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pixelmischief

Top 10 Atari Moments

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Take a moment to reminisce and share your top 10 moments as an Atari lover.

 

1. LOVE AT FIRST SITE: When I walked into my 6th grade BASIC Programming class, I had no idea that my entire life had suddenly been laid out before me like railroad tracks. I fell in love and have been a computer junkie - Atari especially - ever since.

 

2. PIE FACTORY: Donkey Kong on the 8-Bit Atari is a masterpiece; vastly superior to the arcade version. The squished, chubby sprites are, style-wise, more whimsical and endearing that the coin-op. The first time I beat the Pie Factory stage, I was 12 years old. It was a Friday in computer class and on Friday, we were allowed to play. I was 1/2 hour into several attempts. My last Mario (Jumpman back then) and I did it! I jumped out of my chair and yelled "Fuck Yeah!". My teacher kicked me out for the rest of the day.

 

3. ONE OF MY OWN: I had already been in love with the Atari for a year, but I only got to use one when I was at school. My folks were fairly poor, so I hadn't even dared to dream of having one of my own. But one Sunday, we were at an outdoor fund-raiser for my church. There were all kinds of things for sale: clothes, baked goods, used electronics. And that's when I saw it. A complete package: 800XL, 1050 disk drive, and a 1027 printer. All of them complete with the brown vinyl dust covers. The asking price for the set was $250. I told my Dad that I wanted it more than anything in the world and that I would pay back every penny. He did it and it is to this day the kindest and most important thing anyone has ever done for me.

 

4. A 130XE, XF551, and 256K MIO: The 800XL and 1050 is where it started for me. But after high-school, I was making decent coin writing complex Lotus 1-2-3 macro pages for a construction company my dad worked for. My girlfriend's brother told me he had a friend who was selling his Atari gear and was I interested. I was, indeed. He had the gear in the title for $500, with a boat load of floppy disks. I took the lot and was in bliss for months afterward exploring the booty.

 

5. ENVISION: Among the software I got in the deal mentioned previously was a program called Envision. It was basically a font design and tile mapping program. I never did much with it myself, but it came with some cool samples. Among the best was a side view of the Enterprise. The file was NCC1701.MAP. And when it loaded in the viewer and you got to move around with that super smooth viewport scrolling, it was WOW! It really gave you a sense of the power and usefulness of the system.

 

6. DISK WIZARD II: In the early days, cheating wasn't as easy as hitting the "`" key to bring up the console. You had to really work for it. Disk Wizard II was my weapon of choice. And the first time I sector edited my Ultima IV Britannia save to have max gold, I felt like the most powerful person on the planet.

 

7. LUCASFILM: The first time I saw the LucasFilm splash screen on BallBlazer and Eidolon, my lid was popped. The colors were so good and the deep bass-ey sound in the orchestra drop were really impressive. I had the audio on my Atari lined out to a Pioneer Rack with a pair of 12" woofer towers and it was THX, years before its time.

 

8. XF551 3.5": I'm not much of a hardware hacker. But I simply HAD to move to 3.5" floppies. They're so stackable and modular and cool looking. The project to gather all the information together on how to do it and buying the chip burner and chips was super cool. Then actually taking the thing apart, swapping the chips, and having it work was insanity. Now I have big boxes full of 3.5's with custom labels and the feeling of flipping through them, popping one out, sticking it in, and booting up is a great big bath of warm nostalgia.

 

9. SWAN DEMO: Xanth's Swan Demo is still one of the most elegant and impactful graphics demonstrations I have ever seen on any platform. The spinning Fuji and the way its blue edges brighten and darken with the rotation is so well done. The swan has a real organic feel to it. And the little space-bar easter-eggie is neat, too. I like to leave this demo running in a little window on the bottom right of my screen. A little nostalgic furniture.

 

10. BLACK BOX: When I got Bob Puff's Black Box working with an old 245MB SCSI-II drive I harvested from a Sun SPARC 2, it felt like serious business. I was creating sector maps and dumping disk images by the hundreds, for hours every day. It was sheer bliss. The whole instant load thing was heady stuff.

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That was a good read, thanks.

 

Hmm, I found 8bit Donkey Kong an unremarkable port, but maybe I'm too picky about that one. The jumpers I favored were Canyon Climber, which has an oddly way back perspective and I thought sort of hypnotically slow play, and then the true great Miner 2049 with its awesome looks and play.

