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Atari 5200 Guy

Favorite XE Game

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5 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I still never understood why, if you hate video games, you would "buy" a company that made video games.  I'd have loved to have bought Atari.  It had the best engineers the world had ever seen.  They did things that were ahead of their time.  It also made video games which I am very passionate about.  I often wonder if someone else would have bought Atari if things would be different.  Hard to say.

I know one thing.  If I could I would design an Atari machine a lot different than the current missing Ataribox.

hi,

 they wanted to take advantage of the incredible inventory atari had at that time. there was something like 40 warehouses full of stuff all over the world. jack being a yard sale type of guy, saw it as a bonanza, he liquidated 40 warehouses full of stuff, and used that money to pay warner for atari, and of course himself. by the time warner caught on, it was to late.

 

 so he used the games to subsidize the payments to warner, himself, and create computers, perfectly fit his ideology. except he came from a period where hardware was rare, the period he found himself in later on, hardware was a money loser for most companies, software was everything.

 

jack simply could not catch on at all. he still thought people had to come to him for hardware. meanwhile everyone and his uncle by then could buy a computer, or even make a computer. what sold the game machines was very simple, lots of games, good ones, mediocre ones, bad ones, weird ones, you name it, it helped sell hardware.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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4 hours ago, RickR said:

Oooh, this is an easy one.  I think Commodore saw Atari as their main competitor for computers.  When he got ousted at Commodore, Jack Trameil saw a respected brand name available for a dirt cheap price.  The ST computers were seriously good.  Give him credit for that.  It's just that they saw no value in games or software.  

 

hi,

 

 correct. he also saw 40 warehouses full of stuff for liquidation. in one warehouse alone, atari had five million copies of ms.pacman for the 7800. jack just started up the largest liquidation in computer history. it undermined his distributors, dealers, even customers that paid full price, till at the end, no one trusted him, and everyone was saying when will the liquidation begin.

 

 and jack proved them right again. everyone remembers jobs, it will be the same for gates, but a pioneer of computers jack t. who was he?

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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5 hours ago, RickR said:

Oooh, this is an easy one.  I think Commodore saw Atari as their main competitor for computers.  When he got ousted at Commodore, Jack Trameil saw a respected brand name available for a dirt cheap price.  The ST computers were seriously good.  Give him credit for that.  It's just that they saw no value in games or software.  

 

LOL.  Good answer.  Here's another question:  In an episode of Computer Chronicles where Jack talks about the ST computers he mentions how he tries to keep the Asians out of the US computer market.  If you are so hell bent on not letting those people bring their computers to our stores then why would you give them money to build your products?  Either way you are giving them money.

I'm not saying that I hate him...I just don't understand the way he ran a business.  I appreciate him keeping Atari alive a while longer or we might have lost it sooner.  The ST is a remarkable computer but could have been a bit more if they would have just thought that some of their buyers are going to want to play games on that beast.  On a plus side those are the only computers made with MIDI being supported natively.  No other computer has done that.  And some ST computers are still being used in the professional music business to this day.  That says something.  I just wish they would have done something a bit different with the graphics chip from the beginning...that and that keyboard is mushy.  

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20 hours ago, RickR said:

Oooh, this is an easy one.  I think Commodore saw Atari as their main competitor for computers.  When he got ousted at Commodore, Jack Trameil saw a respected brand name available for a dirt cheap price.  The ST computers were seriously good.  Give him credit for that.  It's just that they saw no value in games or software.  

 

Absolutely right. He came from a "computer mindset" not video games. Part of Atari's problem in 1984 is they didn't know if they wanted to be Nintendo or IBM. Atari had some great business machines in development and a lot of R&D skewed towards business productivity, while at times not seeing the opportunity for a playful video game company rooted in characters and toy-like gameplay the way Nintendo would end up being, which is a mind-blowing missed opportunity for a company owned by Warner Bros.

