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Coleco caused more damage to the games industry then Atari.


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#51 Murph74 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 28, 2009 12:52 PM

I'll disagree with you on the "franchise titles." The most obvious being Donkey Kong for the Colecovision. Zaxxon was also an important win for Coleco. However, I maintain that Zaxxon (arcade and home version) was less about game play and more about being a graphical showcase.

You could argue about what the franchise title for the 2600 was. Early on, Space Invaders was a huge release - that would be my pick. I believe had it not been for Space Invaders, we wouldn't even have this discussion.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Exactly...

Which brings this question - how was Nintendo able to control the titles being released for their system? Recall that Atari had tried to block Activision from releasing titles for the 2600 but lost that court case thus making way for CommaVid and Froggo to release their crap titles.


Fair enough on disagreeing, but as I said, those same showcase titles were also on other systems (or near identical clone games). Once the NES made it to town, they didn't put Super Mario or Link on the Sega or Atari systems, hence forcing you to BUY the NES/SNES systems if you wanted to play those games. I realize there were Coleco specific games, and Atari specific games, but no exclusive 'blockbusters' I can think of. Space Invaders was indeed a sales driving title for Atari, but it was also a few years prior to ColecoVision, and Intellivision had Space Armada, a VERY similar game. So I don't think would be accurate to say in 1982 Space Invaders was driving sales of 2600's. More likely would have been Pac Man-- and that could have sold MANY more consoles if it hadn't been such a crap version.

And to answer your second topic, Nintendo had the proprietary lockout chip, a type of BIOS routine I think (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10NES). As such, it was intellectual property (IP), and couldn't be legally reverse engineered is my understanding (See the Tengen entry on the previous link). Atari on the other hand, didn't have a bios, and as such was reverse-engineerable. Hence Coleco's ability to make the Atari Module with 'off the shelf parts' (even the Coleco version of Atari- Exp Mod #1 and Gemini- had custom chips, they supposedly 'could' have been made with Radio Shack parts, just not as cost effectively) and not violate IP of Atari. (Challeneged in a $500 Mil lawsuit by Atari apparently that Coleco won) This could be wrong, it's just how I understand it to be from lots of readings. :)

Not sure how accurate it is, but found this on an Atari History page:
"Atari settled a lawsuit from Activision, and allowed the development of third party video games in return for royalties. Dozens of companies began making games for the Atari VCS." (http://www.heartbone...phist/Atari.htm)

I couldn't find any direct references to the Atari v Activison court case in a quick google search. Anyone got more info available on the case and the verdict? I can't quite grasp Atari settling if they didn't think they were backed up against the wall. But greed can also make a company do strange things. :)

#52 mcjakeqcool OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 28, 2009 2:27 PM

The reason for the game crash of '83 was NOT because of E.T or Pacman, or for that matter both, or even for the glut of crap games that flooded the market at the time, it was because of a oversaturated market, and poor licensing that lead to a glut of consoles, games being sold of real cheap, and the confusion the situation caused to gamers, not to mention a million and one other reasons, E.T and Pacman causing the crash is just a big myth M.Y.T.H.

#53 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 28, 2009 2:35 PM

No it was the 7800 and Sega Genesis that used the bios type lockout, requiring a ROM code to be imput, with unlicenced releases frequently bypassing this on the genesis anyway... (and early models lacking it entirely, note that unlike the 10NES the region locking feature is entirely seperate)

http://home.freeuk.n...NES_Lockout.txt
The 10NES system is a bit diferent:

Identical chips are fitted to the console and inside every game cartridge.
Depending on whether a certain pin (pin 4) of the chip is grounded or at +5V,
the chip functions as either a lock or as a key. Inside the console, pin 4 of
the lockout chip is at +5V (lock), and inside the game cartridge pin 4 is at 0V
(key).

When you switch on the NES, the CPU and PPU are held in a reset state. The two
lockout chips talk to each other. Since the chips are identical, they should be
saying exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. Each chip compares its
output with that of its counterpart. If they match, the lock chip releases the
reset state of the console, and the game can start. The two chips still talk to
each other, and if the outputs of the two chips ever differ, the lock chip
causes the console to repeatedly reset, and the key chip inside the game
cartridge may use the chip select lines of the cartridge ROM chips to disable
them (though this disabling of the ROMs was probably never done).

The lockout chip is in fact a 4-bit microprocessor with its own internal ROM
and RAM. The program in the ROM is called "10NES".


