Jump to content

Photo

The ADAM killed the ColecoVision


207 replies to this topic

#26 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

Jess Ragan

    Phanto of the Opera

  • 10,061 posts
  • Keys and Thank You
  • Location:The Arid Zone

Posted Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:38 PM

OpCode. We're not talking about alternate histories. the NES *did* win. Therefore, it *was* destined to win.


Destined means that it was predetermined, i.e. unstoppable. Unless there was some video game cartel operating behind the scenes picking winners and losers that I'm not aware of, I don't see any way it could have been destined (predetermined) that the NES would win?


Clearly it was destined, because otherwise it wouldn't have happened. Nintendo struck while the iron was hot in an industry no American company wanted to touch. They had a de facto monopoly throughout 1985, and the best software even after competitors had entered the market. It would have been extremely difficult for them not to win under those conditions.

A lot of the forty plus gamers hold a grudge against Nintendo for taking control of the video game market, but the truth is that Nintendo didn't take it from anyone... it was theirs by salvage right. The other console manufacturers were either dead or had moved into other industries and wanted nothing to do with what they felt was a dead market and a money sink. Nintendo saw an opportunity and took advantage of it, and we'll all better off for it.

#27 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:07 AM

Ok, a bunch of missconceptions were thrown about by both sides regarding Nintendo et. al.

In particular, the arrival of the NES wouldn't have "revitalized" Coleco sales, or 7800 sales. The 7800 arrived stillborn...


I'm not sure what you're talking about here. The 7800 was only given a limited test market in New York and California where it did quite well actually, and most of the retailers put in advanced orders which were cancelled by Tramiel. There was no "7800 sales to revitalize", and it hardly arrived stillborn. You might ask Atarian63 for his experience, his family owned a store in the New York area at the time and the 7800 was a hit during the test market and afterwords, and during the national release in '86.

There wasn't a stage where the NES competed with the Atari 7800, Coleco or Atari 5200. They were all dead in the water when the NES revitalized the console gaming market.


Huh? The NES was only test marketed in late '85 and early '86 (the first doing poorly, the latter doing better). It hadn't gone national yet, or revitalized anything. The national launch did not occur until the Fall of '86 and by that time (actually by the Summer '86 CES) it was joined by the Master System and 7800 - all of which were on equal market footing at the time. In fact the press covering the show were mentioning all three in the same breath regarding a possible revitalization of the market. Nintendo's pulling out in front and being championed for revitalizing the market didn't occur until in to '87.

The 7800 was actually brought out in January of '86 because 2600 Jr. sales had been so strong during the '85 Christmas season (and they were getting pressure from Warner accordingly, Warner Communications still being a major stock holder in Atari Corp.)

Clearly it was destined, because otherwise it wouldn't have happened. Nintendo struck while the iron was hot in an industry no American company wanted to touch. They had a de facto monopoly throughout 1985, and the best software even after competitors had entered the market.


I'm not sure where that's coming from either. They had a very limited and unsuccessful test market in '85, in a market that Atari was still a player in. Atari Corp. was still agressivley pushing it's stock, and in fack Jack made sure the 2600 Jr. project got going after the initial freeze. A limited test market during the Christmass of '85 his hardly a "de facto monoply throughout '85".


As I've said before, Nintendo won out because they were the only company "stupid" enough to believe anyone still wanted home video game consoles. Everybody else "knew" that it was a fad that had ended, and nobody with money would have wasted it on trying to sell the things when everyone knew they were dead. Nintendo even had to go to an effort of making it not looking like a video game console (the "toaster" design that hid the cartridge like some kind of dirty underwear).


Same comment as to the others. 1) They were not the only company, Nintendo was joined by the 7800 that January in between it's Dec. and Feb. test markets, and the Master System that June *before* Nintendo had even gone national. 2) Atari Corp. was still going strong selling backstock and the newly released Jr., Jack counted on that to help keep the company afloat. 3) The "toaster" was actually the 3rd design and a last minute change. That previous June '85 they were showing off the robot and a hybrid AVS/NES version at CES. And the infamous "it's a toy that also plays games" scheme was one of several things they did to get it in to retaliers for the initial New York test market - because they didn't want to take on more game stock. They also had to promise a buyback of any unsold stock (which they had a lot of and had to reuse for the '86 test market in LA). It was actually a crowded and strong sales season, with the 2600, 5200 and Colecovision all being sold in stores (2600 and Colecovision for around $50 and the 5200 for around $80).

Edited by wgungfu, Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:22 AM.


#28 Bruce Tomlin OFFLINE  

Bruce Tomlin

    River Patroller

  • 3,608 posts
  • CD C9 01
  • Location:San Antonio, TX

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:21 AM

The 7800 was only given a limited test market in New York and California where it did quite well actually, and most of the retailers put in advanced orders which were cancelled by Tramiel.

Yep, Kindly Uncle Jack (as the DTACK Grounded guy liked to call him)... his buying Atari helped set back the home video game industry. To him, consoles were just junk that got in the way of his desire for revenge against Commodore.

And the infamous "it's a toy that also plays games" scheme was one of several things they did to get it in to retaliers for the initial New York test market - because they didn't want to take on more game stock.

Ah, yes, that was it. I had forgotten the reasoning behind Nintendo trying to make it not look like a video game console. The retailers. It's a bit hard to sell something when the retailers have been burned by having to clearance stuff at a loss. Never mind that much of what they were getting rid of was due to third-party companies churning out crap games, with the thought that all games would sell equally.

The SMS deserved better than it got in the US, but there are reasons why it lost. Nintendo's exclusivity contracts, and Mario+Zelda (in that the best games for NES were better than the best games for SMS). The NES had a larger library because it lasted longer, but I can think of very few SMS games that I actually enjoyed playing, other than Rastan.

And FWIW, even there was no corporate lineage, the SMS and Genesis/MD were the successors to Colecovision in terms of architecture. Or perhaps more accurately, the CV was a branch of Sega's lineage, that had previously been limited to Japan only. In any case, from 1986 to 1995 (the Playstation launch), TMS-9918-style character cell + sprite graphics were king.

#29 opcode OFFLINE  

opcode

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 4,311 posts
  • Bringing new life to your ColecoVision!
  • Location:MA, USA

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:48 AM

Marty,

Very interesting stuff you posted there. I wasn't aware about most of that. Thanks for sharing.
So tell me (if you have the time), I know that Atari manufactured 7800s in 1984 and even distributed some of them, as Lance from Video61 once told me, and you just confirmed above. However I remember Lance told me that they never got games in 84. Is that true? I also remember reading somewhere about the 7800 games were originally planned to come in holographic boxes or something like that. Do you know anything about that? Finally, did Atari also start manufacturing Atari Jrs in 84, or that just happened later? I heard that the Jr was an Atari Warner project...
A last thing, if you really have the time.... What is your take on the crash, was there something going on with the market (like something that was inevitable) and was it just that the video game companies were doing mistakes after mistakes (or both)?

Thanks!!

