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Everything posted by Schmudde

  1. Well, I'm with Madman here - if it's true, it's an unforgivable blunder. It's particularly shocking if it's coming from Hawkins' view. He was a veteran of the industry. Bringing this back to the Jaguar and Atari Corp: I don't believe the comparison to BMW is apt. Building a platform is much different than manufacturing a car. Jack Tramiel gets a lot of heat from Atari users, but he built the brand's most successful platform outside of the 2600 - the Atari ST (with the Atari 400/800 seeing similar worldwide numbers). Before Atari, he also built a platform larger than most any in the software/hardware industry - the Commodore 64. Building a platform requires a special sweet spot that attracts major software support. Trading off low software sales numbers in an attempt to corner a non-existent luxury market would be a surprising move by someone of Trip Hawkins' stature. For all of 3DO's flaws, its software success has to be largely attributed to Trip Hawkins' force in the industry. But that can only be sustained so long. Eventually you have to move volume to continue software support. That's a truism that was established well before the 1990s. And Bill, I'm not doubting you. I've simply long-attributed 3DO's high price tag to to the necessity of their business model - not a grab at a market segment or a way to pump up profits early on. /ü
  2. Hello all, I'm getting back into ST MIDI sequencing after a decade (or two?!?) away. The ST software is just so uniquely brilliant and in many cases, there is absolutely nothing like it on the market today. I was wondering if there is a good resource for ST manuals. I can find some on Tim's Atari MIDI World, but I'm hoping there is a larger resource. /ü
  3. I have never read this about the 3DO's artificially high launch price. Was this part of Trip Hawkin's strategy or was it forced upon the platform by the manufacturers? It seems like a tremendous blunder. The model was already a risky departure from tradition. Ignoring the countless historical lessons about how content is actually created for new technology platforms seems wrought with hubris. /ü
  4. I'm curious - how did you get your number? I checked my original confirmation eMail and looked around on their bilingual forums, but couldn't find any such ranking. Thanks, ü
  5. This is my first time playing Alice's Mom's Rescue. Impressive effort and lots of fun. Thanks for pressing this to cartridge! /ü
  6. Also, this is in no way definitive proof, but here is one source of the Electronic Arts rumor: http://www.atariage.com/Jaguar/faq/ (Last update: 8/3/2003) I feel like I have seen The Need for Speed on printed Atari Corp. Jaguar brochures, but I'm not likely to take the time to dig it out. So take it for what it's worth. Not proof or even evidence, but simply a source of the rumor. ~ü
  7. See below. Right. That's why I mentioned the Midway deal, which happened in 1995, after it was clear the Jaguar was not moving many units. I originally thought it may have been a move made by Ted Hoff. However, this press release from 1995 suggests that it was an extension of an earlier relationship between the two companies: This would seemingly reinforce your conclusion, Bill. But I'd like to point out that this isn't WMS doubling down or jumping on a sinking ship. These are simply IP licenses. Sam Tramiel had stated publicly that he was looking to spend the $90 million Atari Corp. had received from the 1994 Sega settlement. I still don't think it's out of the question that he would be looking to spend it on IP like Mortal Kombat III (which is proven here) as well as Need for Speed. IIRC, the Sega deal also included a 5 title/year cross-license between Atari & Sega. Sam Tramiel was definitely swinging for the fences into 1995. ~ü
  8. I'd just like to point out that the deal with Accolade as the most prominent example of what Agent X is suggesting. IIRC, it was a 5 title deal that amounted to a significant licensing expenditure for Atari Corp. It's one thing to payout for the Alien vs. Predator license, and it's another to payout for Accolade IP. I personally don't believe Accolade IP was very strong in the early 90s - especially when you think that Bubsy and Earthworm Jim were released within a year of one another. It cannot be disregarded that Atari Corp. had a longstanding relationship with Accolade. Such a relationship may have played a role in this decision. Regarding EA - we're all familiar with those rumors. It would have been an unlikely coup, but not an entirely unreasonable possibility. While I agree with Bill that EA doesn't seem to have the incentive, I think the deal with Midway properties (namely NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat III) demonstrated that Atari Corp. was able to make things happen. It's worth reinforcing that the NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat deals came pretty late in the Jaguar's life, when the proverbial 'writing on the wall' should have been clear. ~ü