Hence whay simply cutting pin 4 on the console's chip disbales the locout, turns it into a key, unlocking the system automatically. (technically pin 4 should be grounded to have the true "key" configuration but this is unnecessary in parctice)
Also note that the notorious blinking problem on the NES is a result of the 10NES not engaging do to its high sensitivity and the problematic design of the frontloader NES. (NES2 lacks it alltogether, as well as all famicoms)

The problem with the Tengen issue was, a seperate group in atari had requested a copy of the 10NES specs for possible infringement issues with Atari held patentents. (which looks bad, but from what I've read they'd already reverse engineered the chip -with their own Rabbit chip, prior to receiving the doccuments from Nintendo, still looks bad though, particularly in court and if a specific timeling cant be proven)

Of course other compaies simply got around the chip by glitching it with voltage spikes, like Camerica/Codemasters, Color Dreams/Wisdom Tree, and some less common oes; the final way to get around the chip is to use a lock-on style cart, piggybacking off an official cart's chip. (or a Tengen Chip)

#54 Murph74 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 28, 2009 5:04 PM

Identical chips are fitted to the console and inside every game cartridge.
Depending on whether a certain pin (pin 4) of the chip is grounded or at +5V,
the chip functions as either a lock or as a key. Inside the console, pin 4 of
the lockout chip is at +5V (lock), and inside the game cartridge pin 4 is at 0V
(key).

When you switch on the NES, the CPU and PPU are held in a reset state. The two
lockout chips talk to each other. Since the chips are identical, they should be
saying exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. Each chip compares its
output with that of its counterpart. If they match, the lock chip releases the
reset state of the console, and the game can start. The two chips still talk to
each other, and if the outputs of the two chips ever differ, the lock chip
causes the console to repeatedly reset, and the key chip inside the game
cartridge may use the chip select lines of the cartridge ROM chips to disable
them (though this disabling of the ROMs was probably never done).

The lockout chip is in fact a 4-bit microprocessor with its own internal ROM
and RAM. The program in the ROM is called "10NES".


I think we're saying the same thing, it sure sounds like there's more than a voltage check here, and that there is some data/code transfer happening. Which I would submit is still part of the BIOS and the boot process if the code from the cartridge is inaccessible until the check is complete.

Kevin Horton has a good page on it too, including his thoughts on teh reasons for the early 80's crash (back on topic-- see how I segued?! lol) ... http://www.tripoint....appers/lockout/

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
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#55 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 30, 2009 2:42 PM

Not to get further off topic, but Ed Logg disputed those claims here: http://www.atarihq.c...cial/el/el.html (this was previously refrenced on wikipedia, but has been eddited out, though the link to the sourse still remains) http://en.wikipedia....oldid=284220332

But yes, there is the code that the chips have to run to sync up, but it's not part of the main bios and technically speaking it doesn't keep toe cart's data from being accessed, it just loks an auto rese loop (the game will actually start for a second in the pause between resets, often seen with carts with a bad connection -the NES was notorious for this) Again, it's a self contained 4-bit microprocessor (or I suppose microcontroller is more accurate), and yes there could be copyright isuse with copying the code. (though that's not entirely what the courts penalized them for, as I understand it was copying the entire code, not just that required to unlock the chip, that caused the issue)


On topic, I do disagree with the assessment, and even thhe one suggestion on the Coleco licences is a little bit of a stretch, sure games like Dony Kong looked better on the CV (as they should given the technical capabilities), and probably could have been a bit more optimized for the 2600, but for the most part, they were pretty darn good, and Atari themselves were guilty of far worse with Pac Man. (similarly Mattel's conversions were fairly decent as well)

Following that reasoning, the statement about the lack of licence control being a major issue is a bit wrong too, 3rd parties were responsible for some of the best software for the system, granted Atari couldn't profit form licencing feed in this respect, but it hardly would have hurt the market.