#30 youki OFFLINE  

youki

    River Patroller

  • 2,381 posts

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:22 AM

I think that in 1984 , 11 "killer" games where already ready for launch the 7800. Unfortunaly the launch has been canceled :(.

It's pity, it is a very good console that deserved more success.

#31 cimerians OFFLINE  

cimerians

    Quadrunner

  • 10,289 posts
  • Location:Chicago

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:39 AM

Paranoid, I disagree in many points. First, saying that the NES was destined to win no matter what is as non-sense as saying that if isnít for Atari we would never be playing video games today, or that Coleco would still be around if it isnít for the ADAM. We don't know that, we will never know. Companies change, they adapt, or they get out of the game. Both Atari and Coleco pulled the plug on video games, so we don't know what they could have done in order to keep selling had they decided to stay. Atari was already taking actions when the Tramiels bought them, creating the 7800 and including mechanisms to prevent 3rd parties of creating games for it without a license. Arcade games, which also took a hit starting in late 82, were also changing. Sure, arcade never saw the same success again, but business improved during the 2nd half of the 80s.
About Nintendo, while I am also a big fan, I think there is a kind of overstatement about their merits during the 80s. Were they doing a lot of right things? Sure, they were. They came with a healthy business model for licensing, they had great titles, but I don't think they could have succeeded or survived if it wasn't for 3rd party support. As important as SMB or Zelda were, also were Castlevania, MegaMan, Ninja Gaiden and many others. And the question is which company would be getting which 3rd party in case Atari and Coleco stayed in the game? We don't know that. Konami was showing some early support to the CV (they stayed loyal to the MSX in Japan for a while); Atari could have got Namco as they already had ties, and so on, so we don't know.
My point when I created this thread was, there are some indications that during the CV's peak of popularity, when the CV was still doing good for Coleco, while Atari and Mattel were already loosing tons of money with their machines (as early as last quarter of 82), Coleco decided to change their focus to a home computer system, perhaps fearing that video games were indeed a fad. Fast forward 5 years in the future and it became clear that inexpensive home computers were the fad and video games were here to stay (so donít tell me the ADAM was ONLY thing that could have allowed them to remain viable). The market just needed/wanted a company with a strong focus on games.



Very well said.

I remember reading some info way back in EG about Coleco "abandoning" the CV and focusing on the ADAM.
In my opinion and I think most people would agree that if they focused more on the CV and games it would have lasted a little bit longer. I rememeber reading that it was supposed to compete with Nintendo. I rememeber reading a lot of this type of stuff back in EG. I used to subscribe.

....great article posts Opcode (and everyone else who posted links). Post more if you find them! :D

#32 Paranoid OFFLINE  

Paranoid

    River Patroller

  • 3,877 posts
  • Ahora Che es la comida para los gusanos

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:11 AM

Ok... a few things...

I'm not a Colecovision hater. I *owned* an Adam ("back in the day"). I got it because I wanted a Colecovision and I also wanted a computer. It was a great colecovision, a pretty lame computer. But it was available, and lots of other Colecovision products were available throughout that period, as well. I had the super controllers, the Turbo steering wheel, the track ball, tons of titles... the stock was there in the market channel. The crash occured REGARDLESS.

Forgot about the pools. Yeah... Coleco was a known brand... and a lot like Jakk's - they were ALL OVER THE PLACE. Maybe moreso than Jakk's. The pool example kind of seals the deal. Man... as a kid, I knew that Mattel or Hasbro meant a quality toy. I had the perception that Mattel and Atari were the dominant players in console gaming. Coleco was a Johnny Come Lately to this market, with a range of stuff that was kind of bewildering, even as a 12 year old in 1982. They came out of nowhere, if they hadn't have had Donkey Kong, they probably would have got minimal attention, and they never really delivered a WHOLE lot of excitement after Donkey Kong, right up until the crash. There were good titles (I still have a Coleco - although I still think the 5200 is a superior system with superior titles and superior coding). This isn't about me not liking Coleco. It is about me thinking your claim that the Adam killed CV is absurd and overly simpilistic.

As for Wgungfu... I actually think I agree with most of what you have to say about the timeline. I think your details are very specific and probably accurate - but I don't think they necessarily reflect the reality of what was going on through that time on retail floors and in gamers homes.

In 1983 the crash came. My 5200 died sometime between 83 and 84 and parts were impossible to find because of the crash. I started using the Coleco most exclusively. I can actually remember being a punk kid and having my girlfriend over with her mohawk, and us playing around on my Adam. My cat took a leak on it, and it died - which is fitting, because console gaming was in basically the same state. 84-85 there was really nothing going on - although the C-64 was up and coming. By 85-86, 8 bit PC gaming was big. I think 86-87 is when I got my first "real" 8 bit PC, a C=128. Around that time, my nieces got their NES. Shortly after that, the 16 bit systems started to arrive.

The 7800... I don't know... I *never* saw one... not ONE, in the wild. I knew a guy in '87 who had a SMS. And I remember we would go hang out at the malls and there would be stacks of 7800 systems on closeout and no one would touch them. So maybe there were regional pockets of 7800 acceptance... eh... maybe it was just a dismal failure in Northern California... but man... 10 to 1 I encountered NES to SMS... and it would have to be 100 to 1 for SMS to 7800. They just... didn't sell.

The point is... and I liked Jess's terms (Jess and I hardly EVER agree)... NES won by salvage right. Between the crash and '87, no one else did anything WITH console gaming. It was theirs to give away, and they did. Thus, bringing this back to the original thesis, no the ADAM did not KILL the CV. Coleco divested itself of the console gaming market and had no intentions of really getting back into it. They saw it as "dead", as a "trend" that had "passed". Just like every other gaming manufacturer. Intellivision was out of it, Atari... I still say... the 7800 had an abortive initial release, then sat on shelves until J.T. decided to dump, er clear out all of the stock... but with no plans to develop or support it long range. There is no "what-if" speculative or alternative history here. If Coleco had never released the Amiga, meh... they still probably would have ended up in trouble and bankrupt, because - and this is the important detail, the Amiga alone did not kill them. There were a number of bad choices that eventually caused their collapse.

The NEXT time I saw a console gaming rig that grabbed my interest was the NES, at my Niece's house. And this, IMHO, began the era of the addictive pack-in game. Sega followed with Sonic - and in each case, it was getting sucked into the gameplay that made me finally go out and buy my own console. Through all of that era though, I kept 16 bit PCs (Atari ST and Amiga) and eventually IA86 VGA machines for "serious" gaming. I think my timeline of experience actually aligns nicely with wgungfu's timeline and wit Jess's observations, actually.

(Fwiw, I'll admit to disliking the A7800 native mode games tremendously. We've had this debate on other forums before - and I think it felt sluggish, buggy, slow, and lacking in dynamic range in audio and visual - even compared to the Atari 5200. The controllers combined the worst parts of the 5200 design with the worst parts of the CX46 design and threw in some Colecovision controller mistakes just for good measure. But, it makes a great CC2 rig for retro gaming... like a 2nd chance at life and redeeming itself. It is, with the CC2, the ONLY rig to buy if you want to enjoy retro 2600 gaming on original equipment... Why anyone would have bought it in the day, though, is beyond me.)

