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

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

Steve Davis, Director of Advanced Research

 

Steve Davis worked in Atari’s advanced research lab under Alan Kay, for 5 or 6 years, where he worked on several skunkworks projects including a laserdisc player controlled by an Atari 800,

an Atari 800-based local area network, and artificial intelligence projects.

 

This interview occurred May 11, 2015.

 

Teaser quote:

 

“I winded around the building, there was nobody there. ... I opened up this one door and there was, like, hundreds of people partying. With party hats on. I called the guy in New York and said ‘This doesn’t look good.’”

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

This is an interview episode of Antic, the Atari 8-bit podcast.  I’m Randy Kindig and in this interview I sat down with one of the members of the core design team at Cyan Engineering for such projects as the Atari 2600 and the 8-bit computers, Mr. Ron Milner.

Ron is currently President of Applied Design Laboratories, but from 1973-1984, as an employee of Atari Inc, he worked at the Grass Valley Think Tank (also known as Cyan Engineering) where they did some amazing stuff, as you’ll hear in this interview.  Ron was involved in many pivotal technologies in video games and home computers and was co-inventor of the Atari 2600 video game system.

 

This interview took place on May 16, 2015.

 

Teaser Quotes

 

“Our group worked on just a lot of other projects relating to the home computer line.”

 

“You know, it didn’t have to work, but if it looked like it might we looked into it.”

 

“This is Ron Milner and I was one of the early Atari engineers at Atari’s secret think tank in the mountains pioneering many of the projects with my associates and you’re listening to the Antic podcast.”

 

Links

 

Ron’s Web Site

 

Atari's Cyan Engineering - Splendor in the Grass documentary

Direct download: Ron_Milner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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Joe Villalobos, Materials Planner for Atari

 

Boxes! Your Atari computers and game cartridges came in boxes! Someone was responsible for producing those boxes. Joe was the guy.

 

Joe Villalobos was materials planner at Atari in El Paso, Texas from 1980 – 1982. He was responsible for the planning and expediting of materials used in the production of video game cartridges.

 

This interview took place on May 6, 2015.

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

Ed Rotberg, Rotberg Synthesizer

 

Ed Rotberg worked programmer in Atari’s coin-op division, where he worked on Atari Baseball, Battlezone, Blasteroids, Hard Drivin’, and other coin-op games. He consulted for the Atari consumer side, where he created demos for the Atari 800 — including working on the music for the in-store demo — and the Rotberg Synthesizer music software.

 

Check the show notes atAtariPodcast.com for downloads of the Rotberg Synthesizer and Rotberg Scrolling Marquee software (which I acquired and uploaded toarchive.org after this interview took place.)

 

This interview took place April 28, 2015.

 

Teaser quote:

 

“My good friend Dan Pliskin wrote a tune called Disco Dirge that we programmed into the earliest version of the Rotberg Synthesizer to play at the bachelor party, as kind of a joke. Because Chris who was getting married was a disco fan, he was a disco buff and we all *hated* disco.”

 

Links:

 

Rotberg’s sound article in Antic magazine

 

Article at archive.org

 

Version of the same article in Softside

 

Rotberg Scrolling Marquee

 

Rotberg Synthesizer

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

On this episode of ANTIC the atari 8-bit podcast: Randy delves into Altirra BASIC, there’s another podcast to dilute our listenership, Kevin reports back from KansasFest, and there’s lots of new Atari stuff to download at Archive.org.

 

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevins Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

 

What we’ve been up to

Retrobright

"Microcomputer Primer" by Mitchell Waite

KansasFest - Retro Computing Roundtable episode

KansasFest - Wade talked about it in episode S1EB2 of Inverse ATASCII Podcast

KansasFest - Rob talked about it in episode 15 of Player/Missile Podcast

Atari Summer Camp Episode

 

Interview Discussion

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

Atari 5200 Trak-ball Controller

 

News

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell on why life is 'a game'

U- BASIC

New Game "Jim Slide"

ABBUC Software Contest

Info about some of the ABBUC games

More detailed info about some of the ABBUC games

Retrochallenge 2015/07

TransKey II in development

new podcast Atari XEGS Cart by Cart Podcast

new Turbo BASIC XL handbook from ABBUC; shipped with ABBUC newsletter

XE-Lent Arcade Games videos on YouTube by Kieren Hawken

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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

Portland Retro Gaming Expo October 17-18 in Portland OR

High-Score Club at AtariAge - Season 12, Round 12

 

New at Archive.org

Monitor Atari Journal v1n1

https://archive.org/details/CandTComputerActiveAtariPublicDomainSoftwareCatalog

Atari Logo In The Classroom By Donna Bearden

Atari 6502 Programming Memo

 

Programming Languages - Altirra BASIC

Altirra BASIC Manual

Altirra BASIC Download at AtariAge

Altirra Download at VirtualDub

Speed test at AtariAge

 