Granted there were a fair number of poor titles coming form other 3rd parties, but Atari was responsible for a fair chunk themselves. (of course, Pac Man and ET being the most sited and blatent examples, expecially due to the massive number prouduced -and unsold)

I think it had a lot to do with the failings of Atari's internal management under Warner, the "glut" problem being true to n extent, but more in the sense that 2600 support was oversaturated, and additionally they often seemed to focus on quantity rather than quality. The Mishandling of the 5200 (or rather a proper successor for the 2600) is also often sited as a significant factor.
It was mentioned that there were a huge number of machines to choose from at the time, though I think the three biggies were the 2600, Intellivision, and Colecovision, with the 5200 trailing along with some others like the Vectrex and O2. (of course, there was the home computer market to consider as well, though many were still a quite more expensive option compared to the game consoles, though the C64 certainly turned out well game wise, and the 400 had originally been intended as a gaminging oriented computer)

Lokking at Coleco alone though, thery were moving at a feverish pace, with an astounding number of hardware usits sold in their relatively shor time on the market (prior to the carsh), and had a good chance of clinching the market had it not been for the crash. (then again the 7800 may have changed things)


I do wonder how things would have gone if Bushnell had gotten his way, and stayed on, though some have pointed out that Atari had been somewhat unstable under him due to large amount of R&D invenstment, and looser with funds in general. (though the changes Warner made did result in discruntled and dishartened employees, resulting in many leaving, often for form competing 3rd party software companies)
I've also been wondering what the specifics were about his dissagreements were with Warner about the direction the company shout take, prior to him leaving. (was it something to do with a replacement for the 2600, or something to do with the computer line? or more general policy kind of issues?)

#56 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 30, 2009 5:53 PM

And I forgot to mention that Nintendo had a fair amount of crappy and marginal ("shovelware") games come out, by and large the licenced ones, not the handfull of unlicensed ones.

#57 Video OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 30, 2009 6:09 PM

Actually, Tengen got around the copyright issue by going out and buying a copy of the patant, Nintendo sued them for reverse engenering the thing, but it got thrown out of court, and as far as I know, the only game to be pulled, was Tetris, Tengen games were made for years afterwards though, so something went their way, and as they stuck with unliscensed carts, that's probably it.

#58 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 12:21 AM

(sorry for shifting off topic again) That's not quite how I understand it, and the games that were pulled were a seperate issue from the chip issue. In the case of Tetris, atari had gooten a licence that they thought could stand up, and they'd released an arcade version (note Tengen is Atari Games, the warner/arcade branch that was kept when the consumer portion was sold to Tramiel to from Atari Corp.). Nentendo apparently got the official licence for the US for Tetris, Tengen's coming from somewhere in Europe iirc, and thus forced Tengen to drop it. (though I beleive they dod go on to release a Sega Genesis version)
Other Tengen games that were later discontinued like Pac Man and one of the Indiana Jones games, I beleive were discontinued after an official Nentendo licensed version was released by other companies. (Namco releasing Pac Man) It should also be noted that Tengen initially was an oficial Nintendo licened publisher, hence some of their early cartridges were official and quality sealed. (but like some others, grew frustrated with the constricing licencing policies of Nintendo) Additionally Tengen continued to release many of these early games (like Gauntlet) in thier rabbit chipped cartridges, many being games Atari Games (Tengen) owned the rights to (like Gauntlet), as well as some official licened (from the owner, not Nintendo) ports like Rolling Thunder.


As to the Chip issue, as I understand it, they didn't buy a licence for the 10NES patent. A seperate group had aquired a copy of the patent's technical doccuments due to possible infringement on Atari owned patents, while a seperate group was working on producing the Rabbit chip. Some claim that the doccuments were used to build the chip, but Ed Logg (at Tengen at the time) says it was an unfortunate coincidence and that the Rabbit had already been completed by the time the doccumbets had been received. (the group requesting the docs being oblivous to the very hush hush rabbit engineering project)

And the court I beleive started to side with nintendo, though not from patent infringement of the design, but copyright infringement of the entire code (it apparently was OK to just use the portion needed to activate the chip), but Nintendo and Tengen/Atari Games setled outside of court.

Finnaly it should be noted that such an ambitious engineering endeavor was hardly necessary from a technical standpoint as the lockout chip could be bypassed fairly easily by introdicing a voltage spike (freezing/glitching the chip), which would be cheaper and withough the legal issues. Apparently Tengen was concerned about possible long-term damage this method might cause and thus went for their more complicated route. (there was also the option of using a lock-on type cart to piggyback of an official NES cartridge's chip, though this was less common and only done on a couple games, and the single unlicensed SNES game, "Noah's Arc 3D" lol)



Now on topic, I noticed the mention of a "glut" of peripherals noted in the starting post, however I hardly think it's that excessive, and the lack of 2600 compatibility (initially) while both the Colecovision and Intellivision (which also had a wealth of accesories) already had expansion modules for the 2600, was one of its disadvantages. And the Gemini was hardly a bad idea for Coleco, sure it hurt Atari, but if you can legally build a copy (in both add-on or standalone package) of your opponent's system, why not do it? (they could get away with it because they approximated th epatented custom portions of the 2600 hardware with off the shel parts; TIA being the major component to replace, though I think they also may have substituted the RIOT chip, with the 6507 obviously being a stock part, though technically the full 6502 being compatible as well)

Edited by kool kitty89, Sun May 31, 2009 12:27 AM.