Edited by Paranoid, Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:15 AM.


#33 Murph74 OFFLINE  

Murph74

    Stargunner

  • 1,177 posts
  • Gotta get home to my ColecoVision!
  • Location:St. Louis, Missouri

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:58 PM

Paranoid--

A few things you're missing I think.

1. The Colecovision DID get the Kaybee treatment-- there were stacks at the midwest stores for $49, then $29 and eventually $19 in the mid 80's as closeouts along with the tables full of cartridges for all systems.

2. I think you mean Commodore releasing the Amiga. :)

3. The console makers eventually morphed in addictive pack in games, but if memory serves me at launch the NES only had Gyromite and Duck Hunt packed in. Wasn't til the 2nd or 3rd year they packed in SMB-- presumably once single cartridge sales of SMB decreased, imo. And the Genesis didn't launch with Sonic, it launched with Altered Beast. I believe it was a similar scenario to SMB-- a solo release first, then a pack-in to drive console sales. The first systems to *launch* with a title that sold the machine was probably the Colecovision, then the Gameboy with Tetris I'd say.

Again just my 2 cents-- good discussion overall! :)

#34 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:39 PM

As for Wgungfu... I actually think I agree with most of what you have to say about the timeline. I think your details are very specific and probably accurate - but I don't think they necessarily reflect the reality of what was going on through that time on retail floors and in gamers homes.


Or it's possible that what you experienced didn't necessarily reflect the reality of the actual market actually. I don't go by personal experiences when doing research (I lived through that period as well and actually my experiences were the opposite of yours), rather I go by actual verifiable retail, corporate, and media sources.

In 1983 the crash came.


Actually the home market crash started in late '82, built speed in '83 and actually hit it's crescendo in '84. That's of course separate from the coin-op industry's crash, which happened in '82. People often get confused and assume they were the same markets when they were not. Coin has always been a separate industry, with it's own market, standards, cycles, etc.


My 5200 died sometime between 83 and 84 and parts were impossible to find because of the crash.


That's absolutely untrue. The 5200 was still being manufactured into '84, Atari service centers were still functioning, Tramiel still supported it after taking over...

I can actually remember being a punk kid and having my girlfriend over with her mohawk...


No offense, but I think that's the best explination for your viewpoints and lack of actual insight in to the industry and market. How is the experience of a young punker reflective of the industry?

84-85 there was really nothing going on


Again, untrue as previously stated.

- although the C-64 was up and coming.


A product already two years old with 3 million sold was "up-and coming"? It had already been up and on the way down, by '85 Commodore was making moves to discount the C64 to move over 4-million in inventory, and newspapers (such as the LA Times) were reporting the boon as over. Hence by '86 the shift back to the console industry for developers.


By 85-86, 8 bit PC gaming was big.


Actually, the "big" market years for 8-bit computers were '81-'85. By '85, it was on the decline and way out. The market had already started shifting to 16-bit personal computers such as the ST, Amiga, Mac, etc. '85 onward is when the 8-bit computers started hitting the discount market, which is probably why to a "punk" it seemed like it was hitting "big" - it was more accessible.

I think 86-87 is when I got my first "real" 8 bit PC, a C=128. Around that time, my nieces got their NES. Shortly after that, the 16 bit systems started to arrive.


The 16-bits started arriving in '84 through '85.


The 7800... I don't know... I *never* saw one... not ONE, in the wild.


Which is hardly reflective of any sort of "reality" as you claimed. I saw them, plenty of people here saw them, there's plenty of ads and coverage from the time. It's simply possible the town where you lived didn't have much of a presence from it.

I knew a guy in '87 who had a SMS. And I remember we would go hang out at the malls and there would be stacks of 7800 systems on closeout and no one would touch them.


I though you just said above you never saw one?


So maybe there were regional pockets of 7800 acceptance... eh... maybe it was just a dismal failure in Northern California... but man... 10 to 1 I encountered NES to SMS... and it would have to be 100 to 1 for SMS to 7800. They just... didn't sell.


You're talking about later in the market, and that would be correct - by late '87-'88 the 7800 was not selling well compared to the other two. As previously stated however, all three started on equal ground when they went national in '86. '87 is when the NES started hitting it's stride and entering the "golden years" for it that everyone remembers. SMB finally became a pack-in around then via the Action set (it was not a launch release or pack-in in '85 as is often erroneously quoted).


The point is... and I liked Jess's terms (Jess and I hardly EVER agree)... NES won by salvage right.


Completely false, there was nothing to salvage. Again, all three started on the same footing in '86 when they went national. NES won by it's agressive market practices, and wide game library (which was also attributed to it's practices - they locked in 3rd party developers in to exclusive contracts).


Between the crash and '87, no one else did anything WITH console gaming.


Huh? We've already established all three consoles came out during that period and the market during that period had also been full of product. There was no vacuum.

Edited by wgungfu, Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:38 PM.


#35 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

Pixelboy

    Quadrunner

  • 7,980 posts
  • Location:Montreal, Canada

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:04 PM

Between the crash and '87, no one else did anything WITH console gaming.

Huh? We've already established all three consoles came out during that period and the market during that period had also been full of product. There was no vacuum.

Perhaps not where you lived, but in Montreal, Canada, there was indeed a vaccuum. I remember it very, very well. When the NES began to be sold at Compucenter, the Coleco and Atari games had been liquidated a long time ago. Between the "CV/Atari/Intellivision era" and the "NES era", there was this period where most of the games being released were on home computers (IBM Jr, Apple MacIntosh, etc.), there was absolutely nothing for gaming consoles until the NES came along.

The story was similar with bigger retail stores: Whatever was to be found of the pre-NES era was in bargain bins at clearance prices, and nobody was buying those old games. This was even the case at Toys'R'Us.

This "console gaming vaccuum" may not have been felt equally across North America, but it was very real where I lived. The NES was like the phoenix that rose from the ashes of the older consoles, and it's no surprise that it took kid players by storm.

#36 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:13 PM

Eduardo -

Marty,

Very interesting stuff you posted there. I wasn't aware about most of that. Thanks for sharing.
So tell me (if you have the time), I know that Atari manufactured 7800s in 1984 and even distributed some of them, as Lance from Video61 once told me, and you just confirmed above. However I remember Lance told me that they never got games in 84. Is that true?


No, not true. There were titles in '84 (it'd make no sense to test market a console and not have any games for it). The four titles for the New York and LA test markets were - Pole Position (which was a pack-in), Ms Pac Man, Joust, Dig Dug and Centipede.


I also remember reading somewhere about the 7800 games were originally planned to come in holographic boxes or something like that.


Haven't heard about that. Most of the 2600/5200 boxes of the time did use holographic stickers on them however, perhaps that's what was meant?

Finally, did Atari also start manufacturing Atari Jrs in 84, or that just happened later?


