Retrocomputing podcast about the Atari 8-bit line of personal computers
hosts: Randy Kindig, Kevin Savetz, Brad Arnold
email: antic@ataripodcast.com
twitter: @AtariPodcast

In this episode of Antic the Atari 8-bit podcast, we are joined by Rob McMullen to discuss hacking on Jumpman, we explore several new hardware projects and new games. And we jump in the time machine to visit computer clubs in the 1980s.

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page

What we’ve been up to

Interview Discussion

News

New at Archive.org

Bill’s Modern Segment

Direct download: 33ANTIC_2016_05_Jump_Man.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Wes Horlacher, Magic Melody Box

Wes Horlacher published one program in Atari Program Exchange: Magic Melody Box. Magic Melody Box first appeared in the winter 1982-1983 APX catalog, where it was awarded second prize in the education category. It was also published as Boîte à Musique by Atari France.

Teaser quotes:

"These machines aren't just for accounting and computation and mathematics. We can do creative things. Let's see what we can do with these machines to actually inspire the least thing you would expect from a deterministic machine like this: how can it inspire a human being to create?"

This interview took place on February 15, 2016.

Magic Melody Box in APX catalog

Article in Softside Magazine

Review in Antic magazine: http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue42/gamesgrowup.php

Direct download: Wes_Horlacher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Steve Smith, ANTIC chip

Steve Smith was an engineering technician at Atari from 1977 until 1979, where he worked on the development of the Atari 400 and 800 computers. He was one of the technicians who designed the ANTIC and CTIA chips.

In this interview, we discuss Liza Loop, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on February 9, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"...Huge roomful of 1 MhZ but not 1.1 MhZ devices. So that's what they put in the peripherals, was 6507 that they had surplus lying around."

"The first chips came into the lab, and I was plugging in the CTIA, the first one. Completely untested. And I dropped it and it broke in half."

Direct download: Steve_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Click here to see the index of ANTIC interviews

Category:Interview Index -- posted at: 10:25am EDT
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Clyde Spencer: Stereo 3-D Graphics and Isopleth Map Making

Clyde Spencer published two programs through Atari Program Exchange: Stereo 3-D Graphics Package and Isopleth Map-Making Package. Stereo 3-D Graphics Package was first available in the winter 1982 APX catalog, and Map-Making in the Spring 1982 catalog. Clyde was also co-founder of the Bay Area Atari Users Group, and wrote some reviews for Antic magazine.

This interview took place on March 1, 2016. In it, we discuss Liza Loop and John Crane, both of whom I previously interviewed.

Teaser quote:

"I actually withdrew my teacher's retirement money out to help fund the startup on that. ... About a year or two into that project, Atari went bankrupt. ... I was left with an orphan then at that point in time."

Stereo 3-D Graphics Package: Winter 1982 APX catalog

Isopleth Map-Making Package: Spring 1982 APX catalog

Clyde's articles in Antic magazine

Direct download: Clyde_Spencer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Robert Waldman, Financial Asset Managment System

Robert Waldman wrote Financial Asset Managment System, which was published by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the Fall 1981 APX catalog, where it won second prize in the personal finance and record keeping category.

As explained in my interview, Robert submitted a program called Atari 800 Olympic Gamebook System to Atari Program Exchange but it was not accepted or released. Robert sent me his only copy of the never-before-published Olympic Game Book System software, which was lost in the mail. He scanned the manual and a small part of the program listing, which I've uploaded to archive.org (you'll find a link in the show notes at AtariPodcast.com). But it appears that the complete program is gone forever.

This interview took place on February 8, 2016.

Teaser quote:

"I remember writing long BASIC programs. I would come home from work and then stay up all night coding."

Atari 800 Olympic Gamebook System manual

Financial Asset Managment System catalog entry

Direct download: Robert_Waldman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Tod Frye, Asteroids

Hi, there!  Welcome to the next in the series of Atari-related interviews being produced by Antic, the Atari 8-bit computer podcast.  My name is Randy Kindig and I’ll be leading this interview.  Most notably, while working at Atari, Tod Frye developed the 400/800 version of Asteroids and the 2600 version of Pac-Man, converting them from the coin-op version.  He has many other games to his credit.  He later worked for Axlon, Nolan Bushnell’s company.

