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Matthew Ratcliff (Mat*Rat)

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I was reading a review by Matthew Ratcliff in the March 1989 issue of Antic this evening and wondering what ever happened to him. I remember reading that he passed away sometime in 1999 in a "Where are they now" section of a web site that contained a digital archive of Antic. Did anyone know him personally? There was a picture of him in the same issue and he really didn't look to be too old at all. I was wondering what happened? Very sad. He was a huge asset to the Atari community. I remember many many programs and articles from "Mat*Rat" from when I was a teenager. I was also wondering what he did after Antic went under.

 

tjb

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I tracked him down many years ago, I was hoping that with all of the articles and work he did, that perhaps he retained a nice collection of information, photo's, etc... Haven't heard hide nor hair of him in close to 10 years now...

 

 

 

Curt

 

I was reading a review by Matthew Ratcliff in the March 1989 issue of Antic this evening and wondering what ever happened to him. I remember reading that he passed away sometime in 1999 in a "Where are they now" section of a web site that contained a digital archive of Antic. Did anyone know him personally? There was a picture of him in the same issue and he really didn't look to be too old at all. I was wondering what happened? Very sad. He was a huge asset to the Atari community. I remember many many programs and articles from "Mat*Rat" from when I was a teenager. I was also wondering what he did after Antic went under.

 

tjb

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Hi there,

I tracked him down many years ago, I was hoping that with all of the articles and work he did, that perhaps he retained a nice collection of information, photo's, etc... Haven't heard hide nor hair of him in close to 10 years now...

I don't want to start any rumors but I thought I read he had passed away some years ago on Diana Gruber's site. Of course I can't find that reference anymore.

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This is all I found on him:

 

Matthew Ratcliff, a gifted programmer, died in March 1999. His colleaguue Rachel Holmen said, "I was privileged to serve with 'MatRat', as he signed himself, as part of Borland's TeamB, volunteers who answered questions first on CompuServe and later on the Internet newsgroups. Matt leaves a wife and several children in the St. Louis area."

 

I found this at the classic computer magazine web site here.

 

tjb

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Hi there,

I tracked him down many years ago, I was hoping that with all of the articles and work he did, that perhaps he retained a nice collection of information, photo's, etc... Haven't heard hide nor hair of him in close to 10 years now...

I don't want to start any rumors but I thought I read he had passed away some years ago on Diana Gruber's site. Of course I can't find that reference anymore.

 

This is true. Matt passed away a number of years ago. He was a known contributor in the Borland programming forums. I recognized the name and asked him if he was indeed the Mat*Rat from the Atari days and he replied confirming he was. I do not recall the cause of death.

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Hi there,

I tracked him down many years ago, I was hoping that with all of the articles and work he did, that perhaps he retained a nice collection of information, photo's, etc... Haven't heard hide nor hair of him in close to 10 years now...

I don't want to start any rumors but I thought I read he had passed away some years ago on Diana Gruber's site. Of course I can't find that reference anymore.

 

This is true. Matt passed away a number of years ago. He was a known contributor in the Borland programming forums. I recognized the name and asked him if he was indeed the Mat*Rat from the Atari days and he replied confirming he was. I do not recall the cause of death.

 

Just out of curiousity, what languages did he have interest/expertise in (i.e. Delphi, C++)?

 

tjb

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Hi there,

I tracked him down many years ago, I was hoping that with all of the articles and work he did, that perhaps he retained a nice collection of information, photo's, etc... Haven't heard hide nor hair of him in close to 10 years now...

I don't want to start any rumors but I thought I read he had passed away some years ago on Diana Gruber's site. Of course I can't find that reference anymore.

 

This is true. Matt passed away a number of years ago. He was a known contributor in the Borland programming forums. I recognized the name and asked him if he was indeed the Mat*Rat from the Atari days and he replied confirming he was. I do not recall the cause of death.

 

Just out of curiousity, what languages did he have interest/expertise in (i.e. Delphi, C++)?

 

tjb

 

I know he coded in C/C++ for sure as that was one of the Borland forums I read but I don't know what, if any, other languages he coded in.

 

I did a search and found this app he made. The site says it comes with source code.

