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Back in the day, how many people did you steer towards Atari Computers?

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A friend in my high school (Coral Springs, Florida) computer class (class had Apple II's) introduced me to the Atari 800 in 1981. After receiving an Atari 400 that Christmas, eventually upgraded to an 800, I steered several relatives and friends to Atari. Eventually two bothers, one sister, two cousins, three friends all purchased Ataris in the next few years. None of them had any experience with computers, but once they saw mine and what you could do with Atariwriter, Syncalc, Assembler Editor, etc, they all jump on the 1980's tech bandwagon (Atari, We brought the Computer Age home). I remember my older sister asking on Christmas day, "what do you do with it?". Once she was able to type college papers on Atariwriter with spell check, she finally "got it". My brothers and I all became engineers so we were just drawn to it. It was cool to see the looks on peoples' faces when they exclaimed, "wow, I didn't know Atari made computers".

Edited by ACML

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Back in the mid-80's, I got two of my colleagues to go with me to a thrift-type place that had a whole skid of 800XLs that they were selling for $50 ea. I bought two and they each bought one.

 

Not too many years later, once the two guys got into PCs, I got ALL of their Atari equipment and still have it.

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That's an impressive track record. I can only claim 2 people as my best friend in high school and I convinced ourselves that Ataris would beat everything else in late 1982 and two other friends - twins- got an 800XL a couple of years later - one of them become a software Engineer. I did organize a little computer show (more like a show and tell actually) in school, so I might have convinced a couple more whom I don't know. IMHO the C64 was just too strong then to get more people to buy Ataris.

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Me, I steered everyone towards Atari's, considering I sold them for my living, I had to :)

 

No exact numbers but over 200 hundred computers sales easily plus a large number of drives etc..

Edited by Mclaneinc

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I sold a few ST computers back in the day, but I don't think I convinced one single person to buy an XE. We were also selling IBM, Compaq, Commodore and Apple... most people bought C64's on the low end, or PC's and Macs on the high end.

 

I quit the week after Win 3.1 came out because I had a knot at the base of my stomach for Atari and Commodore at that point... soon as I saw VGA graphics for the first time I knew it was just a matter of when, not if, that Atari and Commodore were dead meat.

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1 or 2. Funnily enough, I probably had more friends with Atari than other machines, even C64. Although 2 had 400s before C64 ever came out and I got mine shortly after C64 was available here.

 

I don't think I knew anyone with an Apple, they weren't that popular here anyway. TRS-80 and clones were fairly popular until the early 80s.

 

Once ST and Amiga arrived, probably more jumped to ST initially - although by that time we were more inclined to be saving for cars and computer interest dipped a little.

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Pretty much all my friends bought Atari's after I started with one. I'm guessing a dozen 8bits and maybe 8 STs?

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without going in to how I got in to the Atari to begin with, where I lived back in the day only had Commie stores, so I was surrounded by evil Commie kids. It was horrible.

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I was deep in enemy...er...I mean Commodore territory, so going was rough. Plus my brother had an NES, which made the discussion around games hard to have. Still, I managed to convince one kid's parents that a 130XE was the right move, instead of an NES, if they wanted him to have games AND learn computers. I don't think he was appreciative.

 

I have been a late adopter to the various generations of Atari computing. The first computer I ever saw was an 800XL in 1984. I finally got an 800XL, a 1050, and a 1027 in 1986 and I stayed there until 1990. At this point I got a good look at the ST in the stores, but I didn't know anyone who owned one and the prices were still out of my range. Instead, I upped to a 130XE, XF551, 1MB ICD MIO, and Star NX-100 printer. My career in Wintel jumped off at this point, but The Atari remained my only home computer. I got my first ST in 1992 and I liked it. It didn't rock my world like the 8-Bit, but some of the stuff was quite nice; Test Drive and Xenon. In 1994 I started making decent coin and bought a 4MB 1040 STe, a VGA cable, an NEC 3D, an ICD Link II, an external 200MB SCSI disk, NEC MultiSpin CD-ROM top loader, and an Epson BJ-100. I had Toad Computers on speed dial. I bought SpeedoGDOS and AtariWorks for business stuff. Kandinsky gave nice vector. Life was wonderful. In 1996 I got a Falcon and immediately upped it to 16MB and connected a 1GB Jazz to it. With that, the CD-ROM drive and a 38,400 modem, I was in a really good place. I was gaming on Playstation and Windows pretty much exclusively, but the PC wasn't yet inspiring enough to tear me completely away from the power of the name Atari.

 

It was in 1998 that Windows started becoming my primary desktop. I still loved and played with my Ataris, but they were a hobby instead of a mainstay. Advances in emulation sealed the deal. PC Xformer first and then Gemulator. Except for brief periods of nostalgia, I haven't been able to dedicate desk space to an Atari since. But the war for my affections rages on. I still fight with myself - lietarlly every day - about putting an Atari or two on the nice clean surface of my desk, which has a keyboard tray underneath for the PC keyboard. Maybe one day I'll "win" that war. =)

Edited by pixelmischief

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Maybe it was something like 3 years looking for a computer to capture my imagination - and the Atari 800 did it as my first computer. (at least I did not have to start with a first, then going onto a second... etc etc like I did with my still photography interest). The local Atari user group started in my bedroom - and I eventually ended up being President -- but I didn't stay at that post for long - as I knew I was very ineffective in that position. Never got into any other such position and glad of it. However I ended up being the editor for a local Atarizine - Go Atari! that last for one and a half issues. I provided a slideshow demo for the local computer store which featured Fun With Art pics of New Zealand scenary.

