Jump to content

Photo

Was there a personal computer market crash (or correction) in the mid 80s


118 replies to this topic

#51 high voltage OFFLINE  

high voltage

    Quadrunner

  • 6,858 posts
  • Location:europe

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:58 AM

I had a Mega/PC it wasn't very good, I prefer my Sega Teradrive

#52 atarian63 OFFLINE  

atarian63

    River Patroller

  • 4,247 posts
  • Location:columbus ohio

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:48 AM

In the US, the vast majority of the video gaming public from 1983 - 1985 went from the Atari 2600 to the Commodore 64.  Ya, there were other players, but those were the platforms that had the majority of the mind share of the video game public.  Almost all the game developers that were heavy into the 2600, Intellivision and Colecovision went under, while many computer game developers that were into the C-64, 400/800/XL and Apple II thrived during that time.

No c64 was basically nothing until late 85
Atari was tops 81 to 93 c64,era was 85 87
Most people bought nes in late 86 forward

Edited by atarian63, Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:48 AM.


#53 save2600 OFFLINE  

save2600

    Quadrunner

  • 15,724 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:25 AM

Which numbers are those?
I'd be seriously interested, it felt like it was happening a fair amount when I was growing up..
I know it happened in our household, then again, 1 is a pretty bad number to base a trend on.. ;-)

desiv

I knew at least 5 or 6 families that bought expensive computers for the family vs. spending money on a console, just for the kids. Idea was that the kids could game on it if they wanted, use it for school, etc while parents could use it for work, business, banking and more. Sounded great, but always felt sorry for my friends that ended up with a monochrome PeeCee to "game" on. lol

One of those friends ended up buying himself an Amiga 500 shortly after that. haha

Edited by save2600, Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:27 AM.


#54 barnieg OFFLINE  

barnieg

    Moonsweeper

  • 408 posts
  • Location:Rugby, England

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:26 AM

DIdn't Amstrad discontinue the Spectrum +3 (disk based) a few years before stopping production of the tape based +2? 

 

 

Well here in the UK the 8-bits lasted a long time. Of course the Speccy and 64 were the dominant 2 but even the Dragon 32/64 still had a magazine until 1989. And the Commodore Vic 20 was still going in 1985, lots of games were released, particularly the budget publisher Mastertronic.

 

But anyway, the UK market was ruled by tapes, not carts(too expensive) or discs(drives too expensive), almost the exact opposite of the USA. for that reason whatever had cheap, fast and fairly reliable tape loading with a large numbers of cheap games won. The BBC micro was probably the best micro available, but at £400 and being "uncool" as it was the school computer it never had much presence at home, shame as it was probably the "cream of the crop" of the 8-bits.



#55 Major Havoc 2049 OFFLINE  

Major Havoc 2049

    Dragonstomper

  • 967 posts
  • Location:California, USA

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:46 AM

No c64 was basically nothing until late 85
Atari was tops 81 to 93 c64,era was 85 87
Most people bought nes in late 86 forward

My point was that beginning in 1983 in the US, as the console market began to crash and liquidate, there was a clear transition as people began abandon consoles and move to computer gaming, especially if you wanted to stay current and play the newest games.  It all didn't happen overnight and it didn't last forever.  The dominate platform of the early 8-bit console era was the Atari 2600 and the dominate platform for 8-bit computers was the C-64.  The console market came back from the dead with the intro of the NES and the computer gaming side kept moving on with the C-64, PC, Mac, Amiga and ST markets into the late 80's and early 90's. 

 

Not sure what you mean by "Atari was tops 81 to 93", but by the early 90's, I had to drive like an hour to get to one of the last remaining Atari computer dealers in my area, to buy the latest ST import releases from the UK.  It used to crack me up, because I was living in the DC metro area at the time and Microprose was one of my favorite game developers back then.  Microprose was based in the Baltimore area and I had to drive from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD, so I could hit up Toad Computers and buy ST games like B-17 Flying Fortress, Knights of the Sky, Grand Prix, Silent Service II, F-15 Strike Eagle II, etc., imported to the US by Microprose UK. :lol:   


Edited by Major Havoc 2049, Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:54 AM.

