Jump to content

mstulir

Members
  • Content Count

    245
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

90 Excellent

About mstulir

  • Rank
    Chopper Commander
  • Birthday 04/22/1968

Contact / Social Media

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Philadelphia, PA

Recent Profile Visitors

6,575 profile views
  1. Unfortunately, no. Per GoFundMe policy, they only accept PayPal when used for a charitable contribution to a 501(c)3 non-profit. A situation like this where you are crowdfunding something considered personal requires a credit/debit card. Perhaps you could put some money on one of those refillable credit cards they sell at the grocery/convenience stores and make a contribution like that. Your only other two options are to contact Kim Donovan, the person that set this up and see if she is accepting direct contributions via check or certified funds like a bank check or money order. Also, if you refer to the obituary, there is information to contribute to Madison via the funeral home. I hope you are able to find a method that works for you.
  2. I posted this in the other thread about Curt's passing, but it bears repeating. Curt has been battling health issues for many years. Unfortunately, his medical situation has made him “nuclear” in the eyes of the insurance world. In short, despite attempts for many years, no life insurance company would issue him a policy. Curt’s passing could not have come at a worse time for his daughter, Madison. I have been in contact with Michele’s Father, Ralph, every day this week including a lengthy discussion at the funeral home. The immediate financial situation for Madison’s education is not good. Having recently graduated high school back in the spring, she is entering her Freshman year of college right now. This is always a difficult time for teens making that life transition, but it is worse for her having to deal with the loss of her Father. Plus, with the loss of Curt’s income & no life insurance to back him up, this creates some issues with the short & long range funding of her education. I spoke with Madison at the funeral home on Monday 9/7. This was the first time I have spoken with her since she was six. I was immediately struck by what a bright & articulate young woman she is. I think she can achieve anything in life that she sets her mind to…assuming she can get off on the right foot with her education. Curt & Michele have done an incredible job raising her. There is no doubt in my mind that both are proud of her. Curt touched ALL of us in some way, directly or indirectly. I’d like to ask that all members of the community consider making a contribution to Madison’s education fund at the link below. Yes, the timing of this sucks as everyone is dealing with their own money problems in a COVID-19 world. EVERY DOLLAR FOR MADISON HELPS. Let’s honor Curt by investing in his only child. https://www.gofundme.com/f/24lkoij26o
  3. I just wanted to take a moment and echo what Albert said a few days ago. Curt has been battling health issues for many years. Unfortunately, his medical situation has made him “nuclear” in the eyes of the insurance world. In short, despite attempts for many years, no life insurance company would issue him a policy. Curt’s passing could not have come at a worse time for his daughter, Madison. I have been in contact with Michele’s Father, Ralph, every day this week including a lengthy discussion at the funeral home. The immediate financial situation for Madison’s education is not good. Having recently graduated high school back in the spring, she is entering her Freshman year of college right now. This is always a difficult time for teens making that life transition, but it is worse for her having to deal with the loss of her Father. Plus, with the loss of Curt’s income & no life insurance to back him up, this creates some issues with the short & long range funding of her education. I spoke with Madison at the funeral home on Monday 9/7. This was the first time I have spoken with her since she was six. I was immediately struck by what a bright & articulate young woman she is. I think she can achieve anything in life that she sets her mind to…assuming she can get off on the right foot with her education. Curt & Michele have done an incredible job raising her. There is no doubt in my mind that both are proud of her. Curt touched ALL of us in some way, directly or indirectly. I’d like to ask that all members of the community consider making a contribution to Madison’s education fund at the link below. Yes, the timing of this sucks as everyone is dealing with their own money problems in a COVID-19 world. EVERY DOLLAR FOR MADISON HELPS. Let’s honor Curt by investing in his only child. https://www.gofundme.com/f/24lkoij26o
