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The ADAM killed the ColecoVision


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#51 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:14 AM

How do you misconstrue a statement as blunt as "Get your pollution out of here! We make computers now and we don't want your garbage?" The intent seems pretty clear to me. If there's strong evidence that he didn't say that, I might concede the point, but I've been paying close attention to Tramiel and his businesses since the Commodore days and it seems extremely consistent with his past behavior and inclinations. I remain confident that Jack Tramiel's motivation for buying Atari was to return to the home computer market after his dismissal from Commodore. If Nintendo had not been there to stoke the dying embers of the video game industry, all we would have seen from Atari after the initial stock of Atari 2600s had run dry were home computers.

Also, my perception of older gamers as holding a grudge against Nintendo is rooted in past experience. There was a fanzine I used to read, with a regular feature by an Atari fan who crowed about the merits of the Atari 7800 while referring to its more successful competitor as "Gooktendo." The hostility is there; it's just that most Atari fans are more reserved about expressing it than this gentleman was.

Edited by Jess Ragan, Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:19 AM.


#52 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:25 AM

How do you misconstrue a statement as blunt as "Get your pollution out of here! We make computers now and we don't want your garbage?" The intent seems pretty clear to me.


Jess, read Curt's two posts (the first and now his direct response to you).

If Nintendo had not been there to stoke the dying embers of the video game industry, all we would have seen from Atari after the initial stock of Atari 2600s had run dry were home computers.


Again, nobody is taking away what Nintendo managed to do for the industry. (Hell, the irony is that the people responsible for it's national launch success in late '86, Worlds of Wonder, were ex-Atari Inc. sales people.) But what your're stating regarding Atari Corp. is not the case. We have the internal emails, documentation and direct interviews - the 2600jr was still going the entire time. The 7800 was being negotiated to be brought out again the entire time as well, finally completing in late '85 and announced in January of '86.

Also, my perception of older gamers as holding a grudge against Nintendo is rooted in past experience. There was a fanzine I used to read, with a regular feature by an Atari fan who


I understand and respect your past experience. But please respect what I'm saying - this is in no way being shared because of some sort of grudge or need to push up Atari and put down Nintendo. We're not coming from there, so please don't take it as that. We are sincere and genuine in our research. If anything, during our process for these books we've uncovered so much to show both Atari's (Inc. and Corp.) in a not so great a light and popped a lot of bubbles in "established" Atari lore. For example, Atari/Kassar was not the first to come up with marketing video games year around. That actually belongs to a former Fairchild rep (Channel f) who stated publicly (on record in the media) in early 1978 that needed to be done. Or for example, Nolan did not design Spacewar or do half of the other stuff he claimed and in fact had Atari Inc. close to bakruptcy many times during his tenure.

Edited by wgungfu, Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:33 AM.


#53 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:26 AM

Jess, I didn't miscontrue anything, I said was - given the fact that Brad was fired 2 days later, perhaps he statement of his interview with the Tramiels may not be fully accurate. I personally flew out to California, sat down and met directly with Brad, this is not something I gleaned off of Wiki or something. I did this personally.

However, what I am saying, is given the fact that I now have HARD EVIDENCE - in the form of emails and internal memo's from within Atari showing that the "2100" (aka - 2600jr) from July 1984 was on the board and being worked on and given the corroborating evidence from both Brad Saville stating he was contacted by Atari around 9 months later and that Steve Golson from GCC also stated that around 9 months later the payment for the work on the Maria chip in the 7800 was paid - both individuals not associated with each other, but directly involved in the same product - the Atari 7800, both show that around 9 months later the Atari 7800 was a go and the reason was - GCC needed to be paid so that Atari (the Tramiels) would now own the very heart of the system to make it work - the Maria processor. Atari apparently did keep the videogames portion going, though on a shoe-string budget while ramping up their from the ground up new computer system. All the while Nintendo is encountering its stops and starts in pushing forward to penetrate the US video game market. 1986 is when Nintendo, Sega and Atari all go head first into the market together. Nintendo had a trick up its sleeve in the form of a lock-out arrangement - you make games on the NES - well you don't make games for Sega or Atari.... Sega didn't have to worry so much, it had a fat wallet of titles to tap into which had never been in the home market.... Atari on the other hand did not have such a luxury, so it had to play catch up.


