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Atari's "My First Computer" for the 2600


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#1 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:17 PM

I'm reading Joystick Nation, a book by J.C. Herz. I really can't recommend it so far, but the author mentions a few computer add-ons for the 2600. I knew about Spectravideo's CompuMate, but she mentions the Entex Piggyback 2000 and Atari's own "My First Computer." I don't hear a lot about either of the latter two on AA, and I've never seen either one show up on eBay. An interesting article from Compute! in 1983 on the MFC is here. Did this thing make it into production?

Edited by boxpressed, Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:18 PM.


#2 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:18 PM

here's a pic of the Entex
Posted Image

#3 kskunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:45 PM

An interesting article from Compute! in 1983 on the MFC is here. Did this thing make it into production?

Sadly, it never shipped. You can learn more about the MFC/Graduate here: http://www.atarihq.c...8/graduate.html

Or, if you have a technical bent, try this link: http://www.atarimuse...2600/a3000.html

It was a really creative design. It significantly expanded the 2600's graphics capabilities, far beyond what should have been possible. Aside from some very basic experimentation on the Harmony, confirming that the MFC approach works, no game has ever shipped which pushed the 2600's graphics as far as MFC did.

It's a shame it was finished so late. By the time it was scheduled to ship, nobody was interested in a product like that. Also, in typical Atari fashion, the price was unrealistic. They never figured out how to make it profitable at $90 before it was killed off.

-KS

Edited by kskunk, Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:49 PM.

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#4 player 0ne OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:57 PM

someone needs to reinvent this. why not. they are making NES-onna-chip computers now for $12 for third world countries. straight up computers, using the NES-chip. why not atari. i'll plug a modern compumate into my modded flashback 2, and plug a headphone jack into my mp3 player to load software. it would be awesome. make a passthough for a cart AND passthough for controllers. i'de still spend $100 on it. heck, im waiting at the mailbox for my harmony cart! why not other new hardware? when is the atarivox comming back? anything else? why not a relay controller and a little relay controller cart? heck, the hardware part of that is ALLMOST within my skill range.
you could have the atari turn on/off house lights, a relay for watering the garden,

oh, and ide love to see book carts. like with txt from a book on um. pointless now, but they would have helped sell atari back in the day.. non-game. youll see lots of my posts about non-game stuff..

#5 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:41 PM

That is so cool. It even has the matching woodgrain trim on it. Never heard of this thing before. Man I love this hobby :)

#6 SlowCoder OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:33 AM

Man I love this hobby :)

100% agree. So much stuff has already been uncovered, and I'm sure so much more stuff is still out there waiting for us to discover.

#7 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:58 AM

Man I love this hobby :)

100% agree. So much stuff has already been uncovered, and I'm sure so much more stuff is still out there waiting for us to discover.


Yeah, I just wish these things had been released!

#8 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:05 AM

Well, I discovered that there was a book entitled Simon and Schuster's Guide to Atari's "My First Computer" (1984) that was published. It was written by Danny Goodman, who seems to have written a lot about tech, beginning with the "golden" age of videogames. He must have had a test unit. So interesting that the book was released but the product wasn't. I'll report back on the book once it arrives. Link to bibliographic info on book is here.

Edited by boxpressed, Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:24 AM.


#9 Wickeycolumbus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:20 PM

someone needs to reinvent this. why not. they are making NES-onna-chip computers now for $12 for third world countries. straight up computers, using the NES-chip. why not atari.


As cool as that would be, it's not practical at all. NOACs have existed for years, why downgrade to a 2600 on a chip? Not to mention all the trouble of trying to replicate chips from the graduate that themselves were never mass produced. That's not to say we won't see 2600 clones in the future. I just doubt any pirate company would ever try to clone the graduate.

#10 SlowCoder OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:06 PM

As cool as that would be, it's not practical at all. NOACs have existed for years, why downgrade to a 2600 on a chip? Not to mention all the trouble of trying to replicate chips from the graduate that themselves were never mass produced. That's not to say we won't see 2600 clones in the future. I just doubt any pirate company would ever try to clone the graduate.

Can you define "graduate"? I don't understand what you mean.

I can see how this would be difficult. Building a "computer" from the ground up can be a daunting task. But it's been done. And I think maybe Linux could be the answer to at least the software side of it. It would probably involve a 2nd processor inside the computer component, and a limited set of Linux-based kernel instructions. Once the kernel was developed for the hardware, next could be a compatibility layer to somewhat "emulate" an Atari 800.

Of course, this would only be a start. I'm no expert in this, but this is my thinking.

#11 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:26 PM

I'm reading Joystick Nation, a book by J.C. Herz. I really can't recommend it so far


That book is awful.

I posted some scans a while back from Electronic Fun with Computers and Games on a 2600 add on article they did.

#12 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:59 PM

I'm reading Joystick Nation, a book by J.C. Herz. I really can't recommend it so far


That book is awful.

I posted some scans a while back from Electronic Fun with Computers and Games on a 2600 add on article they did.


It's bad. It's almost unreadable. The word that keeps coming to mind is "overwritten." Too many pointless allusions and metaphors. Lots of factual errors. It reminds me of a first draft of a graduate thesis in cultural studies intended to impress the thesis advisor with its appreciation of the intertextuality of videogames. It is worth a glance is you have an interest in someone spitballing on the cultural impact of videogames, but it is not a heavily-researched study like Kent's Ultimate History of Videogames.