#59 moving2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 12:54 AM

Once again I go against my own word for posting here but yes I agree. Close the thread.


cimerians- why did you ever type a letter in response to this thread in the first place? Just because you don't like the thread doesn't mean others won't get something from it. What a smug ^@$%#.

#60 CARTRIDGE STEALER OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 9:42 AM

Ive heard that "computers" were the reason why game systems lost popularity. but to me, there was a large price difference in computers versus home game systems. I know alot of people couldnt afford a computer so they went with the game system. so, computers becoming popular wasnt one of the reasons.

#61 Murph74 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 10:57 AM

Well put Kool Kitty, nothing I see there to debate. :) lol

Ive heard that "computers" were the reason why game systems lost popularity. but to me, there was a large price difference in computers versus home game systems. I know alot of people couldnt afford a computer so they went with the game system. so, computers becoming popular wasnt one of the reasons.


I'm sure it's been said in a million other threads, but I believe there is something to be said for the idea that there never was a 'crash'. Yes, there was a panic, yes there was some bad business done, and yes there was a sell-off. But the market 'recovered' and grew to the phenomenal levels it enjoys today.

I definitely think there was a 'fad' boom, meaning a quick spike in games because they were 'cool', new and different. Not to mention 'everyone else was doing it' (band wagon effect). Then the 'fad' mentality wore off and sales plummeted. (compare to Pet Rock, Christmas 1975) Keep in mind, when something is 'cool' there are those who resist for the sake of resisting, and there are also those who 'decide' it's suddenly uncool seemingly just because as everyone now agrees it's 'cool' (the trendsetter type).

A few years later, Nintendo hit the scene in the US, and video games became 'cool' again because of at-the-time mind blowing games like "Super Mario Brothers". The general public seemed to come to accept Video Games as a part of everyday living the second time around and we've never looked back.

At least that's my theory as a video game loving child of the 80's. For a lot of us, Video Gaming never went away or crashed, we just got some really good deals. :)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
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#62 Video OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 2:09 PM

That's interesting to know Kool Kitty! I did remember the whole "got the patent (somehoworother)" part, just not any of the actual crap behind it.

Ive heard that "computers" were the reason why game systems lost popularity. but to me, there was a large price difference in computers versus home game systems. I know alot of people couldnt afford a computer so they went with the game system. so, computers becoming popular wasnt one of the reasons.


Yeah, a lot of people fail to remember that even the C64 was like $600 at release (more than double the 2600 at it's release, and the 2600 was what, $50 at the time of the 64's release? )

Anyhow, My family did have a computer, but I knew of almost nobody that had one otherwise, so I doubt computers played as huge a role in the demise of games as some may say. Hell, in my neck of the woods, it wasn't untill 1995 or so that computers even began to start takeing off, and that was because the early adoptors started selling a shitload of used hardware for cheap.

Oh, and yes, there was a video game crash, I don't know where the hell you guys lived that still had full priced new games constatnly comeing out from 83-85, but in my neck of the woods, they were G-O-N-E, zip, zero, nada, no sale...as in there was No games (and certainly no new games) to buy, what little there was left was the billions of Pac-man and ET's that were being blown out at $1 or less. People seem to be confusing crash for some type of disaster that is unrecoverable from, but if that's the case, what about the market crash that caused the great depression? Just an illusion I suppose.

#63 CARTRIDGE STEALER OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 3:55 PM

That's interesting to know Kool Kitty! I did remember the whole "got the patent (somehoworother)" part, just not any of the actual crap behind it.

Ive heard that "computers" were the reason why game systems lost popularity. but to me, there was a large price difference in computers versus home game systems. I know alot of people couldnt afford a computer so they went with the game system. so, computers becoming popular wasnt one of the reasons.