Fortune Cookie

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Didnt' MattRatt do the original Revb-Revc basic patch...that is the only one i recall

 

Yes, further info in Appendix 13 and 19 of Mapping the Atari.

 

A MatRat is, in american slang, a high school wrestler of traditional Greco-Roman style. Among such wrestlers, it's also a term of honor and self-endearment. I was one once so I always assumed he also are one and took the term for his handle since it also works so well with his given name. Otherwise he would have had to answer a ton of needless questions about wrestling from wrestlers who ever learned of his handle.

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I was reading a review by Matthew Ratcliff in the March 1989 issue of Antic this evening and wondering what ever happened to him. I remember reading that he passed away sometime in 1999 in a "Where are they now" section of a web site that contained a digital archive of Antic. Did anyone know him personally? There was a picture of him in the same issue and he really didn't look to be too old at all. I was wondering what happened? Very sad. He was a huge asset to the Atari community. I remember many many programs and articles from "Mat*Rat" from when I was a teenager. I was also wondering what he did after Antic went under.

 

tjb

 

I used to write for Analog, ST-Log, and Antic. Matt was a great help in getting me started reviewing software, and a great guy all around. I remember the last time we talked he was working on landing-gear extension programming for McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). I keep in touch with Clayton Walnum and Lee Pappas, and years ago when Clay told me Matt had died of cancer it was a shock. He is sorely missed.

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I used to write for Analog, ST-Log, and Antic.

What articles did you write? Have you seen this? www.atarimagazines.com

 

Allan

 

I hate to highjack the thread, but to answer your question...

 

Yes, I've seen it; great site. One of these days I'll have to put my bio on it. My big article (co-written with Phil Mast) was Ultra-Graph, a 3D graphing program, in the November '88 Issue of ST-Log. I also have a few BBS reviews in Analog, and one in Antic. Matt was really helpful with advice (I still have the first email he sent me with advice somewhere in the house), and Lee and Clayton were great to work with. It was great to be able to just call them up when I needed to make an edit or wanted to clarify something. The community was really tight back then - good times. I miss those days.

 

We almost sold Ultra-Graph to Michtron in the form of a graphing utility (think charts like Excel does now), but they wanted too many changes and Phil and I were busy with computer consulting services at the time, so we abandoned that effort. We also had a 3D tank battle play-over-modem game started for the ST in '88 (it looked a little like the arcade Battlezone - vector graphics) , but again real-life got in the way and we never finished it.

 

-Blake

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I used to write for Analog, ST-Log, and Antic.

What articles did you write? Have you seen this? www.atarimagazines.com

 

Allan

 

I hate to highjack the thread, but to answer your question...

 

Yes, I've seen it; great site. One of these days I'll have to put my bio on it. My big article (co-written with Phil Mast) was Ultra-Graph, a 3D graphing program, in the November '88 Issue of ST-Log. I also have a few BBS reviews in Analog, and one in Antic. Matt was really helpful with advice (I still have the first email he sent me with advice somewhere in the house), and Lee and Clayton were great to work with. It was great to be able to just call them up when I needed to make an edit or wanted to clarify something. The community was really tight back then - good times. I miss those days.

 

We almost sold Ultra-Graph to Michtron in the form of a graphing utility (think charts like Excel does now), but they wanted too many changes and Phil and I were busy with computer consulting services at the time, so we abandoned that effort. We also had a 3D tank battle play-over-modem game started for the ST in '88 (it looked a little like the arcade Battlezone - vector graphics) , but again real-life got in the way and we never finished it.

 

-Blake

 

Thanks for the info on Matt and your writing experiences. Very interesting stuff.

 

tjb

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Thanks Blake for the info. Pretty interesting. Definitely give Kevin over at www.atarimagazines.com your bio.

 

Allan

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I like to google mat*rat every once in a while just to see what's out there on him. This was the first hit I got. I realize this topic is 4 years old, but it's amazing to me that 20 years after atari and 10 years after his death people are still talking about him.

I read that there were some questions about what happened to him so I would like to clear those up. My name is Charlie Ratcliff "ratinthehat" and Matt was my father. He passed away in early 1999. After a long battle with cancer, enduring kemo, radiation, and even a bone marrow transplant, cancer got the better of him. I was only 13 when he passed away so I didn't really know him all that wel, especially when it came to his professional career.