  9. Good call on the latter two. I forgot about them as candidates that might qualify for the 'survival' element, even if they are missing the 'horror.' /ü
  10. Yeah, thought I might get nailed on that. I started to mention Haunted House and then decided not to go down that rabbit hole and instead try to qualify my statement by discussing only the genre's contemporary form - which is almost exclusively 3D & FPS. That would qualify Alone in the Dark (3D world) and AvP (FPS) as pretty early examples. Curious Bill, what would you you put earlier than Alone in the Dark with that specific qualification? Regarding AvP, I could see a valid case made for Doom, but AvP's execution seems more in line with the genre's priorities. /ü
  11. If that's the case, and you have Club Drive (his latest podcast), you can probably master that one pretty darn quick. Not a lot there for 1 player; definitely best as 2 player tag. /ü
  12. Top 10 lists on the Internet are quite common, but I've seen Alien Vs. Predator (especially in the marine mode) on more than one scary or survival/horror list. Here it is on Game Trailers, #4. I'm actually surprised no one said it right away (too many Jag game jokes to get through, I guess). I thought it was widely accepted as a progenitor of the genre's contemporary form, along with Alone in the Dark. /ü
  13. I think I paid $60 new at retail in 1994. Had a blast playing tag with friends but the execution wasn't up to the par of a game like Stunts on the PC.
  14. I bought it new in 1994 and played it a lot. Your instincts are correct. You don't turn like you would in a normal racing game. Ease into every turn. If the turn deepens, don't press harder on the joypad as if you were increasing rotation of a steering wheel. That might be your instinct, but it's wrong in Checkered Flag world. You want to tap the d-pad in the direction you want to go. The game actually has audio feedback for this, the sound of screening tires. You know you're taking a turn correctly when you hear a rhythmic screeching of the tires: [tap] "screech" [tap] "screech" [tap] "screech." If you just deepen the turn by pressing harder on the joypad, you will definitely careen into the wall. If you tap, you will take the turn with ease. I know this all sounds ridiculous, but keep in mind I could probably still be a finalist in a Kasumi Ninja tournament if allowed to use Chagi and wear the packed-in headband. With these facts in mind, you might also be surprised to know I was desperately single throughout the 90s. /ü
  15. After playing a wood grained 2600 we got from a garage sale, I was pretty hooked, and wanted the 7800 that was on display at the Children's Palace. I hadn't played a whole lot of NES by that time. This was probably around 1987. I loved the 7800 and its pack in, Pole Position II. In the end, I probably played PPII more than Asteroids. I agree that Asteroids on the 7800 is excellent, and probably a better game, but I had more fun with PPII. I was a little jealous of Super Mario Bros. but the game that really made me sway away from the 7800 was Zelda. After that, Asteroids or Pole Position II was mostly a moot point. In total, the 7800 had a longer life (I still have it, unlike the NES) and ultimately got more playing time. I got pretty heavily into PCs in the late 80s to satisfy many of my other gaming needs. /ü
  16. Sounds like the Jag Bar is attracting some high-class clientele. Loved to see you and your friend geek on some Don Bluth and Dragon's Lair. I could never get into the games, but I was always impressed with them visually. The latter is actually high praise. Other FMV games (which this is essentially falls under) are highlighted by poor acting and/or bad animation. The fact that this trailblazing game came together so well is a testament to his genius and the talent of the team around him. /ü
  17. IIRC, the stockholders had the opportunity to vote on the merger and agreed as long as the new entity continued the support of Atari Interactive and Atari licensing post merger. I cannot find that quote, however, so take it with a grain of salt. I did find this reporting: From Atari Merger Puts Company's Video Game Business 'In Play' in Multimedia Wire Followed by Atari's own 1997 first quarter results: It's pretty clear this was the best move for the stockholders. 1995 was the pivotal year for the Jaguar. It was clearly failing by 1996. The only other option was to sell off the IP and turn off the lights outright, which JTS later did. A fire sale of Atari Corp. IP and assets would have probably yielded worse results for stockholders because Atari would have been negotiating from a place of weakness. JTS offered a shot at some buoyancy before any attempt to raise capital by way of any asset/IP selloff. The court case against Tramiel is simply him (fairly) leveraging JTS' weak financial position later on. It seems the court didn't find any basis of impropriety and the summary doesn't allude to the possibility of a more devious scheme. It looks much more cut and dry than Atari Corp.'s acquisition of Federated a decade earlier. ü