 

One of the great Atari moments I think was grabbing the joystick in the store demo model and piloting, first person of course, the spaceship in Star Raiders for the first time. OMG.

 

Learning to program in Atari BASIC, which is a BASIC with a unique feel and character, is a great moment.

 

Typing in successfully a BASIC program from one of the magazines, and running it is a great moment. Even if it's a cheesy thing by David Plotkin and Maria Montes like their Munchkin Attack.

 

Typing in successfully a machine language program (!!!) from one of the magazines is a great moment. A friend and I did Fillerup (a Qix clone) and then I think I did BBK Artist (a truly decent paint program) by myself. Unimaginable these days to ponder actually typing in all that code, but we sure did it.

 

Some of the recent retro-development are great Atari moments too. There's several but Yoomp! and Pac-Man Arcade and the Asteroids emulator and from the screenshots His Dark Majesty all come to mind.

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Can't really sort them by significance but here are some:

  • First BASIC program (I had dabbled on a borrowed Sinclair ZX81 for a few weeks before) but how much better did it feel on the 800.
  • First self-programmed graphics.
  • First time playing Star Raiders on my OWN 800.
  • First successful entry of a magazine program listing (and improving same)
  • First self-programmed assembly program
  • First whole night spent programming (in assembler)
  • Beating Shamus (finally managing to play it through the final (red) level twice).
  • Winning M.U.L.E.
  • receiving a copy of ANTIC from faraway America every month
  • talking my father into ordering some Atari stuff advertised in ANTIC (this was done by snail mail in pre-fax times and took AGES to arrive).
  • Finishing Spelunker (done in my mid-20s well after my "8-bit prime-time")
  • First playing some Atari games on an Emulator, realizing I could take a bit of Atari history with me almost everywhere.
  • Every time I set up the old system and hear the blip-blip-blip of a booting Atari.
  • Shame on me: first encountering a photocopied list of cheap (and of course bootleg) software, leading to a hundredfold increase of my meagre games library.....

 

If you care for one of the "low" points (encountered during the very first days): Hitting BREAK in Nautilus just to realize that copying and sharing games would not be as easy as my best friend an I had imagined. Another one was to realize how veeery slow hi-res graphics were done in BASIC and that it would be waaaay to slow to program the games I had imagined.

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Well,

 

1) we got our first home-version of PONG in black & white in the late 70s; think it was not from Atari, but playing it was still big fun; by that time our tv was also only b/w...

 

2) the idea of my older brother and my parents that they needed a computer in summer or fall 1984... (my uncle had a firm and lots of Apple II, IIc and IIe computers then)...

3) brother and parents came back from a toy-shop with lots of computer catalogs in summer or fall 1984; one of the catalogs showed the Atari 600XL, 800XL, 1400XL and 1450XLD computers...

4) autumn/fall 1984 the decision was made: Apple is much too expensive ! It will be an Atari... 800XL !

5) xmas 1984: me and my brother got an Atari 800XL without any peripherals...

 

6) a few days after xmas, the first program was typed in by my brother; we left the computer on the whole day and night, not to loose the program, since we could not save it anywhere...

 

7) approx. six months later (1985) we bought an Atari 1010 recorder, the one with orange sticker inside - it still works today !

 

We used the Atari until 1987 or 1988 and got hundreds of pirate copies on tape (one of our well-known friends copied them from disk to tape for us, free of charge). From time to time we made small "computer-parties" with our friends (who owned a floppy-drive) and played Summer Games, Track and Field, Decathlon, Pitstop and other games together (and the games got loaded from a 1050, so we could see how much faster this was). But after some years we lost interest and the Atari got packed away in the cellar... (most friends had sold their Ataris and bought C64, ST or Amiga then)...

 

8 )approx. 1991 a friend and I went to a flea-market and there I saw someone selling approx. 5-10 Atari XL/XE games on tape. I thought, hey, why not buy them and see if the A8 and the 1010 still works ?!? So I did, went home, unpacked the Atari and almost all games worked fine. I remember that one of the games was Fighter Pilot by Interceptor Software, total shit, but therefore with an extremely short loading time from tape: http://www.atarimani...pilot_1956.html

 

9) In 1992 I left school and had to go to military service for one year. Most of the time we were just hanging around and bored to death, since there was nothing to do. So more and more folks brought their NES, SMS, gameboy or gamegear there from home. But then there was one guy who had a cream and chocolate computer in his sleeping room - an Atari 800XL with 1050 floppydrive. I got in contact with him and we traded and played A8 games and he is still a friend of mine today...