Yeah, a lot of people fail to remember that even the C64 was like $600 at release (more than double the 2600 at it's release, and the 2600 was what, $50 at the time of the 64's release? )

Anyhow, My family did have a computer, but I knew of almost nobody that had one otherwise, so I doubt computers played as huge a role in the demise of games as some may say. Hell, in my neck of the woods, it wasn't untill 1995 or so that computers even began to start takeing off, and that was because the early adoptors started selling a shitload of used hardware for cheap.

Oh, and yes, there was a video game crash, I don't know where the hell you guys lived that still had full priced new games constatnly comeing out from 83-85, but in my neck of the woods, they were G-O-N-E, zip, zero, nada, no sale...as in there was No games (and certainly no new games) to buy, what little there was left was the billions of Pac-man and ET's that were being blown out at $1 or less. People seem to be confusing crash for some type of disaster that is unrecoverable from, but if that's the case, what about the market crash that caused the great depression? Just an illusion I suppose.


I do remember the shelves being more baron in 85 a tad, but not alot. I was heavy into coleco and coleco seemed to be releasing some games in 85. a year later, nintendo hit. so the crash didnt seem so apparant to me. I was always going to odd lot to pick up games i never got for dirt cheap, too.

#64 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 8:32 PM

Here's an interesting take on a related argument:

/* By the way can anyone give us a quick history of what - ever - happened - to - Commodore? Where are the leftovers of their properties? */

Here's the 5 minute run-down:

  • Commodore was formed by Jack Tramiel in the 1950s. They made typewriters.
  • By the 60's Commodore made calculators.
  • In the 70's they acquired MOS Technologies, the designers of the 6502 chip.
  • In the 80's they produced popular home computers like the VIC-20 and the Commodore 64. The computers were positioned to compete with Video Game consoles and gaming computers.
  • Jack took the company through a price war with Texas Instruments that lit fire to the dry tinder wood of the over saturated video game market. The video game market crashed.
  • The board got scared and gave Tramiel the boot. Tramiel decided he didn't need those fuddie-duddies anyway and bought Atari.
  • Without Tramiel, Commodore had several new computers in the pipeline that they didn't know how to position without Jack's guidance. They began to falter.
  • In a moment of brilliance, Commodore managed to buy out Amiga before Atari got their hands on it. It was a golden age.
  • Moment of brilliance over. Commodore management had no idea what they were doing. Product lines were confusing and poorly positioned.
  • The company decided that they really needed to be a games company and not a computer company. So they released the C64 Game System. It was a stupid idea and failed.
  • The company decided that they really needed to be a games company and not a computer company. So they released the Amiga CD32 game console. Unlike the previous console, this one was not stupid and managed to get a following in Europe.
  • Commodore didn't have any cash and they just blew it all on a new game system. That was stupid. Commodore proper goes out of business.
  • Through the 90's, the Commodore name was owned by Escom, who branded PCs as "Commodore".
  • The Amiga brand was acquired by Gateway Computers who did nothing with it throughout the 90's.
  • In the late 90's, the Commodore brand was acquired by Tulip computers. They now make lousy PCs with custom decals called "C-Kins". Yeeaaaaahh.
  • The Amiga brand broke off of Gateway and became its own company. Lots of broken promises about a new AmigaOS later and nobody cares any more.
  • Commodore also launched http://www.commodoreworld.com where they sell a PDA/iPod-like device that is supposed to be as exciting as gravel.
As Paul Harvey would say, "And now you know... the rest of the story. Good day!"




However, it should be noted that there were a good deal of affordable computers by the early '80s, the buisness computers like the IBM PC and TRS 80 Model II (you could add others like Apple to some extent) were much more expensive, well over $1,000, and often closer to $3,000+ (particularly the models with more RAM).
Atari's 400 and 800 8-bit line supposedly started life as projects for a future console or 2600 successor, but were reworked for the rising home computer market. They were relatively capable machines, though lacking the parallel bus of many competitors, and far better for gaming than pretty much any other on the market prior to the C64. (not surprising given their origins)
http://oldcomputers.net/atari400.html
The 800 was faily expence at roughly $1,000 at launch (I've seen figures of 999-1100), which is still significantly cheaper than the Apple II also released in 1979, and featured a full throw keyboard and second cart slot the 400 lacks. The 400 was a cheaper, gaming oriented version, with a single cart slot and cheap plastic membrane keyboard, but was launched at an affordable (especially for '79) $550 (I've seen $600 too), both were released with 8kB onboard and expanable to 48kB. By 1982 the price of the 400 (which I beleive was now being shipped with expanded RAM) had fallen below $200 (which may have actually been cheaper than the comperable Atari 5200) and by early '83 the 800 had fallen below $400.