  • jhd likes this

#56 Bruce Tomlin OFFLINE  

Bruce Tomlin

    River Patroller

  • 3,617 posts
  • CD C9 01
  • Location:San Antonio, TX

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:39 PM

I would have to say that in the US, the "home computer" market didn't crash, as we transitioned over to 16-bit stuff, and everything 8-bit but the Apple II and C64 was already insignificant and anything without a floppy drive had simply faded away by '84. In any case, there wasn't the absurd plethora of 8-bit systems that other parts of the world had.

 

More important was that we in the US had already transitioned to floppy drives in the "mainstream" 8-bit systems (A2 A8 C64 TRS-80), and were well into going to hard disks with the new 16-bit computers, while (AFAICT), other parts of the world were still seriously using cassette tapes when they didn't use cartridges.



#57 barnieg OFFLINE  

barnieg

    Moonsweeper

  • 408 posts
  • Location:Rugby, England

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:43 PM

I had floppy drives for the Commodore 64 & Atari 800 XL but saw little point in upgrading past that, most users had tapes. With the launch of the ST & Amiga I saw little point in buying or upgrading another 8-bit.  Amiga 500's were hugely popular in the UK, and with it's launch (along with the Atari ST's) that's when (imho) disks became a common format. 

 

A few of the 8-bit systems were the budget options or entry level computers, I think if Commodore hadn't went under there was still a market for the Commodore 64 for example.

 

 

More important was that we in the US had already transitioned to floppy drives in the "mainstream" 8-bit systems (A2 A8 C64 TRS-80), and were well into going to hard disks with the new 16-bit computers, while (AFAICT), other parts of the world were still seriously using cassette tapes when they didn't use cartridges.



#58 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

SoulBlazer

    Quadrunner

  • 5,235 posts
  • Location:Providence RI

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:22 PM

I was still using (and buying new games) for my C64 well into the 90's.  I think the last new game I recall buying was in 93, and I didn't give up the system until I went to college in 94.

 

Curiously enough, the same holds true for the NES for me. :lol:

 

We got out first PC (a clone system, back in the days when small shops would assemble and sell them themselves) in 88, but with only 386 specs and a CGA graphics it didn't get much gaming -- the C64 and NES got all my attention (C64 starting 85, NES in 87).  It wasn't until we got a new system -- a Gateway 486-50 with VGA graphics and a 3.5 disk drive along with Priodgy and a 9600 baud modem) for Christmas of 92 that I started playing a lot of PC games (Sierra and Lucasfilm games got a lot of love).  I also had gotten a SNES for Christmas of 91, so that by 93 most of my gaming time was on the PC and SNES, with the C64 and NES less and less and finally being given up on in 94. 

 

It was buying another computer system -- a nice small desktop all in one AST 486-66 with a CD-ROM drive -- in the summer of 95 that really exploded my PC gaming time.  Although I kept using my SNES, I didn't spend more time playing on a console then a PC until I got the Playstation in 98.



#59 atarian63 OFFLINE  

atarian63

    River Patroller

  • 4,247 posts
  • Location:columbus ohio

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:19 PM

My point was that beginning in 1983 in the US, as the console market began to crash and liquidate, there was a clear transition as people began abandon consoles and move to computer gaming, especially if you wanted to stay current and play the newest games.  It all didn't happen overnight and it didn't last forever.  The dominate platform of the early 8-bit console era was the Atari 2600 and the dominate platform for 8-bit computers was the C-64.  The console market came back from the dead with the intro of the NES and the computer gaming side kept moving on with the C-64, PC, Mac, Amiga and ST markets into the late 80's and early 90's. 
 
Not sure what you mean by "Atari was tops 81 to 93", but by the early 90's, I had to drive like an hour to get to one of the last remaining Atari computer dealers in my area, to buy the latest ST import releases from the UK.  It used to crack me up, because I was living in the DC metro area at the time and Microprose was one of my favorite game developers back then.  Microprose was based in the Baltimore area and I had to drive from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD, so I could hit up Toad Computers and buy ST games like B-17 Flying Fortress, Knights of the Sky, Grand Prix, Silent Service II, F-15 Strike Eagle II, etc., imported to the US by Microprose UK. :lol:

typo on my part, 81 to 83, yes there was short window after that but c64 didnt have much of a library to compete with atari until late 85.
I miss Toad computers,great hardware stuff for ST. There was a place I used to take my uncle near chevy chase, can't remember the name.My place here in columbus specialized in imports, had folks waiting for a daily list of what we got in.