 

10) In 1993 I was looking around if there was still something like an A8 scene and unbelievable, there was ! Bought magazines like Computer Flohmarkt, Atari Magazin and ZONG and after a while I subscribed them. Think in 1994 I also joined Abbuc, where I am still member today...

 

It must have been in the late 90s or early 2000 that I asked my uncle about the Apple II/IIc/IIe computers and what he did with them and he told me that most of them had been thrown away, except for one computer which he kept because of nostalgic reasons and the old games... ;-)

 

-Andreas Koch.

Edited by CharlieChaplin
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No order:

 

Playing Space Invaders and Star Raiders on a relative's 400 and being completely mesmerized by the entire experience.

Running my own BBS in Austin, TX from an 800, a thermal printer, a 1050 and a Percom with squeaky head rails and having users buzz you for a chat with a CTRL-G.

Selling 400/800's in a game/computer store in Austin and popping up the Robot/Rocketship demo which never failed to make jaws drop -- especially new Apple //c owners.

Buying the very, very last new 800 at the store I worked at AFTER the 1200XL's came out.

Actually getting the 6502 to add 2 and 2 and finding a 4 sitting quietly in the Accumulator.

Installing a Newell Fastchip, plugging in BASIC XL and watching the 800 FLY through BASIC programs.

Debatable: meeting obsessive 80's pirates who had EVERY conceivable broken piece of Atari software carefully cataloged, A-Z, on hundreds of double density disks with fast load menus at swap parties featuring beer, Doritos, and dip and lots and lots of game playing. I can still hear the super rapid flutter of Happy-enhanced 810's as disk after disk was "traded."

Finally defeating the damn Shadow in Shamus: Case II.

Finally figuring out how display lists actually F*&$#ing worked.

Realizing that ColourSpace was decades ahead of iTunes' visualizer for music.

Many more my aging brain has slowly forgotten.

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Dunno if I can list ten, but here goes:

  1. Finally getting an 800XL after wanting one for a couple of years
  2. Seeing the amazing (and I am still amazed by it) robot on the demo disc
  3. Playing Archon for the first time - still one of my favourite games of all time and the Atari version is (IMO) the best
  4. Hearing the music of Alternate Reality:The City when I first got it
  5. Beating Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy after months of playing it
  6. Playing Ghost Chaser, still one of my favourite platform games (along with Mr Wimpy on the Oric Atmos)
  7. Flying across the US in F.S. II, charting the journey on the maps and thinking that I was actually able to make this journey.
  8. Writing my first app for a computer, it was a payroll app for my father
  9. Discovering that programming, thanks to the Atari, was to be my life's passion
  10. Discovering that the Atari community is still alive and strong in the 21st century

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Reading your posts I realize I'd have to bloat my list even further...

Thanks for evoking more memories. Still pondering whether increasing Atari nostalgia is indicative of a midlife crisis (but if so it' at least it's cheaper than a mistress and/or sportscar).

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Some of my own highlights would be:

 

1. Getting an 800XL back in the first half of the eighties

 

2. Buying my first games amongst dozens to choose from (Action Biker by Mastertronic - only had a few £ on me at that age)

 

3. Finding Thors hammer in Spellbound (you cannot imagine how much time and thinking went into this - several months then it clicked...)

 

4. Fixing my 1010 record button after 18 months of not having this (was 12 and was my first foot in the crack-it-open-and-see-how-it-works habit) - when i bought my first Amiga from a high street store several years later - first thing i did was open it up - before even powering the thing up :twisted: ).

 

5. My slightly full-on friend with the C64 seeing the screenshots to A8 'Feud' (from mastertronic) in Atari user and asked me if this was the ST version as the graphics looked awesome!

 

6. My slightly full-on Cousin boasting about the Sid chip having 3 voices... (you know where this contest got to.....)

 

7. Discovering all sorts of things you can do with Atari Basic

 

8. Getting a A400 and A800 just lately after wanting these for the last 20 years.

 

9. Seeing Space Harrier on an A8 and kicking the other platforms ass!

 

10. Turning my 600XL into a 1MB, S-Video, SD driven, Stereo Flagship Powerhouse! (well nearly done this...)

 

 

just waiting for Last Ninja to appear ;)

Edited by Magic Knight

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Let's see....

