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

Bill Hogue, Miner 2049er

Bill Hogue was founder of Big Five Software. He was programmer of the hit 1982 game Miner 2049er, and its sequel Bounty Bob Strikes Back!.

This interview took place on August 31, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“I tried to cram as much color in there as I possibly could, because it was all fresh and new to me.”

“I’d forgotten how all the bank selecting and anti-piracy stuff worked that I put into it. . . so I had to spend hours, if not days, breaking my own code.”

LINKS

AtariMania’s list of Bill’s games

Interview with Bill at trs-80.org

Electronic Games Magazine 1983 interview with Bill

Creative Computing's review of 2049er

 

Direct download: Bill_Hogue.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[0]

Gerri Brioso: Halftime Battlin' Bands, Coco-Notes, Movie Musical Madness

Gerri Brioso is part of The Dovetail Group, a company that created three children’s games for the Atari 400/800 and Commodore 64 computers. All three games were released in 1984: they were Halftime Battlin' Bands, Coco-Notes, and Movie Musical Madness, all of which were released by CBS software.

Wikipedia says "These games are notable as they represent some of the earliest examples of the music management subgenre of music video games." The games were also notable because each of those games included a plastic record album, playable on a phonograph, which served as the games’ instruction manuals. The characters in the games and records — Swivel Hips, Wahoo, and Mr. Bass Man — made up a fictional band called The Jazz Scats.

This interview occurred on July 30 and 31, 2015.

Teaser quotes

“They made it doubly hard for us because they suddenly wanted us to not just create for the Atari platform, but to also create for the Commodore platform. So the work became double ... and suddenly deadlines were not being met.”

“Rich had to hold me back because my hands were going around the computer programmer’s throat. I thought I would kill him. ... Where’s the backup? He said, ‘I was just getting ready to back it up.’ I was like, “You didn’t back it up in stages? What, are you crazy?!”  

Links:

Brioso’s web site

Jazz Scats record albums

Photo of the Jazz Scats

 

Direct download: Gerri_Brioso.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[1]

Alan Murphy, Atari Animator

Alan Murphy was Senior Animator at Atari, where we worked from 1980 through 1987. Alan created the graphics for the Atari 8-bit versions of Defender, Xevious, Galaxian, Countermeasure, Pac Man for the Atari 5200, Demons to Diamonds for the 2600, and many other games. He also worked with engineers at Atari Research on research projects and prototyping, and designed specs for game art and animation systems.

This interview took place June 15, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“So I did these animations of Mr. and Mrs. Pac Man going across the screen and then they came back the other way and there were little babies. Namco came along and said 'uh-uh...that's a little too suggestive.'”

“As far as I know, I think that was the first easter egg by an artist.”

Links:

Countermeasure Easter Egg

Animated Gauntlet Commercial

 

Direct download: Alan_Murphy_128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[0]

Adam Billyard, Chop Suey/ElektraGlide

Adam Billyard's first three games for the Atari 8-bit computers were "Bellum", "Henri", and "Chop Suey,".  Bellum was published through the Atari Program Exchange, although Adam never received any royalty from Atari for it.  "Chop Suey" was one of the first modern-style fighting games for the Atari 800. He followed this up with a pair of three-dimensional games: "ElektraGlide," a racing game for the Atari 8-bit; and "Q-Ball” for the Atari ST.

If you’re not familiar with any of these games, it's probably because you live in the U.S. Three of his five games were originally released by the U.K.-based English Software and received more publicity in Europe than the versions distributed by Mindscape in the States.

This interview took place May 15, 2015.

Teaser Quote:

“Years later they said ‘did you not get the check for $30?’ which I thought was just completely bizarre.”

Links:

Adam’s Polystream, the next generation of fully streamed interactive entertainment

Adam’s Interview at Halcyon Days

Direct download: Adam_Billyard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[1]

Glenn The 5200 Man

Glenn Botts is better known to Atari 8-bit users as "Glenn The 5200 Man.” Glenn was perhaps the most widely-known Atari software cracker, because he had a unique specialty. Most pirates removed copy protection from software, making it so it was copyable and able to be shared for free. Glenn’s skill was in taking games that were developed for the Atari 5200 game system, and converting them so they would run on the Atari 8-bit computers.

Many of the games created for the Atari 5200 were not released for the computers, so Glenn’s system conversion cracking had the unique effect of creating games for the Atari computers that otherwise would not have existed.

The Atari 5200 was very similar in architecture to the Atari computers, but not 100% compatible — for one thing, the 5200 carts physically didn’t fit into the Atari computers. Also, the joysticks were very different, with the 5200 using analog joysticks and the computers using digital joysticks.

This is the first time that Glenn’s identity has been revealed to the general public.

This interview took place September 11, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“It was so easy that it actually was very annoying that Atari themselves never would release these games on the 800.”

Links:

Glenn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amiga_4000

Glenn on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Amiga4000

Direct download: Glenn_the_5200_Man.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[2]

Bruce Poehlman, The Last Starfighter/Star Raiders II

Bruce Poehlman only worked at Atari for a year — from June 1983 until July 1984 — but he told me “it was an interesting year.” Bruce coded the game The Last Starfighter for the Atari 5200 and 8-bit computers — a game that was never released. Two years later, he was contracted to re-brand the game as Star Raiders II.

Teaser quotes:

“We have this contract with a movie, and we think you game with little tweaks might be able to fit the theme of that movie. And that movie was The Last Starfighter.”

“That bonus, within six months of my starting there, went from $40,000 to $20,000. Then in another three months it went to $12,000 then it went to $8,000.”