It should also be noted that the affordable Tandy and Commodore computers were available as well, and a couple predated the Atari ones, like the TRS-80 model 1 of 1977 at $600 (with monitor), very inexpensive for the time. And commodore's PET for ~$800 also in 1977. Later there was the more capable TRS-80 model 3, and the very affordable Commodore VIC-20 ($300) in 1981 as well as the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A ($525) in '81.
There was also the more gaming oriented, and cheaper TRS-80 color computer of 1980. ($400)

#65 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 31, 2009 11:42 PM

Just listened to this interview on the 7800:

I was under the impression is was a year earlier....perhaps you are correct.


This interview with GCC 20 years later was really cool. Curt Vendel did it and it's a great listen on how the 7800 was created and the history of GCC.



Apparently Ray Kassar had decided on the 7800 over the Deal with Nintendo, but kept it secret while still aiming at a contract with Nintendo for exclusive rights for the console in the US to enable them to lock Nentendo out of the market when the 7800 was relased. Later, Ray stepped down as president after a scandal involving illegal stock exchange. James Morgan took over in 1983 and decided to put all development projects and producion on hold as he reviewed the situation.

Atari basicly lost the entire holiday 1983 season to Commodore (especially in terms of Atari's 8-bit lime) because of this and delayed the 7800. In the mean time, Nentendo got fed up with delays in the deal due to the management change and decided to go out on their own. (thus also dodging a bullet from what Kassar had planned)

The transition to Morgan may possibly have been one of the bigest factors in the failure in 1983, and Atari's failure in particular, as well as a reason for Nintendo's later rise.

Edited by kool kitty89, Sun May 31, 2009 11:44 PM.


#66 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 9:19 AM

I'm sure it's been said in a million other threads, but I believe there is something to be said for the idea that there never was a 'crash'. Yes, there was a panic, yes there was some bad business done, and yes there was a sell-off. But the market 'recovered' and grew to the phenomenal levels it enjoys today.


I'm not following the argument of there not being a crash?

The fact that there was a "recovery" does not take away the huge losses and bankruptcies that incurred. One could argue that it was an industry-wide bear market , but you mentioned "panic" and "sell-off" in one sentence which one would more associate with a swift crash versus the steady decline of a bear market.

Just about anytime you see folks becoming millionaires by purchasing 1000 shares of QCOM at $4 a pop, you know that it's only a matter of time. History repeats itself...

#67 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 1:36 PM

I think part of Atari's weakness in the crash was, despite having a pretty nice compouter line available, it wasn't competing particularly well with competing computers, expecially the new C64. The XL series could have helped thins a lot, elliminating some weakness, introducing a more cost effective, sleeker design, but they screwed up with the 1200XL, the 600 and 800XL is what they should have done in the first place. (and apears to be closer to the original sweet 8/16 projects)
Of course the whole screw up on general in '83 with the switch from Kassar to Morgan did a lot of damage in this respect too. (not only with the 8-bit line, but also to the console market, allowing computer gaming to break into their market share further)

It seems like Coleco screwed up by shifting interest toward the Adam, which had several issues, and was moving away from the CV. Maybe if they'd stuch with the console it would have been strong enough (and it had been very strong) to keep going through the crash. (or perhaps the crash may have been reduced with a higher quality machine/software available while Atari languished in '83)

Edited by kool kitty89, Mon Jun 1, 2009 1:49 PM.


#68 Video OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 2:43 PM

:lol: Hey, kool kitty, notice that even the cheapo computers you listed were still nearly twice the price of the 2600 9I don't know if Atari had dropped the 2600 price by 79 or not) :P

One thing about the computers though, they, then, just as now, were easy to hack. Who didn't get a computer, and within a year have a few HUNDRED unique titles for them? and probably for only a dollar or two (or free) a pop :P (unfortunately, we were in that boat, wish we had more origginal titles, those are the ones that are worth something now.....otoh, the copys are the ones that are still playable now, so tradeoffs, tradeoffs :P )

#69 Murph74 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 6:02 PM

Not sure how to clarify my thoughts on there being no video game 'crash', that it was INDEED an illusion.