Curt

How do you misconstrue a statement as blunt as "Get your pollution out of here! We make computers now and we don't want your garbage?" The intent seems pretty clear to me. If there's strong evidence that he didn't say that, I might concede the point, but I've been paying close attention to Tramiel and his businesses since the Commodore days and it seems extremely consistent with his past behavior and inclinations. I remain confident that Jack Tramiel's motivation for buying Atari was to return to the home computer market after his dismissal from Commodore. If Nintendo had not been there to stoke the dying embers of the video game industry, all we would have seen from Atari after the initial stock of Atari 2600s had run dry were home computers.

Also, my perception of older gamers as holding a grudge against Nintendo is rooted in past experience. There was a fanzine I used to read, with a regular feature by an Atari fan who



#54 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:34 AM

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 crash definitely happened in Canada too! I got my first console and a pile of games (A Coleco Gemini!) for dirt cheap as a result of it. Games went from $50-$60 to $2-$3 pretty fast. I remember seeing real 2600s for half off too.

I find this thread fascinating. You realize how many sites distill the reality into very simple statements that don't reflect the situation well.

Edited by DracIsBack, Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:42 AM.


#55 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:42 AM

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 crash definitely happened in Canada too! I got my first console and a pile of games (A Coleco Gemini!) for dirt cheap as a result of it. Games went from $50-$60 to $2-$3 pretty fast. I remember seeing real 2600s for half off too.



Heya Drac, thanks for sharing. Yes, as I stated, Canada was more tied to the US market - hence the term North American Crash. Europe didn't suffer as much because it had it's own market and companies. Versions of US consoles generally appeared later there (i.e. later timeline) to compete against a market full of European companies. Japan didn't suffer because it as well had it's own more recently established market, which was one of the reasons it remained strong enough for companies like Nintendo and Sega to come in after the crash and spend the ammount of money they did advertising, etc.

Edited by wgungfu, Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:46 AM.


#56 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:52 AM

I think the videogame business died largely because computers and VCRs dropped in price to where they were more attractive as the big family gift.

Also, if you look at the comments about the market, everyone thought the videogame market was dead.
I'm sure THAT is what killed the Colecovision.
Stockholders and the board of directors listened to what retailers/buyers were saying and they axed the Colecovision.

If anything, the Adam was the only thing that might have kept them in the market but too many mistakes were made for them to recover.
They bet the farm on the data paks and on making it an expensive typewriter.
Data Paks in all their forms were unreliable. Exatron, Sinclair and who knows how many others found out the hard way.
Adam floppy drives came out too late.
Daisy Wheels were too slow and noisy to be very popular and the Adam printer was especially slow and noisy.
Plus, the built in word processor didn't really offer much of an advantage over the new smart typewriters.
To make things even worse, dual pass dot matrix printing came out around 1984 making the Adam look even worse.

#57 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:46 AM

Lot of interesting replies on here. I have read several times both Kent's awsome 'Ultimate History of Video Games' and Herman's 'Phoenix', and additional information is always a great thing to read.

It's too bad that the Tramiels didn't agree to sit down and be interviewed by Kent for his book -- I think it would have been very interesting to read what they said, especily since we got a nice 'back and forth' from Atari people in the same book. Yes, it's all interviews, which are subject to many errors -- but perceptions can be just as important sometimes. And trying to piece things together from what the Tramiels were thinking and doing, when they have said so little publicly for things like video game books and articles, is very hard.

I admire Curt and wgungfu for what they have done for research and look forward to reading their books when they come out. :)

#58 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:57 AM

It's too bad that the Tramiels didn't agree to sit down and be interviewed by Kent for his book -- I think it would have been very interesting to read what they said, especily since we got a nice 'back and forth' from Atari people in the same book. Yes, it's all interviews, which are subject to many errors -- but perceptions can be just as important sometimes. And trying to piece things together from what the Tramiels were thinking and doing, when they have said so little publicly for things like video game books and articles, is very hard.


We've actually had access via Leonard Tramiel. The important thing though is we've found you can't go just by interviews either. A lot of people's memories get cloudy over what happend 20+ years ago - details dissapear, memories of facts get muddled, etc. So we always try and level interviews with other sources of info as well - engineering diagrams, business documents, emails, etc., etc. In Leonard's case, refreshingly everything he stated during his interviews and talks with us has been backed up via these other sources. And if he hasn't known something because he wasn't involved with it, he makes no bones about stating that rather than making something up (which we'd catch him on) or trying to provide personal thoughts in lieu of the actual experience.