  4. So I mentioned here the other day I was trying to think of a story about Curt. Rather than talking about something with Flashback/Flashback 2, or talking about a game show or trade event, I thought I would tell something that involved Curt do something I so rarely saw in him.....getting upset. Those who knew him are familiar with how happy he was when he was in his element. This is not one of those times....although it did not stay pissed for too long. I was at his home on a Saturday in early January, 2002. We were working on one of his many projects. Honestly, I can't recall what we were doing. My first recollection was that we were working on his 7800 High Score Cart project, but the dates don't line up. Regardless, I have long forgotten what it was we were doing and it really doesn’t matter for the story. Anyway, we had a day of failure after failure. He finally got frustrated, threw his hands up in the air and said “I have had enough. Have you seen ‘Lord of the Rings’ yet? I haven’t. Let’s go.” Now, everyone who knew Curt knows that once he sets his mind to something, there is no stopping him, so it was clear I had no choice in the matter. We checked the movie times & hopped in my car and drove to a nearby theater. The theater was full since the movie had only been out for a few weeks and was a massive hit. Despite this, we managed to find two seats together with a decent viewing angle. The movie starts, and everything is quiet in the theater….for about 15 minutes. We found out, quickly, that the couple in front of us were intimately familiar with the Tolkien books. How we found this out is that just before something important would happen on the theater screen, one would lean over to the other and say something along the lines of “Oh, this must be where Gandalf goes to Isengard” or “This is where Legolas kills the cave troll.” Keep in mind, the theatrical release of this movie is 3 hours long and this went on every 10 minutes for the first 2 1/2 hours of the movie. Since the theater was so full, there was no way to get away from these people to other seats. Curt finally had enough & was visibly upset. That was interesting to see because there was little that made him upset about anything. These two morons revealing everything was ruining the movie for us, and no doubt, for everyone else in earshot. When a quiet moment presented itself with about 30 minutes of time left, Curt says to me "Watch this" & leaned forward in his chair and said to that couple “Oh, this must be where the water is spilled on Gizmo and he starts spawning mogwai.” This is a reference to one of his favorite movies, “Gremlins.” After the initial snickering between us, I leaned forward and said “I’ll bet this is where Rodney Dangerfield says he can see whip marks in his steak where the jockey was hitting it.” This refers to one of my favorite movies, “Caddyshack.” Curt leaned forward again with a “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” reference and says “The scene with Spicoli wrecking the Camaro is coming up.” Needless to say, the couple were starting to get the hint….until one last person chimed in. There was a college-aged couple on my right that were clearly on a date and equally annoyed by constant warnings of plot points about to occur. The guy looks like a linebacker. He leans forward and says “Oh, I’ll bet this is where you realize the hints that have been dropped are trying to imply you should shut the hell up so we can watch the movie without your commentary.” Everyone in earshot of that noisy couple burst out laughing followed by high fives between us and that college couple next to me. Needless to say, the talkative morons sheepishly cowered out of the theater when the movie was over. Curt was still pissed that the movie got ruined, but he did take some pleasure in knowing that those people would probably never do that again in a theater.
  5. That is exactly the name of that event -- VGExpo. Thank you for reminding me of it. Yes, Curt did a display there and I tagged along to help and also speak about Flashback 2. Ed Fleming? **shakes head** I thought I had finally purged that name from my memory.
  6. It was from Joe, John & Sean at the NVM.
  7. I attended the early session of Curt's visitation on 9/7 in Yonkers, NY. I managed to keep it together quite well while there, but I was a mess on the drive back to Philly. It was, mainly, attended by Curt & Michele's family. There were some exceptions including someone that Curt & I worked with at Atari during the Flashback/Flashback 2 project work. In the interest of privacy, I will keep this name to myself, but I cannot tell you how pleased I was that this person was there. Madison has turned into such a bright and wonderful young adult. I have not seen her since she was a child, so I was not shocked she did not remember me. I met Curt's Mother (Georgette) many years ago and I spent some time talking to her today. She was doing well considering the circumstances. Curt's Father-In-Law (Ralph) picked me out almost immediately after I arrived. Somehow, he remembered me from a birthday party for Madison when she was five. He was incredibly gracious. I found out something from him today I did not know: Apparently, he and some of Michele's family refer to Curt not by his name, but the nickname "tech support." It seems as though they roped him into fixing a lot of family computer problems. Michele is doing as well as can be expected. The big hug she game me took me a bit by surprise with all of the COVID-19 restrictions in the funeral home. There is no doubt that the coming weeks/months are going to be a huge adjustment for Michele (especially with Madison starting college) but I am confident her family and Curt's family will be there for her. ....and speaking of college, a GoFundMe has been started to help cover the cost of Madison's education. You can also donate through the funeral home, which is what I did today. If you were touched by Curt in some way, please help contribute to this fund. Curt & Michele have done an amazing job raising her, and every bit will help with continuing her education. The link is here: https://gf.me/u/ywdsd8 When I was driving home today, I was thinking of funny stories I could share about what I experienced with him over the years. I am really wrecked tonight from all of the driving and the time at the funeral home, so I am not going to type anything up for a day or two. If there is interest, I will share the story of Curt & I seeing Lord of the Rings.
