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First Atari 8-bit Vaporware?


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#1 Urchlay OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:10 AM

Here's an old ad from Micro magazine, issue 16 (Sep 1979)... it's probably not the first ever Atari 400/800 ad in print, but definitely the oldest I've seen.

micro.jpg

(Full issue of the magazine is available at 6502.org's magazine archive: http://6502.org/docu...ications/micro/ )

Seems the 8-bit line was plagued with vaporware right from the start. Take a look at the part I've crudely drawn a circle around... CX4008, Super Bug. Since I'd never heard of this game, I went searching and came up with this interview with Joe DeCuir: http://www.digitpres...joe_decuir.html

It's well worth reading the whole interview, but here's the bit about Super Bug:

DP: You once mentioned that you had programmed a version of Atari's Super Bug coin-op for the 800, purely as a test concept. Do you recall why it was never released?

Joe Decuir: I didn't stick around to finish it. I started another company with two pals to work on modems and other communications products.


For those who don't know it (I didn't), Super Bug is an early Atari/Kee Games B&W arcade machine: http://www.system16....758&page=1#2950

Also of interest: CXL4005 is listed in the ad as "Life", but was actually released as "Video Easel" (though it does still play Conway's game of Life).

Edited by Urchlay, Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:12 AM.


#2 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:23 AM

Wow neat! Thanks for pointing this out! I don't have my cartridge list handy, what game ended up being released as CX4008?

Tempest

#3 Urchlay OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:21 AM

I don't have my cartridge list handy, what game ended up being released as CX4008?


Good question. I haven't found a CX4008 yet... though Space Invaders for the 800 was released as CXL4008. Were there any instances of two actual releases with CX and CXL part numbers, but with the same number?

It's hard to tell from the compressed JPEG, but in the PDF version of that ad, the part number CX4008 has a little (d) next to it, which I'm assuming means "disk"... which makes sense, since it has a CX part number instead of CXL. It's probably a safe assumption that the game was planned to be bigger than 8K... back then, Atari wasn't making 16K carts, only 8K, and I'm betting that any game they could have released on cart, they would have (since the 810 was so *expensive* back then).

I wonder how close the game was to being completed... Unfortunately, if it's a disk, there won't be any proto/lab-loaner carts of this one surfacing (and disks are less durable than carts, even EPROM carts). Maybe Joe DeCuir hung on to a copy of his work-in-progress on disk, or possibly it's in Curt Vendel's archive o' Atari somewhere...? Or, maybe someone reformatted the disk, not knowing/caring what was on it :(

#4 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:31 AM

I don't have my cartridge list handy, what game ended up being released as CX4008?


Good question. I haven't found a CX4008 yet... though Space Invaders for the 800 was released as CXL4008. Were there any instances of two actual releases with CX and CXL part numbers, but with the same number?

It's hard to tell from the compressed JPEG, but in the PDF version of that ad, the part number CX4008 has a little (d) next to it, which I'm assuming means "disk"... which makes sense, since it has a CX part number instead of CXL. It's probably a safe assumption that the game was planned to be bigger than 8K... back then, Atari wasn't making 16K carts, only 8K, and I'm betting that any game they could have released on cart, they would have (since the 810 was so *expensive* back then).


Actually if you look at the key to the left, the D means it used the Driving Controllers (which would make sense). I think all disk based games used the DX prefix.

Space Invaders was originally released on cassette then on cartridge. Maybe they just decided to reuse that number when they put it out in cartridge form?

Tempest

#5 Defender II OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:40 PM

Nice info.
Hadn't seen that one before, thanks for the post & Pic.

#6 joeventura OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:40 PM

Could you imagine paying $599 for an Atari 820 Printer OMG!!!

My 800 and 810 were $1200 bought new.

#7 Urchlay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:18 PM

Could you imagine paying $599 for an Atari 820 Printer OMG!!!


I tossed out a couple of old 820s last year... they had gotten wet when the basement flooded, and I thought about trying to restore them, but realistically, even if I got one working, would I *really* be patient enough to sit and listen to it grind through program listings at 20 characters/second (or whatever the speed was)?

My 800 and 810 were $1200 bought new.


Damn dude. Back then, $1200 was real money. You could have bought a nice used car... paid your rent for a few months... actually I dunno what $1200 was really worth in 1979/1980, I was just a kid.

#8 joeventura OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:08 PM

I was about 12, dad bought me a Sinclair with 1k of Ram, I outgrew that in 30 days,
Friend had an 800 with a 410 tape drive, never left his house.

We weren't rich and I am sure my dad begged, borrowed and stole to get the $$$ for that stuff.

Today I am the CIO of a national healthcare company, not a coincidence I assure you.




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