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What was up with Froggo?

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5 hours ago, Justin said:

 

 

Here's the kicker: Froggo developed games for the Atari 7800 and were BASED IN SUNNYVALE, and they made controllers for the NES without changing up the cord and releasing an Atari 2600/7800 variant. Are you serious? Could've used the same case design, the same plastics, mostly the same internals, just changed up the wiring and given us a wonderful D-Pad controller for the 7800. The "cordless remote" one on the left would've been a dream. Generations of Atari 7800 players would still be enjoying these today, seeking them out on eBay and paying a hefty price. They would've owned the 7800 aftermarket. That's incredibly frustrating.

 :wreck-it-ralph_anim:

Man, the 7800 was wide open on much needed 3rd party support in accessories and games.  It was very much a missed opportunity.  I honestly believe the 7800 was only supported until all back stock of the console and its games were gone from Atari's warehouses.  I seriously doubt anyone at Atari took it very seriously.  It's a, pardon the expression, damn shame that the little console that could have been a NES killer didn't even get a chance to strut its stuff properly.  Commando on the 7800 is far better in my opinion than the version that made it to the NES.  

And I'm hoping on my soapbox so be prepared.  Before anyone says the 7800 was not as powerful as the NES needs to do more research on the 7800.  And I'm not saying that to be mean.  The 7800's MARIA graphics processor alone was very well equipped and capable of producing graphics far more superior to what the NES could have done.  Also, the 7800 was not limited to just TIA for sounds...add POKEY to it and you have 6 full channels you could use for sounds.  Do the math.  4 Pokey channels combined with 2 TIA channels.  Contrary to what most early game mags have said about the 7800 in its basic screen resolution the 7800 can produce 24 colors on the screen at once.

I love my 5200 but that little 7800 is very impressive under the hood.  So this:

On 8/17/2020 at 5:10 PM, nosweargamer said:

By the time he made it in to meet with Sam, it was late in the day and sources report that he only spent fifteen minutes listening to Tramiel list numerous reasons why the 7800 was not a viable system to produce for, and how it was morally wrong to make video games, before eventually being dismissed by Tramiel, and heading on home for the evening

...was a crock of crap Sam fed not only to the Froggo guy but to anyone else who came to Atari to produce games for the 7800. Out of all of the consoles Atari ever produced the 7800 should be considered Atari's hidden gem.  It offered everything people expected out of the 5200 but missed from the 2600.  I'm sorry but when you own a video game company and think video games are evil you are one dumb...nevermind...I'll keep the rest to myself.  Today's Atari is not doing any better than the Tramiels did...except running the name through the mud again.  That's just my opinion.

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3 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

Man, the 7800 was wide open on much needed 3rd party support in accessories and games.  It was very much a missed opportunity.  I honestly believe the 7800 was only supported until all back stock of the console and its games were gone from Atari's warehouses.  I seriously doubt anyone at Atari took it very seriously.  It's a, pardon the expression, damn shame that the little console that could have been a NES killer didn't even get a chance to strut its stuff properly.  Commando on the 7800 is far better in my opinion than the version that made it to the NES.  

And I'm hoping on my soapbox so be prepared.  Before anyone says the 7800 was not as powerful as the NES needs to do more research on the 7800.  And I'm not saying that to be mean.  The 7800's MARIA graphics processor alone was very well equipped and capable of producing graphics far more superior to what the NES could have done.  Also, the 7800 was not limited to just TIA for sounds...add POKEY to it and you have 6 full channels you could use for sounds.  Do the math.  4 Pokey channels combined with 2 TIA channels.  Contrary to what most early game mags have said about the 7800 in its basic screen resolution the 7800 can produce 24 colors on the screen at once.

Actually Atari Corp made a bunch of 7800 systems after selling the warehouse stock. It sold better than many people give them credit for, it's just that the NES really dominated the market  (some reports indicate over 1 million 7800 systems sold, some years outselling the Sega Master System in the US).  Actually finding an original 7800 made by WB Atari is pretty hard to do. So despite what the T's said about the evils of gaming, they had no problem making and selling video games.

