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

In this episode of Antic the Atari 8-bit podcast, we reminisce about Atari Party and KansasFest, we bemoan the fate of the Atari 1200XL, and talk about Nir Dary’s one-man traveling Atari show.

Recurring Links

Floppy Days Podcast

Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”

New Atari books scans at

ANTIC feedback at AtariAge

Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge

ANTIC Facebook Page


What we’ve been up to


Deadline: Oct 22, 2016 (Portland Retro Gaming expo!)

New at

Of the Month (Atari 1064 Memory Module for the 600XL)


Direct download: 35ANTIC_2016_08_Atari_Parties.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Gigi Bisson, Antic Magazine

Gigi Bisson was an editor at Antic Magazine, one of the two major U.S. magazines devoted to Atari 8-bit computers. She was also editor of Antic Online, the magazine's forum on the CompuServe Information Service.

This interview took place on August 4, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"This indecipherable stuff written by these techie guys would come in and then I would have to massage the copy and make it seem like a story."

"They used to force me to play games. Again, I wasn't really a gamer; I was a writer. I remember, 'Oh, I've got to play a game. Ugh!'"

Gigi's articles in Antic

Gigi's articles in STart

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

Richard Watts, Macrotronics

Richard Watts was a programmer at Macrotronics, a company that was primarily focused on the RM-1000 radio modem, hardware that connected amateur radio receivers to personal computers. The company also created Morse Code Tutor, programmed by Richard, which was published by Atari Program Exchange and first appeared in winter 1982-1983 APX catalog.  Morse Code Tutor cost $22.95 and was APX catalog number 20092. Macrotronics did contract work for APX as well, including fixes to Caverns of Mars prior to its release. The company also released a parallel print interface, which allowed a parallel printer to be connected to the Atari 400 and 800 through joystick ports 3 and 4, eliminating the need for an Atari 850 interface.

This interview took place on July 28, 2016.

"You couldn't afford any of the inefficiencies of a higher-level language. Basically what you're writing is a software UART, so that you're taking the signal, and you're detecting a dit from a dah, you're looking at the spacing of all of that and you're trying to ignore noise."

Morse Code Tutor in the winter 1982-1983 APX catalog

California Historial Radio Society:

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

Gregg Pearlman, ANTIC and STart Magazine

Gregg Pearlman was an editor at Antic Magazine and STart Magazine from 1986 through 1989. 

Antic magazine was devoted primarily to 8-bit Atari computers, with some emphasis on Atari ST computers. It was published from 1982 to 1990. STart magazine was dedicated primarily to Atari ST computers, with some emphasis on Atari 8-bit computers in later issues. It was published from 1986 to 1991.

This interview took place on July 12, 2016. It in, we discuss Jim Capparell, whom I previously interviewed.

Teaser quotes:

"I said something like, 'Well, geez, I couldn't do this for less than 6 bucks an hour.' And I knew, immediately, that I had made a huge mistake."

"Not exactly threatening, but he's like, 'Why don't you just fire me again?!' You know, it was desperately embarrassing."

Gregg's articles in Antic magazine

Gregg's articles in STart magazine

Jim Capparell interview

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

Scott Scheiman: SIO, 850 interface, Telelink I

Scott Scheiman worked at Atari for about seven years, where he was part of the 400/800 design team. He worked on the computers' SIO interface, the Atari 850 interface, and the Telelink I communications cartridge. He also wrote the Educational System Master Cartridge software, for use with the Talk & Teach cassette tapes.

This interview took place on July 12, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"I think what happened was that all the parts were mounted on the top of the board in the computer but the board was mounted inside the console upside down, with all the parts facing down."

"User of the educational system was being punished for having the wrong answer as opposed to being told 'No, try again.'"

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

Kathy Forte, Atari's early applications group

Kathy Forte worked at Atari in the applications group for about a year beginning late 1979. She worked on an unreleased relational database application, and for a while spent half of her work time as Atari's puppeteer.

This interview took place on April 27, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"And it said 'What is the Atari 800?' And I saw ... 'It's game machine! It's a personal computer! It's a salami sandwich!'"

"Kind of a sarcastic game. ... The helicopter would spray malathion and people would become deformed. It was really sick!"

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

Lee Actor, Advanced Musicsystem

Lee Actor created Advanced Musicsystem, which was published by Atari Program Exchange. It first appeared in the spring 1982 APX catalog, where it won first prize in the Personal Interest and Development category. He also published Jukebox #1, which first appeared in the summer 1982 APX catalog. (There was no followup Jukebox #2.)

He was also involved with the MIDI Music System by Hybrid Arts, a product that connected the Atari 8-bit computers to MIDI instruments. He worked at Videa, where he wrote the game Lasercade for the Atari VCS; and Sente Technologies, where he created the coin-op titles Snake Pit and Hat Trick.

This interview took place on May 23, 2016. In it, we discuss Ed Rotberg, whom I previously interviewed.

Advanced Musicsystem in the spring 1982 APX catalog

Jukebox #1 in the summer 1982 catalog

2013 San Jose Mercury News article about Lee

Digital Press interview with Lee

Lee's web site:

Ed Rotberg interview

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

Stacy Goff, Founder of Atari Computer Enthusiasts

Stacy Goff was founder of ACE, the Atari Computer Enthusiasts. The group was based in Eugene, Oregon, but grew to more than 50,000 members in 250 chapters in 15 countries.

This interview took place on May 6, 2016. In it, we discuss an Atari videotape about users groups, called Keeping In Touch, which is available in the link below.

Atari - Keeping In Touch video

"My vision was constant in the early '80s: that microcomputers were the human interface because you could make the information user-friendly as opposed to a bunch of green lines on a terminal, which is the way that most people saw computers in that era."

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

David Troy, Toad Computers

In this episode, I sit down with a long-time Atari dealer back in the 80’s and 90’s, Mr. David Troy.

David ran the Toad BBS from 1984-1988 starting at the age of 12 and then in 1986 as a sophomore in high school, he and partner Ray Mitchell founded a small computer mail order firm specializing in the Atari line of computers.  They shortly moved into a storefront in Severna Park, Maryland and the company grew into a million dollar plus business until they closed shop in 1997.

This interview took place February 27, 2016.

Teaser Quotes

  • “Commodore 1702 color monitors, that we sold to a company in Baltimore, that we later figured out was using them to install the monitors inside of peep show booths”
  • “I remember one time we got some kind of a call from Minnesota where they needed, I think it was a battery pack for a Stacy portable, and they needed it like pronto because Prince was going to be pissed”
  • “Jack Tramiel’s son just called me up and blasted me out, you know this is the guy who designed the Commodore 64; he thought it was worth his time to call me up and bother me about this”


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

Bill Lapham, Atari Continuation Engineering

Bill Lapham was Manager of Continuation Engineering in Atari's consumer division. He worked at Atari from 1980 through 1984.

This interview took place on April 25, 2016.

"They had an entire booth set up for us. Nobody had ever seen this device. But Atari just went ahead and said, 'OK, we're going to do this.'"

"Look, these people are going to die from that! You need to change your ways."

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