Retrocomputing podcast about the Atari 8-bit line of personal computers

Categories

general
IOS Atari Emulation Guide

Archives

2015
April
March
February
January

2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
February
January

2013
December
November
October
August
July
June

April 2015
S M T W T F S
     
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

Syndication

hosts: Randy Kindig, Kevin Savetz, Brad Arnold
email: antic@ataripodcast.com
twitter: @AtariPodcast

Hello, you are listening to Antic, the Atari 8-bit computer podcast.  I am Randy Kindig, one of the co-hosts, and I’m bringing to you today an interview episode with the author of one of the best games ever released for the Atari 8-bit computer line.  That would be David Fox, one of the authors of Rescue on Fractalus.  David shares his memories of developing that iconic game, working for LucasFilm (later LucasArts), publishing a book about Atari graphics and much more.  Please enjoy.

 

This interview was conducted March 18, 2015 via Skype.

 

Teaser Quotes:

 

“Every time someone does a LucasArts or LucasIflm retrospective, they find me and they ask me to do stuff.  Happy to talk to them because it's fun!”

 

"The original 2 games that we did, which were Rescue and Ballblazer, were intended to be kind of throw-away games."

 

"Thank you George (Lucas).  He knew about story telling in a way that I didn't and it was really great to have his feedback on that."

 

"And I think Star Raiders also kind of inspired me to do Rescue, to do Rescue on Fractalus"

 

Links

Direct download: David_Fox.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

Charles Ratcliff, son of MAT*RAT

 

Charles Ratcliff is the son of Matthew Ratcliff, the prolific writer for the Atari magazines. Matthew Ratcliff -- or MAT*RAT -- died in 1999.

 

Matthew wrote for Antic, STart, Compute!, A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing, and ST-LOG. In 1986 won Antic magazine's award for Outstanding Contributor. Here's what they wrote about him:

 

"In 1985, Missouri programmer Matthew Ratcliff was really on a roll--publishing four major Antic programs on a remarkable variety of subjects. In March, he delivered the powerful printing utility Custom Print. Following in August was Atari 'Toons, an ambitious animation program that we featured in a popular contest. In September, it was the innovative Revision C Converter that debugged a longstanding problem for many users of Atari BASIC Revision B. Then in December, BBS Crashbuster was a valuable safeguard for bulletin board sysops needing protection against destructive system-crashers."

 

Charles dug around in his dad's filing cabinets and found a lot of interesting Atari-related material that he lent me to scan. In it, you'll find: Matthew's a record book listing expenses and income related to his writing (which is fascinating look at the financials of an early technology writer), writing contracts for A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing, Antic Magazine, and ST-LOG Magazine, and a version of Matthew's resume.

 

This is a different sort of conversation, in which I interviewed Charles about his dad, then he sort of interviews me about his dad, then we end with some technical troubleshooting on his Atari, which I've left in the recording because, why not.

 

This conversation occurred December 12 2014.

 

LINKS

 

Matthew Ratcliff Atari Documents Collection

 

AtariAge thread about MAT*RAT

 

1986 Antic Awards

 

Matthew's articles in Antic

Direct download: Charles_Ratcliff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

Michael Phillips, Atari Bench Tech

 

Michael Phillips worked as a bench technician at Atari from February 1981 to June 1984, doing component level repair of Atari video game systems, personal computers, and peripherals.

 

Because Michael is a lifelong stutterer, he didn’t want to do a voice interview — but he was willing to be interviewed by email. Because this is an audio podcast, I’ve enlisted Randy Kindig to read Michael’s responses. You can also read the original written version of this interview via the link below.

 

The interview was conducted via email, February 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

“Beating the device in question...was part of being a good tech. The key is knowing how hard and where to hit.”

 

“Misspellings, bad English and odd terminology were par for the day. One guy once referred to the I/O cable as a ‘hose’.”

 

“One I vividly remember was an 810 [disk drive] that came back 3 times. The guy claimed it would randomly erase disks, but we could never find a culprit...”

 

LINK

 

Read the original written version of this interview

Direct download: Michael_Phillips.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

Ian Chadwick

 

Ian Chadwick is the author of Mapping The Atari, which was -- and remains -- the ultimate

memory map for the Atari 8-bit computers. Mapping was published in two editions: the

original was for the 400/800 computers, then an updated version was later released for

the XL and XE machines. Ian also did a lot of documentation writing behind the scenes,

including many of Antic's software manuals, and several manuals for Batteries Included and other companies.

