Thu, 6 October 2016
Douglas Crockford: Galahad And The Holy Grail, Burgers!
Douglas Crockford worked in Atari's Game Research Group under Chris Crawford. There he created a variety of demos -- including Ballsong and Crockford's Trench -- and games. He created Galahad And The Holy Grail, which was published by Atari Program Exchange in summer 1982; and Burgers!, which was published by APX in winter 1983. After Atari, he worked at LucasFilm where he worked on Atari games including Rescue on Fractalus! and Koronis Rift.
This interview took place on July 16, 2016.
"For most of what we wanted to accomplish it was not possible to do things correctly. So it was all about cheating."
"If they hired an executive and he wasn't working out, it was too much trouble to fire him, so they would assign him to special projects."
Crockford's web site: http://crockford.com
Wikipedia on Crockford: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Crockford
Tue, 4 October 2016
Dewitt Robbeloth, AKA Robert Dewitt, Editor of Antic magazine
Dewitt Robbeloth, who went by the pen name Robert Dewitt, was editor of Antic magazine, STart magazine, and the short-lived II Computing magazine. He also freelanced for InfoWorld and other computer magazines. He was the editor the book "The Best of Antic Volume 1," published by Antic Publishing.
This interview took place on July 14 and 15, 2016. In it, we discuss Jim Capparell, whom I previously interviewed.
"The bathroom flooded. So someone had the bright idea, since we were giving the paper away ... they decided to take our magazine and put it on the floor of the bathroom so it would sop up the water."
"I had to go up and sit at the big table. I had to keep my back to the wall so that nobody would see that my pants were split open."
Sun, 2 October 2016
Bob Smith: Video Pinball; Imagic co-founder; Sleazy Adventure
Bob Smith worked at Atari, where he created Video Pinball for the Atari 2600. He also wrote two programs for the Atari 8-bit which were sold by Atari Program Exchange: Sound Editor and Sleazy Adventure, which both appeared in the inaugural APX catalog, fall 1981. He left Atari to co-found the game developer Imagic, where he programmed Riddle of the Sphinx, Dragonfire, Moonsweeper, and other games. Then he went on to work on games at Bally, Electronic Arts, and Accolade.
This interview took place on June 24, 2016.
Teaser quote: "I have two kids, no degree. I walked in to Atari and said, "I've written a game and sold it. ... Wanna hire me?' And Dennis Koble did."
National Videogame Museum: http://www.nvmusa.org
Fri, 30 September 2016
Bob Graves, Gridiron Glory
Bob Graves co-wrote Gridiron Glory, a football game which was published by Atari Program Exchange. The game first appeared in the winter 1982-1983 APX catalog. His co-author was Mike Drury, who was unavailable for an interview. Bob and Mike created two other Atari computer programs: Asteroid Artist and Ramblin Gamblin, which were published by their own company, MicroMate Software.
This interview took place on June 14, 2016.
"We'd go to the state library and look up historial records for the different football teams and how they did under certain circumstances. ... We'd come up with tables that would be cross-referenced when different plays were called."
Gridiron Grit - Computerized football for the ATARI - article in Antic magazine: http://www.atarimagazines.com/v2n7/gridirongrit.html
Gridiron Glory manual: https://archive.org/details/APXGridironGloryV3
Wed, 28 September 2016
Dan Rohr, Three R Math software
Dan Rohr was the author of three educational programs which were published by Atari Program Exchange. Three R Math System first appeared in the summer 1982 APX catalog, where it won second prize in the education category. The Three R Math Classroom Kit was available in the spring 1983 APX catalog, where it won third prize in the education category. Finally, the Three R Math Home System was first available in the summer 1983 APX catalog.
This interview took place on June 13, 2016.
"Fortunately, the person that rejected it took the time to critique all of his objections that he had to it. And I said, 'Hmm, this person has never been in a classroom.'"