Jack saw the world from the computer perspective and really did not like video games. It was Steve Ross, Chairman of Warner, who sought out Jack Tramiel and offered him the deal of a lifetime. Steve Ross just wanted Atari off the books so Warner didn't get swallowed up whole in a hostile takeover from News Corp, who ended up buying 20th Century Fox instead. In that sense, I think Jack may have been taken for a ride and made to be the greatest stooge of all, that's a way of viewing this story that you never really see. It's usually that "Jack was a good guy" because of the ST, Lynx and Jaguar, or "Jack was a bad guy" for his warlord business practices and having let Atari become a bargain bin brand. It's not often said that Jack was the one who got tricked in this whole deal.

Computer hardware and cutting corners at every opportunity was Jack's approach. I agree wholeheartedly with what @RickR said, Jack saw a big respected brand name available for a dirt cheap price, plus the ability to keep his hands in Warner's pockets long after the purchase, and the ST computers were seriously good. I would also say that as far as hardware, the Lynx, Jag, Portfolio and others were incredible machines. Even the 7800 in 1984, which was more or less handed to him. But in every one of these instances Jack cut corners, had almost no advertising, made no real effort to drive 3rd party support (with minor exceptions) and time and again encountered stories of "bad timing" or "multi-month delays to save a few pennies". I'm grateful for what we got during the Tramiel era but the whole thing is sad.

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The irony is that he also had tons of missed opportunities at Commodore as well.  Example:  Chuck Peddle wanted to go after IBM before IBM became a juggernaut.  The PET set the stage to go into business machines, but any follow-up design was poo-poo'd by Jack.  And the C64 - a follow up should have been a big priority, but instead, they blew that opportunity as well with a CP/M machine with C64 mode tacked on (the C128), and then the completely incompatible Plus/4 line. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Justin said:

Absolutely right. He came from a "computer mindset" not video games. Part of Atari's problem in 1984 is they didn't know if they wanted to be Nintendo or IBM. Atari had some great business machines in development and a lot of R&D skewed towards business productivity, while at times not seeing the opportunity for a playful video game company rooted in characters and toy-like gameplay the way Nintendo would end up being, which is a mind-blowing missed opportunity for a company owned by Warner Bros.

Jack saw the world from the computer perspective and really did not like video games. It was Steve Ross, Chairman of Warner, who sought out Jack Tramiel and offered him the deal of a lifetime. Steve Ross just wanted Atari off the books so Warner didn't get swallowed up whole in a hostile takeover from News Corp, who ended up buying 20th Century Fox instead. In that sense, I think Jack may have been taken for a ride and made to be the greatest stooge of all, that's a way of viewing this story that you never really see. It's usually that "Jack was a good guy" because of the ST, Lynx and Jaguar, or "Jack was a bad guy" for his warlord business practices and having let Atari become a bargain bin brand. It's not often said that Jack was the one who got tricked in this whole deal.

Computer hardware and cutting corners at every opportunity was Jack's approach. I agree wholeheartedly with what @RickR said, Jack saw a big respected brand name available for a dirt cheap price, plus the ability to keep his hands in Warner's pockets long after the purchase, and the ST computers were seriously good. I would also say that as far as hardware, the Lynx, Jag, Portfolio and others were incredible machines. Even the 7800 in 1984, which was more or less handed to him. But in every one of these instances Jack cut corners, had almost no advertising, made no real effort to drive 3rd party support (with minor exceptions) and time and again encountered stories of "bad timing" or "multi-month delays to save a few pennies". I'm grateful for what we got during the Tramiel era but the whole thing is sad.

It does need to be said, after reading that, the value difference between the Warner and Jack Atari brands.  Warner machines are more abundant, cheaper to obtain, easier to find while Jack's machines are more rare, more valuable, not as easy to find or obtain.  I love my STe and I have very fond memories of the Jaguar.  As a matter of fact when I received the Jaguar I got now I shed a few tears.  I was happy to see one again and I also went into that trance of remembering how I got my first one.  That and I always did think that the Jaguar was a sexy beast.  It just looked bada** no matter how you looked at it unless you put the CD-ROM on top...then it lost some of its flare.  The Jaguar was my #1 favorite modern console until Dreamcast came along.  I liked PlayStation, I liked Saturn, but they didn't have Tempest 2000 like the Jaguar had (yes, I know, but it wasn't the same to me).  