 

1. Playing Star Raiders on my friend's 400 when we were 8 or 9... so easy to immerse yourself in this game, still is. It's almost a cliche, I know, but that game is probably responsible for my falling in love with the 8-bits more than anything else.

 

2. Changing elementary schools for 5th grade and discovering their computer lab had an 800 (with a Koala Pad!) in addition to all the crappy PETs - my old elementary only had the Commodores.

 

3. Getting my own 600XL in '84. Typing in programs had written in a notebook and seeing them run. Even my parents enjoyed games like Pitfall and River Raid.

 

4. Saving my paper route money and buying a 130XE and 1050 in '86 or so... opened up a whole new disk-based world.

 

5. Attending the CHAOS Magic Show in 1987. A get-together, trade show, swap meet, etc set up by a couple of Michigan user groups at a local Hotel. I remember being blown away by demos I'd never seen and some of the hardware mods for sale. I think I bought a Function Key upgrade kit from Innovative Concepts.

 

6. Learning 'advanced techniques' like character redefinition and PM graphics... watching the custom shapes come up on the screen and thinking "I did that!"

 

7. Learning enough 6502 assembly to write simple DLIs and seeing them work for the first time, changing colors. Oh my God, I'm writing machine code!

 

8. Building my own speech synthesizer and hearing my computer talk. I was such a dork, I used to make phone calls with the thing to my friends and mail-order houses.

 

9. Finding out (in 2002 or so, years late) that Bounty Bob Strikes Back exists. I don't know how I missed this the first time around. Miner 2049 was one of my (and my whole family's) favorite games in the 80's, but somehow I never knew about BBSB.

 

10. Seeing the stellar conversion of Dr. Mario in 2010. My favorite NES game, one I always thought would be possible on the A8 and had been thinking about trying to code myself (but realizing I didn't quite have the skills).

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[1] I'm in my Chemistry class (1980) and ask my lab partner what that thin black thing is about the size of a napkin. He tells me its a floppy disk and what it is for. Incredulous, I told him he was full of it. He explained that the high school has a compter class and lab. I signed up for it the next semester. The lab had Apple II with monochrome monitors. I liked it, I liked it a lot!

 

[2] New friend in computer class says he has an Atari Home Computer. I didn't know such a thing existed. I had a Pong game in 1974 and the VCS in 1977, but what is this home computer. I came over to his house and saw the 800. Wow, I immediately recognized it's superiority to the Apple II. Especially the price and you could use the color TV you already owned. Still too pricing for 1981.

 

[3] A new local video rental (VHS was king and gee-whiz technology) also started to carry Atari Home Computers. I saw the 400 and got to play Star Raiders. Done!, I must have this and relentlessly badgered my father into buying me a 400 for Christmas. He did, and as Pixelmischief has stated, probably the most significant gift my parents ever gave me. A 16K 400 w/BASIC and a 410 for ~$400 in 1981. I remember owning it for all of 2 hours when my little sister, while being chased by one of my brothers, ran across the RF video cord and watching my baby (400) go airborne and fly across the family room floor. It did not break and my sister lived.

 

[4] Upgraded my 400 to 32K RAM and really got into coding in BASIC. I even wrote a game called Mission Moscow using character set editing. Man did I ever get excited about coding. Little things, everything. You have to realize that back in 1981/82, this marvelous machine was still a "computer", i.e. irresistible to nerds and I was absolutely one. In 1981 you had a computer because you were a nerd and you wanted to code. Everyone else pretty much kept to the 2600's and Coleco Visions.

 

[5] The 1200XL came out and it was shunned by the Atari community. At the same time, the price of the 800 had dropped to make the 1200XL the flagship and get rid of the remaining inventory of 800s. I bought an 800 with a fabulous Mitsumi keyboard in 1983. I was saving my money and bought an 810 a few months later. This was a huge jump cost, but I was hooked. Continued to code along with taking Assembly, COBOL, Pascal and Fortran classes in college. In 1983, I got to see Steve Wozniak in person when he gave a lecture at my school. I did not care for Apple at the time (still don't) and reviled Steve Jobs as the enemy. It's not until recently that I've completely changed my opinion about Mr. Jobs and now consider him the genius that he was. Ironically, the Apple of today has become the "Big Blue" Apple rebelled against in the 1984 Super Bowl commercial.