Mon, 26 September 2016
Marlin Bates, R-Time 8 Replacement Cartridge
In 1986, ICD released the R-Time 8, a real-time clock cartridge for the Atari 8-bit computers. One reason this is an interesting cartridge is that it has a pass-through port: you can plug another cartridge into it, then plug the R-Time 8 into the Atari. In 2016, Marlin Bates created the R-Time 8 Replacement Cartridge, a workalike cart. On June 7, 2016, we talked about that project. Marlin is better known to people on the AtariAge forums as MacRorie. During this interview, we talk about Romox — I previously interviewed the CEO of Romox, Tim McGuinness.
Teaser quote: "You don't know enough to not do it, and by the time you're halfway in you go 'Oh, I guess I gotta do it now.'"
Bates motel BBS: telnet://18.104.22.168:8888
Thu, 22 September 2016
Steve Robinson: Diggerbonk and Bean Machine
Steve Robinson is the author of two games that were published by Atari Program Exchange: Diggerbonk and Bean Machine. Diggerbonk was first available in the spring 1983 APX catalog. Bean Machine first appeared in the summer 1983 APX catalog, where it won third prize in the Entertainment category.
This interview took place on June 13, 2016. A video version of this interview is available, check the show notes at AtariPodcast.com for the link.
In it, we talk about Jack Palevich whom I previously interviewed.
Teaser quote: "When they first published the game, they took the wrong version. I sent them the wrong version, not knowing that it had a bug in it. And — I got third prize anyway."
Video version of this interview: https://youtu.be/eNBn40q_BQ4
Tue, 20 September 2016
Alison Woods, Atari Graphic Designer
Alison Woods was a graphic designer at Atari from 1982 to 1984. She designed the packaging for the computer versions of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, Pole Position, Robotron, Food Fight, and other products. Later, she was Vice President and Creative Director at Kidsoft, a CD-ROM based software magazine for kids.
This interview took place on May 26, 2016.
"I wanted to have an exploding robot on the front of the package, and that was deemed too violent."
"One guy said to the other guy, 'See? I told you not to pay 'em!' I'm thinking, 'Oh my god, what am I dealing with here?'"
Alison's web site: http://www.alisonwoods.com
Sun, 18 September 2016
Mitchell Waite, computer book author and publisher
Mitchell Waite is a prolific computer book author and publisher. His first book "Projects in Sight, Sound and Sensation" was published in 1974. He founded the Waite Group in 1977, which published more than 80 titles in the computer programming field. He co-authored Computer Animation Primer (with David Fox) and Your Own Computer (with Michael Pardee), the 8086/8088 Microprocessor Primer with Christopher Morgan, CP/M Bible, and wrote, co-wrote, or published dozens of other computer books.
This interview took place on June 16, 2016.
Teaser quote: "'I don't even have an office yet,' you know? And he said 'Well you better get one.' And I said, 'But I don't even have a corporation.' He said, 'You better start one.'"
Video version of this interview: https://youtu.be/x1dU7b4ZkHA
Mitch's web site: http://www.mitchwaite.com
Mitch on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Waite
Full text of Computer Graphics Primer: http://www.atariarchives.org/cgp/
Full text of Computer Animation Primer: http://www.atariarchives.org/cap/
Mitch on Triangulation: https://twit.tv/shows/triangulation/episodes/252
Apple ad featuring ibird: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0zhotBPx1E
Fri, 16 September 2016
David Duberman, Antic magazine editor
David Duberman was an editor at Antic magazine (one of the two major Atari magazines in the United States). Later he was in customer support at Synapse software, then user group coordinator at Atari during the Tramiel era.
This interview took place on June 17, 2016. In it, we discuss Jim Capparell, whom I previously interviewed.
"We were now in the computer age, so we had to print these weird [ATASCII] characters that were probably never printed in a magazine before."
"They [the Tramiels] would not spend a single penny that didn't absolutely have to be spent."