So, for what it's worth, Jack's machines seem to be more valuable.  Whether it is because of what they are or because of the lack of quality keeping many from making it generation after generation, the difference can be seen if one looks hard enough.  Even with a faulty machine like the 5200 there are probably more 5200's left working than any one of Jack's machines yet his machines seem to be worth more.  

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13 minutes ago, RickR said:

The irony is that he also had tons of missed opportunities at Commodore as well.  Example:  Chuck Peddle wanted to go after IBM before IBM became a juggernaut.  The PET set the stage to go into business machines, but any follow-up design was poo-poo'd by Jack.  And the C64 - a follow up should have been a big priority, but instead, they blew that opportunity as well with a CP/M machine with C64 mode tacked on (the C128), and then the completely incompatible Plus/4 line. 

 

The stuff I did see on a C64 (friends and then later my own machine) was not too bad.  It looked and sounded like an NES with a keyboard when it came to video games.  At least it did to me.  I felt like I wasn't missing much and, so, I favored the Atari 800 line instead.

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16 hours ago, Video 61 said:

now some more excellence squeezed into 64k

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

So you have to shoot the arrows in the bottom right corner for which direction the police car fires at the robbers' getaway car? You can't just shoot at the getaway car itself? If that's true, that seems pretty hokey to me in an otherwise excellent looking game.

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I do have to express that I was completely clueless to the XE line of computers.  The only reason why I knew anything about the XE stuff was because of that XEGS setup I found, used, at a consignment shop for $40.  An Atari machine I had never seen before, with two disk drives, a few games disk and cart, a printer, joystick, light gun, I mean everything was there with a few bonuses.  How could I pass that up?

That machine came along not long after my Mother passed away.  I got lost in discovering it.  Because of the paperwork with that machine is how I also discovered Video 61.  Imagine my surprise when I called every number of past Atari dealers that was in that box thinking that none of them were around anymore only for one of them to still answer the phone.  I was shocked but did order a few disk based games based on that printed material.  Lance has really left me with a positive experience...even when Zaxxon for the Atari computers refused to work on my XEGS...he sent me a copy that worked.  I owe that XEGS a lot of gratitude.

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16 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

LOL.  Good answer.  Here's another question:  In an episode of Computer Chronicles where Jack talks about the ST computers he mentions how he tries to keep the Asians out of the US computer market.  If you are so hell bent on not letting those people bring their computers to our stores then why would you give them money to build your products?  Either way you are giving them money.

I'm not saying that I hate him...I just don't understand the way he ran a business.  I appreciate him keeping Atari alive a while longer or we might have lost it sooner.  The ST is a remarkable computer but could have been a bit more if they would have just thought that some of their buyers are going to want to play games on that beast.  On a plus side those are the only computers made with MIDI being supported natively.  No other computer has done that.  And some ST computers are still being used in the professional music business to this day.  That says something.  I just wish they would have done something a bit different with the graphics chip from the beginning...that and that keyboard is mushy.  

hi,

 and if you knew that the MMU(memory manage unit)atari used in the the ST could handle 64 megs of ram, what would you say to that in 1985? all jack needed to do is to add two extra lines on the motherboard to accomplish that. instead he hobbled the unit for years to 4 megs in most cases, whilst the peecee and the mac were loading up on ram.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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2 hours ago, Justin said:

Absolutely right. He came from a "computer mindset" not video games. Part of Atari's problem in 1984 is they didn't know if they wanted to be Nintendo or IBM. Atari had some great business machines in development and a lot of R&D skewed towards business productivity, while at times not seeing the opportunity for a playful video game company rooted in characters and toy-like gameplay the way Nintendo would end up being, which is a mind-blowing missed opportunity for a company owned by Warner Bros.

Jack saw the world from the computer perspective and really did not like video games. It was Steve Ross, Chairman of Warner, who sought out Jack Tramiel and offered him the deal of a lifetime. Steve Ross just wanted Atari off the books so Warner didn't get swallowed up whole in a hostile takeover from News Corp, who ended up buying 20th Century Fox instead. In that sense, I think Jack may have been taken for a ride and made to be the greatest stooge of all, that's a way of viewing this story that you never really see. It's usually that "Jack was a good guy" because of the ST, Lynx and Jaguar, or "Jack was a bad guy" for his warlord business practices and having let Atari become a bargain bin brand. It's not often said that Jack was the one who got tricked in this whole deal.