AFAIK it was still in project status with a small manufacturing. Curt would have more info on that. Here's a pic of one of his '84 units -

Posted Image

I heard that the Jr was an Atari Warner project...


Yes.

A last thing, if you really have the time.... What is your take on the crash, was there something going on with the market (like something that was inevitable) and was it just that the video game companies were doing mistakes after mistakes (or both)?

Thanks!!


I could write a book on the subject really, it's a complicated list of factors. Here's a few previous discussions of mine that summarize my take on the crash:

http://www.atariage....ost__p__1649082
http://www.atariage....ost__p__1545096

You basically have a perfect storm of a company representing 80% of the market crashing (due to greed et. al.), consumer purchasing slowdown, some market shifts and competition from home computers, and more.

#37 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:20 PM

Between the crash and '87, no one else did anything WITH console gaming.

Huh? We've already established all three consoles came out during that period and the market during that period had also been full of product. There was no vacuum.


Perhaps not where you lived, but in Montreal, Canada, there was indeed a vaccuum.


It has nothing to do with where I live, he incorrectly stated nothing was done between the crash and '87, when all three consoles were released nationally in '86.

I remember it very, very well. When the NES began to be sold at Compucenter, the Coleco and Atari games had been liquidated a long time ago. Between the "CV/Atari/Intellivision era" and the "NES era", there was this period where most of the games being released were on home computers (IBM Jr, Apple MacIntosh, etc.), there was absolutely nothing for gaming consoles until the NES came along.


That may be true with Canada, however we were discussing the US market not international. While Canada is more tied to the US market, the crash was a US phenomenon - Europe for instance was not as effected by it (which is one of the reasons it's also referred to as the North American Crash).


The story was similar with bigger retail stores: Whatever was to be found of the pre-NES era was in bargain bins at clearance prices, and nobody was buying those old games. This was even the case at Toys'R'Us.

This "console gaming vaccuum" may not have been felt equally across North America, but it was very real where I lived. The NES was like the phoenix that rose from the ashes of the older consoles, and it's no surprise that it took kid players by storm.


See above. As also stated, I go by actual resources not personal experience. That includes plenty of advertisements for said uncleared stock, still being sold across the country (local and national chains) during that time period through '85. As well as other verifiable retail, corporate, and media sources.

Edited by wgungfu, Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:21 PM.


#38 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

Jess Ragan

    Phanto of the Opera

  • 10,061 posts
  • Keys and Thank You
  • Location:The Arid Zone

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 PM

See, I don't remember it that way. As another poster stated earlier, Jack Tramiel considered video games a distraction from his goal of re-establishing himself in the home computer industry after being given the bum's rush at Commodore. It was only AFTER watching the NES rise in popularity that he decided to get a piece of that action. There was a revealing story in Steven Kent's book about how Jack Tramiel, being the legendary douchebag of industry that he was, ignored and eventually fired a man within the company who pleaded with him to sell the Atari 7800s the company had in storage. When it became clear that the NES was a success, Jack asked the man to come back and tell him the location of the warehouse where the systems were kept. The man, still holding a grudge, told Jack he would divulge that information... but only after Tramiel paid him a huge finder's fee.

You baby busters never want to give Nintendo the credit it deserves for resurrecting this industry, but that doesn't change the facts. No company in America wanted a thing to do with video games until it was abundantly clear that the NES was a success. The sheer lack of American game developers throughout the late 1980s isn't a coincidence... they were extremely reluctant to return to the industry and would only do so when they knew with absolute certainty that it was both profitable and stable. It wasn't just in the home console market, either... arcades were wall-to-wall with Japanese games, because Western developers were too timid to compete with them. For every game like Rampage, there was a Rastan, R-Type, and Renegade each making as much (or more) money.

Sure Atari may have sold some 2600s in 1985, but they were just flushing out remaining stock (and probably doing it at liquidation prices). It had nothing to do with competing against Nintendo or reviving a dead market, because at that point, Tramiel was solely invested in carving out a piece of the home computer market for himself. He didn't give a shit about video games until he recognized them as an easy source of income. I get tired of this warped perspective from older gamers who view Nintendo as a sinister invading force that stole the video game industry from Atari as it was handing out puppies, candy, and sunshine to small children. That's not the way it happened, you know it's not the way it happened, and you should stop deluding yourselves into believing otherwise.

#39 cvga OFFLINE  

cvga

    River Patroller

  • 4,405 posts
  • Location:Sector 36

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:13 PM

I agree that one person's experience may not reflect what was happening in the industry although my experience is similar to the extent that I had noticed lots of Nintendo systems at stores but don't recall seeing a 7800. Without knowing the answer ahead of time I thought we might be able to see how video games emerged nationally by looking at past issues of the Sears Wishbook. I think Sears was still a large enough retailer at this point in time to make this credible.

1982 Wishbook

Page 637 Vectrex $199.99
Page 637 Adventurevision $79.99 (wish I would have bought some of these from the Wishbook!)
Page 638-640 Super Video Arcade (Intellivision) $259.99
new games included Donkey Kong, Mouse Trap, AD&D, Utopia ($34.99), Tron Deadly Disc ($29.99)
Page 641 Odyssey2 $149.99
Page 642-646 Video Arcade (Atari) $149.99
games include Defender, Donkey Kong ($32.99), Asteroids, Pac-man ($29.99), Megamania ($27.99)
Page 647 Video Arcade II (Atari 2600 w/ all in one joystick/paddle combination) $189.99

1983 Wishbook
Page 596 Atari 2600 $89.99 before $30 rebate
Page 597 Coleco Gemini $59.99
Page 598, 599, 600 & 601 Atari 2600, Coleco Gemini, Sears Video Arcade carts
Page 602 Odyssey2 $49.99
Page 603 Vectrex $99.99
Page 604 Intellivision (actually Intellivision II) $99.99
Page 605 Intellivision software
Page 606 Atari 5200 $149.99 (price cut of $50 from the Spring 83 catalog)
Page 607 and 608 Atari 5200 software
Page 608-611 Colecovision $159.99 (price cut $40)and software

1984 Montgomery Wards

Colecovision $99.99 (includes a free Cabbage Patch Kid doll)
Atari 2600 $59.99 (includes a free Pac-man cart) many games as low as $3.99
Intellivision carts and Atari 5200 carts available but the systems aren't listed.

1985 Wishbook

There are no video games but you can buy a Commodore 64 or 128 on Page 598 & 599

1986 Wishbook

Page 523 Nintendo Entertainment System $89.99 deck only or $149.99 includes system, ROB, and lightgun
12 games are also available for sale
You can also continue to buy the Commodore 64 and 128 later in the book


1988 Wishbook

The commodore 64 is still available
IBM XT compatible computers are for sale
The Atari XE Video Game System $149.99
Atari 7800 $89.99 (1/2 page)
Atari 2600 Jr. $49.99 (1/2 page)
Sega Master System $109.99 core system or $149.99 3D system (1 full page)
Nintendo Action Set $99.99 (3 pages)



I guess the analysis is inconclusive since I haven't found anything from 1987 and that's a key year. However, from a Sears point of view, it does appear that video games were dead since they didn't even get a mention in 1985 and just one page in a non-prominant location for the NES in 1986. I can't prove that Nintendo, Atari, and Sega weren't on equal footing at some point in time later but it does appear that Nintendo had an advantage (at least at Sears).