Direct download: Bruce_Poehlman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[0]

Dan Horn, Infocom

Dan Horn stated as a programmer at Scott Adams’ Adventure International, where he programmed the Atari version of Treasure Quest. Then he moved to Infocom where he was technical director, then became head of the microcomputing group.

This interview took place on May 21, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“The feelies were really the copy protection. If you had a feelie, you were compelled — not really for copy protection purposes — but you were compelled to have it because it was cool.”

“With the Atari we had thousands of colors. We had the rippling, shimmering effect, and we had all this other stuff. Now, most of it never got to an Infocom game. But it was cool!”

Direct download: Dan_Horn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[0]

Leslie Wolf, Product Manager for Atari Logo and AtariLab

 

Leslie Wolf was a product manager at Atari from 1981 through 1984. She managed the design and development of educational hardware and software products such as Atari Logo software and AtariLab. In this interview, we talk about Pricilla Laws, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on May 15, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“I had gone over to my guys in the manufacturing operation and I said, ‘You know what? They don’t know you’re here. Keep working until you don’t get a paycheck anymore.’”

LINKS

Antic magazine article about AtariLab

Direct download: Leslie_Wolf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[0]

Dr. Priscilla Laws, AtariLab

AtariLab was a hardware and software package for the Atari 400 and 800 computers. The AtariLab Starter Set with Temperature Module was released in 1983. The Light Module add-on was released in February 1984.

AtariLab was developed at Dickinson College under the direction of physics professor, Dr. Priscilla Laws. Dr. Laws joined the faculty at Dickinson in 1965. She has dedicated herself to the development of activity-based curricular materials and computer software to enhance student learning in introductory physics courses — which started with AtariLab.

This interview took place May 14, 2015

Teaser quotes:

“I saw somebody dip a thermistor into cold water — ice water — and a real-time cooling curve was appearing on the screen. And it blew me away.”

“So, Ron said: ‘I watched Ray Kassar open the safe, and he pulled $200,000 in bills out of the safe. He handed it to the woman and he said “Please say no more.”’”

LINKS

Priscilla Laws’ bio

1984 Atari Connection article about AtariLab

Promoting the Diffusion of Undergraduate Science Curriculum Reform: The Activity-Based Physics Suite as an Example by Priscilla Laws

Direct download: Priscilla_Laws.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[1]

On this episode of ANTIC the atari 8-bit podcast: we learn about new software and hardware for the Atari. We learn about marketing. We learn that we’re . . .

 

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

AtariArchives.org

AtariMagazines.com

Kevins Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at archive.org

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

 

What we’ve been up to

Eight Bit Fix - Paul Westphal

Northwest Retro Computing and Video Game Club

“Interesting Times” Podcast with Joe Streckert

VCF Midwest

Suburban Chicago ATarians (SCAT)

“Atari Inc: Business is Fun" at Amazon

Atari Book site

Dungeon Hunt

 

News

New version of Atari++ and new BASIC++ by thorfdbg on AtariAge

Sprint 1 Ported to the Atari 800XL by Norbert Kehrer

New game called AtariNet from slor (James Wilkinson)

Episodes 5 and 6 of XE-Lent Arcade Games by Kieran Hawkin, arcade conversions for the 8-bits:

Part 5 (Q-Bert, Millipede, Donkey Kong)

Part 6 (Super Breakout, Lode Runner)

Chicken Lips Radio Commodore Podcast with Earl Evans and Todd George

Atari Lynx Game by Game Podcast

Electric Dreams BBS Podcast

PROC Atari Shop

Ultimate Cart pre-orders - electrotrains

The Atari GUI OS Brings Point And Click Goodness To An Old Platform (TechCrunch)

link to interview (Episode 15) with Jonathan Halliday

This Atari-Themed Music Video Is An 8-Bit Adventure We Can Get Behind (YouTube Video)

IMA turns car into giant ‘Pole Position’ video game:

article at Indy Star

article at Mashable

Retrochallenge 2015/07

ABBUC 2015 Update!

SIO2BT now ready for pre-order

Portland Retro Gaming Expo October 17-18 in Portland OR

AtariXLBox allows emulating the Atari 800 and 800XL computers and 5200 console on Xbox (Microsoft) systems

Kevin on Atari Wiki for his contributions to preserving Atari 8-bit history

 

New at Archive.org

Magatari Magazine V1N9

Gray Chang's Claim Jumper Development Notebook

Atari Employee Headcount Report Program

Stuff kevin uploaded

ANTIC Podcast Collection at Archive.org

 

Bill’s Modern Segment

Tempest Xtreem Homepage

Purchase Tempest Xtreem from Video61

Tempest Xtreem demoware version (including download) at AtariMania

Video of Tempest Xtreem demoware version at YouTube

ANTIC Interview Episode 17: Sal Esquivel

ANTIC Interview Episode 9: Lance Ringquist (Video61)

"An ox looks at Tempest" video at YouTube (Tempest Xtreem review begins at 34:45)

Tempest 2000 at Wikipedia

Tempest at Wikipedia

Delta Space Arena (2015) at Video61

Venture (2012) at Video61

 

Of the Month

5200-daptor

Contiki

AtariAge thread on Contiki - user ol.sc

video of configuring Contiki, bringing up the web browser, searching on Google for 'atari' and finally surfing to the Dragon Cart website

 

Closing

RETROKOMP Demo Party

Load Error Party Invitation by LAMERS (end of show music)

Direct download: 26ANTIC_2015_10_hardware_software__marketing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST
Comments[0]