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Related to Atari game consoles, games, or computers.
Matt Barton's picture

Pole Position!

First off, I outdid myself with the title of this chapter. I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but I really had an inspiration. ;)

Rob Daviau's picture

Unboxing my SEARS VIDEO ARCADE II video....

My latest MaximumRD video lol!

Shaky cam, my thumb in the way at first, and horrible sound levels but that is the price for throwing togehter a video so quickly lol! My Quick and Dirty look at the unboxing of the SEARS VIDEO ARCADE II.........

A MaximumRD video on YOUTUBE.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Pong - Your thoughts on arguably the true originator of our industry

Hey guys! I'll be working on the Pong chapter while I'm working on the Spacewar! chapter, as their historical lead-ups kind of run in parallel. In any case, Pong needs no introduction, from its first conceptual appearance on Ralph Baer's Brown Box that "inspired" Nolan Bushnell to ask Al Alcorn to create the original arcade game, to the precursor to it all from 1958, William Higginbotham's "Tennis for Two". Of course I'll also be discussing the various home Pong systems and clones and a few ways that the game influenced future games. As always, your thoughts are much appreciated for this truly iconic game.

Bill Loguidice's picture

The Great Videogame Crash - 1983 or 1984? The Final Word.

I just wanted to comment quick on “The Great Videogame Crash” (my personal official designation, along with my preferred use of "videogame" over "video game", just like "bodybuilding" over "body building") and sort of vet my thought process for public discussion and potential disagreement. After spending ~3 years writing the other book on American videogame and computer systems, I came to the conclusion that it has to refer to the year 1984 if a single year needs to be chosen. This was based on a combination of research and personal experience. To put it simply, in 1983, consumers had no real concept that there was something going on behind the scenes. All the consumer saw was increasing stock and lowered prices. Behind the scenes was a different story, with retailers having excess of unsold inventory and diminishing or non-existent profit margins for even good publishers in light of cut-price dreck from their competitors. The classic supply outstripping demand. It wasn’t until 1984 that consumers started to realistically notice there was a problem when less and less new product started appearing on store shelves. That’s why to me, 1984 has to be the year.

Obviously videogames never fully went away in retail or sales channels, but there was a definite slowdown 1984 – 1985. It wasn’t until the limited release of the NES in late 1985 and its wide release in 1986 that retailers started to want to get back full force into videogames and lots of different companies again wanted to cash in. So really, The Great Videogame Crash can be considered from 1983 – 1986 if you want to get technical, but the years where it was felt the most by consumers - who to me are the most important part of the equation - would actually be 1985 and 1986. At least that’s my theory and one I plan on sticking with. And obviously this only applies to North America and specifically the US, as market conditions were very different elsewhere. Also, we can't mention The Great Videogame Crash without also mentioning that the thinking in that 1984 - 85 time period was that low cost computers like the Commodore 64 would more than fill the function or need of consoles that "just" played games. Obviously that wasn't the case and both markets peacefully co-existed for some time. So, what do YOU think?

Bill Loguidice's picture

New Atari 8-bit Article on Gamasutra - Loguidice and Barton

Gamasutra has released the last in the series of book excerpts from the future Hiive Books publication, this one on the Atari 8-bit computer series, from their "A History of Gaming Platforms" series from authors Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton. Check out the cover feature article here, and look below for images that Gamasutra chose not to use:

Bill Loguidice's picture

The Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS) - Gamasutra's "A History of Gaming Platforms"

Gamasutra has posted the latest book excerpt, this time on the Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS), as part of their "A History of Gaming Platforms" series.

From the article:

Bill Loguidice's picture

The First Bally Astrocade Homebrew in the Modern Era - "War", the Colorful Warlords Clone

I've been following this development on the Bally Astrocade (ballyalley) mailing list and it looks like the author will soon be ready to go into production. I'm slightly disappointed that this game is not an original concept, but it looks undeniably great, even with the rash of quality homebrew Warlords clones on Atari systems in recent years (Castle Crisis, Medieval Madness). Paddle games are obviously ideally suited to the Astrocade since it has joysticks that double as spinners. Check out more info and a video here. As you can see, it makes superb use of color and really pushes a system with infamously limited system memory!

Commentary from author Mike G. from the list:

larzini's picture

Atari Anthology (PS2)

In a record store (there's an anachronism for ya), I would call it the cutout bin. I guess at Toys R' Us it could be called the same. I laid out the $9.99 for Atari Anthology for PS2. Is it worth it? I'm not sure.

I never had the Atari 2600, having only played it at friend's houses, until I got my Atari computer, but I always remember looking at the JCPenney catalog each year at the screenshots of the games and circling which ones I would get if I actually had an Atari. This is back when the JCPenney in East Brunswick, NJ still had a cafe and I would eat the blueberry cheesecake with my older sister, who worked in the catalog department.

So tonight, I tried a few of these games, in lieu of a few extra hours of sleep, job hunting, paying bills, or whatever else folks do at night when they're not playing video games (yeah, I could think of a few others).

Bill Loguidice's picture

Adventure II: Limited Edition now out for the Atari 5200 SuperSystem!

I'm impossibly busy this weeked with work (yes, days, nights and weekends at the new job!) and trying to get as much done with the book before Monday's deadline, but I just had to quickly release this press release for Adventure II: Limited Edition on the Atari 5200 SuperSystem from AtariAge. The homebrew was just released after a long, long wait, and from all reports it's been worth it. On top of that, this package also includes lots of goodies ("feelies" if you will), creating a tremendous value and opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts of the system, alike. There's only a few boxed copies left, so I suggest you hurry, hurry, hurry!

The press release:

Bill Loguidice's picture

Legendary Game Archon Set to Return?

Archon's Amazing Box Cover Art: From WikipediaArchon's Amazing Box Cover Art: From WikipediaAh, Archon for 8-bit computers, besides having one of the greatest videogame covers of all time on the famous Electronic Arts album format, was nearly a perfect blend of strategy and action. It's almost like a chess/checkers combination, but where the pieces battle for control of squares in fast action arcade style combat. The game was arguably best on the Atari 8-bit computers and Commodore 64 (C-64), but it was released on many other platforms of the day, including the Atari XEGS (same as the Atari 8-bit version, just on cartridge) and NES consoles. While the game spawned a sequel, Archon II: Adept, in a short amount of time, that *gasp*, tried a totally different angle, it didn't have the same magic as the original. In fact, that would be a problem with other off-shoots and inspired-by's on various platforms, they just didn't capture the same feel as on the Atari 8-bit or C-64 for whatever reason.

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