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

Greg Thrush and Marian Dillashaw: Stock Management and WordGo

Greg Thrush published two programs through Atari Program Exchange: Stock Management and — with his wife Marian Dillashaw — Wordgo. Stock Management first appeared in the fall 1982 APX catalog, where it won first prize in the business and financial applications category. Wordgo first appeared in the summer 1983 catalog. 

This interview took place on March 4, 2016.

Teaser quote:

"If nothing else, it got them a little excited about technology. They could see that they could actually make some things happen."

Stock Management in the fall 1982 APX catalog

Wordgo in the summer 1983 catalog

Direct download: Greg_Thrush_and_Marian_Dillashaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

In this episode of Antic the Atari 8-bit podcast, we are joined by Rob McMullen to discuss hacking on Jumpman, we explore several new hardware projects and new games. And we jump in the time machine to visit computer clubs in the 1980s.

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Floppy Days Podcast

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

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Bill’s Modern Segment

Direct download: 33ANTIC_2016_05_Jump_Man.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Wes Horlacher, Magic Melody Box

Wes Horlacher published one program in Atari Program Exchange: Magic Melody Box. Magic Melody Box first appeared in the winter 1982-1983 APX catalog, where it was awarded second prize in the education category. It was also published as Boîte à Musique by Atari France.

Teaser quotes:

"These machines aren't just for accounting and computation and mathematics. We can do creative things. Let's see what we can do with these machines to actually inspire the least thing you would expect from a deterministic machine like this: how can it inspire a human being to create?"

This interview took place on February 15, 2016.

Magic Melody Box in APX catalog

Article in Softside Magazine

Review in Antic magazine:

Direct download: Wes_Horlacher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Steve Smith, ANTIC chip

Steve Smith was an engineering technician at Atari from 1977 until 1979, where he worked on the development of the Atari 400 and 800 computers. He was one of the technicians who designed the ANTIC and CTIA chips.

In this interview, we discuss Liza Loop, whom I previously interviewed.

This interview took place on February 9, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"...Huge roomful of 1 MhZ but not 1.1 MhZ devices. So that's what they put in the peripherals, was 6507 that they had surplus lying around."

"The first chips came into the lab, and I was plugging in the CTIA, the first one. Completely untested. And I dropped it and it broke in half."

Direct download: Steve_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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Category:Interview Index -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

Clyde Spencer: Stereo 3-D Graphics and Isopleth Map Making

Clyde Spencer published two programs through Atari Program Exchange: Stereo 3-D Graphics Package and Isopleth Map-Making Package. Stereo 3-D Graphics Package was first available in the winter 1982 APX catalog, and Map-Making in the Spring 1982 catalog. Clyde was also co-founder of the Bay Area Atari Users Group, and wrote some reviews for Antic magazine.

This interview took place on March 1, 2016. In it, we discuss Liza Loop and John Crane, both of whom I previously interviewed.

Teaser quote:

"I actually withdrew my teacher's retirement money out to help fund the startup on that. ... About a year or two into that project, Atari went bankrupt. ... I was left with an orphan then at that point in time."

Stereo 3-D Graphics Package: Winter 1982 APX catalog

Isopleth Map-Making Package: Spring 1982 APX catalog

Clyde's articles in Antic magazine

Direct download: Clyde_Spencer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Robert Waldman, Financial Asset Managment System

Robert Waldman wrote Financial Asset Managment System, which was published by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the Fall 1981 APX catalog, where it won second prize in the personal finance and record keeping category.

As explained in my interview, Robert submitted a program called Atari 800 Olympic Gamebook System to Atari Program Exchange but it was not accepted or released. Robert sent me his only copy of the never-before-published Olympic Game Book System software, which was lost in the mail. He scanned the manual and a small part of the program listing, which I've uploaded to (you'll find a link in the show notes at But it appears that the complete program is gone forever.

This interview took place on February 8, 2016.

Teaser quote:

"I remember writing long BASIC programs. I would come home from work and then stay up all night coding."

Atari 800 Olympic Gamebook System manual

Financial Asset Managment System catalog entry

Direct download: Robert_Waldman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Tod Frye, Asteroids

Hi, there!  Welcome to the next in the series of Atari-related interviews being produced by Antic, the Atari 8-bit computer podcast.  My name is Randy Kindig and I’ll be leading this interview.  Most notably, while working at Atari, Tod Frye developed the 400/800 version of Asteroids and the 2600 version of Pac-Man, converting them from the coin-op version.  He has many other games to his credit.  He later worked for Axlon, Nolan Bushnell’s company.

This interview was conducted on January 3, 2016.

Teaser Quotes

  • “While I was at Atari, it went from a pretty big company, to a huge company, to a complete flop.”
  • “I didn’t work at Atari; I LIVED at Atari; and I loved it.”
  • “Because of the CTIA and GTIA and Antic, the sprite hardware was WAY better than the sprite hardware on the Commodore.”
  • “The hard parts were: writing code that was fast enough, writing code that was small enough to fit in the cartridge, and writing code that would fit in the RAM.  Basically everything was hard.”


Direct download: Tod_Frye.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Ursula Wolz, early computing and education

Ursula Wolz was thinking about computers and education in the early days of personal computing. She worked on Apple ][ games for Children's Television Workshop, consulted for Atari Research on their endeavors in educational software, and taught Logo to some of the first students who learned it.

This interview took place on February 12, 2016

Teaser quote:

"It was one of the first games that was completely graphical ... Because the kids using it might not be able to read the text, we did everything through gestures."

Ursula's site:

Direct download: Ursula_Wolz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Owen Rubin: Major Havoc, Space Duel

Owen Rubin worked in Atari's coin-op division from 1976 to 1984 — he is best known for his programming work there on Major Havoc, Space Duel, and Battlezone. He also served as a go-between between the arcade division and the consumer division, where the Atari home computers were created. After that, he was a game designer at Nolan Bushnell's Bally Sente. 

In this interview, we discuss Ed Rotberg, whom I previously interviewed. This interview contains some coarse language. 

It took place on February 12, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"And I lost it. I just completely lost it with him ... and I slammed the listings down on his desk, basically clearing his desk of just about everything else, and I said, 'Do it yourself, I quit.'"

"I find MAME both very cool that you can see it, and very sad that you don't get the right feel."

"We really wanted coin-op games to be about a 90-second experience. Up to a couple minutes if you got good at it."

Owen's web site:

Owen on Twitter:

Ed Rotberg interview:

Direct download: Owen_Rubin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT