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AtariAge News Archive
The 2014 Houston Area Arcade Expo is taking place November 7th and 8th at the Houston Northwest Crowne Plaza. Hosted by the Houston Area Arcade Group, this is an annual event celebrating the electronic games people love to play. Gamers buy, sell, and trade pinball, video game and game console items, and, best of all, pinballs, arcade cabinets and consoles are set up on free play for the duration of the show. The organizers put together a promo video that does a great job of capturing the spirit of the event!
Highlights for this year's show include:
Episode 15 of ANTIC: The Atari 8-bit Podcast is now available. This latest episode features:
ANTIC, The Atari 8-bit Podcast focuses on Atari 8-bit computers (800, XL, XE), and is hosted by Randy Kindig, Kevin Savetz, and Brad Arnold. You can find the current and past episodes of ANTIC on iTunes, the Apple Podcast App, and at www.AtariPodcast.com. You can discuss the podcast in our Atari 8-bit Computers Forum.
HighScore.com is holding a new high score contest for several classic gaming systems, with great prizes for the winners! Categories include Atari 2600, Atari 400/800/XL/XE, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Jaguar, Lynx, and TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine. The following prizes are up for grabs:
The contest runs through December 20th, 2014. You can learn full details about the contest here, and discuss the contest with other AtariAge visitors in our Contests Forum. Good luck!
Our friend Matt Reichert has posted reviews AtariProtos.com of several recently discovered Atari 2600 titles. The first title is Elf Adventure, revealed about a year ago, appears appears to be a possible sequel to the classic game Adventure. This version of Elf Adventure looks to be fairly early in development, but it uses a similar graphics style to Adventure. One title amongst a batch of newly discovered prototypes is Morse Code Tutor, which seems to be just that: a program to help hone your Morse code skills. It's not known if this was being developed officially at Atari or by the programmer in his spare time, but it's a surprising find after all these years. Also discovered was an updated and nearly complete version of Xevious for the 2600. Prototypes of Xevious had been discovered in the past, but this new version appears to be just about finished. One additional new prototype, an FM Synth cart, was also found in this batch of prototypes (from a box owned by a former Atari employee), but Matt has yet to review this prototype due to its technical nature and lack of visuals.
You can learn about these discoveries and more over at AtariProtos.com. To discuss these titles with Matt and AtariAge users, please join the discussion in our Prototypes Forum.
This year's Portland Retro Gaming Expo (PRGE) takes place on October 18th and 19th (Saturday and Sunday) at the Oregon Convention Center. If you're a classic gaming fan and can get to Portland for this event, we wholeheartedly recommend it! The Portland Retro Gaming Expo is one of the largest such events in the country. Here are some of the show's attractions:
The 7th annual Classic Gaming Fest is taking place in Austin, Texas on August 16th and 17th. This year's show has been greatly expanded in size and will occupy 25,000 square feet in the Palmer Event Center. The Classic Gaming Fest caters to fans of classic gaming systems, featuring retro game tournaments, costume contests, live video game music, and a huge vendor area where you can buy and play classic video games, consoles, merchandise, and more! Admission is only $10 for the entire weekend.
At Classic Game Fest 2014, over 20 local Texas-based artists will be on hand to create and sell unique gamer-inspired arts and crafts. Retro game tournaments will be going on all weekend long at massive tournament/demo areas and projected onto the walls for the entire crowd to enjoy! Live video game music performances including VGM rock bands, chiptunes artists, hip-hop performers, and comedy acts that gamers of any age will absolutely love will rotate on stage. Costume contests for amateur, professional, and best group/mash-up will be held and led by international cosplay star MarieDoll. Also featured at CGF will be a free play arcade featuring over 20+ classic stand up arcades from the 80s and 90s along with an amazing video game museum.
AtariAge will be present at the Classic Game Fest with a large number of Atari 2600, 5200 and 7800 systems setup for play all weekend. You'll be able to try out some of the latest homebrew games, upcoming games to be released later this year, and other games currently in development. Darrell Spice, Jr., author of Medieval Mayhem and Space Rocks for the 2600, will be on hand to present a talk about creating new games for classic Atari consoles.
Please visit the Classic Gaming Fest website to learn more about the event!
Episode 13 of ANTIC: The Atari 8-bit Podcast is now available. This latest episode features:
Invaders have jammed our newly deployed missile silos, meteor storms strike at will, and scouting reports indicate the deadly Vorton obliterates everything in its path. Will you be the next PROTECTOR?
Songbird Productions has announced that Protector: RESURGENCE is coming to the Atari Jaguar CD in September 2014! RESURGENCE is an expansion CD for your Protector SE cartridge, and features 24 new waves, new galaxy and ground graphics, new ship graphic, new enemies, and more. A limited 50-disc run will be made available at the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, including some graphics and audio unique to that disc, followed by the general release of the game.
You can discuss Protector: RESURGENCE with other AtariAge members and Songbird Productions in our Atari Jaguar Forum.