The core market was there from day one, and the industry didn't disappear, it simply shifted-- mainly from Atari and Coleco to Nintendo and Sega. The transition was dawn out, and the early 80's systems were left in the dust for the most part (referring to sales numbers and dollars). The number of installed units didn't go down, it continued to climb overall (NOT over previous year numbers, of course, but existing units remained). The speed of sales slowed, and the number of consumers who were purchasing games lowered (as with all fads).

I guess to put it in 2000 terms, I don't think the market was really a market in the first place during the fad era, it was a bubble. A bubble that essentially popped around 1984 for most intents and purposes. Not unlike the recent real estate market. That market is still there, it's still profitable, and it's still good investing if you know what you are doing. It's simply returned to sustainable, normal levels. You had people buying houses that had no business buying houses or buying houses they had no business buying. Just like in the early 80's-- you had a boom in sales, contributed to in large part by the novelty factor and people who were buying out of curiosity and trendiness, that didn't care in the slightest about video games. What that group exited the market, numbers predictably went down. At least that's my take.

#70 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 6:19 PM

:lol: Hey, kool kitty, notice that even the cheapo computers you listed were still nearly twice the price of the 2600 9I don't know if Atari had dropped the 2600 price by 79 or not) :P

One thing about the computers though, they, then, just as now, were easy to hack. Who didn't get a computer, and within a year have a few HUNDRED unique titles for them? and probably for only a dollar or two (or free) a pop :P (unfortunately, we were in that boat, wish we had more origginal titles, those are the ones that are worth something now.....otoh, the copys are the ones that are still playable now, so tradeoffs, tradeoffs :P )

I assume you mean dadacasettes (especially), and maybe floppies, but you wouldn't be doing that with ROM cartridges, which was a major format for the A8 line, especially for games. Not only would you have to be a hard core tech guy with a PROM burner, but PROMs (or EPROMs) weren't cheap either, in general, it's not going to happen. Foe tapes, and diskc (to a lesser extent), certainly, bt not cartridges. This is a major reson why there was never a dedicated home gaming console using standard floppy disks as the main media. (Nintendo had a semi-propritary format with their FDS, but even that had issues, Sega cancelled plans for both a SMS and MD/Genesis floppy drive add-on) Slow data transfer rates were also an issue. (very long load times for larger games)

The 2600 was definitely cheaper, but by '82/83 you'd be comparing the ColecoVision and 5200 as well, and the Intellivision was already there. Judging by some of the figures, the A 400 and VIC 20 were damn close to some of the newer consoles, (not sure of the prices of these consoles though), the 7800 would have had a cost advantage, and a technicl advantage in some respects as well (onboard sound being modest though, and there were other limitations). The 2600 remained an attractive budged gaming system through the late '80s (the Jr, selling fairly well), of course there was probably a lot of used sales (garage sale etc) of the 2600 aw well, by the late '80s.

Edited by kool kitty89, Mon Jun 1, 2009 6:47 PM.


#71 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 6:37 PM

The core market was there from day one, and the industry didn't disappear, it simply shifted-- mainly from Atari and Coleco to Nintendo and Sega. The transition was dawn out, and the early 80's systems were left in the dust for the most part (referring to sales numbers and dollars). The number of installed units didn't go down, it continued to climb overall (NOT over previous year numbers, of course, but existing units remained). The speed of sales slowed, and the number of consumers who were purchasing games lowered (as with all fads).

I guess to put it in 2000 terms, I don't think the market was really a market in the first place during the fad era, it was a bubble. A bubble that essentially popped around 1984 for most intents and purposes. Not unlike the recent real estate market. That market is still there, it's still profitable, and it's still good investing if you know what you are doing. It's simply returned to sustainable, normal levels. You had people buying houses that had no business buying houses or buying houses they had no business buying. Just like in the early 80's-- you had a boom in sales, contributed to in large part by the novelty factor and people who were buying out of curiosity and trendiness, that didn't care in the slightest about video games. What that group exited the market, numbers predictably went down. At least that's my take.


No, it was a fad for some, many people just playing it because it was popular, which inflated the market a bit, but there was still a strong fundimental user base of kids and arcade fans (plus the occasional older crowd that played in a more casual fassion).