#60 cimerians OFFLINE  

cimerians

    Quadrunner

  • 10,336 posts
  • Location:Chicago

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:39 PM

No. There was no crash quite the opposite. In 85' everyone was buying Atari or Commodore computers in the States and expensive Apple's were not on many parents' Xmas lists. Videogames were always being played everywhere and pirated everywhere. Companies crash, new companies are born, videogames never die. Lucasfilm(arts) games really started making good stuff in the 80's. Not just the 90's.

 

Atari and Commodore (C64 especially) were kings. C64 around 85' was pretty much found everywhere in the United States and didn't slow down until the NES came about post 86'.

 

I was there I read all the f@cking mags. EG, Computer Gaming World, BYTE, Commodore Ahoy! even Nintendo's mag.

 

You know the whole video game crash in the 80's? ....it's all very annoying to me. 

 

:grin:



#61 Osgeld ONLINE  

Osgeld

    Quadrunner

  • 5,983 posts
  • Location:Nashville, TN

Posted Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:47 PM

oh I would not say everybody, the Atari and Amiga's are virtually non existent in the USA,  I can only remember seeing 2 in my lifetime, one in the store and one in the av department of our high school

 

meanwhile the stores were flooded with PC clones and Mac's


Edited by Osgeld, Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:49 PM.


#62 high voltage OFFLINE  

high voltage

    Quadrunner

  • 6,858 posts
  • Location:europe

Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:28 AM

Musicians liked the ST



#63 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

SoulBlazer

    Quadrunner

  • 5,235 posts
  • Location:Providence RI

Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:59 PM

Just like graphic makers and artists liked the Amiga.  It was defentily the top system for that for it's day and age.  Every computer has had a 'place' I feel.



#64 kiwilove OFFLINE  

kiwilove

    Dragonstomper

  • 958 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, New Zealand

Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:30 PM

I'll comment with my observations etc...

 

I'll not quote dates as my memory isn't all that accurate to the actual years...

 

It is a question of what the market/public wanted at the time - which coincided with the technology of the day.

The 2600 was hugely popular because of the Atari name and it's connection with Atari coin-op games - of course it was hugely underpowered to reproduce many of the current games of it's day accurately - so it was very obvious when it became dated and failed miserably at giving any kind of arcade experience at home.

The Atari 400/800 computers did of course improve vastly over the 2600 hardware - but it's pricing/affordability was along the Apple II line - which was not cheap.  By the time the C-64 arrived - it changed the market completely - by providing a decent specced computer at a more affordable price.  Atari responded by producing the cheaper to manufacture XL and XE to compete.

Atari previously had the market to themselves as being the superior computer hardware - compared to the Apple II - but this was priced out of most peoples' pockets.  The UK spearheaded the demand for low cost computers with the Sinclair computers - you could do little with the ZX-80, and while the ZX-81 was an improvement - it had primitive graphics.  When the Spectrum finally arrived - it's graphics specs weren't able to match the Atari 400/800 etc and C-64.

In the mid-80s - while computers would have outsold consoles - the excuse to buy a computer - was for education, but in reality it was to be used as a computer games machine - that kids would use to convince their parents to finally buy a home computer.

Of course the BBC computer was aimed at the education/schools market (in the UK), much like the Apple II was - which did not have any graphics support for arcade like/quality games.

 

There is a natural cycle for computer/console games technology - for when it is first released, that when it is innovative hardware, it takes time for the programmers/developers to take full advantage of that hardware - so as to really push it to it's limits to see what it is capable of?

 

I did work on 2 computer games back in the mid-80s' for the Atari 400/800 computers, ie. 1985 till 1989 - on the Laser Hawk and Hawkquest games, in which I designed the graphics for.  And at the very start of this year - I have gone back into designing new graphics for a new Atari 400/800 (and now 5200) game - called GTIABlast! simply because the GTIA modes were not used much in gaming graphics (but were well known in some graphics demos).  But also it has been decided to also use two Antic modes too - because it's easy to do so with the development tools we're using - and those to their limits as well...  You have only to see the demos released so far - to see if it is/was worthwhile to revisit the Atari 8-bit 20 something years later on...  I am very fortunate to be working with a programmer who is able to do things not done back then... and is willing and able to try new things out.

 

What I hope we are showing - is that there is still new life possible in the old hardware (of 33 years old) - if the hardware is capable of it.  Other similar hardware could be capable of such things too ... well, some...