 

[6] I discovered Atariwriter, Syncalc, ATR-8000, CP/M and Wordstar. Atariwriter was a revolutionary title for the home computer market. It transformed the home computer into "not just for geeks" anymore. With little knowledge, anyone had a legitimate use and need for a home computer. I used Syncalc and my ATR-8000's CP/M for class work and reports. I used 1.2MB floppies and formatted them as 8" 77 track DSDD drives on my ATR-8000.

 

[7] I bought an 800XL and ICD MIO . Did a lot of mods on my 800XL, but I never really held the 800XL with the same reverence as the 400/800. They just felt cheap and "C64-ized".

 

[8] Back in the late 80's 1200XLs were a dime a dozen and businesses would give them away as gifts for listening to a timeshare pitch. The stigma was strong and nobody really appreciated the 1200XL. I got my hands on one and quickly realized that this machine was the 800 perfected. I easily added the 400/800 OS-B ROM to it and it became my all time favorite machine. I think B&C sold complete 1200XLs for $20 each in 1990. The IBM was gaining popularity and was cheap enough for the average Joe to buy and my time with the 8-bit started to die.

 

[9] For whatever reason, in 2009 I got the nostalgia bug for my Atari machines and had already liquidated my entire Atari hardware collection in 2004. I bought a 1200XL and a Sdrive NUXX. The Sdrive NUXX to me is probably the best item made for the Atari ever.

 

[10] Recently, ALTIRRA, USB joysticks and 2600-daptor II have captured my attention. I still have the hardware, but I don't pull it out too often. I can however fire up Altirra. Because of its ease of use and maintenance, I've played with my 8-bit stuff more and have come to appreciate that some of the games are still relevant and cool to play. For many, the Atari Home Computer line was just another game system, but for most of us that were there from the start, it was a calling. We're not geeks because of Atari Computers, it just help some of us attain Uber-Geek status.

 

What do I do? I'm an Aerospace engineer and I like to think getting that Atari 400 in 1981 had something to do with it.

Edited by ACML
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Seeing Star Raiders on the 800 at New Dimensions in Computing in East Lansing in 1980 and quickly forgetting about the Apple ][ I had wanted. Learning the 400 was just as powerful at half the price and getting one.

 

Making friends with the salesman, copying his Hardware and OS Manuals, learning 6502ese, and exploring every corner of that wonderful machine.

 

Borrowing Atari Space Invaders on cassette, figuring out how to copy it, and then hacking the graphics to display my housemates' names.

 

Getting my friend's job, trying to sell Ataris, Exidys, and Vector Graphics, and writing demos for the store. Reaching Star Commander Class 2 while customers watched, and getting paid!

 

Seeing my Stats prof pull an 800 out of his backpack and run probability demos for the class.

 

Meeting a ZX80 owner, turning him onto Atari, and making a lifelong friend.

 

Learning to solder, building a Ciarcia acoustic modem kit, writing an 80-column dumb terminal program for the 400, and working on the college mainframe from home. Later, adapting it for the ATR8000 (DT-80) and as an E: device (ACE-80).

 

Helping start CHAOS and making lots of new friends, including that prof.

 

Traveling with friends to huge MACE meetings. Developing a 48K upgrade for the 400 and writing an article for their journal. Dissecting a 5200 and writing an article for ANALOG. Developing a 256K upgrade for the 800XL and writing an article for BYTE.

 

Finding AtariAge and rediscovering the fun.

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@ClausB, I always wanted to know how DT-80 communicated with the ATR8000. I had a cartridge, but I can no longer find it, I wanted to disassemble the code and see what was going on.

 

-Thom

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A few from my memories (no ranking):

 

1) Getting Elite's Cobra Mk.III spinning on the A8

 

2) (separate) Ebay wins - "Atari 800" and "Universe"

 

3) Completing the first A8 game we bought, "Diamonds" by English Software (£9.99 from Boots) - sadly after the prize was claimed :(

 

4) Working through the protection on 'The Eidolon' and 'Koronis Rift' to produce the cart versions. (Applies to squeezing 'Gauntlet' into 128KB too).

 

5) Attending, and also helping a couple of times on Dean Garraghty's stall at the AMS "Alternative Micro Show" at the Staffordshire Show Ground.