Bill’s Modern Segment

"yet another..." (Apple Invaders 2010 announcement) topic on AtariAge forums

"Apple Invaders 2010" entry at AtariMania

Krzysztof Dudek (XXL)'s website

"Apple Invaders for the Atari 8-bit family" video on YouTube

"Superappleinvader Game captured" at Yesterbits

"Apple Invaders" entry at Apple2Games.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Invaders

"Galaga for the Atari 800" (main homepage)

"PET Galaga for the Atari 800XL" topic on AtariAge forums

Interview with Henrik Wening (in German)

"Galaga" wikipedia article

 

Feedback

Cartridge Condoms - Amazon.com: Re-Sealable Team Set Bags (100 Count): Toys & Games

 

Direct download: 25ANTIC_2015_08_Altirra_BASIC.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
Comments[0]

Hello, and welcome to a very special interview-only episode of Antic, the Atari 8-bit podcast.  I am Randy Kindig, one of your hosts for this podcast.  I say “special” because it’s not often that you get a chance to talk with an icon like the one we talk with today.  Kevin Savetz and myself were given the chance to sit down, so to speak, with “Mr. Atari” Nolan Bushnell and spend a few minutes shooting the breeze.  If you need any more introduction for this guest, then you’re probably listening to the wrong podcast.  In fact, he’s one of those guys that can go by a single name “Nolan” and everyone in the Atari community knows who you’re talking about.

 

Before we get to the interview, I want to thank the Atari community on the AtariAge forums for suggesting questions for Nolan.  When we put out a request for questions, who knew we would get such a large and varied response.  Regrettably, we only had time for some of them.  Many of you will recognize the questions that you submitted and we are very grateful for your help.  I also want to thank Marty Goldberg for his suggestions and guidance as someone who has talked with Nolan in the past.

 

This interview was conducted on July 30, 2015.

 

Teaser Quotes:

 

“wouldn't it have been fun if Atari had owned the Internet?”

 

“Did you regret selling it?  Every day of my life!”

 

“Ray Kassar? Oh, he was a disaster.”

 

“Warner didn't want to have anything to do with me.  They felt that if I was back in and made a success of it it would make them look stupid.”

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

Jon Freeman

 

Jon Freeman was co-founder of the computer game publisher Automated Simulations, which became EPYX. At Automated Simulations, he co-created Starfleet Orion and Gateway to Apshai. Then he and his wife Anne Westfall started the game development company FreeFall Associates, where they created Tax Dodge, Archon, Archon II, and Murder on the Zinderneuf.

 

This interview took place April 21, 2015.

 

Teaser quotes:

 

“That six months, I read two books in six months, and we went to one movie. The rest of the time we we just working on the game. That’s all we did. It was very, you know, intense.”

 

“You know, I could just basically flip that switch every VBI and have the computer play itself. That turned out to be one of the absolutely huge selling points of [Archon]. Stores could put it in the window, get it started, and let it run.”

 

Links:

 

Free Fall Games web site

 

Free Fall Associates chapter in Halcyon Days

 

Tax Dodge

 

1984 article about Free Fall

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

ANTIC Special Episode - Atari Summer Camp

 

Let's go to Atari Summer Camp! A special episode.

 

Links

 

Today Show clip

 

The Magic Room Movie

 

The Magic Room Trailer

 

ANTIC magazine article

 

Atari Connection article

 

Bob Kahn's Atari Special Projects page

 

Atari Computer Camps curriculum, software, and ephemera

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

Lloyd Speyer, Batteries Included

Lloyd Speyer worked for Batteries Included from 1983 to 1987, where he worked with Commodore PETs, 64, Apple ][, Macintosh, as well as the Atari 800. He built hardware dongles, demonstrated products in the retail store, and worked in quality assurance, where he beta tested PaperClip and HomePak.

This interview was conducted April 27, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“The Atari version and the Commodore 64 version [of PaperClip] were completely different, even though we said ‘These are the commands we want. This is what we need.’ Steve [Ahlstrom] and Dan [Mppre] decided that they wanted to take the product in a different direction because the Atari could do a little bit more. . . It actually came out to be a really, really nice product.”

Direct download: Lloyd_Speyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00 AM
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Thomas Renbarger, Dorsett Educational Systems

Thomas Renbarger worked at Dorsett Educational Systems from 1978 through 1980, where he converted audio and filmstrip based educational programs to computer graphics and text for the TRS-80 and Atari 400 and 800 computers.

This interview took place April 21, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“Smart, nerdy people might be interested in something just because it says it’s educational, but most of the programs and stuff that was written was pretty — not totally remedial — but it was pretty introductory educational stuff.”

Direct download: Thomas_Renbarger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08 PM
Comments[0]