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

Steve Gerber, VP of International New Product Development

Steve Gerber was head of the Atari Software Acquisition Program. In October 1981, Atari opened its first Regional Software Acquisition Center, managed by Steve, in a 4,000 square-foot location that also housed the Atari Program Exchange (APX). Later Steve was Atari's VP of International New Product Development, in charge of software development for non-US markets. 

This interview took place on January 17, 2017.

Teaser quote: "I had these guys that were in a barn that was built in 1100-something that had set it up to be their "office" somewhere in northern England, in the middle of nowhere. They had come up with a  ... baseball cap that you'd put on and you could move the cursor with your eyes."

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

Mark Pelczarski, Penguin Software

Mark Pelczarski was the founder of Penguin Software — later renamed to Polarware. Penguin published many graphics programs and games for Apple II, Atari 8-bit, and other platforms. The company's programs included Magic Paintbrush, Graphics Magician, Pie Man, Spy's Demise, The Spy Strikes Back, and Transylvania.

Mark was editor of Softside Magazine for a time, and an editor of the book The Creative Apple, published by Creative Computing. 

This interview took place on January 10, 2017.

Teaser quote: "It was not a competitive industry, really ... There wasn't too much as far as trade secrets. It was like, 'Hey, I figured out how to do this.' There was a lot of exchange of ideas and collaboration between the companies."

The Digital Antiquarian on Penguin Software:

Wikipedia on Penguin Software:

Mark's web site:

Graphics Magician at AtariMania 

Penguin Software games at AtariMania 

Wikipedia on Mark:

ANTIC interview with Doug Carlston

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

Sheldon Leemon: Instedit, Circuit Lab, Mapping the Commodore 64

Sheldon Leemon was the creator of Instedit, a character set editor; and Circuit Lab, an electronics learning program that he co-created with with Mark Davids. Both programs were published by Atari Program Exchange. He wrote for several computer magazines, including Softside — where he wrote many reviews, and a game called Outer Space Attack; Compute!, and Creative Computing. He also wrote several computer books, including Mapping the Commodore 64, Compute's AmigaDOS Reference Guide, and Inside Amiga Graphics.

This interview took place on January 9, 2017. In it, we discuss Arlan Levitan, Jerry White, and several other people that I've previously interviewed. There are links to those interviews, and Sheldon's programs and articles, in the show notes at

Teaser quotes:

"They're having so much fun that they don't want to take time to stop. Having a meal? It could take half an hour or an hour! You could be doing really cool stuff with that half an  hour or an hour."

"We looked at people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as the really bad guys. ... He wants to charge money for something that everybody else is giving away for free."

Video version of this interview:

Instedit in the winter 1982-1983 APX catalog

Circuit Lab in the summer 1983 APX catalog

Outer Space Attack in SoftSide magazine

Some of Sheldon's articles in Compute! magazine:

Some of Sheldon's articles in Creative Computing magazine:

Arlan Levitan interview

Jerry White interview

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

Ronald Borta, Roklan Software

Ronald Borta was co-founder of JACC, which made educational software under contract for Atari, where he programmed Atari States and Capitals and Atlas of Canada, and other software for the the Atari 400 and 800 computers. He moved to Roklan Software, the company that programmed hundreds of titles for the Atari computers and many other platforms of the time. 

Roklan published a number of cartridges for the Atari computers, including Deluxe Invaders and Gorf. The company also produced Pac Man (published by Atari), Gyruss (published by Parker Brothers), Wizard of Wor (published by CBS), Mickey in the Great Outdoors (published by Disney), and myriad other game and educational titles. The company also created software for the Atari 2600 and 5200, Apple //, Commodore 64 and VIC-20, Texas Instruments 99/4A, ColecoVision, Intellivision, and other platforms.

He is known as the first person to have patented software.

This interview took place on December 9, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"$25,000 that I got from Atari doing Pac Man turned out to be the best investment I ever made."