 

This interview was conducted on March 3, 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

"So I would write these little BASIC programs that would go along, and they'd POKE a bunch of memory locations, and at the same time they'd be PEEKing into other memory locations to see what would happen. And it was so much fun!"

 

"It wasn't intentionally started out as a book, it really intentionally started out as a database of information for my own use."

 

"They'd say 'You're the guy who wrote Mapping The Atari! You know, that turned my life around when I was 18!' or something."

 

"It took about two or three minutes to get the platter warmed up. Spinning up to speed it

sounded like a Lear jet taking off. Wooooosh! And it held six megabytes."

 

LINKS

 

Ian Chadwick on Twitter

 

Ian's web site

 

Ian's articles in Antic magazine

 

Interview with Ian in Atari Times

 

Full text of Mapping The Atari

Direct download: Ian_Chadwick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

Louis Massucci, Atari Bench Tech

 

Lou Massucci was a bench technician for the Atari 800 line, repairing 8-bit computers and peripherals in Somerset, New Jersey. Later, he was was promoted to field service representative for the southwest territory.

 

This interview was conducted on March 2, 2015.

 

Teaser Quotes

"Actually, that's what was causing some of the failure modes because the debris left behind by the cockroaches is very acidic and would actually eat through the PC board traces."

 

"And it kind of came out of nowhere. I mean, we were repairing these things for a year, and really never had a problem with the keyboard. Then all of a sudden we're starting to get this rash of defective 800s with spacebar problems."

 

"I think it was a Friday afternoon. We got a call from Atari California, and my manager came in saying, 'You need to get the modem going and they're going to download this file.' We complete the download and it was basically a beta copy of the Pac Man cartridge. So for the next two hours, I think, four or five of us were sitting around our computers playing a beta copy of the Pac Man cartridge."

 

"I was actually a support engineer for a commercial -- an Atari 8-bit computer commercial."

 

LINKS

 

Atari Computer Commercial Behind The Scenes Photos

 

Lou and mug

 

Lou and pencil

Direct download: Louis_Massucci.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

On this episode of ANTIC the atari 8-bit podcast:

  • a plethora of news about new atari software and podcasts

  • Randy tells us all about the “other” official  basic, Microsoft BASIC for the Atari

  • and we de-brief about all of the recent interviews.

Yoomp will have a great time listening!

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevins Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

the Atlanta Historical Computing Society


What We’ve Been Up To

Atari Meeting at VCFSE - thread on AtariAge

Floppy Days Episode #33 - The Atari 400/800 Part I (History)

Broderbund FBI FOIA response

EPYX FBI FOIA Response

Synapse Software FBI FOIA Response

Antic and Kevin won a FOILies award for the weird FBI reply about Mattel!

worked with Roland at AtariWiki on finishing up the education tape software collection

Atari 5200 and Atari 2600 News Releases provided by VIctor Cross

 

Interviews Discussion

Ozark Softscape Revelations Discussion at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

 

News

New Atari 5200 Super Podcast

Atari 5200 Masterplay Controller Adapter Clone from atariguy1021 on eBay

AMIcast

Electric Dreams BBS Podcast

Atari 7800 Game By Game Podcast

IntariVisions Podcast

TechStuff Podcast - The Rise and Fall of Atari (3 Parts)

Forever Party 2015 held in Slovakia
Compilation Disk of Atari Entries at Forever Party 2015

Midwest Gaming Classic April 11 & 12, 2015, Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel

VCF East X April 17-19, 2015, Wall, New Jersey

VCF SE 3.0 Saturday, May 2 & Sunday, May 3, 2015 Kings Market Shopping Center, Roswell, Georgia

Atari Party Sat May 2 2015 at the Davis, CA Public Library

VCF Midwest 10 August 29-30, 2015, Elk Grove Village, IL

2015 10-line BASIC contest update at AtariAge

2015 10-line BASIC Contest Home Page

MegaSpeedy 1050 upgrade

MegaSpeedy 1050 Discussion at AtariAge

new released version 2.60 final of emulator, Altirra

New game released: Tecno Ninja 25 years anniversary edition

ATARI: GAME OVER Documentary of Atari Game Burial with Zak Penn

PacAPong — pac man, space invaders, and donkey kong at the same time

Possible Reboots Of ‘Tempest’ And ‘Missile Command’ Coming From Atari

Dog Poor Anthony 3

Atariware.cl published seven issues of the newsletter "Enter"

 

New at Archive.org

28 issues of MACE Journal - michigan Atari computer enthusiasts

11 issues of Atari Classics (full run?) pub Dec 1992-April 1995

Many Atari Game manuals

Old Hackers Atari User Group newsletter - complete run of floppies

 

Bill’s Modern Segment

Type: Action

Name: Yoomp!