Computer hardware and cutting corners at every opportunity was Jack's approach. I agree wholeheartedly with what @RickR said, Jack saw a big respected brand name available for a dirt cheap price, plus the ability to keep his hands in Warner's pockets long after the purchase, and the ST computers were seriously good. I would also say that as far as hardware, the Lynx, Jag, Portfolio and others were incredible machines. Even the 7800 in 1984, which was more or less handed to him. But in every one of these instances Jack cut corners, had almost no advertising, made no real effort to drive 3rd party support (with minor exceptions) and time and again encountered stories of "bad timing" or "multi-month delays to save a few pennies". I'm grateful for what we got during the Tramiel era but the whole thing is sad.

hi justin,

 

 agreed, what a loss.

when i found out atari was down to their last warehouse, i warned my partners in crime bruce and brad, we better get everything we can whilst we can.

they said but the falcon and jaguar,  i said there will be little or no support as always, they will fail, and because there will be no more to liquidate in the warehouses, jack will pull the plug as soon as he could.

 when he went to germany and fired the atari team in germany, and canned the falcon 040 and the laptop, i knew what was coming. the falcon 040 was in a tower, with ram slots and other card slots, easily upgraded to a 060 machine.

 even the falcon 030 was undermined by the fact that there was a bug in the motherboard that they never bothered to fix, released it as is, and it can't be clocked higher that the upper 20's. it could have gone to a 100 mg. board if that bug had been fixed.

 

so you could see the end was near for atari.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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2 hours ago, RickR said:

The irony is that he also had tons of missed opportunities at Commodore as well.  Example:  Chuck Peddle wanted to go after IBM before IBM became a juggernaut.  The PET set the stage to go into business machines, but any follow-up design was poo-poo'd by Jack.  And the C64 - a follow up should have been a big priority, but instead, they blew that opportunity as well with a CP/M machine with C64 mode tacked on (the C128), and then the completely incompatible Plus/4 line. 

 

hi,

 

 same thing at atari trying to live off of 48k, then issuing a 16k machine and a unstable 64k machine. back then they just did not understand what was coming.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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1 hour ago, Video 61 said:

hi,

 and if you knew that the MMU(memory manage unit)atari used in the the ST could handle 64 megs of ram, what would you say to that in 1985? all jack needed to do is to add two extra lines on the motherboard to accomplish that. instead he hobbled the unit for years to 4 megs in most cases, whilst the peecee and the mac were loading up on ram.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

Let's see.  My 386 maxed out at 16 Megs of RAM in 1991 standards.  An ST with 64 Meg abilities in 1985 would have been very impressive, ahead for its time.  If he was trying to pinch pennies that bad he could have made the ST line user upgradable from the start.  Put the RAM slots in there, give some starting RAM, let the user take care of the rest when they wanted to.  I believe that's where the PC and Apple excelled at.  A computer business could give you a starter setup but anything above and beyond that was up to the end user.  So if Jack would have added those two lines on the motherboard (I wonder which two?) those ST computers could have possibly been the computer of the late 1980s to early 1990s.

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7 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

That game looks like a lot of fun.  I'd have bought it.  Looks good, too.

hi,

 

its a awesome game that really shows the xe graphics power.

now for another excellence squeezed into a 64k cart. it you ever played the 7800 version, this puts it to shame, and should not have because the 7800 has the power, but i did. even the 2600 version is good, would have been great, but they took out the light gun option.

 

  lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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6 hours ago, Justin said:

So you have to shoot the arrows in the bottom right corner for which direction the police car fires at the robbers' getaway car? You can't just shoot at the getaway car itself? If that's true, that seems pretty hokey to me in an otherwise excellent looking game.

hi justin,

 

 its true, and it works great. you gotta play it to understand it.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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6 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I do have to express that I was completely clueless to the XE line of computers.  The only reason why I knew anything about the XE stuff was because of that XEGS setup I found, used, at a consignment shop for $40.  An Atari machine I had never seen before, with two disk drives, a few games disk and cart, a printer, joystick, light gun, I mean everything was there with a few bonuses.  How could I pass that up?