#13 Wickeycolumbus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:13 PM

As cool as that would be, it's not practical at all. NOACs have existed for years, why downgrade to a 2600 on a chip? Not to mention all the trouble of trying to replicate chips from the graduate that themselves were never mass produced. That's not to say we won't see 2600 clones in the future. I just doubt any pirate company would ever try to clone the graduate.


Can you define "graduate"? I don't understand what you mean.


As posted earlier in the thread:

http://www.atarimuse...2600/a3000.html

#14 Inky ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:27 PM

Well, I discovered that there was a book entitled Simon and Schuster's Guide to Atari's "My First Computer" (1984) that was published. It was written by Danny Goodman, who seems to have written a lot about tech, beginning with the "golden" age of videogames. He must have had a test unit. So interesting that the book was released but the product wasn't. I'll report back on the book once it arrives. Link to bibliographic info on book is here.


Interesting. I'm skeptical you'll ever get the book. I want to be wrong on that however.

#15 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:29 PM

Well, I discovered that there was a book entitled Simon and Schuster's Guide to Atari's "My First Computer" (1984) that was published. It was written by Danny Goodman, who seems to have written a lot about tech, beginning with the "golden" age of videogames. He must have had a test unit. So interesting that the book was released but the product wasn't. I'll report back on the book once it arrives. Link to bibliographic info on book is here.


Interesting. I'm skeptical you'll ever get the book. I want to be wrong on that however.


Hmm. You were right. I just received a cancellation notice on this. The store was a Goodwill in DC. I wonder what happened?

Edited by boxpressed, Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:30 PM.


#16 Inky ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:31 PM

Well, I discovered that there was a book entitled Simon and Schuster's Guide to Atari's "My First Computer" (1984) that was published. It was written by Danny Goodman, who seems to have written a lot about tech, beginning with the "golden" age of videogames. He must have had a test unit. So interesting that the book was released but the product wasn't. I'll report back on the book once it arrives. Link to bibliographic info on book is here.


Interesting. I'm skeptical you'll ever get the book. I want to be wrong on that however.


Hmm. You were right. I just received a cancellation notice on this. The store was a Goodwill in DC. I wonder what happened?


I question if the book ever was released. Still, I would guess that it exists in some form or another. I say a letter to Simon and Schuster is in order.

Edited by Inky, Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:33 PM.


#17 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:36 PM

But the store listed a used copy for about three bucks. It did seem as though it had a physical copy.

#18 Inky ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:38 PM

Did a little googling, and came across this... The webpage of the author...

http://www.dannyg.com/

I'm gonna try contacting him for info on the book.

Edited by Inky, Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:39 PM.


#19 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:40 PM

I saw that too. Maybe I'll write him to find out more about this book. It's not listed on his webpage.

#20 Inky ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:45 PM

Here's the email I sent...

I'm a member of the forums over at Atariage.com, and in a thread about the Atari Graduate computer (Formerly known as the unreleased My First Computer,) it was discovered that you had written a book about said system.

Was the book ever released? If not, is there a manuscript floating around? What were your impressions of the system? What did you see?

There are a lot of questions surrounding this legendary (in our classic videogaming world) piece of Atari history, and us fanboys would love to know more about it.

Here's a link to the thread in question:

http://www.atariage....54#entry2372254

Thank you in advance for any information you'd be willing to share.



#21 Inky ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:46 PM

I saw that too. Maybe I'll write him to find out more about this book. It's not listed on his webpage.


If it's not listed, I wonder if it ever was released. It could be that the B&N site was pulling ISBNs out of its hind portion.

#22 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:53 PM

Cool. Maybe he'll join AA! When I placed my order, I noticed that amazon.uk had a couple of copies. They don't anymore. Maybe I should have waited to mention the book until I had it in my hands.

#23 Godzilla OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:05 PM

so was the compumate the only one that made it out?

#24 player 0ne OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:21 AM

i just got my compumate today. it doesnt seem to work on my modded FB2. it was sold as tested good. hopefully it will fire up the ol' 2600. cant wait..

what a cool looking thing

i want to make a cart a joystick passthru for it, so i dont ever have to unplug it.

#25 jhd ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:33 PM

Well, I discovered that there was a book entitled Simon and Schuster's Guide to Atari's "My First Computer" (1984) that was published. It was written by Danny Goodman, who seems to have written a lot about tech, beginning with the "golden" age of videogames. He must have had a test unit. So interesting that the book was released but the product wasn't. I'll report back on the book once it arrives. Link to bibliographic info on book is here.


Interesting. I'm skeptical you'll ever get the book. I want to be wrong on that however.


Hmm. You were right. I just received a cancellation notice on this. The store was a Goodwill in DC. I wonder what happened?


I question if the book ever was released. Still, I would guess that it exists in some form or another. I say a letter to Simon and Schuster is in order.


I'm a bit late to this discussion, but a quick search on the Library of Congress catalogue does not list this title. Goodman did a seriois of titles in the early 1980s for everything from the Tandy Model 1000 to the Mac, but this title is not listed. I also checked a union catalogue of major Canadian libraries, and this titles does not appear either.

ISBN numbers can be issued before a title is published; persumably Simon and Schuster recieved a block of numbers for its pending titles. (I once worked on a publishing project where we were given about four ISBN numbers; we ultimately only used one or two of them.) I'd be curious to see how Barnes & Noble managed to get a catalogue record for this (non-existent) book.




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