Edited by cvga, Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:15 PM.


#40 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:44 PM

As another poster stated earlier, Jack Tramiel considered video games a distraction from his goal of re-establishing himself in the home computer industry after being given the bum's rush at Commodore.


And again, not really. Jack was counting on the video game side to keep Atari Corp. afloat. And as Curt has stated, Jack made sure the 2600 Jr. was started up again right away. The reason Jack started TTL and did Atari Corp. was not to get back at Commodore as has been postulated (a lot of that comes from the Amiga/Atari/Commodore missinformation) but from his old fear of the Japanese - this time in coming to take over the computer market (vs. the calculator market earlier). After leaving Commodore he went on vacation for a month and then after seeing, in his opinion, nobody rising to the challenge of the Japanese. So he started up TTL, and about four months later buying Atari Consumer for it's manufacturing, distribution, and brand. This is a time period Curt and I have been spending a lot of time researching as of late (as seen in the other two threads).

It was only AFTER watching the NES rise in popularity that he decided to get a piece of that action.


Nope, never happened. The 7800 was launched again in January of '86 - that was after a single dismal test marketing of the NES in New York. That "after the NES hit in popularity" is an old wives tale.

There was a revealing story in Steven Kent's book about how Jack Tramiel, being the legendary douchebag of industry that he was, ignored and eventually fired a man within the company who pleaded with him to sell the Atari 7800s the company had in storage. When it became clear that the NES was a success, Jack asked the man to come back and tell him the location of the warehouse where the systems were kept. The man, still holding a grudge, told Jack he would divulge that information... but only after Tramiel paid him a huge finder's fee.


Nope, never happened. The NES had only been test marketed, there was no success yet. The 7800 was started up again during late '85 mainly due to pressure from Warner and a strong sales season for the 2600 proving the market was still viable. That was with no advertising through Atari, just a set price point and having their retailers do the advertising (another Jackism).


You baby busters never want to give Nintendo the credit it deserves for resurrecting this industry, but that doesn't change the facts.


Making grand statements based on rumors doesn't make them facts.


No company in America wanted a thing to do with video games until it was abundantly clear that the NES was a success.


Again, not true. All three went national in the same year, and were treated equally at the Summer '85 CES coverage, with all three being given credit for showing a possible revived industry. The NES had only had a dismal test market in New York and an ok test market in Los Angeles before that.


Sure Atari may have sold some 2600s in 1985, but they were just flushing out remaining stock (and probably doing it at liquidation prices).


Once again, see the earlier posts.

It had nothing to do with competing against Nintendo


Why would it? They were a non-competitor at the time. They didn't have an actual market presence until the June '86 CES when they were promoting going national that Fall.

or reviving a dead market, because at that point, Tramiel was solely invested in carving out a piece of the home computer market for himself. He didn't give a shit about video games until he recognized them as an easy source of income.


Once again, completely false. As has been stated, by myself and Curt, he was counting on the video game side to keep the company afloat - from day one. Hell, he was even still showing off the 2600 and 5200 at the January '85 CES, besides the early ST's.


I get tired of this warped perspective from older gamers who view Nintendo as a sinister invading force that stole the video game industry from Atari as it was handing out puppies, candy, and sunshine to small children. That's not the way it happened, you know it's not the way it happened, and you should stop deluding yourselves into believing otherwise.


And I really get tired of this warped perspective from gamers who fancy themselves historians, regurgitate tales, and make grandstanding statements as if someone was attacking Nintendo. Nobody was stating or promoting any of what you're claiming - in fact all credit goes to them for reshaping the industry how they wanted it and pulling far a head by '87-'88.

Edited by wgungfu, Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:41 AM.


#41 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:37 AM

I agree that one person's experience may not reflect what was happening in the industry although my experience is similar to the extent that I had noticed lots of Nintendo systems at stores but don't recall seeing a 7800. Without knowing the answer ahead of time I thought we might be able to see how video games emerged nationally by looking at past issues of the Sears Wishbook. I think Sears was still a large enough retailer at this point in time to make this credible.


CVGA - I appreciate your sincere attempt to look at this objectively. Please keep in mind several things -

a) Sears was one of the chains that got out of video games after selling it's stock, hence nothing in the '85 wishbook.
b) The NES was distributed by Worlds of Wonder at the time, which was the reason for them being in the Wishbook in '86, alongside another WoW toy, Lasertag (on the facing page). That is indeed what got them wide distrubtion starting with the national launch that Fall of '86 - you'll notice from the index that Sears still no longer had an index entry for Video games. Likewise it was only available in the catalog, not in any of the stores.
c) This of course does not address that all three went national that year, and were treated equally by the press during the Summer CES and subsequent articles that year.

I'm including some articles here (that I paid for copies of through news services, out of pocket) to share for everyone's benefit.

Here's an article via the NYTimes wire service that discusses the situation that October '86 and why the Japanese consoles were considered to have an advantage (since Japan wasn't hurt by the crash and they already had a large library of games from their Japanese console versions). The only error in the article is it mentioning the 7800 as if it had yet to be released in '86. You'll also notice it specifically states Atari had continued to sell the 2600 the entire time.

Attached File  nytcoverage-oct16-1986.pdf   301.54KB   126 downloads

Here's a toys 'r us add pushing 7800 games the same month:
Attached File  7800toysrusnonintendo-Oct86-Chicago.pdf   194.73KB   176 downloads

Also from the LA Times, during a review of the January '87 CES (Jan 12th 1987 business article):
"Atari is back in a position of strength after having been nearly written off not long ago.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company's history is well-documented, from its 1972 founding by the innovative Nolan Bushnell, to its 1976 purchase by Warner Communications and its subsequent dive into red ink. The company hit $2 billion in sales in 1982, but was nearly brought down by its freewheeling ways, which resulted in a 1983 loss of $500 million.

Along came hard-nosed Jack Tramiel, who emerged from a power struggle at Commodore International and bought Atari for $240 million in notes 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, the family-run company's fortunes have, indeed, soared. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Atari made about $21 million on sales of $165 million. Defying skeptical industry analysts, the company went public in November. Its two video game systems were sellouts in 1986, cementing its lead in the category."


In regards to Nintendo's supposed "success" in the first test market, and when the 7800 was actually being brought back, this is from the January '86 CES coverage of the Philadelphia Enquirer (Jan 14th, 1986):

"Strangely, Atari also showed a lineup of its old video games and announced that a new game machine, first shown two years ago but never shipped to stores, would be reincarnated in a sleeker unit with a smaller price - about $80.

Atari vice president Michael V. Katz, who formerly worked for Mattel and Coleco, two other fallen video-game giants, said that the machine, the Atari 7800, would be aimed at a new generation of 5-to-10-year-olds who were too young to participate in the nation's Pac-Man craze of several years ago.