I will say 3rd party support was rare outside of the NES due to the way Nintendo contracts worked. The 7800 had about the same amount of 3rd party support as the Master System in the US. With that being said, just imagine what could've been if the T's encourage 3rd party support.

And yes, the 7800 was a very capable machine, outside of the internal sound chip. Just look at Ballblazer versus the Famicom version, or Alien Brigade versus Operation Wolf.

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5 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

It's a, pardon the expression, damn shame that the little console that could have been a NES killer didn't even get a chance to strut its stuff properly. 

Let's be honest. The writing was on the wall when Super Mario Bros came out. Add to it Nintendo's monopolistic third party rules and even if Atari poured their heart and soul into it it never would have killed the NES. Poor thing.

 

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And I don't want to sound like I'm hating on the 7800. I think it had real potential but it was just too little too late and Atari obviously didn't care.

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1 minute ago, HDN said:

Let's be honest. The writing was on the wall when Super Mario Bros came out. Add to it Nintendo's monopolistic third party rules and even if Atari poured their heart and soul into it it never would have killed the NES. Poor thing.

 

Yes...but....

The 7800 had a head start.  If only they would have widely released it in 1984 with full marketing.  That's a full 12 months before the NES made it to the USA.  It's just an unfortunate side effect of the collapse of Atari (or really, the fickleness of the parent company). 

Of course, Atari most likely would have blown it anyways.  It's all about the right software.  Would they have made the right choices in developing the right games?  Who knows. 

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1 minute ago, RickR said:

The 7800 had a head start.  If only they would have widely released it in 1984 with full marketing.  That's a full 12 months before the NES made it to the USA.  It's just an unfortunate side effect of the collapse of Atari (or really, the fickleness of the parent company). 

Stupid Trameils.

But would retailers nationwide really want to sell the ProSystem? Nintendo had a hard time getting into the market. They had to pretend the NES was a toy with ROB and stuff. I doubt Atari would have done that. Plus, what killer apps did Atari have? Another version of Ms. Pac-Man or Dig Dug?

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Ninja Golf could have been a killer app.  I think a lot of the "non-arcade-port" games on the 7800 were really good. 

Personal story:  I was a huge gamer and Atari fan.  In 1984, I was in high school.  Yet I never heard of the 7800 until I started collecting retro systems and games in the early 2000's.  All the gaming magazines were gone.  There was no internet.  No one knew about it. 

The NES came along later, and it was known.  Going the "toy" route was smart.  And when SMB came out, it took off like a rocket. 

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6 hours ago, RickR said:

Yes...but....

The 7800 had a head start.  If only they would have widely released it in 1984 with full marketing.  That's a full 12 months before the NES made it to the USA.  It's just an unfortunate side effect of the collapse of Atari (or really, the fickleness of the parent company). 

Of course, Atari most likely would have blown it anyways.  It's all about the right software.  Would they have made the right choices in developing the right games?  Who knows. 

Not just a head start.  Had they done what was originally planned for the system, I think things would have been different.  I don't know if I have posted this before but it was fascinating to hear this when I went to PRGE in 2016...

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Its obvious the 7800 would have had at least a full year before Nintendo came along.  Jack was against letting Asian stuff enter our markets but he allowed it to happen when he axed the 7800 right after he bought Atari.  What a joke.  Well, at least one thing is certain...the 7800 is a true American engineered achievement.  

Edited by Atari 5200 Guy

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On 8/18/2020 at 3:24 PM, nosweargamer said:

Thanks Lance! 👍 That's probably the best info I ever heard about Froggo. Funny thing about the T's: Thinking games are evil while at the same time hiring people to make and sell them, and also treating a third parties so poorly. Maybe that's why there was a lack of third parties for the late 80s 2600, 7800, Lynx and Jaguar. I suppose I could create a conspiracy theory that they did this on purpose to scare away other companies so that they were they only ones making money off of their systems. 😁

So Froggo was basically a one man operation that quietly closed up shop, probably when the business was on the decline. I wonder if he left while owing people money or paid-for products. This might also explain why his never went public about who he is or what he did, like many other game programmers have done. It also makes me wonder if there were prototypes of Pyromania and Night of the Ninja. Water Ski & Tank Command, while not must-have games, where actually pretty solid for original 7800 titles. 

