Thu, 31 March 2016
Richard Leinecker, Your Atari Comes Alive
Richard Leinecker is author of the book Your Atari Comes Alive, which was published by Alpha Systems. The book provides instructions for building hardware projects that work with the Atari 8-bit computers, such as event detectors, motion sensors, a light pen, Christmas lights, and networking computers together. The book has been scanned as is available at the Internet Archive. He wrote a followup book called Your Atari ST Comes Alive. He also wrote for Compute!, A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing and ST-Log magazines.
This interview took place November 8, 2015.
"That was my first attempt at any writing of any kind. I didn't necessarily really know a whole lot. ... It was a lot of stumbling around trying to figure out what to do."
Rick's web site - http://www.rickleinecker.com
Your Atari Comes Alive - https://archive.org/details/Your_Atari_Comes_Alive
Your Atari 8-Bit Comes Alive - https://archive.org/details/Your_Atari_8_Bit_Comes_Alive
Richard's articles in Compute! Magazine - http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/index/index.php?author=Richard+C.+Leinecker
Tue, 29 March 2016
Art Prag: Mapware, Starware, and Astrology
Art Prag, along with Harry Koons, published three programs with Atari
Program Exchange: Mapware, Starware, and Astrology. Harry Koons died
Mapware first appeared in the fall 1981 APX catalog, where it won
second place in the personal interest and development category. “With
the MAPWARE programs you can create a wide variety of high-resolution
world maps. MAPWARE already contains 9,000 pairs of geographic
coordinates for locating main land masses and islands on Earth. These
maps are useful for such applications as games and simulations,
tracking satellites, pointing amateur radio antennas, and teaching
geography and cartography.” The program came on two disks and cost
Starware first appeared in the spring 1982 APX catalog, on disk for
$17.95. “With STARWARE you can explore the heavens by way of your
Atari home computer. STARWARE displays the stars on your TV screen ...
Its 900 star coordinates accurately locate all the constellations in
Astrology first appeared in the summer 1982 catalog, a program for
creating astrological charts. “With ASTROLOGY, the mysteries of the
zodiac, planetary positioning, natal charts, and rising signs will
unfold in your very own living room.” It cost $22.95.
This interview took place on January 30, 2016.
Sun, 27 March 2016
Jeff Johannigman published his first two computer programs through Atari Program Exchange: Rabbotz and Snark Hunt. He went on to program the Atari ports of Mask of the Sun and Serpent's Star for Br0derbund, then worked on Relax for Synapse, GI Joe for EPYX, copy protection for Electronic Arts, and was producer of Master of Orion, published by MicroProse. Jeff is also one of the co-founders of the Game Developers Conference.
This interview took place on January 30, 2016.
"So the next day, an email goes out to everybody in the company. 'No more Atari ST software, period.' So, somebody has no realization that he totally sabotaged the Electronic Arts support for Atari ST with one phone call."
“[Dan Bunten] also gave me one of the best pieces of advice about game design back then. He said that what's important in making a good game is not what you put in; its what you keep out."
AtariMania's list of Jeff's Atari games - http://www.atarimania.com/list_games_atari-400-800-xl-xe-johannigman-jeff_team_659_8_G.html
Fri, 25 March 2016
Leigh Zeitz, Epson Connection book
Leigh Zeitz wrote the book The Epson Connection: Atari Edition, about using your Atari 8-bit computer with Epson printers; as well as a version of the book for the Commodore 64.
This interview took place on November 8, 2015.
"IBM came out and said: 'Well guess what? As of next month we're not going to be creating any more IBM PCjrs.'"
"'Uh, Leigh, I probably don't even need to make this phone call, but we don’t need your book.'"
Epson Connection at Archive.org - https://archive.org/details/The_Epson_Connection_Atari_Edition
Lee's blog - http://drzreflects.com
Wed, 23 March 2016
David Johnson, Popeye
David Johnson co-created the Atari 400/800/5200 version of Popeye, which was released by Parker Brothers.