Credits:

 Idea / main code: Marcin "Eru" Żukowski

 Music / sfx: Łukasz "X-Ray" Sychowicz

 Graphics: Bartek "BeWu" Wąsiel

 Decompression / Music routines: Piotr "0xF" aka "Fox" Fusik

Awards: ABBUC 2007, 1st Place

Links:

* http://yoomp.atari.pl/

 

Of the Month (Brad)

XC12 Mod in Polish

A8CAS converter

Invitation to Programming 1 in FLAC

 

Programming Language Segment - Microsoft BASIC (Randy)

Wikipedia

Atari Microsoft BASIC I at AtariMania

Atari Microsoft BASIC II at AtariMania

Direct download: 21ANTIC_2015_04_MSBASIC_Yoomp.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[1]

Al Alcorn, Atari Employee #3

 

Welcome to Antic, the Atari 8-bit computer podcast.  I’m Randy Kindig and this is an interview-only episode of Antic.  My guest for this interview was employee #3 at Atari where he created the world's first commercially successful video game: Pong, Mr. Al Alcorn.  Al was a very influential figure in the early Atari and has a lot of great stories to share about those early days.  He tells us about Steve Jobs stealing employees from Atari, his opportunity to buy into Apple, why Atari got into the home computer business, a special meeting with IBM concerning Atari computers, and his thoughts about why Atari failed.  Al has a terrific sense of humor and I very much enjoyed talking with him.  I hope you enjoy it too.

 

Links

 

Al twitter

 

Al Alcorn at Wikipedia

 

Space Ghost Coast to Coast with Al

 

Al Alcorn Interview at IGN

 

Direct download: Al_Alcorn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[2]

William Volk

 

William Volk wrote three Atari games for Avalon Hill: Conflict 2500, Voyager 1, and Controller. He also wrote Forth Turtle Graphics Plus, a 3-D graphics library for the Forth language that was released by Atari Program Exchange; ValGraphics for Valpar International; and Super Smart Terminal, an 80-column terminal application which -- may have been released by APX? He later went on to work on Return To Zork for Activision.

 

This interview was conducted March 25 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

“True story, when we did Conflict 2500, we had no documentation, so we literally started poking addresses to find out how to do things. Literally.”

 

“It sounded like a good deal but I was still in grad school so I said, ‘I would only do that if you paid me X,’ where X was for the time was some ridiculous amount of money. And they said ‘Sure, we’ll pay you that much.’”

 

“It looked terrible. It looked annoying as hell but it was funny because it made you think you were in a radar room, you know?”

 

“Voyager 1 was in inspired by Alien. In fact I remember taking my future wife to the premiere of Alien in Philadelphia, thinking that it was going to be like Star Wars: pretty light-hearted. I was kind of shocked. As was she! Our first movie date.”

 

LINKS

 

Obsolete Gamer interview with William Volk

 

Stick Figure Movie Trivia

 

Direct download: William_Volk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

Jerry Jessop

 

Jerry Jessop worked at Atari from 1977 through 1985 where he did many jobs - including lead of production repair, customer service supervisor for the Atari 400/800, and he worked with the secret skunkworks group that was creating the Amiga, when it still could have been an Atari product. In this interview he shares great stories, including how he hand-assembled Atari 800s on the production floor, and fired up the very first 800XL prototype the very first time.

 

This interview was conducted on March 28, 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

"I worked on the 1400XL. I could tell from day one, nobody had their heart into it."

 

"It was good stuff cutting up Atari 2600s on a Sunday afternoon."

 

"I shoved 72 Atari 810s in a 1979 Dodge Colt one day. I took the seats out so that I could load up as many 810s as I could possibly get in there."

 

"We had this big inflatable frog that we grabbed from the party, and we're walking down the street in Chicago and we ran into a very drunk on-the-street Muhammad Ali."

Direct download: Jerry_Jessop.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[2]

David Cramer - Western Design Center

 

David Cramer is the VP of Business Development at Western Design Center, the company that still, today, manufacturers and sells the 6502 chip, the CPU that's at the heart of the Atari 800, Apple ][, Commodore 64, and many other classic computers. In fact, the 6502 is used in many modern applications like pacemakers, and it's also available in development kits for hobbyists, as David explains.

 

This interview occurred on March 27, 2015.

 

LINKS

 

Western Design Center

65xx.com

mouser

 

Jameco Electronics

 

Direct download: David_Cramer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]