I never realize Froggo made controllers for the NES. I wonder if they did anything else I'm unaware of.

froggo1.jpg.5df7c120d564d5eb3d4c7a67a61a8b3d.jpgFroggo2.jpg.271db83dd9042f6e57c5b5c4d0f61b4d.jpg

hi nosweargamer,

 

cool, you found pics. thanks. yes why did jack buy atari. because he came from a era where hardware made money. that era was short lived, by 1980 it was over. he never figured it out.

 the froggo guy could have found gold, if only atari had spent a little on advertising on t.v. jack cut so many corners making stuff ever cheaper in the hopes of making money off of hardware, that in the end stuff got so cheap, that it was hurting them, not helping.

yet nintendo was flooding the market with games, and only redesigned the NES towards the end of its life cycle. they made a bundle off of the nes because of games.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

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On 8/18/2020 at 11:02 PM, Atari 5200 Guy said:

Whaaaaa?  Froggo made NES controllers?  How'd I miss those?  I never seen those anywhere I shopped frequently.

I bet Nintendo treated you a lot nicer than Atari did from the sounds of it.  "Games are Evil?"  Blasphemy.  They aren't evil.  Evil is in the eye of the beholder and how they see the world.  Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's evil.  I never understand that about some people.  To each their own I guess.

I remember seeing a Computer Chronicles episode where Jack was interviewed about the ST computer and he kept saying how it was better than the PC, and how he was trying to keep the Asian market out of America.  If you have the "best" computer why would you send your customers to get a PC?  Also, if you are trying to keep Asians stuff out of America then why did you hire them to make your products?  Makes absolutely no sense at all.  And while I'm at it...if you believe video games are evil then WHY DID YOU BUY A VIDEO GAME/COMPUTER COMPANY?!?  Makes no da*m sense.  Maybe I should have bought it if it was that easy to get a hold of.  Geez...at least it would have been owned by some one who LOVED video games.

hi 5200 guy,

 and when i went to work for the nintendo distributor, i found out how deep into making nintendo games jack had become. i knew a programmer at tengen, jack would come in a yell like crazy at the programmers because games were not being developed fast enough.

 at the same time telling atari distributors, venders and customers, that they could not get any games to release, nintendo had them all tied up, pure rubbish.

its hard to understand this thinking, except everything was based on price. there was no other thought process. while nintendo games were selling for 70-90 dollars because of the huge demand on certain titles, atari was trying to sell their own games cheap, so as to attract buyers.

 but with so few titles, and bare bones advertising and uninspiring packaging, that to failed.

 

 except the packaging of the XEGM and carts. i used to talk to other atari people back in those days, and i would always ask, why such attractive packaging for the XEGS stuff, and bland for the 7800? no one ever said why.

 then of course they quit supporting it before it hardly got off of the ground. and many titles had sold out, or were almost sold out. its almost like they did not want to support a machine where the stuff sold to well, it might require that they had to make second orders of games, to costly.

 i know retail store managers like that. if the product sells to much, they quite carrying it, in their eyes they view labor to costly, to restock shelves full of merchandize that constantly sells out making them all sorts of money. they are very happy with well stocked shelves of stuff that sell slowly.

 no wonder america is in trouble.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

 

 

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On 8/19/2020 at 8:25 AM, nosweargamer said:

Actually Atari Corp made a bunch of 7800 systems after selling the warehouse stock. It sold better than many people give them credit for, it's just that the NES really dominated the market  (some reports indicate over 1 million 7800 systems sold, some years outselling the Sega Master System in the US).  Actually finding an original 7800 made by WB Atari is pretty hard to do. So despite what the T's said about the evils of gaming, they had no problem making and selling video games.

I will say 3rd party support was rare outside of the NES due to the way Nintendo contracts worked. The 7800 had about the same amount of 3rd party support as the Master System in the US. With that being said, just imagine what could've been if the T's encourage 3rd party support.