The noted video game historian team of Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel, co-authors of the popular book Atari Inc. – Business is Fun, will tell the story of Atari Corporation in their upcoming book "Atari Corp. - Business Is War." In honor of the 30th anniversary of Jack Tramiel's founding of Atari Corporation, they have released the book's stunning cover in advance to video game and computer fans alike. Hand painted by artist Lukas Ketner, the cover personifies the company, its products and history.
“Our intent was to really have a cover that embodies the company at a glance," said Goldberg. "The iconic Jack Tramiel and his sons Sam, Leonard and Gary surrounded by the now legendary products they introduced to us. At the same time, the seriousness and competitive business nature Jack and his companies were known for had to be shown. Lukas captured it all perfectly and in a style that anyone who grew up with Atari should recognize!"
You can read the full press release in our online forum, where you can also view a larger image of the upcoming book's cover.
A significant new release of the Atari 2600 emulator Stella, version 4.0, has been released today. Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator released under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and versions have been released for a wide variety of operating systems. Stella allows you to enjoy the large library of Atari 2600 titles on your computer, and it's an exceptional tool for anyone creating new homebrew games for the 2600. Stella is actively maintained by Stephen Anthony, who continues to make improvements and add new features to the emulator.
Changes in this new release of Stella include:
Episode 12 of The Atari 8-bit Podcast is now available. This latest episode features:
The Seattle Retro Gaming Expo (SRGE) is one of two large retrogaming shows put on by alumni of the Northwest Classic Gaming Enthusiasts - the other being the massive Portland Retro Gaming Expo. Now in its fourth year, SRGE is growing and has moved its venue to the Washington State Convention Center - the same venue as PAX! While nowhere near as big as PAX (yet!) SRGE is the retro event for people in the greater Seattle area.
SRGE invites everyone from AtariAge to come hang out, share their love of videogames, and meet other like-minded individuals.
This year’s event includes:
The show spans two days – June 28th and June 29th, and 2-day, 1-day, and family passes are available. Admission is $15 per day or $25 for the whole weekend! Preregister by June 16 to get in one full hour early and snag all the rare goodies!!
See you there!
Are you interested in learning what has become of the millions of Atari 2600 E.T. The Extra Terrestrial cartridges buried in the New Mexico desert? What? You don't know the story of how Atari buried these and possibly other games and Atari hardware in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill after the famous 1983 video game crash? The Alamogordo Daily News reported in September 1983 that between 10 and 20 semi-trailers from an Atari facility in El Paso, Texas were buried at the landfill (view newspaper clippings here, here, and here). The story even appeared in The New York Times, and an Atari spokesman confirmed the report at the time. Although no specific Atari merchandise was mentioned as being dumped, many reports have (perhaps erroneously) stated that upwards of 3.5 million copies of the 2600 game E.T. The Extra Terrestrial may have found their way to the landfill. It's more likely that the Atari dump contains a wide variety of Atari game console and computer hardware, as well as unsold video game cartridges.
Fuel Entertainment has received permission from the city to excavate the site on April 26, 2014. They plan on creating a documentary film surrounding the myths, facts and exploration of this legend. Ready Player One author Ernest Cline will be on-hand for the event, and he's written up a blog post detailing his upcoming adventure. The general public has been invited to attend this dig, so if you're an Atari fan and in the area, be sure to attend!
While Atari's E.T. The Extra Terrestrial generally has is viewed unfavorably among classic gamers, in our opinion the game has received an unfair rap. You can check out AtariAge user Random Terrain's To What Degree Do You Love E.T.? page for an opposing viewpoint on the game. Another fan of the game has put together a Fixing E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 page where you can download a version of the game that has common gripes (and a few bugs) fixed.
Also be sure to check out this long-running thread in our forums about the Atari landfill. This thread was started back in 2005 and has nearly 1,500 posts to date!
Tim Lapetino and his team are working on a book chronicling the art, design, and illustration of Atari in its heyday. Tentatively called "Art of Atari: From Pixels to Paintbrush," the book will highlight the creativity of the artists, designers, and illustrators who created some of the most iconic video game imagery ever. His team is in the process of interviewing former Atari artists and employees to get at the process behind creating the iconic look of Atari in the 80s, with a focus on the home consoles and everything surrounding them.
While nothing is finalized yet, they are in talks with Atari and different publishers about the project, planning on a fully-licensed volume that will be a beautiful art book that preserves these illustrations and images for fans and future generations. Tim and his team are huge fans, and want this book to be a great representation of how Atari helped define an industry, and also completed the overall experiences of very simple video games of the time. Tim will also be talking about the art, and some of his efforts at the Midwest Gaming Classic in Brookfield, Wisconsin, this Saturday. Marty Goldberg (Retro Rogue) will be doing a Q&A with Tim as well.
You can learn more about the book by reading some interviews Tim has done about it:
The Art of Atari: A celebration of game packaging's golden age
How Atari Box Art Turned 8-bit Games Into Virtual Wonderlands
The art of Atari – the masters who brought early games to life by filling in the blanks
To raise further funds for book-related research, Tim has put several original Atari production art negatives up for sale. These would make an incredible addition to anyone's classic gaming collection. To discuss the project with Tim and other AtariAge members, please visit our Atari 2600 Forum.