#59 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:04 PM

We've actually had access via Leonard Tramiel.



Most publications make the Tramiels out to be a combination of Machiavellian business tactics mixed with stubborn incompetence. Did he ever explain why they haven't defended themselves over the years? If I was in their shoes, and I had documents that proved I wasn't guilty of what I had been accused of, I would surely use those documents in my defense -- even if it was only in the court of public opinion.

#60 Paranoid OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:00 PM

I knew there was something wrong here. I'm running up against this guy and he is rattling off dates and timelines as if he is a history major seeking a PhD in the era of 70s and 80s console gaming...

And sure enough...

My experinece - Sacramento, California, about 45 minutes from San Jose. When I say I never saw the 7800 "in the wild", I mean, no one BOUGHT them. I saw TONS of them in boxes at Kay Bee. I saw an SMS in the wild... a few. I saw tons of of NES consoles. I never saw a single 7800 in the wild, in this sense. It was a *failure*.

Wgungfu... I *am* a history major, so I know enough to say *this* for certain...

History is subjective - and numbers *alone* do not always tell the complete story about a point in time. The fact that you would rely solely on numbers and statistics, (if you do, as you claim above), seems to me to be an incomplete method of research. There are all kinds of factors that may render those numbers you are using invalid - and that may mean that these "casual observations" that "may be regional", may have information you're missing out on. Your timelines may be very accurate - but your conclusions are... well... *your* conclusions.

Ok... this is an edit, because I simply wasn't happy with the response above. I was distracted and tired, and frankly, pretty much not into having a protracted debate with a guy who has some sort of encyclopedic grasp of historic dates and timelines with relation to retro gaming. I mean... really...

And then, on the ride home, I realized... that is exactly the problem here. To me, there is a bit of hostility in your responses, a bit of territorial pissing, maybe. It is as if you're selling something, and the things I am saying are inadvertently stepping on whatever you're trying to sell.

And well... it sounds like, you ARE selling something... a book... about this very topic... or you will be... right?

So, color me a little dubious - but your posts, as accurate as they seem when it comes to indisputable timelines, seem to be influenced and biased toward a certain conclusion. Now *maybe* you're just not very socially adept. You wouldn't be the first over-bearing, type A personality I met who was passionate about Atari. I've observed multiple times, Atari gaming and computing seemed to have a *special* ability to attract those types. But, pal, I'm one of your potential customers. You're going to have to polish those PR skills and people skills and learn how to keep the arrogance in check a little bit.

You're right, I agree, people are notoriously bad at placing dates and times and their memories get fuzzy, and facts and figures, when they can be found, are tangible (although they can't necessarily be trusted to be any more accurate than people's fuzzy memories. Who knows what kind of books were being cooked throughout the period of the crash and the recovery - and I think there are lots of examples of the paper-trail being inaccurate, often deliberately, throughout the years in various corporate record-keeping scenarios. The mythic quality of the New Mexico Pac Man landfill comes readily to mind). And, yeah, *my* memory, of particular, from about 83 to really around 94, is even hazier than the average bear's. So don't take ANY dates I say as anything but guidelines. But my perception throughout that period is accurate and clear. Probably clearer than the average person's memory.

As far as I can see, you're getting yourself worked up over my responses, and it certainly isn't because I'm *trying* to cause a conflict with you - but your tone and response has this undercurrent of hostility and conflict in it that frankly, is pissing me off a bit. My first response is to escalate the rhetoric and go toe to toe with you. But you know, obviously this is a major project to you and you're living and breathing it, and as far as I can see, that is where this hostility is coming from. Really... your *facts* have me outflanked, and probably acting a little MORE civil about that would give you a little MORE credibility that the conclusions you've drawn from your facts are solid. As it is, you seem to be lacking confident in your conclusions - based on how my fairly weak challenge has made you ever more agitated and abrasive.

My original point was, and remains, that the Adam didn't kill the CV. Which is another thing I've always noticed about what I think of as "atari-geeks". They're one of the few subcultures where you can get into an argument about one thing, have two people agreeing against a third, but of those two people, one of them is so abrasive it blossoms into a whole, almost unrelated argument. Seems like that is what you're doing here, wgungfu.