Katz declined, however, to identify any retailers that would carry the 7800, or game cartridges for it.

Nintendo, a Japanese company that attempted to introduce a new video-game machine over Christmas, failed miserably, retailers say.

Video games may be a tenuous proposition in 1986, but in other segments of the electronics market, the feeling is bullish. ". . . Plummeting prices may be behind us," said Alan Schlosser, spokesman for the Electronic Industries Association, the show's sponsor."



Regarding your '85 hole, here's a small sample of the sorts of adds across the country (in this case from the east coast and midwest) from during the Christmas '85 season (as stated previously, the 2600 was being actively sold by Atari Corp.) Kiddie City was a toy chain similar to Toys 'R Us on the east coast. -

Attached File  toyrsruschicagodec85.pdf   186.51KB   134 downloads
Attached File  kiddiecity-doylestown-pennsylvania-dec95.pdf   235.84KB   134 downloads

The under $50 price point was specific, and one promoted in the advertisements later in '86.

Again, all of this is part of the heavy research Curt and I have been involved in regarding the entire crash and post-crash period for our books.

Edited by wgungfu, Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:33 AM.


#42 akator OFFLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • 2,632 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:05 AM

Again, all of this is part of the heavy research Curt and I have been involved in regarding the entire crash and post-crash period for our books.


I'm glad someone has the research materials to do the job, and that you both are willing to do the work. The Nintendo fanboy revisionism has hit new peaks in recent years, and it is nice to know that there are at least a few people willing to go beyond the tripe on Wikipedia.

Wishbook


It took me a while to figure out what you were talking about. You mean the Sears Catalog, right? Being male, and growing up on the East Coast, the only time I heard anyone call it a "wishbook" was some girls I knew from the Midwest.

Last time I saw a Sears Catalog, the cover said "Catalog". Same with Montgomery Ward, JC Penny's, etc.

#43 5-11under OFFLINE  

5-11under

    River Patroller

  • 3,372 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:15 AM

Wishbook


It took me a while to figure out what you were talking about. You mean the Sears Catalog, right? Being male, and growing up on the East Coast, the only time I heard anyone call it a "wishbook" was some girls I knew from the Midwest.

Last time I saw a Sears Catalog, the cover said "Catalog". Same with Montgomery Ward, JC Penny's, etc.

It's the Christmas Catalogue.
5-11under

#44 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

Curt Vendel

    River Patroller

  • 4,591 posts
  • Location:Carmel, New York

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:24 AM

Hi Bruce,

Actually I used to think/feel the same way until I got a hold of internal emails and memo's from Summer 1984 through 1985. Jack actually kept the Atari 2100 (2600jr) project going in development from day one. The 7800 was tabled because GCC (General Computer) was owed a substantial amount for developing the MARIA chip and also for writing the first 10 games for the 7800. Jack felt that should've been included with his purchase of Atari and after things were settled over the course of approx. 9-12 months, GCC did get paid and then there was a second disagreement on the games and payments, this all delayed the 7800 being available to sell.

Everyone has to understand two important things about Jack Tramiel - first is he came out of the computer industry and never had any exposure to video games, so focusing on computers was his priority. (However, while I give him this - its also important to point out, he bought the worlds largest video game company and should've understood the mantle of ownership of the entity and its place in the video game world) second and far more important - Jack was SERIOUSLY hurting for cash to keep things going, so much so that at one point in the fall of 1984 he threatened to just walk away from Atari and the $240 mill debit to Warner - which meant Warner could not write off the losses. So Warner ended up paying Jack (I think it was around $3-4 million) to keep the lights on and everything going. So you see, just focusing on getting the Atari 8bits going again in cost reduced versions to generate capital and getting the ST's out the door by Sept 85' was the primary priority of the company. Once stable and going, then other products could be examined - the Atari 2600jr and eventually the Atari 7800, these would happen in 1986. The timing was actually good at that point anyway as even Nintendo's own test market in Holiday 1985 didn't go over very well and they were still on unsure footing to go forward.

The NES, Sega Master System and 7800 were all on equal footings. What Atari lacked was a strong enough marketing budget against Nintendo and Sega. When you add to this, that the 7800 had what most believed was a "tired old line up of games" while the NES had very lightweight, dull games initially - but in 1986 when Super Mario Brothers came out - it changed the whole situation - here was an entirely new game design, new feel, new gameplay and it was what made the NES at long last get noticed - it was Nintendo's version of what happened to the Atari 2600 (released in 1977, it didn't hit its stride until Space Invaders came out quite a while later - and then the Atari 2600 exploded in sales and attention - same with the NES) Sega had strong marketing too, plus lots of addon's and a good assortment of titles not available at home before. So the software offering and the lack of marketing muscle were what hurt the Atari 7800, not what has been mentioned in the thread.



Curt

The 7800 was only given a limited test market in New York and California where it did quite well actually, and most of the retailers put in advanced orders which were cancelled by Tramiel.

Yep, Kindly Uncle Jack (as the DTACK Grounded guy liked to call him)... his buying Atari helped set back the home video game industry. To him, consoles were just junk that got in the way of his desire for revenge against Commodore.

And the infamous "it's a toy that also plays games" scheme was one of several things they did to get it in to retaliers for the initial New York test market - because they didn't want to take on more game stock.

Ah, yes, that was it. I had forgotten the reasoning behind Nintendo trying to make it not look like a video game console. The retailers. It's a bit hard to sell something when the retailers have been burned by having to clearance stuff at a loss. Never mind that much of what they were getting rid of was due to third-party companies churning out crap games, with the thought that all games would sell equally.

The SMS deserved better than it got in the US, but there are reasons why it lost. Nintendo's exclusivity contracts, and Mario+Zelda (in that the best games for NES were better than the best games for SMS). The NES had a larger library because it lasted longer, but I can think of very few SMS games that I actually enjoyed playing, other than Rastan.

And FWIW, even there was no corporate lineage, the SMS and Genesis/MD were the successors to Colecovision in terms of architecture. Or perhaps more accurately, the CV was a branch of Sega's lineage, that had previously been limited to Japan only. In any case, from 1986 to 1995 (the Playstation launch), TMS-9918-style character cell + sprite graphics were king.



#45 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

Jess Ragan

    Phanto of the Opera

  • 10,061 posts
  • Keys and Thank You
  • Location:The Arid Zone

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:44 AM

As much as I hate long, tedious research, I'm afraid you've forced my hand. A few selections from The Ultimate History of Video Games...

AMERICAN REACTIONS TO NINTENDO'S ATTEMPT TO REVIVE THE VIDEO GAME MARKET IN THE MID 1980s

"All the headlines said, 'Video games are dead,' and here was this little upstart company that no one had heard of called Nintendo that said they were going to bring video games back again. Everybody seemed to think that it was a joke. 'Oh yeah, they say they can bring video games back again."