Stan, a regular member here at AtariAge for some time, recently took control of Deaf Sparrow, a site that originally specialized in extreme underground music, but has since branched out into other avenues, including media. Stan, as you all probably know, is a huge fan of the Atari 2600 and is a regular participant in the High Score Club. For one of his latest articles, he did a write-up on what he considers to be the top ten worst games for the 2600, complete with videos, links, and descriptions about each, based on his actual experiences growing up with the system and playing through its library over the years. You might be surprised what you find. Quick hint, ET is not one of his selections, and neither is Pac-Man.
The 2014 Texas Pinball Festival will be held the weekend of March 28th-30th with a HUGE 40,000 square foot game room! This year's show will be held at the Embassy Suites Dallas – Frisco Hotel and Conference Center in Frisco. The show's organizers plan to fill this space with more than 400 pinball machines, classic video games and other game room goodies set up on free play for everyone to enjoy the entire weekend. Leave your quarters at home!
Vendors, collectors and hobbyists from the surrounding area and beyond will be bringing parts, supplies, game room memorabilia, pinballs, slot machines, jukeboxes and video games for sale. Lucky winners will take home door prizes and someone will take home a new pinball machine from the show's annual raffle. You can also participate in the pinball tournaments held throughout the weekend, as well as the outdoor flea market and swap meet Saturday morning.
The Texas Pinball Festival opens its doors Friday evening at 5pm and will stay open until 1am on Friday and midnight on Saturday. Please visit the Texas Pinball Festival site to learn all about this year's show!
Frequent visitors to AtariAge may know about our weekly gameplay tracker, started by AtariAge member cvga in 2008 and continued by thegoldenband since 2010. Participants in the tracker simply log the amount of time they spend playing games on pre-modern platforms (i.e. anything up to the Dreamcast), and the numbers are then totaled each week to see which games and consoles have gotten the most time.
One of our members, Atarian7, has been on a quest to reach the maximum possible score of 999,999 points in the game Kaboom!. He's come very close in the past, logging a score of 928,982 in April 2012, and his prowess has even earned praise from Larry Kaplan, the game's designer.
As of this week, he reached a tremendous milestone, and has now logged over 100,000 minutes of Kaboom! since the tracker was founded. That's more than two months of continuous play! Will Atarian7 reach 999,999 points before he reaches 999,999 minutes?
We're a bit late with this news, but episode 6 of ANTIC, The Atari 8-bit Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. In this latest episode:
Everybody's favorite fabled frosty firefighter is back! But so are those pesky fireballs, and they're hotter than ever! This year they've kidnapped Santa and some of his helpers, so it's up to you to put out the fireballs and rescue your friends from their fiery fate.
Your first frosty adventure was just a warm-up - now there are all new levels to conquer and challenges to face! Fortunately, you've found some new magic in that old silk hat of yours. Can you stay frostier, fight your way to the fireballs' frigid fortress, and freeze those fiendish flames?
AtariAge and the team behind the upcoming Atari 2600 homebrew Stay Frosty 2, lead by author Darrell Spice, Jr., have released a playable demo of this original, holiday-themed game! Stay Frosty 2 is a sequel to the original Stay Frosty, released as part of a collection of mini-games in Stella's Stocking several years ago. This special demo version of Stay Frosty 2 contains a selection of levels featured in the full game. Can you conquer them and rescue Mrs. Claus? The full version of Stay Frosty 2 features more characters to rescue, 32 unique levels which repeat at increasing difficulties for 128 total levels, and many more surprises!
You can download the the demo version of Stay Frosty 2 in our Atari 2600 Forum. Included are NTSC and PAL versions of the game you can enjoy in the Stella emulator (be sure you're using the latest version) or on a real Atari 2600 system with a Harmony Cartridge. The full version of Stay Frosty 2 will be available soon in the AtariAge Store!
Left Turn Only Productions, publishers of the modern hit Intellivision game, Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents, and the Intellivision High Score Club have announced their second annual Carol vs. The World! Championship. After the fantastic success of the high-score competition following the game's release in 2012, they have decided to turn it into an annual event. This year, the prizes include not only a specially designed custom edition of the game, but also commemorative merit badges and a first for any game competition: personalized mugs with hot-cocoa mix—a propos to a Christmas challenge during winter time.
Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents is an original game concept, designed and programmed by James Pujals and published by Left Turn Only Productions for the 1980s Intellivision game system. It follows the adventures of Carol Greenleaf, Santa's most resourceful elf, as she tries to recover the presents stolen by an Evil Snowman, and save Christmas for the children of the world. The game was originally released at the 2012 Classic Gaming Expo, and went on to become a smash hit in the retro-gaming community, voted Game Of The Year by retro-gaming enthusiasts on AtariAge.
For the Carol Vs. The World! Championship, the producers have released the game as a free download, playable on any PC. No purchase or registration is needed to participate; just a photo of the game score, which may be submitted either via e-mail or posted directly to the Intellivision High Score Forum . The high-score championship is open to all comers, and will last throughout the month of December. The competition closes on 31 December, 2013 at 12:00 Midnight, Central Standard Time. For more information, please visit the official Carol vs. The World! Championship site.
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