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

Jerry White, Atari author and programmer

Jerry White was a prolific Atari software developer and writer. He published Player Piano, Bowler's Database, and other software for Atari Program Exchange. He wrote Poker S.A.M. and Chaterbee, two talking programs distributed by Don't Ask Software. He was co-author of the book The Atari User’s Encyclopedia, and wrote dozens of articles for Antic, A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing, Compute! and other magazines. He wrote two lessons in the Tricky Tutorial series, and was the founder of the Professional Atari Programmers Information Exchange (PAPIE).

This interview took place on January 1, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"Believe it or not, I think I got to like 30 things on the market at one time. I was really hellbelt on quantity rather than shoot-em-up games, because I didn't want to really spend my time trying to develop another game."

"My income from the Atari stuff was more than I was making [at my day job.] So I retired from the job I was doing so I could develop software 24 hours a day, and yeah - I was an addict."

Links

List of Jerry White software

Jerry's articles in Antic magazine

Direct download: Jerry_White.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm EST
Comments[0]

Steve Defrisco, H.E.R.O., Wing War

Hello and welcome to Antic, The Atari 8-bit Computer Podcast.  My name is Randy Kindig.  This is another in the continuing series of Atari 8-bit related interviews.  This time, we talk to a former game developer for the Atari 8-bits, Mr. Steve DeFrisco.  Steve worked for Imagic and Activision, working on porting such titles as H.E.R.O. (Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation) and Wing War as well as developing software for the Intellivision and Atari 2600.  He also is the man doing the juggling in an Imagic video from 1983; link provided in the show notes.

Teaser Quote

“The next Spring, when my first game Tropical Trouble was done, was when Atari announced their big loss.  So, I put kind of a kibosh on the whole being a millionaire before I was 20.”

Links

Steve in Imagic Video (he’s the one doing the juggling for a few seconds beginning about 1:17 in) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3x6Idp8oT0

Steve’s Web Site - http://www.stevedefrisco.com

Direct download: Steve_DeFrisco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:38pm EST
Comments[0]

Thomas Newton, Basic/XA and Keypad Controller

Thomas Newton, published two programs with Atari Program Exchange: Keypad Controller, software for reading the keypad game controllers from BASIC; and BASIC/XA, a set of add-ons for Atari BASIC programmers.

This interview took place December 11, 2015.

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

Arlan Levitan, writer

Arlan Levitan wrote for many computer magazines including Creative Computing and Compute!, where he wrote the Telecomputing Today and Levitations columns. He helped design the menu system and feature set of the AMIS bulletin board system, and hosted the first AMIS BBS at his house. He was heavily involved with MACE, the Michigan Atari Computer Enthusiast user group, and wrote the book The User's Guide to Atari 400, 800, 1200XL Computers, Software & Peripherals.

This interview took place on December 10, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

"They [Atari] were either, depending on how you want to look at it, very generous or very foolish with their money."

"It's not so much about the hardware, I think, as the people." 

Link:

Arlan's articles in Compute!: http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/index/index.php?author=Arlan+R.+Levitan

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

Sandy Dwiggins, AtariLab manuals

Sandy Dwiggins wrote the manuals for AtariLab - both the light and temperature modules - while she was an adjunct professor at Dickinson College, teaching Film Studies. She worked closely with Priscilla Laws, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on October 14, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“She [Priscilla Laws] found these two programmers who only came out at night and were barefoot all the time ... they didn’t take showers, they didn’t take baths, they didn’t do anything except sit in their nest.”

Links

AtariLab starter set/temperature module manual: http://www.atarimania.com/documents/AtariLab_Starter_Set.pdf

AtariLab light module manual: http://www.atarimania.com/documents/AtariLab_Light_Module.pdf

Direct download: Sandy_Dwiggins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am EST
Comments[0]

Andrew Soderberg, Atari Product Manager

Andrew Soderberg was a product manager at Atari from 1980 through August 1983. He oversaw projects including the XL line of computers, and De Re Atari. He was also production manager for several of Atari's TV commercials, one of which won a Clio award. He was a member of the team that build the first computer/laserdisc interactive kiosks for use in retail.

In this interview we discuss Tandy Trower, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on November 18, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“So here I am, 21 years of age, in New York City, being put up in the junior suite of the Plaza, for a week. It’s all been downhill ever since!”

Links:

Andrew’s web site: https://about.me/AndrewSoderberg

Conversational French commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXZN9o7qlWU

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

Mike West, Pirate

Mike West was an east coast software pirate who went by the handle “Jolly Roger.” He was — and still is — friends with Gary Walton, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on October 9, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“The whole thing was kind of bizarre. It’s like, on one side of their moth they would scream about piracy. On the other side of their mouth they would kind of — I don’t know, promote it in some way. It was very weird.”

“Piracy did not kill Atari. Atari killed Atari.”

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

On this episode of ANTIC the atari 8-bit podcast: We explore the possibilities of new Atari software and hardware mods (yea faster Star Raiders explosions); and Randy delves into the turtle-y goodness of Atari Logo. Trigger warning: there may be some Amiga lust and gentle Apple // bashing in this episode.

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

News

  • Upcoming Shows:

New at Archive.org

Of the Month

Programming Languages Segment (Atari Logo)

Closing

 

Direct download: 29ANTIC_2016_01_Turtle-y_Goodness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EST
Comments[0]

Landon Dyer, Donkey Kong and Super Pac Man

Landon Dyer started as a software engineer in the Atari home computer division in 1982, where he specialized in converting arcade games to the Atari 8-bits. There, he programmed the Atari 400/800 versions of Donkey Kong, and Super Pac Man — which was never officially released by Atari (but has been widely available for many years.) After the Tramiels bought Atari, he worked on the Atari ST, including BIOS boot code and the floppy disk driver. Landon’s blog, at DadHacker.com, has many interesting posts about his Atari days.

This interview took place December 9, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“In many ways, Atari marketing was completely divorced from the process of making games. They didn’t understand what programmers did, they didn’t understand what manufacturing cycles were.”

“To get ROMs made inside of Atari you had to go through a mastering lab. So basically you’d hand a couple of guys disks. They would disappear into their lab, smoke some dope, and come out with ROMs. And often, keep the disks.”

Link

Landon's web site: http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=987

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

Tom Briscoe, APX Software Evaluator

Tom Briscoe worked at Atari as an intern in the summer of 1981, where he evaluated the user-written software that had been submitted to Atari Program Exchange.

This interview took place on September 26, 2015.

Teaser quote:

“Hangman was sort of the obvious game for people to submit, and if I recall the obvious business application was the personal finance and record keeping ... budget programs.”

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