Good luck with that book, buddy. I'm sure it will revolutionize the perspective of the great crash of retro gaming of 83... Oh... sorry... 82, right? Gotta watch those dates around you...

Edited by Paranoid, Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:49 PM.


#61 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:38 PM

*sigh*

You're reading a lot more in to intention or what was being said, then what was actually being said or intended. That includes supposed "emotions". If you're getting "pissed off" and reading things in to text that aren't there, then you have only to look in the mirror. And you also might wish to actually read through posts before responding, I've never said we rely solely on numbers and statistics. Rather we go by a plethora of sources. Regarding qualifications of backgrounds (since you're bringing up your major) - I am a professional industry historian, and writer in the industry. The need for "encyclopedic knowledge" and such was actually in my contract with GameSpy/IGN. Your rant full of inaccurate statements and innuendos about the meaning of upcoming books aside, good luck with that whole history major thing. Or is that a dual history/psych major with that attempt at psychological analysis? That's one thing I've never seen with professional/published historians - complaints about people doing fact checking, dates, figures, encyclopedic knowledge, etc. Nor rants of personal anaylsis in lieu of simply staying on topic points such as your paragraph elaborating your personal experience or your one liner about your original point.

Edited by wgungfu, Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:44 PM.


#62 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:44 PM

Don't you love how quickly we get into fist-fights over toys?

#63 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:45 PM

Don't you love how quickly we get into fist-fights over toys?



Yah, but the big 70's GI Joe's were always better than the little action figure ones. :P

#64 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:45 PM

Nah - you're right, Marty is a prick :twisted: , believe me I should know, I deal with him on a daily basis.... :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


:P



Curt

#65 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:48 PM

Nah - you're right, Marty is a prick :twisted: , believe me I should know, I deal with him on a daily basis.... :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


:P



Curt



What was that saying, pricks of a feather flock together? ;)

#66 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:53 PM

Don't you love how quickly we get into fist-fights over toys?



Yah, but the big 70's GI Joe's were always better than the little action figure ones. :P


No way, Cobra Commander rules! (breaks out the brass knuckles)

#67 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:57 PM

Don't you love how quickly we get into fist-fights over toys?



Yah, but the big 70's GI Joe's were always better than the little action figure ones. :P


No way, Cobra Commander rules! (breaks out the brass knuckles)


I'll see your brass knuckles and raise one kung fu grip.

#68 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:06 PM

Cobra Commander?!?!? How can anyone take a guy who wears a teapot on his head and who's voice sounds like he's screaming because his nuts are in a vise --- how can you take him seriously!?!?

Yo Joe!!!!!!!!
Sargent Slaughter ROCKS!



Don't you love how quickly we get into fist-fights over toys?



Yah, but the big 70's GI Joe's were always better than the little action figure ones. :P


No way, Cobra Commander rules! (breaks out the brass knuckles)



#69 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:09 PM

I was going to say "The Baroness" but that didn't sound any better.

(MAN has this thread been derailed)

#70 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:19 PM

I was going to say "The Baroness" but that didn't sound any better.

(MAN has this thread been derailed)


I can bring it back. Let me psychoanalyze your choice of Cobra Commander over The Baroness while we talk about the Adam.

Edited by wgungfu, Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:20 PM.


#71 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:22 PM

Talk about going off topic...

#72 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:40 PM

I was wondering the same thing that this guy did.

And I wish Jack had given one major interveiw or written a article or a book at some point....

We've actually had access via Leonard Tramiel.



Most publications make the Tramiels out to be a combination of Machiavellian business tactics mixed with stubborn incompetence. Did he ever explain why they haven't defended themselves over the years? If I was in their shoes, and I had documents that proved I wasn't guilty of what I had been accused of, I would surely use those documents in my defense -- even if it was only in the court of public opinion.



#73 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:31 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.

Actually that IS the way it happened. Mean old crappy Nintendo.. ;) JK from a buster

#74 jeremysart OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:05 PM

"to accelerate production of Colecovision"

Oooh, so thats why its so hard to find a good working Colecovision these days.

I must say however, I do love my Adam Home Computer :lust:
It makes a good conversation piece. I always refer to it as my "new" computer when friends come over.
Pff.. forget CD's and Micro SD, ive got Digital Data Packs and Coleco Cartridges bitch!
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#75 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:10 AM

And I wish Jack had given one major interveiw or written a article or a book at some point....


Me too. A Jack Tramiel retrospective would be interesting




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