  8. As always, Loni manages to say it all in an eloquent manner. My best to her. The day she speaks of was a PGL event held at XS New York, a club venue on Broadway that no longer exists. It was attended by Nolan Bushnell, Loni, Curt and myself. Curt was loaning his Pong to the event for the weekend & needed someone else to attend and help move/guard the game. I have to say that was a very exciting time for me getting to talk to Nolan first-hand...the first of several times over the years that our paths would cross. But, being the engineer I am, our conversation had nothing to do about Atari. When asked, I talked about theories for building out and operating a small data center to manage the terminals for the uWink project he was involved in at the time. Curt, on the other hand, was like a kid in a candy store and talked with Nolan about most every major aspect of Atari history. The four of us had lunch off-site from the PGL event and spent a good two hours covering a ton of different subjects. I can't remember if I took the photo Loni used or if I did. I know I had my first digital camera on that trip and I have a matching photo of Nolan & I with that Pong game.
  9. I don't think so. This would have been after David Newman decided to pull the plug on PhillyClassic since he was, essentially, bankrolling the whole thing himself in advance hoping it would break even every year. There was some event held in the same building post-PhillyClassic meant to take the place of it. Can't for the life of me remember what it was called.
  10. That is a great photo. I have been driving myself crazy trying to find a digital photo of Curt and I promoting Flashback 2 at a gaming event. He had a similar look on his face and it is my favorite photo of us together during the Flashback/Flashback 2 development era. I am almost positive that event was held in Philadelphia. I remember Albert had an Atari Age booth set up and Matt Reichert was there as well. For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the show or the time of year it was held.
  11. It is kinda funny how I ended up on AtariAge on Monday evening. Like I said earlier, I am almost entirely into coin-op with the American Classic Arcade Museum now and I haven't been active on this site in many years. Yet, when I got the news, I knew this would be the place that would have the confirmation....and be the best venue for celebrating his life while grieving from the gut punch of knowing we lost Curt too soon. Before I knew it, I am rambling about some things that may or may not have been brought up by him over the years just because it seemed like the right thing to do. I hope I was able to share a bit about what he was like behind the scenes when I worked for him. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that Curt's vision for many potential products did not jive with the people in charge at the company that is not Atari, but has their product rights and uses their name. That company was hemorrhaging cash after the debacles that were the Mark Ecko game and the Matrix game. They flushed an obscene amount of cash down the toilet and it ticked off certain people in the "new" Atari that the only thing that really made money in 2005 was a retro-console based around old games. Curt was always the gentleman and did not rub it in their faces, but he took some secret pleasure in it. The Basic Fun/Atari keychain games situation always stuck in his craw. That whole thing sucked. Information on the services have been announced. I will be attending the visitation on 9/7 at some point depending on my travel arrangements. https://ruggieroandsonsfh.com/tribute/details/2607/Curtis-T-Vendel/obituary.html#content-start
  12. I am probably going to ramble here in my grief. You have been warned. I have not been active here in many years. I am sure Curt probably talked about some or all of what I am about to say. When Curt brought me on the Engineering team, I had known him for 10 years. I had just gotten divorced and was operating like a rudderless ship. I will always be thankful for Curt bringing me on and giving me something to focus on to help ease the situation. I wish I could offer some input on FB2+, but I had left Legacy Engineering in 2007 when I was appointed to the Board of Directors at the American Classic Arcade Museum. FB2+ came three years later. Post FB2, there were a few things that were examined. Flashback Portable was working in breadboard form. Curt and I were sending some (bad) hand-drawn sketches to each other