This interview took place on November 9, 2015.
"That was my first work experience. I really enjoyed it. We were doing like 60, 70 hours a week."
Sun, 20 March 2016
Steve Baker: Defender, Stargate
Steve Baker is well-known in the Atari world as having done the 400/800 and 5200 conversions of Defender. He also did ports of Stargate for the 5200 and the 400/800. Additionally, he developed Miniature Golf and Microgammon SB for the 400/800 and 5200, and Reversi and Gomuku for the 400/800. He worked for Apple from 1980 to 1982, then for Atari from 82 to 84. Steve also wrote games for the Apple II, the Atari 2600, the Intellivision, and the Commodore 64.
This interview took place on November 1, 2015.
Interview with 2600 Connection - http://www.2600connection.com/interviews/steve_baker/interview_steve_baker.html
Defender video at YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiB_DttmN3Y
Defender at AtariMania - http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-defender_1561.html
Stargate for the 400/800 Video (YouTube) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI1iILhB9Dg
Fri, 18 March 2016
Mike Potter: Protector II, Shadow World, Nautilus, Chicken
Mike Potter ported several Apple II games to the Atari 8-bit computers
for Crystalware, including Protector. He later developed five programs
for Synapse Software: Protector, Protector II, Chicken, Nautilus and
Shadow World — in a one year period, with the combined sales of 93,000
In this interview we discuss Steve Hales and Ihor Wolosenko, both of
whom I previously interviewed. This interview took place October 22,
"Let's see, I got married in '84, and my brother-in-law had every
single one of my games pirated. And I was like, 'What? You have all my
AtariMania's list of Mike's games - http://www.atarimania.com/list_games_atari-400-800-xl-xe-potter-mike_team_1073_8_G.html
Mike’s web site, includes history and videos of people playing the Atari titles - http://mikepotterhere.com
Wed, 16 March 2016
Arthur Leyenberger, Atari columnist
Arthur Leyenberger wrote the "Outpost: Atari" column in Creative Computing magazine, the End User column in A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing, and the ST User column in ST-Log magazine. He was also editor of the Jersey Atari Computer Group newsletter.
This interview took place on November 10, 2015.
"If I think about one thing that really captures that era, is that it was exciting. It was exciting, it was fun, it was something new, it was something you could share - you could join a user group, there were all these magazines. ... A lot of information out there, a lot of stuff to learn, a lot of stuff to have fun with and share."
Outpost: Atari in Creative Computing beginning Nov 1983
The End User column in A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing
The ST User column in ST-LOG
Mon, 14 March 2016
Jeff Bell, Atari coin-op
Jeff Bell worked for Atari Games for 31 years. He stated in 1973 as a Pong inspector, then moved to the engineering department, specifying requirements for parts. He worked in IT and system administration, and did other jobs in his more than three decades with the company. He also ran the Itsy Bitsy Bulletin Board System.
This interview took place on November 7, 2015. In it, we discuss Bob Stahl, whom I previously interviewed.
"People say Atari died in — what? — 1983? Didn't happen. Didn't happen. We were in Milpitas making video games. We made great video games."
Sat, 12 March 2016
Stephen Lawrow, Mac/65 assembler
Stephen Lawrow created the Mac/65 assembler, which was published by Optimized Systems Software. Stephen became an employee of OSS, where he also worked on the company’s enhanced BASIC products, BASIC XL and BASIC XE.
This interview took place on November 1, 2015. In this interview we discuss Bill Wilkinson of OSS, whom I previously interviewed.
“I got so frustrated, I couldn’t wait till I got Mac/65 mature enough where it could start assembling itself. So that’s why it has a lot of compatibilities syntactically with the Atari Assembler/Editor.”
“A lot of us were not formally educated in software development. Because it just didn’t exist in the colleges at the time ... Algorithms, searching, and things like that — all that stuff happened after that.”