And yes, the 7800 was a very capable machine, outside of the internal sound chip. Just look at Ballblazer versus the Famicom version, or Alien Brigade versus Operation Wolf.

hi nosweargamer,

 now this came from atari themselves, is it true, i do not know because jack was a master at moving merchandise around the world to evade taxes, but i was told the 7800 sold ten million units when atari quit counting them.

 way more than enough to attract third party developers, if atari themselves had only supported the machine properly, they could have given nintendo a run for their money.

i was sent a letter one time from atari stating the release dates on up and coming 7800 games, many were never released, hardly any that were released, were even close to the release date, what was released later on i found were cut down in size.

 i called them one time because i was getting such pressure from customers over the 7800 version of california games which was listed in that letter. i was told by atari that there is a 2600 version, like duh! i carried that from day one, i was told that atari had decided that the 2600 version was good enough, even though they had announced a 7800 version. again, you can't make this stuff up.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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On 8/18/2020 at 11:38 PM, Justin said:

 

 

Here's the kicker: Froggo developed games for the Atari 7800 and were BASED IN SUNNYVALE, and they made controllers for the NES without changing up the cord and releasing an Atari 2600/7800 variant. Are you serious? Could've used the same case design, the same plastics, mostly the same internals, just changed up the wiring and given us a wonderful D-Pad controller for the 7800. The "cordless remote" one on the left would've been a dream. Generations of Atari 7800 players would still be enjoying these today, seeking them out on eBay and paying a hefty price. They would've owned the 7800 aftermarket. That's incredibly frustrating.

 :wreck-it-ralph_anim:

hi justin,

 jack would have had to pay froggo for a license. to costly. and jack always micromanged the manufacturing process, in hopes of finding a supplier that was in financial trouble, which would have given jack leverage to offer the supplier a take it, or leave it payment. he did this all of the time.

 

jack watched the business sections of papers like a hawk, always on the lookout for suppliers of atari that fell into trouble. that type of mentality left so many with bad tastes in their mouths, so that who would trust them, who would support them its like being shackled to a cannibal.

 in asia mention jack t. and atari, you might not get out alive in many places. but he always treated me decently.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

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37 minutes ago, Video 61 said:

and i would always ask, why such attractive packaging for the XEGS stuff, and bland for the 7800? no one ever said why.

That's funny because I always loved the 7800's packaging. Nice silver boxes, almost in line with the Silver/Red Atari 2600 boxes like the style used with E.T. LOVED that, it was so classic, so iconic. Aside from the black and white cartridge labels used on most of the best games, I was happy with the 7800 packaging and presentation.

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2 hours ago, Justin said:

Aside from the black and white cartridge labels used on most of the best games, I was happy with the 7800 packaging and presentation.

I don't care for the vast majority of cartridge labels on the 7800 either. I wish they did more of them like Pole Position II. I really think the monochromatic cliparty approach there looks good.

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4 hours ago, Video 61 said:

hi justin,

 jack would have had to pay froggo for a license. to costly. and jack always micromanged the manufacturing process, in hopes of finding a supplier that was in financial trouble, which would have given jack leverage to offer the supplier a take it, or leave it payment. he did this all of the time.


Hi @Video 61,

To be clear, are you saying Froggo products were officially licensed? Froggo’s Atari games were very much like Activision's, with their own packaging and cartridge design, as opposed to say a game like Donkey Kong or Mario Bros., Nintendo properties published by Atari under an officially licensed agreement.

Likewise, I don’t see that Froggo’s NES controller was licensed by Nintendo. No “Seal of Quality” there! 

It would’ve been nice to see Froggo release Atari 7800 compatible versions of their NES controllers for Atari players. Even unlicensed versions would’ve been A real treat.

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10 minutes ago, atarilbc said:

I just want to say this is such an interesting discussion. Thanks @Video 61 for sharing some insight into your direct dealings with Jack's Atari from a vendor perspective. 

I second this @Video 61 it’s good to have these discussions out in the open.