That machine came along not long after my Mother passed away.  I got lost in discovering it.  Because of the paperwork with that machine is how I also discovered Video 61.  Imagine my surprise when I called every number of past Atari dealers that was in that box thinking that none of them were around anymore only for one of them to still answer the phone.  I was shocked but did order a few disk based games based on that printed material.  Lance has really left me with a positive experience...even when Zaxxon for the Atari computers refused to work on my XEGS...he sent me a copy that worked.  I owe that XEGS a lot of gratitude.

cool!

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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3 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

Let's see.  My 386 maxed out at 16 Megs of RAM in 1991 standards.  An ST with 64 Meg abilities in 1985 would have been very impressive, ahead for its time.  If he was trying to pinch pennies that bad he could have made the ST line user upgradable from the start.  Put the RAM slots in there, give some starting RAM, let the user take care of the rest when they wanted to.  I believe that's where the PC and Apple excelled at.  A computer business could give you a starter setup but anything above and beyond that was up to the end user.  So if Jack would have added those two lines on the motherboard (I wonder which two?) those ST computers could have possibly been the computer of the late 1980s to early 1990s.

hi,

 

 yep, just two lines. instead it was hobbled by 4 megs for years. ram was very expensive back then, but so what, some people with money and programming skills, would have done it, and made some cool stuff back then. just to upgrade the machine to four megs was not always easy. many upgrades were unstable. its as if jack wanted to frustrate his user base, which he did. the peecee said glad you came aboard.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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The 7800 version of Mario Bros feels like it was made by amateurs.  A step up from the 2600 version but still not right.  I grew up with the 5200 version so, to me, that one seems the better one but even it is wrong at times. 

That XE version looks really good.  I'm surprised they didn't try to reuse the 5200 port.  After all, it was an 8-bit in disguise.

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On 6/16/2020 at 11:22 PM, kamakazi20012 said:

The 7800 version of Mario Bros feels like it was made by amateurs.  A step up from the 2600 version but still not right.  I grew up with the 5200 version so, to me, that one seems the better one but even it is wrong at times. 

That XE version looks really good.  I'm surprised they didn't try to reuse the 5200 port.  After all, it was an 8-bit in disguise.

hi,

 

 its amazing how many 7800 games were bungled. i suspect jacks cheapness to be the main culprit! it looks like the xe version of mario bros. was a outright done from scratch.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

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The Microprose games are good for those interested in WWII kinda of stuff.  I'm not very good at those but I am having fun trying to figure out the strategies on the Commander series games.  I love all the attention to details those games have.  And those manuals are more than just manuals...there's American history in those books. My only wish is that the A8 series got Microprose's highly recommended Railroad Tycoon.  That one is one of my favorites from them.  Covert Action on the IBMs was fun, too.  These games, along with a few others, came out while the A8 were still somewhat supported.  It's a shame they didn't get them either.

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On 6/18/2020 at 12:53 AM, Video 61 said:

hi,

 

 its amazing how many 7800 games were bungled. i suspect jacks cheapness to be the main culprit! it looks like the xe version of mario bros. was a outright done from scratch.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

Jack had a good opportunity to beat Nintendo if he cared about GAMES. Atari sure as hell could've come in a solid 2nd at the end of the 8-bit era and be prepped to dominate the 16-bit generation. Stripping sound out of games and not encouraging third party development and not advertising surrendered the market yet again. This is the most pedantic frustrating thing ever.

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19 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

The Microprose games are good for those interested in WWII kinda of stuff.  I'm not very good at those but I am having fun trying to figure out the strategies on the Commander series games.  I love all the attention to details those games have.  And those manuals are more than just manuals...there's American history in those books. My only wish is that the A8 series got Microprose's highly recommended Railroad Tycoon.  That one is one of my favorites from them.  Covert Action on the IBMs was fun, too.  These games, along with a few others, came out while the A8 were still somewhat supported.  It's a shame they didn't get them either.

yea they made good stuff alright.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

 

 

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