  18. Thanks for sharing. I love the Computer Chronicles. Very cool (and obscure) connection to the Jaguar. /ü
  19. Good job on the opening music! Subscribed. Looking forward to the next episode. /ü
  20. Pole Position II - I think Asteroids is a better game, and the 7800 version is great in co-op, but PP2 was more contemporary and the 7800 library was a bit dated out of the gate in 1986. I might feel different about the limited 1984 release. ~ü
  21. I'm assuming that by Pirate you mean Jaguar and by Ninja you mean PlayStation. Based on some discussions I had in the 1990s, I learned that the Jaguar just two 32-bit processors and 32+32 = 64-bit. The PS has five 32-bit processors, making it 160-bit. You might think that means Ninja wins... but when you add in the untapped potential of the Jaguar, I think you have to go with Pirate. Case closed. /ü
  22. Agreed but I think it's best to remember that Atari Corp. was trying to make the 'least bad' decision by 1993. Sam's Atari had shrunk from his father's profitable multi-division, multi-platform business to an endeavor with no living product on the shelves (both the Lynx and the Falcon were essentially dead). In the spring of 1993, the two options were to miss Christmas entirely and launch with better software or to move forward 100% committed to Christmas and figure out the rest later. Considering how important Christmas is to the consumer electronics industry, I don't see how you could ever go with the first choice. If Atari Corp made a mistake, it was over-estimating their ability to deliver enough units for the 1993 holiday launch, but I think that's a risk they simply had to take. This whole decision is exasperated by the fact that Corp's ATC stock was riding a wave of positive speculation based on the Jaguar news. If they would have missed Christmas, there is no doubt that Wall St. would have lost their minds and made everything in 1994 that much worse. Finally, it's good to remember that both the Commodore 64 and the Atari ST had successful launches with limited software support. I'm, of course, being pedantic with the idea of good software from 'day one' for the sake of discussion. /ü
  23. I thought this was going to be my least favorite episode. I really hated this game. It turned out to be my favorite. I think your design assessment rang especially true: 1) It needs to be brown, 2) it needs to have dirt you can drive on, 3) it needs to have dirt you can’t drive on. BTW - Uganda is now sponsored by Mountain Dew. It happened after the 'Battle for Migingo’ between Uganda and Kenya. You really nailed your Ugandan dirtbike history! Sucked in the 90s, but they're killin' it now! /Schmüdde
  24. This is a good question. More than anybody else, I would be interested in talking to Ted Hoff. When he came on as president in 1995, he undertook several initiatives that seemed to improve Atari's image in its core community. I'm only working off of memory, so please forgive me, but I believe he worked on the light rebranding, retail availability, and customer communication, among other things. Mr. Hoff came in so very late in the game, he had to have some belief that the cause wasn't totally hopeless. Otherwise, why bother? So you can preside over the demise of one of the world's most beloved brands? The great Gary Kildall once opined on Jack Tramiel's approach thusly - "Jack's strategy has always been to flood the market with product and drive out the competition. He did it with the $10 calculator and he did it again with the Commodore 64." Sam was using the same playbook. Although it might seem naive in hindsight, announcing a product like VR, ginning up interest, and then delivering had worked for for 20 years. If you operate on low margins and with small teams, you might just get that product that hits at the right place at the right time. The Tramiel playbook had worked with typewriters, adding machines, digital calculators, personal computers, graphically driven personal computers... so why not VR? Why not the the next big thing in gaming, the Jaguar 2? We know the answer in hindsight, but at the time, this may have been what Ted Hoff was working with when he ran Atari for its last full year. ~ü
  25. Liking all this Battlemorph love. I really liked that title. Skyhammer Battlemorph Alien Vs. Predator Rayman Iron Soldier I/II BattleSphere Brutal Sports Football Defender 2000 Tempest 2000 Super Burnout Quick note on Skyhammer. Yes, I love this game. I love the feeling that there is a bigger world around you. While you're busy taking out a platoon in one area of the city, a previously secure sector in another area of the might get overrun. It is the one game on my list that I feel asks you to think defensively. /ü
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