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5 hours ago, Justin said:

That's funny because I always loved the 7800's packaging. Nice silver boxes, almost in line with the Silver/Red Atari 2600 boxes like the style used with E.T. LOVED that, it was so classic, so iconic. Aside from the black and white cartridge labels used on most of the best games, I was happy with the 7800 packaging and presentation.

hi justin,

 

 but the labels on the carts, that dull grey silver on many of them. they finally got some color to them later on. and activisions artwork on their packaging was superior.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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2 hours ago, Justin said:


Hi @Video 61,

To be clear, are you saying Froggo products were officially licensed? Froggo’s Atari games were very much like Activision's, with their own packaging and cartridge design, as opposed to say a game like Donkey Kong or Mario Bros., Nintendo properties published by Atari under an officially licensed agreement.

Likewise, I don’t see that Froggo’s NES controller was licensed by Nintendo. No “Seal of Quality” there! 

It would’ve been nice to see Froggo release Atari 7800 compatible versions of their NES controllers for Atari players. Even unlicensed versions would’ve been A real treat.

hi justin,

 i meant if froggo had licensed their controllers to atari.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

 

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1 hour ago, atarilbc said:

I just want to say this is such an interesting discussion. Thanks @Video 61 for sharing some insight into your direct dealings with Jack's Atari from a vendor perspective. 

hi, atarilbc,

 you are welcome.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

 

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14 hours ago, Video 61 said:

hi nosweargamer,

 

cool, you found pics. thanks. yes why did jack buy atari. because he came from a era where hardware made money. that era was short lived, by 1980 it was over. he never figured it out.

 the froggo guy could have found gold, if only atari had spent a little on advertising on t.v. jack cut so many corners making stuff ever cheaper in the hopes of making money off of hardware, that in the end stuff got so cheap, that it was hurting them, not helping.

yet nintendo was flooding the market with games, and only redesigned the NES towards the end of its life cycle. they made a bundle off of the nes because of games.

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

By the 1980s it was more about getting the public to invest in machines so they could by the other portions that make it work over time.  RCA's CED system, VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-Ray, and every video game device on the market sold machines in hopes you would by the medium that went in them on a regular basis.  But those did not sell, or sell well, until the public found things on them they simply had to have.

The only reason I made the jump to DVD in the early 2000s was because buying the RCA player I liked came with five free movies from WB of my choice.  I spent $320 on that DVD player and after a month I had double that invested in a small DVD collection.  To be fair, though, those first DVDs were $25 - $40 per movie.  I think I gave $20 just for Godzilla.  Now you can get players for $25 and movies for under $4. 

But that is a perfect example of what @Video 61 and @nosweargamerwere pointing out.  In the home entertainment market the entertainment to be enjoyed is what sells hardware,  it won't sell if it doesn't make sense or doesn't have anything on it no one wants or is of interest.  There's no point in buying a player if there is nothing of interest to play on it. Its nothing more than an expensive paper weight.

Edited by Atari 5200 Guy

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30 minutes ago, Atari 5200 Guy said:

By the 1980s it was more about getting the public to invest in machines so they could by the other portions that make it work over time.  RCA's CED system, VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-Ray, and every video game device on the market sold machines in hopes you would by the medium that went in them on a regular basis.  But those did not sell, or sell well, until the public found things on them they simply had to have.

The only reason I made the jump to DVD in the early 2000s was because buying the RCA player I liked came with five free movies from WB of my choice.  I spent $320 on that DVD player and after a month I had double that invested in a small DVD collection.  To be fair, though, those first DVDs were $25 - $40 per movie.  I think I gave $20 just for Godzilla.  Now you can get players for $25 and movies for under $4. 

But that is a perfect example of what @Video 61 and @nosweargamerwere pointing out.  In the home entertainment market the entertainment to be enjoyed is what sells hardware,  it won't sell if it doesn't make sense or doesn't have anything on it no one wants or is of interest.  There's no point in buying a player if there is nothing of interest to play on it. Its nothing more than an expensive paper weight.

I think we're starting to go in circles here. Don't buy Atari unless you're committed to making good video games. Anything short of that is exploitative. 

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