- Herb Weisbam, consumer affairs correspondent, CBS News

"Retailers took a tremendous financial beating because of the way the Atari business had fallen apart. I mean, with the demise of the old 2600 business, you wouldn't even try bringing up the words video game with some of these buyers. It was like they were going to pull you out to the parking lot and shoot you if you said the words video game."

- Jim Whims, former vice president, Worlds of Wonder

"We kind of all looked at it and chuckled as we walked through the show because we all knew that video games were dead. This was the age of the floppy disk, the Commodore 64, the Apple IIc, the IBM PC, and the little one, what did they call it?... it was PC Junior. Everybody was talking about the Amiga and the Atari ST. That was where everybody thought the business was, really. Nobody thought that Nintendo had much of a chance, and they kind of all laughed at what [Nintendo was] doing."

- Greg Fischbach, founder, Acclaim Entertainment

"In January 1985 we introduced the Advance Video System [prototype name for the NES] with the music keyboard and the keyboard and computer exercise, and it wasn't popular at all. Everybody really thought we were crazy or dumb."

- Minoru Arakawa, Nintendo

"We spent a lot of time in the spring of 1986 trying to convince American software publishers, Electronic Arts, Broderbund, and Activison as an example, [to make games for the NES]. We were trying to say, 'Hey, we got this great licensing program, and we want you to be a part of it. This is the deal.' And none of them took it. We ended up with four companies, all of whom were actually subsidiaries of Japanese companies."

- Howard Lincoln, Nintendo

THE REAL STORY ON THE TEST LAUNCH OF THE NES

"The NES was not a smash hit, but Nintendo did manage to sell 50,000 units, about half of the systems that had been shipped from Japan. It was enough to prove Yamauchi's point that video games were not dead. Amazingly, a large percentage of the retailers that carried the NES decided to continue carrying it after the holidays."

- Steven Kent, describing the initial test run of the NES in New York in the holiday season of 1985

"A large number of local department stores, electronics stores, and several toy stores began carrying the NES at that time. Though the system only sold moderately well, Arakawa interpreted retailers' willingness to stock his product as a sign of future success and expanded his tests to include Chicago and San Francisco."

- Steven Kent, describing the early 1986 test run of the NES in Los Angeles

"Americans purchased three million NES consoles in 1986."

- Steven Kent

I haven't found details on the Atari 7800s in a hidden warehouse, but I will continue to search for it and will post the direct quotes here once I've found it. However, I'm already starting to demonstrate that your messianic view of Atari clashes with the cold, hard facts.

#46 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:54 AM

[quote name='akator' date='Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:05 AM' timestamp='1256216753' post='1865730']
[quote name='wgungfu' date='Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:37 AM' timestamp='1256193462' post='1865633']
Again, all of this is part of the heavy research Curt and I have been involved in regarding the entire crash and post-crash period for our books.
[/quote]

I'm glad someone has the research materials to do the job, and that you both are willing to do the work. The Nintendo fanboy revisionism has hit new peaks in recent years, and it is nice to know that there are at least a few people willing to go beyond the tripe on Wikipedia.
[/quote]

Thanks, but realize this has nothing to do with any need to deal with nintendo fanboyism, all sides have their fanboys. We're seriously just interested in pure, factual research. Nintendo certainly deserves all the credit for dominating and reshaping the industry. The problem was, it didn't happen as soon as some have portrayed it as (i.e. the moment it was released).

And you can't blame the Nintendo fanboys all the time when Nintendo itself has started putting out incorrect info as of late, regarding such things as SMB and it's US release. Just about everyone from the old NOA is gone and retired, the people there now get their historical info from an internal database that's briefly worded. Found out about the database after working my way through the various departments in NOA trying to find out where the info was coming from, when it directly contradicts direct interviews with Minoru Arakawa, Howard Lincoln, Howard Phillips.

Regarding Wikipedia, there's actually a lot of good stuff that goes on there and a lot of genuinely good researchers and writers involved in the video game project there. The stuff you want to trust on there are the articles that have passed "good article" and "featured article" status (look at the top of their discussion pages to see their current ratings) - these have survived multiple peer reviews and are set to specific standards (the article on Pong is an example). That includes verifiable and reliable resources used as references throughout.



[quote name='wgungfu' date='Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:37 AM' timestamp='1256193462' post='1865633']
Wishbook
[/quote]

It took me a while to figure out what you were talking about. You mean the Sears Catalog, right? Being male, and growing up on the East Coast, the only time I heard anyone call it a "wishbook" was some girls I knew from the Midwest.

Last time I saw a Sears Catalog, the cover said "Catalog". Same with Montgomery Ward, JC Penny's, etc.
[/quote]

Here's an example, they were referred to as the Wishbook or Christmas Catalog or Christmas Wishbook at the time:



#47 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

Jess Ragan

    Phanto of the Opera

  • 10,061 posts
  • Keys and Thank You
  • Location:The Arid Zone

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:25 AM

www.atari-history.com has this interesting anecdote: "In the summer of 1984 the first 5,000
Atari 7800's had just been built in the new El Paso assembly plant. The production line
manager, Brad Saville was eager to meet with Jack Tramiel to show him the new flagship Atari
video game console. The meeting ended abruptly as Jack Tramiel was quoted "Get your pollution
out of here! We make computers now and we don't want your garbage." The line manager was fired
2 days later. About 8-9 months later the line manager received a phone call from Atari asking
him as to the whereabouts of the die molds for the Atari 7800. The ex-line manager responded
that he did in fact know where they were and for $50/hour for about 200 to 300 hours of his
time he would remember where they were and find them. The Atari Corp. representative who
called was infuriated and informed the former production line manager that Atari's lawyers
would be in contact with him. He never heard from Atari again."

Checkmate.

#48 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:41 AM

As much as I hate long, tedious research, I'm afraid you've forced my hand. A few selections from The Ultimate History of Video Games...


Jess, be as dramatic as you want, none of this is personal. I forced your hand to open Kent's book and look up a few quotes and statements you're trying to interpret incorrectly? Ultimate history is a good book, but full of anecdotal stories and inaccuracies. Steve's book is notorious for that, I've talked to him about it and he's acknowledged that, but that unfortunately he doesn't own the rights to it anymore and can't correct it. And I hardly call running to that book "long, tedious research", it seriously downplays all the long, expensive, and extensive research Curt and I have been doing. And so far, none of what you've shown below contradicts or disproves anything.

AMERICAN REACTIONS TO NINTENDO'S ATTEMPT TO REVIVE THE VIDEO GAME MARKET IN THE MID 1980s

"All the headlines said, 'Video games are dead,' and here was this little upstart company that no one had heard of called Nintendo that said they were going to bring video games back again. Everybody seemed to think that it was a joke. 'Oh yeah, they say they can bring video games back again."

- Herb Weisbam, consumer affairs correspondent, CBS News


Great, a random quote given on a chapter intro regarding hindsite compared to actual headlines from the time I've provided copies of in the other posts in this thread.

"Retailers took a tremendous financial beating because of the way the Atari business had fallen apart. I mean, with the demise of the old 2600 business, you wouldn't even try bringing up the words video game with some of these buyers. It was like they were going to pull you out to the parking lot and shoot you if you said the words video game."