As long as I can remember he always worked for McDonald Douglas which was later bought out by Boeing. He wrote software for flight test simulators for the fighter jets. He worked there until the day he died. That's all I really know about that.

It seems like you guys know more about his role with atari than I do. It wasn't until searching on the Internet after his death that I found out about his contributions to the industry. I just remember having some atari t-shirts around the house and not knowing why.

I hope this has answered some questions and I would be happy to try to answer any more than anyone else has. Thank You.

 

ratinthehat86

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Well,

 

Mat*Rat had been active at Antic and Analog magazines, here are a few of his A8 programs:

http://www.atarimania.com/pgelstsoft.awp?system=8&type=G&team=1091&step=25

I also remember some programs for the Atari lightgun written by him, e.g. Sharp Shooter and some lightgun sources.

 

If you take a look at the digital (online) Antic and Analog magazines, you should find many articles written by him:

http://www.atarimagazines.com/index/index.php?author=Matthew+Ratcliff&mag=antic

http://www.atarimagazines.com/analog/index/index.php?author=Matthew+J.W.+Ratcliff

 

Even in Germany the A8 scene heard of Mat*Rat... (RIP)

-Andreas Koch.

 

P.S.: I still wish someone would setup a memorial site (webpage) for well-known Atarians that are no longer with us (with some background information what they did, etc.)...

Edited by CharlieChaplin

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Hello Charlie/ratinthehat86

 

I used to read both ANALOG Computing and ANTIC magazine (both were not cheap in The Netherlands) and have enjoyed reading the articles your father wrote for them. He was one of the big guys when it comes to authors of articles in Atari 8 bit related magazines.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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I remember messaging(on GENIE I think) MAT*RAT back in the Atari Days, I think it was something to do with my ICD P:R:. He got back to me very quickly and helped my solve my problem. When I got back into Atari a few years ago I remember trying too look him on Atari Age and found out that he had passed. MAT*Rat will be missed!

 

 

Robert

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I like to google mat*rat every once in a while just to see what's out there on him. This was the first hit I got. I realize this topic is 4 years old, but it's amazing to me that 20 years after atari and 10 years after his death people are still talking about him.

I read that there were some questions about what happened to him so I would like to clear those up. My name is Charlie Ratcliff "ratinthehat" and Matt was my father. He passed away in early 1999. After a long battle with cancer, enduring kemo, radiation, and even a bone marrow transplant, cancer got the better of him. I was only 13 when he passed away so I didn't really know him all that wel, especially when it came to his professional career.

As long as I can remember he always worked for McDonald Douglas which was later bought out by Boeing. He wrote software for flight test simulators for the fighter jets. He worked there until the day he died. That's all I really know about that.

It seems like you guys know more about his role with atari than I do. It wasn't until searching on the Internet after his death that I found out about his contributions to the industry. I just remember having some atari t-shirts around the house and not knowing why.

I hope this has answered some questions and I would be happy to try to answer any more than anyone else has. Thank You.

 

ratinthehat86

 

Thank you for sharing the information with us. I'm very sorry for the loss of your Father. I can tell you he was very well respected for his abilities and contributions to the Atari community.

 

tjb

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P.S.: I still wish someone would setup a memorial site (webpage) for well-known Atarians that are no longer with us (with some background information what they did, etc.)...

Now that's a great idea...

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ratinthehat86, I'm also very sorry for the loss of your father. His articles in Antic magazine were really great and professional. Thank you for visiting AtariAge forum.

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Yeah, I used to read Mat*Rat's articles in Antic all the time as a teenager. Not only would he review a product like the XEGS but take it apart and make programs to get the most out of them.

 

ratinthehat86, there was something in Antic where he wrote a program for his sons that shows and speaks letters in the alphabet in his sampled voice. You probably were too young to remember that but here's the article if you want to check it out... http://www.atarimagazines.com/v7n6/toddletype.html

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ratinthehat86

 

 

Do you have access to any of his Atari content from way back when, would be nice if we could archive it somehow

If I did it would be on an old computer in my moms garage, but I'm not holding my breath on that. Would be cool though

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@ratinthehat86 - Very late condolences, but glad to see a "Rat" active in Atari-land! I remember well the many articles published by your dad. They taught me a lot.

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