Tue, 19 July 2016
Ted Toal, Cyan Engineering
Ted Toal was a software developer at Cyan Engineering, an Atari research group. He worked on Atari's unreleased picture telephone as well as other projects. This interview took place January 24, 2016.
Teaser quote: "He wanted to have toys that would be able to listen to sounds in a room and figure out where the sounds were coming from, and like maybe be able to turn towards the sound."
Sun, 17 July 2016
Peter Donoso, Atari Explorer magazine
Peter Donoso was managing editor of Atari Explorer magazine from September 1991 through February 1993, primarily covering Atari during the ST era.
This interview took place on November 23, 2015.
Teaser quote: "[Jack Tramiel's] vision and his ability to find technology that was ahead of the market ... was just remarkable. I mean, he continually had these visionary ideas which he was able to actually implement.”
Fri, 15 July 2016
Bob Brodie: User Group Manager for Atari
Hi and welcome to another special interview edition of Antic the Atari 8-bit computer podcast. My name is Randy Kindig and I'll be providing the interview questions for this episode. I'm extremely pleased to provide this interview with a name well-known in the Atari community: Mr. Bob Brodie. Bob worked for Atari as User Group Manager and later Director of Communications from 1989 to 1994. Bob was directly involved in many of the Atarifests in that timeframe and I recall personally meeting him at an Atarifest in Indianapolis. I think you'll find that he has many interesting stories and perspectives concerning his time working for the Tramiels and even a story involving an Atari 1450XLD. I personally want to thank Bob for the time he spent talking with me, even calling me back when he remembered additional information or stories he thought might interest everyone. Bob is a classy guy and I enjoyed talking with him immensely.
This interview took place on February 17, 2016.
“Oh, about 6 ½ feet up in the air, I see a 1450XLD, unboxed, just sitting there!”
Wed, 13 July 2016
John Harris: Jawbreaker, Frogger, Mouskattack
John Harris created the games Jawbreaker, Frogger, and Mouskattack for the Atari 8-bit computers. He worked at Sierra On-Line and later Synapse Software. He later created video character generator systems based on the Atari machines.
This interview took place June 10, 2016.
"Literally — I mean, a day or two difference could have made — gosh, my goodness, what a huge difference in my life if I had gone into that store a couple of days earlier."
"He just said, you know, 'I'll give you $1,500 a month to live on for two months, and if you haven't finished a game in two months, you won't make it in this industry anyway.'"
"The general public opinion was, 'Oh, this is just more Jawbreaker.' ... But I still kind of have a fondness for it."
John in Halcyon Days: http://www.dadgum.com/halcyon/BOOK/HARRIS.HTM
Jawbreaker in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawbreaker_(video_game)
John Harris in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harris_(software_developer)
Mon, 11 July 2016
Bob Alkire and Steve Saunders, Rainbow GPU
Bob Alkire and Steve Saunders worked in Atari's Corporate Research lab under Alan Kay, where they worked on the Rainbow GPU. Rainbow was a next-generation graphics chip (after ANTIC) which was never released.
This interview took place on June 10, 2016. The first voice you hear is that of Bob Alkire.
Steve: "And they basically went around the table and said, 'This computer project has software in it, therefore it belongs in my division.' — 'No, this project has hardware in it, therefore it belongs in MY division.'"
Bob: "But he has a Kermit The Frog tie tack. I say, 'Nice tie tack.' He says, 'This is a close personal friend of mine.' I look up, and it was Jim Henson."
Steve: "A trunk of the research lab had a completely fictional manager named Arthur T. Fishel."
Wikipedia on Sierra and RAINBOW: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Sierra
Sat, 9 July 2016
Eric Freeman: Bootleg and Weakon
Eric Freeman published two programs through Atari Program Exchange: Bootleg and Weakon.
Bootleg first appeared in the summer 1983 APX catalog: the catalog called it "a search-for-booty maze game submitted from New Zealand," and it received a rare full-page description in that catalog. Weakon was only available in the final APX catalog, winter 1983. That game was later published by Antic software.
This interview took place on May 26, 2016 — for me — May 27 for Eric in New Zealand.
Teaser quote: "I actually took both of the games on an overseas holiday with me and knocked on the door at Atari. This would have been in March of 1983. And someone from the Atari Program Exchange came out to meet me."
Wikipedia on W and Z bosons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W_and_Z_bosons
Thu, 7 July 2016
Max Manowski, Wizard’s Revenge
Max Manowski wrote Adventure, a text adventure game that he released into the public domain to Atari users groups. Later, he modified Adventure and called it Wizard's Revenge, which was published by Atari Program Exchange. Wizard's Revenge was available in the fall 1981 APX catalog, the very first APX catalog.
This interview took place May 27, 2016.
Teaser quote: "In this adventure, each node that you went to was a separate file. And if you went to a node that didn't exist, then you could write the node as you were playing. You could write the node and say what happened."
Tue, 5 July 2016
Frank Paris, Mathlib for Deep Blue C
Frank Paris wrote Mathlib for Deep Blue C, a library of floating-point functions for use with the Deep Blue C programming language. Mathlib first appeared in the fall 1983 APX catalog, where it won second prize in the systems/telecommunications category. The Deep Blue C compiler was written by John Palevich, whom I previously interviewed.
You can contact Frank at: frankparis at comcast dot net.
This interview took place on May 27, 2016.
Teaser quote: "6502 assembly language, it was just a dream come true for me. I mean, it was just so simple compared to the languages I was used to."
Frank's book, The Embrace of Celestia: http://online.flipbuilder.com/lasm/tqas/
Sun, 3 July 2016
In this three-year anniversary episode of Antic the Atari 8-bit podcast — we uncover an abundance of Atari source code, documentation, and engineering notes; Bill explores Five Dots, a new game; and we debate the fate of the 1200XL.
What we’ve been up to
New at Archive.org
Bill’s Modern Segment
Fri, 1 July 2016
Kathy and Phil Bergh, I'm Different!
Kathy and Phil Bergh published one program through Atari Program Exchange: I'm Different!, which first appeared in the inaugural APX catalog, winter 1982-1983. The program won third prize in the Education category in that catalog. It was one of the few commercial programs developed in the PILOT language. Kathy and Phil also wrote three articles — also about PILOT — for ANTIC magazine.
This interview took place on May 24, 2016.
I'm Different on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCaFpm9LHcE
"'Consumer Reports Tests Educational Software' and so he made a big production of 'Let's see if our game is in it.' ... and it turns out, Consumer Reports did indeed review our game."
"They must have sold a few because I remember getting a check for $12."