 

6) A family trip to London and visit to Tottenham Court Road and finding "Hardball" on cassette in one of the shops there. Getting home late but staying up to wait the ~15 minutes for it load and then enjoying this great game.

 

7) Most "Rescue on Fractalus" moments... making you jump the first time etc. Plus enjoying one of our daughters at an early age enjoying playing this (without landing!) to fly around and shoot out the turrets.

 

8 ) Implementing the initial FlashCart support for emulators.

 

9) Eventually getting a 1050 disk drive and soon after a MAC/65 cart way to late having suffered far too long trying to write things on Atari Assembler and build to tape!

 

10) Spending many hours learning and improving programming (having migrated from ZX81 Basic) from type in magazines from C&VG, Atari User, Antic, Your Computer and any others really.

Edited by Wrathchild
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Hmm, this is tough. Only ten? :)

 

1. Unboxing the "Programmer's Pack" 400, BASIC cartridge and 410 Program Recorder back around 1981 or so and wondering about how utterly cool it was

2. Taking it apart just because I could, and marveling at the IC's all neatly socketed and soldered across the boards, then reassembling it and having it start right up normally

3. Playing my first 8-bit games (can't remember which one was the first but I had many and loved most of them)

4. Spending hours typing in programs from the pages of Antic and Analog, then an hour more proofreading to find the one or two typos buried in a DATA statement somewhere that would keep it from running properly

5. Mastering BASIC and then hacking my way through 6502 machine language, saving up lawn mowing money for a real assembler/editor cart so I wouldn't have to use BASIC shell programs and USR statements to run them

6. Upgrading to an 800 with it's then-massive 48K of RAM and luxurious real, full-stroke keyboard sometime around 1983

7. The first time I booted up DOS on my new 1050 "enhanced density" drive, around 1985 and marveling at how quickly I could save and load programs compared to my trust 410 Program Recorder

8. Getting AtariWriter and using it to write papers through high school

9. Getting my 1030 modem in 1985 and using it to explore the active local and regional BBS scene throughout 1985 and 1986

10. Taking about $1,300 I'd saved from allowances, birthday money and high school graduation money in the summer of 1986, and driving to the local full-service dealer about 20 miles away to buy a brand new 520ST, color monitor and 1200 baud modem. I used that machine all the way through 4 years of college and for a couple years after until the siren song of x86 machines and PC clones led me astray.

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1. My first encounter with a computer. It was a Z80 based computer widely used in schools in Sweden called the ABC80. We played breakout, a worm game and a racing game called Dot Race on it during recesses.

 

2. Writing my first Basic programs on this machine. One was a simple text adventure game.

 

3. Watching a friend's Vic 20 playing some Scramble type game. He also got one of his own games published. It was a text adventure game on cassette.

 

4. Seeing and playing Star Raiders on the 800 for the first time. This blew everything I'd seen to kingdom come. Knew I'd have to get an Atari then.

 

5. When my brother got an Atari 400 with a two cartridge game pack, Don't think Star Raiders was among them. The game I remember playing most was Missile Command.

 

6. When I bought a used Atari 800 and a cassette player. And later got the 1050 disk drive for it. And even later I sold the 800 (Doh!) and bought a 130 XE, which I still use today.

 

7. Getting into the 16 bit era with the ST and later also the Amiga.

 

8. Seeing Doom on a top of the line PC for the first time. By this time I'd already sold my 16 bit computers and built my own PC, which didn't go without a hitch.

 

9. Learning C, C++ on my Windows 3.1 PC. This got me a job as a programmer.

 

10. Just recently deciding to learn 6502 assembly on my trusty old 130 XE. I never programmed much on it back in the day; too many games to play and not enough time.

 

These are numbered in chronological order from 1981-now. My favorite moment though is number 4. I've since also bought a C64 to feed my need for 8-bit goodness. 8 bits is all I need to have fun.

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These are my memories of using my Atari 130XE during my teenage years (The third one is more recent in my retro-gaming adulthood.)

 

1. Playing Star Raiders with my friend who acted as the "co-pilot". He gave me a swig to drink in the middle of a Zylon firefight only to run down my shirt. :)

 

2. Having all four levels of Donkey Kong with smooth controls on top of it. Landon Dyer may have hated the arcade version but damn he made the Atari 8-bit port the best!