"I only did video games that did not feature violence against people. Then I end up in weapons systems."

Roklan software at AtariMania

1994 interview with Ronald in Atari Explorer Online:

Roklan listing at GDRI:

ANTIC interview with Fred Thorlin:

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

Paul Cubbage, Atari Program Exchange

Paul Cubbage was Director of Atari Program Exchange. There, he was head of reviewing software submissions and publishing the APX catalog. He worked at Atari from April 1981 through January 1984.

This interview took place on October 3, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"First catalog, we went around and found every last utility or piece of software that we could put out there, unashamedly."

"People used to complain about our royalty and I'd say 'Go to a flea market and sell [your software] off the back of your station wagon. The royalty is the royalty. I know it's not much."

Fred Thorlin interview:

John Palevich interview

Art Prag interview

Gray Chang interview:

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

Bill Stealey, co-founder of MicroProse Software

Bill Stealey was co-founder of MicroProse Software, with Sid Meier. They started the company in 1982, and Stealey ran the company until it was sold to Spectrum Holobyte in 1993. MicroProse specialized in flight simulation and war games — the company's games for the Atari 8-bit computers include F-15 Strike Eagle, Hellcat Ace, Kennedy Approach, Silent Service, Solo Flight, Spitfire Ace, Chopper Rescue, Crusade in Europe, and Floyd of the Jungle.

This interview took place on January 3, 2017.

Teaser quote: "He learned a new technique so he made a flight simulator out of it. And Solo Flight beat out Fight Simulator that year at Handleman."

Video version of this interview:

Bill on Twitter:

Wikipedia On Bill:

Wikipedia on MicroProse:

MicroProse Software at AtariMania 

The Digital Antiquarian on MicroProse 

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

Dan Corona, Atari Engineering Manager

Dan Corona was Atari employee #9 — staring in 1972, where he remained until the Tramiel takeover in 1984. Dan was Engineering Manager, and worked in many divisions: coin-op, pinball, handheld games, and consumer. 

This interview took place on November 29, 2016.

Teaser quote: "It pretty much killed the company. You know, you can't continue building the same thing over and over again and not create anything new."

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

Steve Ahlstrom: SynFile+ and PaperClip

Steve Ahlstrom was half of The 4th Works, with Dan Moore. Together they programmed SynFile+, which was published by Synapse; and PaperClip, published by Batteries Included. The team also created BackTalk, a telecommunications program; and Sherlock, a disk sector editor utility.

This interview took place on October 4, 2016.

Teaser quote: "What's weird is, every now and then -- and this is, what, 40 years later -- I still get a random e-mail asking me for support for Sherlock or for SynFile, which is kind of strange."

ANTIC interview with Ron Luks

ANTIC interview Gary Yost

Inverse ATASCII on SynFile+:

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

Ben Smith, Atari sales and service

This interview is part of the set of interviews we’ve done where we talk to many of the people still out there providing hardware, software, and/or support for our favorite computer.  This interview is with Ben Smith, of Bravo Sierra Computers.  As you will hear during the interview, Ben has been in the business of selling, servicing and supporting Atari items for about 32 years as of the recording of this episode.  I hope you find this interview interesting and let Ben know that you appreciate all he has done and continues to do for the Atari community.

This interview took place on March 26, 2016.



Direct download: Ben_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:20pm EDT

Wynn Smith, Mosaic Electronics

Wynn Smith was co-founder of Mosaic Electronics, a company that produced memory upgrade cards for the Atari 400 and 800 computers, as well as the Commodore 64 and VIC-20. He started at Tektronix, where be wrote code for the OEM graphics division at the age of 17. After Mosaic, he worked on memory upgrades for Intel.

This interview took place on December 27, 2016.

"It became obvious to me that if you put the wrong boards in the wrong order, not only do they not work, but there's a danger of blowing out some chips."

Mosaic memory board flyer

AtariMania list of Mosaic Electronics games

VintageTEK Tektronix museum:

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