 

The SNES did have unique powerful hardware - the top games for any console/computer usually demostrates what it is capable of - and those who like to - can compare the various platforms by viewing the various videos titled "Let's Compare...." on Youtube.  Sadly a few of the videos may be showing an incorrect fast or slower frame rate than the original, when it is showing an emulation - but most are good/excellent comparisons - and only rarely do you see something obviously poorly represented in them.

 

Harvey



#65 high voltage OFFLINE  

high voltage

    Quadrunner

  • 6,858 posts
  • Location:europe

Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:24 PM

Wow, you worked for Red Rat?



#66 high voltage OFFLINE  

high voltage

    Quadrunner

  • 6,858 posts
  • Location:europe

Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:28 PM

 

There is a natural cycle for computer/console games technology - for when it is first released, that when it is innovative hardware, it takes time for the programmers/developers to take full advantage of that hardware - so as to really push it to it's limits to see what it is capable of?

 

Harvey

 What happened then in the UK with the ZX Spectrum, it was way behind A8 and C64, it was not innovative, but was the best selling 8-bit computer in UK and it didn't even have a space bar


Edited by high voltage, Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:29 PM.


#67 Seob OFFLINE  

Seob

    River Patroller

  • 2,510 posts
  • Location:Netherlands

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:39 AM

What happened then in the UK with the ZX Spectrum, it was way behind A8 and C64, it was not innovative, but was the best selling 8-bit computer in UK and it didn't even have a space bar


Hardware price.

#68 Osgeld ONLINE  

Osgeld

    Quadrunner

  • 5,983 posts
  • Location:Nashville, TN

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:36 AM

yea you could buy one for the price of two sticks of gum and a shit calculator



#69 kiwilove OFFLINE  

kiwilove

    Dragonstomper

  • 958 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, New Zealand

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:48 AM

No, I did not work for Red Rat.  But Red Rat was the only company interested enough to want to release Laser Hawk and Hawkquest.  We should have tried Atari with Hawkquest - but did not know at that time, they did release some new software/games - although they weren't of a high quality.

 

My guess as to why people bought Spectrums - was that it was affordable to them.  Note - there was a great deal of coin-op games conversions done for the home computer market (in the UK) - but I would guess they would have not have sold well because a lot of them, were rather poor - and could not give you a satisfying coin-op at home gaming experience.  Games have to be programmed with particular hardware in mind.  Battlezone was a vector graphics game - and one programmer that showed how this type of game could be done well, would be Paul Woakes and his Encounter variation.  Likewise Bob Polin with his Blue Max, showed how a diagonal scrolling game could be done well on the Atari 400/800 computers.  Likewise Bill Hogue showed how a platform game should be done with his Miner 2049'er game.

 

Harvey



#70 kiwilove OFFLINE  

kiwilove

    Dragonstomper

  • 958 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, New Zealand

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:59 AM

Not every computer sold well enough to survive.  There were various casualties - Not many people have heard of the Oric, or Dragon32.  The Texas Instruments computer didn't fare well - although it did have sprite hardware.  The Tandy Color computer (successor to the TRS-80?).

The Colecovision comes to mind - the console that could be turned into a computer.  Anyone knowing about the early development of the Amiga, will know it was pitched as a games console first, and then turned into a computer.  Sega didn't fare too well with it's various entries pre-Master System.

I don't think any of these failed systems - had any significant advanced hardware with which to battle other systems with...

 

I have not yet seen an actual Atari 7800 running -- I'll guess it's hardware is substandard?  That a glowing report I read in an American videogames magazine was overhyped - it mentioned 7800 Joust's sprite using many colours rivalling it's coin-op counterpart.  Is the background or foreground graphics not up to par at the expense of having many sprites available?

 

Harvey



#71 BSA Starfire OFFLINE  

BSA Starfire

    Dragonstomper

  • 544 posts
  • Location:England

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:56 AM

OK, maybe this will help a little on the UK market in March 1983. Here's some retail prices for the home micro's.

 

BBC Model B = £399.

Sinclair ZX81 =£49.

Sinclair Spectrum 16K = £125

Sinclair Spectrum 48K = £175

Oric 1 48k = £169

Dragon 32 = £199

Commodore Vic 20 =  £129

Commodore 64 = £299

Atari 400 16K = £324

Atari 800 48K = £485

 

All prices taken from Home computing Weekly magazine adverts issue numbers 2 & 3.