 

3. Playing Defender on the XEGS at PhillyClassic for the gaming tournament. I was allowed to practice during the auction and just got into the zone...playing it non stop without losing any lives and building up lots of smart bombs. I usually do bad at this game at home but that day I racked up over a million points. Then during the tournament, while everyone else was struggling to find the button for the smart bomb (they're used to the 5200 version) I just went at it surpassing everyone's score. They just told me I already won and I replied, "You should have seen me when I played it before."

 

4. Getting Antic magazine where I found out about all the cool stuff made for the Atari 8-bit and later getting a disk subscription so I can play the games without having to type them in. Also discovering a whole community of other users across the country, which was great since lived in a small town at the time.

 

5. Playing Alternate Reality for the first time and being blown away by the intro and music...

 

6. Trying to complete all three dungeons in Temple of Apshai Trilogoy, and man they were tough! That and Zelda were the two really deep adventure games I've played at the time.

 

7. Getting a Tetris like game from an Antic disk and modifying it to be more like the Mac version (Outline blocks, pull down speed & scoreboard). Yeah, everybody was addicted to that game including my computer teacher.

 

8. Using a spelling quiz program to help me pass the weekly vocaburay tests. Quickly went from C- to A+...

 

9. Really learning how to program, doing more than just the simple stuff I did on a Radio Shack CoCo. That help set the direction for my career.

 

10. Moving on to the ST computer which I got for my graduation, and then it 'really' got good...

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Let me take a moment to thank you all dearly for participating in this thread. It has lead me to some excellent NEW experiences on the 8-Bit and I am loving every minute of it.

Edited by pixelmischief
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These aren't in order of importance or anything, but here are Atari moments that I remembered (even though I didn't actually own an Atari back then):

 

1. First seeing my friend's 800XL - It was so much more beautiful than my "melted key" CoCo 2. I loved the dark brown & cream colour scheme.

 

2. The wonders of floppy disks - My friend had the first floppy disk drive I'd ever seen. I had only ever used cartridges and tape. He had a large box of disks, containing nearly a hundred games and interesting demos. Going through those disks gave me such a feeling of mystery and discovery.

 

3. Seeing Ballblaster (yes Ballblaster, not BallBlazer - my friend somehow had the prototype in 1984) - Real-time 3D (pseudo-3D) was amazing for the time, but split-screen 3D with each player having his own view was mind-blowing.

 

4. Playing Montezuma's Revenge - At the time, most games had only a few different screens that repeated - and you had to complete each one before moving to the next, usually with an annoying time limit. I loved how Montezuma's Revenge had no time limit at all and it seemed like the number of rooms were infinite. I think this was the first game I ever played that gave a real sense of exploration.

 

5. Playing Blue Max - The landscape seemed to go on forever, but the most amazing thing was that it was different every time you played it. Most games at the time had repeating patterns (predictable and very limited). I'd never seen randomly generated landscape before. Once again, there was a sense of exploration and discovery.

 

6. Seeing colour-cycling and gradients - My CoCo 2 had a pathetic selection of colours (to this day, I hate graphics made with flat primary colours because it reminds me of limited palettes of early computers). The Atari colour palette blew my mind. There was a demo showing a bunch of large silver pipes (still can't find it) made of gradients that really amazed me. I still love gradients.

 

 

I wasn't impressed by any other computer until many years later when I first saw an Amiga - and I got the same sense of wonder that I had when seeing the Atari.

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In rough order chronologically:

 

1. Seeing/playing the VCS/2600 - a mate around the corner had one as well as a TRS-80 clone in the early 80s. Nothing for the home really matched it at the time, I started out before the arcade greats like Space Invaders and Asteroids were available so when they were released it was pretty impressive.

 

2. Seeing/using the 400 - another friend had a 16K (later expanded to 48K) machine. Star Raiders was the big attraction and others like Shamus impressed greatly.

 

3. Owning a 2600 - got one for chrismas (82, I think), it was fun for a while but of course knowing the computer line was so much better had me hungry for one.

 

4. 8-bit ownership at last. Around mid-1983 finally got a 400. This was not long before the XL became available so I soon updated to 600 then 800XL in the following years.

 

5. Writing and having a games book published. With my mate as mentioned in (2) I got the opportunity in 1983 to write games which were published in their own book. Inadvertantly I sent some C64 games in the next year and they were also published in their own book.

 

6. Getting a 1040ST/FM - not the same thrill as with the A8 but ST ownership got me into 68000 programming which layed the foundation for me learning and using IBM System 370 mainframe Assembly about 18 months later.

