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About ubersaurus

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  1. At last we've wrapped up March 1981's slate of releases with Activision's Tennis. A spiritual successor to Basketball, Alan Miller's oft-overlooked game not only was the second-ever attempt at translating the actual sport to a commercial video game format beyond Pong, but it's also the game that solidified the visual language used in the genre from then on. While others may introduce new ways to hit the ball, Tennis is an incredibly friendly game for newcomers.
  2. Game historian Kate Willaert has been hard at work the past few months trying to figure out the history behind the Atari porno games and these two labels, sifting through old periodicals, interviews, and more. It's absolutely bonkers, and led to her getting it published on Kotaku. I highly recommend checking it out: https://kotaku.com/porno-hustlers-of-the-atari-age-1847622176
  3. Do you remember which paper? I’ve got some subscriptions to a couple services. Might be able to find it again.
  4. I appreciate the kind words! Still having a lot of fun with the project so I have no intentions of ending it any time soon. In fact, now that research libraries are opening back up I'm able to get out and start going over resources that have been out of reach for the past year and a half. The rest of 1981 on the release calendar is practically one notable game after another so with any luck I'll be keeping ya'll busy for the months ahead. and then there's 1982... I also recognize Stellar Track isn't for everyone - it's a game I didn't really get as a kid, but coming to it as an adult for this series I actually really like it (much to Rob Zdybel's surprise; I got an email from him after the video went up remarking that I made it sound like it was good)!
  5. We're back, with a video about Activision's Laser Blast! This visually sharp space game was one of the company's first big successes, selling over a million units by 1984.
  6. I have zero reason to doubt Curt and Marty regarding Tramiel's commitment to supporting the 7800 from the get go. The XEGS was clearly an attempt to continue to leverage the 8-bit hardware and software lines that really didn't have much of an audience, but based on what I've read through in Computer Entertainer and newspapers from the time, Atari's bigger problem was the sizable gap between their initial run of GCC-developed games in 1986, and newer stuff. The company published like three games in 1987, none of which were particularly big deals at the time unless you like four-year-old computer ports. Meanwhile, Nintendo - and Sega! - had pretty full lineups of new software that year. The 7800 did pretty well for itself - and was well-received - in 1986 when it essentially had the bulk of the US market to itself from its May launch until the Christmas season, but Jack's struggles to get the 7800 off the ground in the first place - and the subsequent need to lose their in-house software development division for a while - meant they never got the momentum they needed. By 1988 and 89, when they were starting to get more software out the door, the window had closed. The fact that they continued to support it with new software into 1991 is pretty remarkable. The 2600 Junior was pretty successful though. That had pretty solid sales up through 1988 as a low-cost machine targeting the low end of the market.
  7. For video #50 I went in deep on the history of Stellar Track, the Star Trek computer game it derives from, and why it isn't really better remembered today. In the process I talked to basically all the major players in the story, from Rob Zdybel to Mike Mayfield, and sifted through quite a few unusual information sources - I hope you all enjoy!
  8. The new video focuses on Steeplechase, the first of Sears' four "exclusive" releases! Learn the story behind why exactly they're exclusives, where Steeplechase came from, and how it was received!
  9. Today's video is the end of an era of VCS game releases! This conversion of a Japanese board game was started unofficially by an Atari arcade developer before eventually coming out as the final text-label VCS release. Learn all about the game's development and why there are two distinct ROM revisions floating around!
  10. I think it’s plausible that shipments did start in July but nothing actually arrived until August. Hard to say for sure though! Merchandising covered the announcement of the games but didn’t mention when they’d be shipping.
  11. Here's a bonus from the April 28 1980 edition of Weekly Television Digest, talking about the first four Activision games. The first newspaper ads I've come across indicate stores actually started getting them around late August, so I'm guessing they started hitting stores a little earlier than Activision expected:
  12. Yes, based on how they usually talk about these things the first line means the system itself. August would check out with the earlier WTD report and the newspaper ads I’ve spotted in August too.
  13. I'm checking Weekly Television Digest, as they reported routinely on delays for the Intellivision, Bally Arcade and various dedicated systems - including Atari's own Tank II in 1977, which was canned due to GI chip shortages according to the June 27 edition, though they note Atari didn't expect this to impact their programmable deliveries in the summer. There's also this September 19 edition that mentions Combat: Finally, and I suspect this is where that came from - Atari was hit with MPU shortages, which delayed deliveries of the VCS, though many still made it out before November (from the October 17 edition):
  14. You may appreciate the list of release dates I’ve been maintaining for the array of early home consoles on Atariarchive.org - Bridge, for example, seems to have been a December 1980 game. Welcome back!
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