬇️ I hope you guys enjoy this glimpse into the beginning of Atari I/O!




Atari 7800 6th Grade Strategy Guide.pdf

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On 4/9/2020 at 7:14 PM, Gianna said:

This is so cute Justin 🥰

I love your little drawings and it's so well put together 😭☺️

THANK YOU @Gianna!


On 4/9/2020 at 7:38 PM, kamakazi20012 said:

This is cool!  No matter how short it is the love for what you were trying to do is present on every page...and it carried over to Atari I/O we all know today.  You know...the magazine COULD turn into a newsletter type thing for Atari I/O members 😉 

That's very true!


On 4/9/2020 at 7:38 PM, kamakazi20012 said:

You know...the magazine COULD turn into a newsletter type thing for Atari I/O members 😉 

You can plan on it! That's an idea @RickR had that we'll hopefully be working on later this year. A nice little newsletter to keep people up to date.


On 4/9/2020 at 7:50 PM, Atari Creep said:

Dude, this is so fantastic. The fact that it still exist is really cool. You put a ton of love into that thing and it shows. Love it.

Thanks @Atari Creep! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I thought it'd be cool to share with you guys who've been here a while and have gotten to know me. The Strategy Guide really is the beginning of "me writing stuff about Atari" and a starting point for Atari I/O. It's also something I made during that time where I thought I was the only person on earth with this interest. When people would ask me what my hobby was I'd tell them I liked "Classic Gaming" and I thought that was a term I had made up myself. It's cool to see what I was doing before I got plugged in with the rest of the world.


On 4/9/2020 at 10:08 PM, RickR said:

Very elaborate!  Isn't it cool how passionate we were as kids?  You did a great job, and such neat handwriting too 🙂 

Haha thanks Rick! Teachers used to scold me constantly about how sloppy my handwriting was.


On 4/10/2020 at 12:02 PM, BlackCatz40 said:

It looks like it is well thought out and took a lot of devotion to produce. Cool! Thanks, Justin, for sharing. 🙂

Thanks @BlackCatz40! I had fun working on it back then. My time probably would've been better put to learning how to program 6502 assembly code though.


On 4/10/2020 at 1:18 PM, GRay Defender said:

Really amazing work Justin!  Why have you been holding out on this?  Ha ha...

Thank you @GRay Defender! I was holding out because I thought it would be a beast to scan and put together. Set it aside and forgot about it for a while. The Strategy Guide, and things like it, came up in convos this week and I went to scan a page to send to @btbfilms76 to use in one of his episodes. Then I thought "why not just scan the whole thing tonight" and about an hour later I had it all put together with a table of contents etc. Easy!


On 4/10/2020 at 1:18 PM, GRay Defender said:

Ha ha... I would love to see a video of you talking about the guide, page by page and what it meant to you, then as well as now... Any how thanks for sharing with us here!

Great idea! I'll put that on my "To Do" List.

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This an amazing piece of YOUR history.  Something to be said about those kids who worked in the summer cutting grass, painting houses, and washing cars just to get a little cash in order to get a game here and there.  I love being able to look back and remember what back breaking job i did in order to gat a game.  This is a cool reminder of who you were back then and what you’re doing now.  Thanks for sharing this Justin. 

Host of The Jag Bar • Lynx Lounge  7800 Avenue

:youtube: Watch now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrhPvmALbHpBUqrbBOms5Vw

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