 

7. Resurgeance of interest. In the late 1990s I started using the internet and discovered emulation and all sorts of special interest sites dealing with our old Atari gear.

 

8. Atariage. Deserving of it's own point, this place and the people here probably more than anything have helped to keep the fire burning re interest in the old computers/consoles of last century.

 

9. Programming reborn. I probably went near 10 years with barely a single line of code programmed on the A8 from around 1991 onwards. New hardware exploits and work of others provided inspiration to start my own projects.

 

10. New meets old - few better ways to breath new life into our old gear than modern hardware designed to enhance the machines like VBXE, IDE +2, SIDE, SIO2SD and the like.

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Addition: yesterday I showed Star Raiders to my sons aged 9/11 and asked them of they could imagine how cool this had been thirty years ago and one of them said "it's cool even today!" (and this from a boy who found Lode Runner too hard)

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My Atari 8-Bit Top 10 Moments.

 

Now let me preface this by saying that the Atari 8-Bit provided more joy to me than any piece of consumer electronics I have ever owned. I dreamed about a game-playing microcomputer for years and only bought one when i could afford to buy it on my own at age 16. I'll try to list these in sequence:

 

1. Staring at the READY prompt on my brand new 800XL and it's limitless possibilities.

2. Playing Pitfall II on an atari 800XL before I owned a storage device of any kind.

3. Loading Shamus II from cassette with that cool loader screen (using a borrowed 410 tape recorder)

4. Getting an Indus GT floppy drive for Christmas

5. Ultima III on my new Indus GT (mind blown)

6. Clumsy Rambo XL installation

7. XM301 acquisition--had no idea how cool modems were until then

8. Running a floppy-based BBS (using AMIS and then later BBS Express)

9. ICD Multi I/O, SpartaDOS and a hard drive (now you're playing with power)

10. R-Time 8, no more typing the date and time!

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1. My first moment would have to be the purchase. It was am impulse buy at Zayres Department Store. They had the Atari 400 for $99.99 after a $50 rebate -- my first computer and my first rebate.

 

2. The second moment came on the same day. I was not prepared for the excellent graphics of the Atari Home computer. I hoped it would be better than the 2600, but I was not prepared for Galaxian on an Atari 400.

 

3. I'll never forget thumbing through my first issue of Antic. Loved dreaming about the hardware I hoped to one day afford and the games I might one day play.

 

4. A short time after buying my first BASIC game, I hit the reset key and listed the program. I edited some lines of code as I pored over Advanced Programming Techniques for your Atari by Linda Schreiber. Soon I had a copy of Energy Czar with a personal touch.

 

5. I took a BASIC programming in college. The computer lab was full of Commodore 64s. One kid owned an Apple computer and asked if he could do the assignments on that. The instructor thought that was a cool idea and we all brought computers in from home. The class was a lot of fun and the labs often lasted until late at night. I met a few Atarians in that lab.

 

6. At launch, the 1050 went for $499.99. When I was in school, I worked at a store that sold the 1050. Employees got a 20% discount at Christmas and anyone who took a rain check for an out of stock ad item. When the 1050s went on sale for $199.99, I got two rain checks when the limited stock sold out. I put them on layaway until Christmas and carries two out the door for $127.99 each. Still have both disks.

 

7. One day I was printing out a large report -- I think ~25-30 pages. As the pages were flying off my 1027 printer, I was proofreading the report. About a half dozen pages into the report, I read a paragraph that I didn't like. It wasn't wrong, but I thought of a better way to express the ideas in the paragraph. I stopped the printer, made the changes, and restarted printing. I would never have change that error-less paragraph if I had typed the 30 pages. It occurred to me at that moment that computers would make it easier for all of us to be better.

 

8. After a decade of storage, I took my Atari out of the attic to play with my oldest son. He was about five. We loved Bruce Lee and Wizard of Wor. It was the second of many childhoods for me.

 

9. I have to put the programming of a Maxflash cart on the list. This cart made my favorite games instantly accessible and has allowed me to stop for a few minutes of Demon Attack on my way through the bedroom.

 

10. Same for the SDrive. I love Seven Cities of Gold and the SDrive made that instantly accessible to me.

Edited by WizWor
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"It occurred to me at that moment that computers would make it easier for all of us to be better."

"It was the second of many childhoods for me."

 

I love these two lines. Fantastic.

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