#72 Seob OFFLINE  

Seob

    River Patroller

  • 2,510 posts
  • Location:Netherlands

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:25 AM

Yes the european market was very different compared to the US market. Here in europe people bought stuff if they could affort it, while in the us market in the 80's it was very common to buy stuff on credit.
That's why a "underpowered" computer sold very well and why tapebased systems ruled europe.
And that was not bad, because of the low entry price a lot of great programmers where able to start programming leaving lots of great games.

#73 BSA Starfire OFFLINE  

BSA Starfire

    Dragonstomper

  • 544 posts
  • Location:England

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:16 AM

Here's some of the British computers I can remember. All these  were gone by 1985.

 

Camputers Lynx.

Elan Enterprise 64/128.

Dragon 32/64.

Grundy Newbrain.

Jupiter Ace

Memotech MTX 500/512.

Oric 1.

Oric Atmos.

Acorn Atom.

Sinclair QL.

 

some of the survivors.

 

Sinclair Spectrum 128 +2(bought out by Amstrad, and remodeled).

sinclair spectrum +3, a +2 with 3" disk drive instead of tape, initially too expensive.

Acorn BBC Master.

Acorn Electron.

Amstrad CPC 364, 664, 6128.

Amstrad PCW 8256, 8512.

 

Later on there was the SAM Coupe, it was much advertised, much anticipated, but ended up being really late to launch & was too little too late in the end and stood no chance against the Atari STFM only a few thousand were sold and software support was awful, a real shame as it would have been the last great 8-bit.

 

The 32-bit RISC Acorns dominated the education market in the later 80's. A stunning machine and the basis for all those ARM CPU's we use today.

 

The Konix Multisystem, this would have been an awesome console, I so wanted one when it was first previewed, Jeff Minter was working on it too. Sadly never did get released. Spec's wise it annihilated the NES, 7800 or Sega.

 

  

 

 

.



#74 high voltage OFFLINE  

high voltage

    Quadrunner

  • 6,858 posts
  • Location:europe

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:00 AM

No, I did not work for Red Rat.  But Red Rat was the only company interested enough to want to release Laser Hawk and Hawkquest.  We should have tried Atari with Hawkquest - but did not know at that time, they did release some new software/games - although they weren't of a high quality.

 

My guess as to why people bought Spectrums - was that it was affordable to them.  Note - there was a great deal of coin-op games conversions done for the home computer market (in the UK) - but I would guess they would have not have sold well because a lot of them, were rather poor - and could not give you a satisfying coin-op at home gaming experience.  Games have to be programmed with particular hardware in mind.  Battlezone was a vector graphics game - and one programmer that showed how this type of game could be done well, would be Paul Woakes and his Encounter variation.  Likewise Bob Polin with his Blue Max, showed how a diagonal scrolling game could be done well on the Atari 400/800 computers.  Likewise Bill Hogue showed how a platform game should be done with his Miner 2049'er game.

 

Harvey

I vaguely remember us from the BaPaug writing to Red Rat to release Hawkquest, I remember it being released, but it slipped me by.

 

Anyway, if Spectrum wouldn't have been, there was the C64, which as we all know was an excellent computer. C64 could have been the number 1 in UK.

A8 was still the second best import computer in the UK, so that's not too bad.

 

BSA Starfire: I actually sat on (in?) the Konix Multisystem at some gaming show in London, and a guy working there telling me it is out of order.


Edited by high voltage, Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:04 AM.


#75 BSA Starfire OFFLINE  

BSA Starfire

    Dragonstomper

  • 544 posts
  • Location:England

Posted Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:06 AM

One interesting point is this was a time when the Asian producers fell flat on there faces, they had the television, Hi-Fi &  Video markets but the computer was one area they never did master over here. Loads of machines did launch from both Japan and Hong Kong, but not a one made any kind of impact. If fact most of them are really rare today over here.

Examples:

 

Color Genie.

SORD M5.

Sharp MZ 700.

LASER 200.

COMX 35.

 

Also the MSX pretty much sank without a trace, despite Sanyo, Sony and even Philips producing the hardware.

The Mattel Aquarius, a Hong Kong design also disappeared without a trace too.

 

http://www.acornelec...017/lc-p022.jpg

 

2 of the HK machines are discussed here pre launch.






0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users