It didn't crash in favor of Nintendo etc (Sega being not much of a factor in the US until ~90/91), but rather a serise of marketing mistakes and issues tha warner did finally seem to be realized, albit too late, (anong with hype from the media) that pushed toward coputer gaming over consoles. Coleco may have contributed to this by shifting focus to their Adam computer, which was genneraly a bad idea. (it could have worked if they'd waited and fine tuned the design and layout a bit more though)

Hence why some others considder there not to be a crash either, rather that the C64 was the succesor in the maeket prior to Nentendo's rise in '86-87, though still there was a lesser intrest by th public, partially due to perception, the fad bursting, and the media's posturing.

It took Nentendo some extremely savvy and calculated marketing to break into such an unfreindly market, and they did so astoundly well. With a fresh new feel, pushing their product more as a toy than a peice of electronic equipment, and apealing toward a broader audience, to many who'd never been interested before. (younger and older age groups, more casual gamers, with a broader array of genres andaccessories) All contributing to revitalizing the market, and expanding it further than Atari ever had, and with greater control and cooperation with 3rd party develoipers. (in part to avoid future problems, but also to strengthen their position in the market)

Now, the 7800 may have been able to improve things, but it was still highly optimized for arcade games, which indeed, is what it did best, and was more evolutionary than revolutionary in it's original intent, though it could have been much more, it would have been a lot more of a struggle had they continued the way they were going, though, again, Warner had been improving some of their problems, in particular paying more attention to consumer's oppinions.

#72 Video OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 8:12 PM

I assume you mean dadacasettes (especially), and maybe floppies, but you wouldn't be doing that with ROM cartridges, which was a major format for the A8 line, especially for games. Not only would you have to be a hard core tech guy with a PROM burner, but PROMs (or EPROMs) weren't cheap either, in general, it's not going to happen. Foe tapes, and diskc (to a lesser extent), certainly, bt not cartridges. This is a major reson why there was never a dedicated home gaming console using standard floppy disks as the main media. (Nintendo had a semi-propritary format with their FDS, but even that had issues, Sega cancelled plans for both a SMS and MD/Genesis floppy drive add-on) Slow data transfer rates were also an issue. (very long load times for larger games)

The 2600 was definitely cheaper, but by '82/83 you'd be comparing the ColecoVision and 5200 as well, and the Intellivision was already there. Judging by some of the figures, the A 400 and VIC 20 were damn close to some of the newer consoles, (not sure of the prices of these consoles though), the 7800 would have had a cost advantage, and a technicl advantage in some respects as well (onboard sound being modest though, and there were other limitations). The 2600 remained an attractive budged gaming system through the late '80s (the Jr, selling fairly well), of course there was probably a lot of used sales (garage sale etc) of the 2600 aw well, by the late '80s.


Yeah, I was meaning Discs and casettes, Didn't know Atari computer used mostly carts (the reason I'm not big into C64 collecting is discs are pretty much alldead now :( To bad to, I loved lots of games on there) I'll have to look into one of those then, that'd definitely be simpler than all the damn drives and crap :D

And yeah, I know about coleco and INTV, but hell, those didn't win against the 2600 either :P

Edited by Video, Mon Jun 1, 2009 8:13 PM.


#73 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 1, 2009 10:45 PM

The Colecovision was really moving though, 6 millin sold and it only was on the market for less than 2 years before the crash. If Coleco had stayed put in their focus on the console market instead of screwing up the the Adam, who knows what would have happned. (even with the crash they may have been able to ride it out, and with Atari floundering, they could take it for themselves)

I think a big part of the crash was everyone feeding into the beleif (perception drives the reality of the situation in these cases) that home computers and computer gaming was the future and "video games were dead." (to an extent this was true well into the '90s in europe with the old 8-bit C64 Spectrum, etc, giving way to the Amiga and, to a lesser extent, Atari ST)

BTW, cartridges were the only way to use softwaer on the A8-bit line without buying additional hardware (unlike others the tape drive was propritary -though it still used standard compact audio cassettes), some later high-end models had on-board floppy drives though. And of course, cartridges were by far the main media used with the EXGS.

Edited by kool kitty89, Mon Jun 1, 2009 10:53 PM.


#74 ApolloBoy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 2, 2009 1:47 AM

some later high-end models had on-board floppy drives though.

There never were any A8s with a built-in disk drive. One was planned (the 1450XLD), but never got past the prototype stage.

#75 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 2, 2009 3:42 PM

Thanks, I misread that... Sort of on this topic, was composite video the highest quality the A8 line offered? The C64 had S-Video (through dual RCA with a commodore monitor).




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