This interview was conducted on January 3, 2016.

Teaser Quotes

  • “While I was at Atari, it went from a pretty big company, to a huge company, to a complete flop.”
  • “I didn’t work at Atari; I LIVED at Atari; and I loved it.”
  • “Because of the CTIA and GTIA and Antic, the sprite hardware was WAY better than the sprite hardware on the Commodore.”
  • “The hard parts were: writing code that was fast enough, writing code that was small enough to fit in the cartridge, and writing code that would fit in the RAM.  Basically everything was hard.”

Links

Direct download: Tod_Frye.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Ursula Wolz, early computing and education

Ursula Wolz was thinking about computers and education in the early days of personal computing. She worked on Apple ][ games for Children's Television Workshop, consulted for Atari Research on their endeavors in educational software, and taught Logo to some of the first students who learned it.

This interview took place on February 12, 2016

Teaser quote:

"It was one of the first games that was completely graphical ... Because the kids using it might not be able to read the text, we did everything through gestures."

Ursula's site: https://sites.google.com/site/theimpatientcoder/

Direct download: Ursula_Wolz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Owen Rubin: Major Havoc, Space Duel

Owen Rubin worked in Atari's coin-op division from 1976 to 1984 — he is best known for his programming work there on Major Havoc, Space Duel, and Battlezone. He also served as a go-between between the arcade division and the consumer division, where the Atari home computers were created. After that, he was a game designer at Nolan Bushnell's Bally Sente. 

In this interview, we discuss Ed Rotberg, whom I previously interviewed. This interview contains some coarse language. 

It took place on February 12, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"And I lost it. I just completely lost it with him ... and I slammed the listings down on his desk, basically clearing his desk of just about everything else, and I said, 'Do it yourself, I quit.'"

"I find MAME both very cool that you can see it, and very sad that you don't get the right feel."

"We really wanted coin-op games to be about a 90-second experience. Up to a couple minutes if you got good at it."

Owen's web site: http://www.orubin.com

Owen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/orubin

Ed Rotberg interview: http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-72-ed-rotberg-rotberg-synthesizer

Direct download: Owen_Rubin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Randy Glover, Jumpman

Randy Glover is the creator of one of the best games for the Atari computers, Jumpman, which was published by EPYX. He also created the sequel, Jumpman Junior, and programmed the swimming competition portion of Summer Games. Randy ported Jumpman to the Commodore 64 and created another C64 game, Lunar Outpost.

This interview took place on May 7, 2016. I am joined on this interview by Rob McMullen, host of the Player/Missile Podcast, who has been working to reverse engineer Jumpman using the Omnivore binary editor that he created.

For more background on EPYX, you might enjoy Antic’s interviews with Jon Freeman, co-founder of EPYX; and Michael Katz, the CEO of EPYX — he oversaw the development of Jumpman, Pitstop, and Summer Games.

Teaser quote:

"My guy ran around in this environment purely based on his collision with the environment. I like to think that made him more interesting, more spontaneous. He wasn't pretty -- he was just a little stick man -- but he ran around with a certain flair and he reacted to the environment."

The Digital Antiquarian - From Automated Simulations to Epyx: http://www.filfre.net/2013/08/from-automated-simulations-to-epyx/

Jon Freeman interview: http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-70-jon-freeman-freefall-associates

Michael Katz interview: http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-24-the-atari-8-bit-podcast-michael-katz

Player/Missile podcast: http://www.playermissile.com

Omnivore, the Atari 8-bit Binary Editor: http://playermissile.com/omnivore/

AtariMania's list of Randy's games: http://www.atarimania.com/list_games_atari-400-800-xl-xe-glover-randy_team_472_8_G.html

Jumpman hacking thread on AtariAge: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/252267-jumpman-hacking/

Direct download: Randy_Glover.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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