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

 

Rob Zdybel, Star Trek, Missile Command, Bug Hunt

Rob Zdybel was a long-time employee at Atari, having worked there from 1979 to 1996, when the Tramiels left.  Rob has a long line of credits including Pigs in Space, Real Sports Football, Stellar Track and Star Trek for the Atari 400/800, SOS for the Atari 2600, Missile Command for the Atari 5200, and Bug Hunt for the Atari XE.  He also designed the system BIOS for the Atari 5200.

Rob mentions the SYLVIA game system in the interview, although he couldn’t remember the name of the system at the time.  It was the machine that was supposed to come between the 2600 and the 5200 and which Doug Neubauer worked on.

Niles Strohl and Doug Neubauer are both mentioned in the interview, both of which I’m working to get interviews.

Please note that this interview does have some profanity.

This interview took place on January 17, 2016.

Teaser Quotes:

  • “I said Good Lord, Man, I don’t know if I can stand the idea of using computers to kill people more accurately.”
  • “They were going to give us a free Atari 800 computer.  That’s one of things you got for signing on with the Atari crew.”
  • “I signed on to the Atari 2600 program at the time.  I was not actually interested in writing 2600 programs, but where my heart was really at was the Atari 800 computer because it was so much more powerful.”
  • “The lights had come on: you CAN’T win at Marketing Adventure.”
  • “You’re talking to the man who’s responsible for Chris Crawford being in the game industry.  It’s my fault.”

Links:

list of Rob’s games at AtariMania

PRGE 2013 - Bob Smith, Rob Zdybel, Joe Decuir - Portland Retro Gaming Expo - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmqzybUe9m4

“Once Upon Atari” - http://www.onceuponatari.com/

Direct download: Rob_Zdybel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Lane Winner: Graph-It, XEP-80, De Re Atari

Lane Winner was an Atari employee for about a decade: he worked in the software development support group, as a programmer, and as an engineer. He is the author of Atari's Graph-It, contributor to De Re Atari, and designer of the XEP-80 80-column peripheral. Lane wrote several early releases for Atari Program Exchange: BASIC Cross-Reference Utility, BASIC Renumber Utility, and Variable Changer.

This interview took place April 20, 2016. 

"OK, Lane. When you get your ... head and your heart together, you can be useful, and help the company out and help other people out."

Inverse ATASCII podcast explores Graph-It

AtariMania's list of Lane's software

Direct download: Lane_Winner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Dave Menconi, Atari Customer Service and User Group Support

Dave Menconi started at Atari in 1982 doing customer support for the Atari computers. Later he moved to the marketing group, where he helped support the Atari users groups. Dave wrote the program "Dancin' Man" for Antic magazine, and wrote several articles for Atari Connection magazine.

In this interview, we discuss Chris Crawford, Ted Richards, and Mike Albaugh, whom I previously interviewed. This interview took place on April 19, 2016.

Teaser quotes:

"...A light bulb went on above my head. That, it's one thing to know how to program but it's a much harder thing to know what to do with the skills that you have."

"He identified what the problem was and proposed a fix, and they fixed the product. And then afterwards, I remember him saying, 'And don't ever come back.'"

Dave featured in "User Group Support" article in Antic: http://www.atarimagazines.com/v1n2/insideatari.html

Dancin' Man: http://www.atarimagazines.com/v2n3/startingline.html

Database 2000 in Atari Connection

Direct download: Dave_Menconi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Stan Ockers, public domain game programmer

Stan Ockers started on the KIM-1 single board computer, where was was co-author of The First Book of KIM with Jim Butterfield. He later got an Atari 400, and became a prolific author of public domain programs which were distributed by users groups and in Antic magazine. His game credits include Chicken, Frog, and Bats, all of which were published in early issues of Antic magazines. Some of his programs were also published in Page 6 magazine. 

This interview took place on March 10, 2016.

Teaser quote:

"I put in like, I figured, something like about 40 hours to write a program before I was satisfied to get rid of it. Or, got sick of it."

Stan's articles in Antic magazine

AtariMania's list of Stan's games

Direct download: Stan_Ockers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
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Harry Guiremand, SynChron

Harry Guiremand wrote SynChron, a calendar application, which was published by Synapse Software in 1983. 

This interview took place on April 15, 2016.

Thanks to Wade at the Inverse ASASCII podcast for his research and suggestions. You can hear Wade's thorough review and walkthrough of SynChron at the Inverse ATASCII podcast.

Teaser quote:

"I had a password system where if you didn't guess the password correctly, you had to wait a little bit longer each time you missed it. Somebody who was trying to break the password with brute force method would end up having to wait days and days for the next chance to make a guess."

Inverse ATASCII review of SynChron

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