of how the unit should look. I know he posted the photo of the plastic mockup here at some point. Here is an interesting thing about Flashback Portable.... There was some talk of selling this unit outside of the traditional channel at stores of the era like The Learning Tree and The Discovery Store. The idea was to build a different SKU that would package Flashback Portable with educational materials to teach people how to make their own games. Coding would be on a PC and transmission of your game code would be over USB. Sadly, this idea went nowhere. While Curt was making progress on Portable, Atari had contracted/licensed with a company called PixelPlay to bring some of Atari's arcade library to cable and satellite TV boxes. Atari wanted Legacy Engineering to work with the PixelPlay crew to make the games look and feel as close as possible to the original source, so Curt put me on that project. PixelPlay had a management office in NYC and an office with programmers in Tel-Aviv. I found creative ways to do this work between home and NYC at the same time as my "real" job for about six months. Honestly, I have no idea what ever ended up happening with the final code. It may not have been used. The key problem is that the cable remote was used as your controller and with the exception of one Canadian Bell & Howell satellite box, all of the boxes that were being used only allowed one keypress at a time. No moving and firing. No diagonal movement. After that, I did some work with Curt developing proof of concept cabinets for a company that wanted to build home bartop arcade games based around licenses from SNK and Konami. We built the cabinets at Curt's home since he was much better equipped for woodshop work. We did this over two weekends in January with no heat in his garage. The plan was to, eventually, design an ASIC board for running the games, but for proof-of-concept, we went with Mini-ITX motherboards running an emulator. These looked fantastic when they were done and they were sent off to retailers like Target, Best Buy, Wal*Mart, etc. for evaluation. Everyone passed on them. I think the core problem here was size, weight and cost. In 2007, the world was still on CRTs, so to build these units around 15 or 17 inch CRTs created logistical issues for storing/transporting and having the games on shelves. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was that this did not make it to market. Think about that period of time.... Over the years in the 80s/90s, Atari had quietly been swallowing up the rights to multiple companies that had gone under. They already had APX. MicroProse & Accolade were swallowed up at various points. This opened up a whole world of game possibilities for FB3 since Atari owned so many gems of the 8-bit library. I know the thing that Curt was trying to get across is that people are only going to buy Centipede so many times, so FB3 had to be different. I still have my notes from those days on my server and I went back to refresh my memory tonight. We were looking at games like Getaway!, Caverns of Mars, Star Raiders, Fight Night, etc. Atari had no idea what they owned. Curt told me that at one of his meetings at Atari, their people were shocked.....SHOCKED.....to know what they owned. They had no clue. The phrase "We own that?" was uttered multiple times. Curt produced the proof. Despite this, Curt's vision for FB3 never happened. Curt was a wonderful person. More so than many people will know. He always approached these projects based on what the gamer would want....hence stuff like the cart port solder points on FB2. I am grateful to have known him and worked for him.
  13. I am totally OK with reposting that interview. Thank you. Curt was the genius behind those consoles & he is the one who deserves all of the credit. All of it. Yeah, Flashback was not what anyone wanted. We can thank Atari for that. However, the sales of Flashback is what paved the way for Flashback 2 to happen. I know I am totally biased, but I am so proud of what was accomplished with Flashback 2, particularly the cartridge port hack and running Atari hardware in ASIC. No emulators there. Hopefuly, COVID-19 restrictions in New York will not prevent me from attending any service that Michele & the family is planning. There was once a time I was driving to Curt's from Philadelphia every other weekend to do Flashback work. Driving to his funeral is going to be upsetting.
  14. I am beyond devastated. I am pleased and proud to have worked with him on the Flashback/Flashback 2 Engineering Team for Atari and his contributions of rare games during the founding days of the American Classic Arcade Museum. He will be missed.
  15. Holy dead thread revival Batman! Through the generosity of a donor who has not given their permission to be identified yet, the American Classic Arcade Museum has acquired another piece of video game history....the same test cabinet for Gauntlet that started this thread. Atari Games put this cabinet on-site in a Cupertino, CA arcade prior to the official release of the game. This cabinet was previously owned by former Atari/Atari Games graphic artist Alan Murphy and has been authenticated by him. It will be available for play soon at the American Classic Arcade Museum.
×
×
  • Create New...