- Jim Whims, former vice president, Worlds of Wonder


Which would be an inaccuracy by someone not involved at Atari Corporation. As shown, the 2600 business continued and 2600jr project continued.

"We kind of all looked at it and chuckled as we walked through the show because we all knew that video games were dead. This was the age of the floppy disk, the Commodore 64, the Apple IIc, the IBM PC, and the little one, what did they call it?... it was PC Junior. Everybody was talking about the Amiga and the Atari ST. That was where everybody thought the business was, really. Nobody thought that Nintendo had much of a chance, and they kind of all laughed at what [Nintendo was] doing."

- Greg Fischbach, founder, Acclaim Entertainment

"In January 1985 we introduced the Advance Video System [prototype name for the NES] with the music keyboard and the keyboard and computer exercise, and it wasn't popular at all. Everybody really thought we were crazy or dumb."

- Minoru Arakawa, Nintendo

"We spent a lot of time in the spring of 1986 trying to convince American software publishers, Electronic Arts, Broderbund, and Activison as an example, [to make games for the NES]. We were trying to say, 'Hey, we got this great licensing program, and we want you to be a part of it. This is the deal.' And none of them took it. We ended up with four companies, all of whom were actually subsidiaries of Japanese companies."

- Howard Lincoln, Nintendo


See above, none of this contradicts anything being said.

THE REAL STORY ON THE TEST LAUNCH OF THE NES


Or "Jess' selective interpretation" ;)

"The NES was not a smash hit, but Nintendo did manage to sell 50,000 units, about half of the systems that had been shipped from Japan. It was enough to prove Yamauchi's point that video games were not dead. Amazingly, a large percentage of the retailers that carried the NES decided to continue carrying it after the holidays."

- Steven Kent, describing the initial test run of the NES in New York in the holiday season of 1985


Again, all that shows is the same thing I already stated - The New York test was not a success, they only managed to sell half of their consoles. If you read the rest of Kent's material in that chapter, he states Yamauchi's unwillingness to accept defeat, which was the reason for doing the '85 test market - he wanted to "let the market decide". Selling half the systems showed that they would still sell in that market climate, hence it was considered a success for them *in regards to that goal*. That is the point and context of "success" that Kent is talking about. 50,000 consoles in all of New York state was considered dismal by retailers however, as shown already in the news article from the time I posted.

"A large number of local department stores, electronics stores, and several toy stores began carrying the NES at that time. Though the system only sold moderately well, Arakawa interpreted retailers' willingness to stock his product as a sign of future success and expanded his tests to include Chicago and San Francisco."

- Steven Kent, describing the early 1986 test run of the NES in Los Angeles


That's referring to the Los Angeles test, which as previously stated was more successful.

"Americans purchased three million NES consoles in 1986."

- Steven Kent


Anecdotal statement by Kent which has no source, and which certainly doesn't support any of your claims regarding Sega and Atari jumping on after the NES was a success. One would expect the NES to sell more and be a success *after* a national launch. As Curt has even shown now, it has nothing to do with the release of the 7800.

I haven't found details on the Atari 7800s in a hidden warehouse, but I will continue to search for it and will post the direct quotes here once I've found it.


What would Atari Corp. having the '84 stock of 7800's stored in a warehouse during it's on again and off again negotiations with GCC be evidence of, other than what Curt and I have already stated?


However, I'm already starting to demonstrate that your messianic view of Atari clashes with the cold, hard facts.


Hardly. If anything, you've simply regurgitated material that enhances and supports it, compared to the actual cold hard facts already provided by us. Once again, none of what Curt and I have presented is going by gossip, anecdotal evidence, or "messianic" fanboyism. Besides taking the time to post actual articles and such from the time (that I actually paid for) which are "cold hard facts", we're going by legitimate resources - business documentation, internal emails, direct interviews we've conducted, actual press and other media, etc., etc.

Once again, I'll spell it out - nobody is stating the NES didn't become a wild success totally reinventing the market. It just didn't happen as soon as some have tried to portray it as. As has already been demonstrated by the articles from the time posted, in 1986 the three were all being treated as equal and all three as signs the market was reviving - it wasn't until 1987 through '88 that Nintendo was being touted as out in front and such.

#49 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,442 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:44 AM

www.atari-history.com has this interesting anecdote: "In the summer of 1984 the first 5,000
Atari 7800's had just been built in the new El Paso assembly plant. The production line
manager, Brad Saville was eager to meet with Jack Tramiel to show him the new flagship Atari
video game console. The meeting ended abruptly as Jack Tramiel was quoted "Get your pollution
out of here! We make computers now and we don't want your garbage." The line manager was fired
2 days later. About 8-9 months later the line manager received a phone call from Atari asking
him as to the whereabouts of the die molds for the Atari 7800. The ex-line manager responded
that he did in fact know where they were and for $50/hour for about 200 to 300 hours of his
time he would remember where they were and find them. The Atari Corp. representative who
called was infuriated and informed the former production line manager that Atari's lawyers
would be in contact with him. He never heard from Atari again."

Checkmate.



Umm, false no - you just lost your Queen. Atari-history.com is Curt's site. That's an old page that hasn't been updated in years and simply discusses the initial meeting with Trameil and GCC rep Brad Saville. To see the *rest* of the story, see Curt's post a few posts up.

#50 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

Curt Vendel

    River Patroller

  • 4,591 posts
  • Location:Carmel, New York

Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:10 AM

Checkmate?

Yes, that was what Brad had told me, while his comments about what may have taken place during that meeting are subject to him being fired and may not be completely accurate as he recalls on that conversion. From May through June 1984 there were 5,000 some odd units fully assembled in the El Paso plant with parts to assemble another 40,000 units. That is all 100% correct.

Then the Atari-GCC deal goes into limbo with Warner selling Atari to Tramiel and now GCC is wondering where it's money is...

Brad's mentioning that 8-9 months later he was contacted about where the molds and tooling are falls right in line with GCC's Steve Golson stating that it took nearly 9 months or so before they finally got paid for the Maria chip, then they still had several months of back and forth on the games they wrote.

So that much is fully vetting through multiple non-associated sources...

So back to your post below: Checkmate?


Curt

www.atari-history.com has this interesting anecdote: "In the summer of 1984 the first 5,000
Atari 7800's had just been built in the new El Paso assembly plant. The production line
manager, Brad Saville was eager to meet with Jack Tramiel to show him the new flagship Atari
video game console. The meeting ended abruptly as Jack Tramiel was quoted "Get your pollution
out of here! We make computers now and we don't want your garbage." The line manager was fired
2 days later. About 8-9 months later the line manager received a phone call from Atari asking
him as to the whereabouts of the die molds for the Atari 7800. The ex-line manager responded
that he did in fact know where they were and for $50/hour for about 200 to 300 hours of his
time he would remember where they were and find them. The Atari Corp. representative who
called was infuriated and informed the former production line manager that Atari's lawyers
would be in contact with him. He never heard from Atari again."

Checkmate.






0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users