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ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast


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

 

Aug 8, 2016

Mitch Balsam: NY Atari Research Lab

Mitch Balsam was hired at Atari to work as a game programmer for the Atari 2600, and worked on an unreleased game called Electric Yoyo. Later, at Atari Research in New York, he worked on more unreleased products including The Graduate, an add-on computer keyboard component for the Atari 2600; and a buildable robot toy. At Scholastic, he developed educational software titles for the Apple ][ computer.

This interview took place on April 3, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"Each game developer had a room, and the more successful ones had checks on their door, which were their royalty checks. ... So there were checks there for $200,000, $300,000."

"Yeah, it was rough. I'd still say that programming for the 2600 was probably the hardest thing I've ever done."

"We'd call California, 'Hey, are you our boss?' No. 'Are YOU our boss?' No."

The Graduate Computer:

http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/consoles/2600/a3000.html

Mitch on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mbalsam

Scholastic Success with Reading for the Apple ][


Scott Stilphen
over two years ago

I interviewed Mark Hahn years ago:

http://www.2600connection.com/interviews/mark_hahn/interview_mark_hahn.html

I asked him about The Electric Yo-Yo and he said he used the source code for his VCS Pengo game as a starting point (which is why they both look similar). He never mentioned Mitch's name but did say there was an Electric Yo-Yo machine at the office and he spent a lot of time playing it. Not sure what the time frame was for the development of both. Shame you didn't ask him if he still has a copy of it, as I would be curious to know how much of his code is in Mark's Elk Attack.