Kept up with my contacts in the UK, and developed contacts in Auckland and elsewhere in NZ. When I went C-64 for a year - never developed any kind of lasting or worthwhile contact(s) in that sphere.

Have to admit that I met some very nice and competent Atari users in the Atari 800/Atari ST days/club over say the C64/General Computing Club. What really made it all the more interesting - was working on videogame projects - particularly Laser Hawk and Hawkquest that cemented me firmly just where I like to be... just like with me becoming involved with playing Volleyball and Table Tennis - later on. Now all I need to get involved with scriptwriting and TV/Moviemaking etc projects to finally complete my life's work...

 

Harvey

Edited by kiwilove

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I only managed to "steer" one person, a friend that I sold my original 48K 400 to, when I bought my Atari 800 (wanted that keyboard, and the flagship model.) He bought a 1010 program recorder, but the fun didn't last. The Intec 48K upgrade continued to suck power and blow fuses on the 400's power supply. So I bought it back from him. It wasn't a pleasant experience for him.

 

I did manage to "steer" a couple people towards the Atari ST, simply because it was a great value for the time, in 1985-1986 era.

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One - I think..

 

I don't exactly recall what got me interested in the 8-bit units, or precisely when, but it was all about Star Raiders. And I didn't even know it till I got it home and played it. We had planned on going to Chuck E. Cheese's (or was it ShowBiz?) And there was a big debate because Star Raiders was too cool a game! At any rate I was secondarily into the 400/800 along with my Apple II for quite a number of years. And although I never actively "sold" the Atari's on anyone, everyone liked it. And if they had money they probably would'a bought it.

 

At some point in time, someone stole a cartridge from me and denied it. I contacted his parents and had them conduct a search or I was calling the cops. Sure enough the cartridge showed up like magic. We never really did stay friends long afterward. I also lost interest in the 8-bitters soon after. The stolen cartridge was one reason and it showed me what jerks people can be. The others were just plain old "growing-up" reasons. You know.. Getting interested in girls and cars and taunting the cops..

 

Fast forward to today. I have little doubt I'm directly responsible for sending at least 15-20 folks to fleabay in search of 8-bit hardware and goodies. And countless others hauling ass to go and download the two best emulators. But that's today and not BITD.

 

To me and my buddies back then, the 400/800 was known as the Arcade-at-Home, and the Apple II was the serious real computer. I could never change those stereotypes no matter how hard I tried. And that's ok. We had equal fun with both machines.

 

Adults were always a hard sell, they asked what can you do with it. And I only knew games. Mostly. And that didn't interest them much. And the kids who had computers already either had C64 or VIC-20, or Apple II. The lone 8-bit buddy was the one who stole the cartridge from me. And I believe that by him experimenting around in my bedroom was the deciding factor to get the Atari instead of the Apple. That would be the only "sale" I made.

 

Most people I tended to hang out with were in the process of getting something, or already had a system. I never converted any of the jocks or bigger kids from no computer to having a system, let alone an Atari system.

 

But, today, Star Raiders and BallBlazer are great showcase examples and they always get me asked where they can get the goods.

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I probably converted 20 or so friends to the Atari 8-bit platform between 1984 and 1987. I was quite the evangelist.

 

In 1983 I was at Middle School, and the boys mostly belonged to one of two tribes. The VIC-20 tribe, and the ZX Spectrum tribe. And the war was brutal. A few non aligned types swore allegiance to the Dragon 32 or the TI-99/4A, one of each if I recall. And there was a dangerous new faction emerging that won converts from both main camps - the Commodore 64 tribe.

 

But I had always admired the Atari. Since seeing an Atari 400 at a computer shop while on a quest to locate the elusive Commodore C2N cassette deck a couple of years earlier, I had considered the Atari as the most visually appealing computer, both physically and on-screen. Finally with the price war of 1984, my parents had got me an Atari 800XL to replace my limited VIC.

 

So there I was. Just me and my Atari. In a school dominated by the Spectrum and the C64. Watching the vicious swap arguments that plagued every break time. Was Ant Attack really worth Sabre Wulf? The arguments raged on and on.

 

And then something happened. I saw an advert in the local paper for an Atari 800. Even though I had the 800XL, I always admired the design of the 800. So I phoned up and cycled over to see it. And there it was - a real Atari 800, with a 410 cassette deck, and a stack of tapes. Some very very odd tapes. Not only were there several cartridge games on those tapes, but also some really odd games such as one called "The Last Starfighter". I didn't think that game ever came out.

 

I bought the 800, managing to get it home on my bike rack. No mean feat as it was boxed. And I got to know the seller. He was part of a pirate ring with access to hundreds of games. He had sold his 800 to pay for a 1050 disc drive to go with his new 800XL. He always refused to sell me his 810 Happy Drive.

 

I made a decision. Unlike the Spectrum and C64 groups at school, the Atari group would trade games openly with no swap required. Just bring me a tape and I would put some games on it. Later I moved onto discs and my pirate friend kept me supplied with games cracked by Rob C, Jon C and Ian K.

 

And slowly one by one, the Spectrum and C64 tribes defected to Atari. Helped by Jack Tramiel's price cutting, and amazing deals at Dixon's with computers bundled with tape drives or disc drives, the Atari 8-bit community spread throughout the school.

 

I remember taking my set up to computer club one time and showing off the walking robot demo. A kid who owned a BBC Micro refused to believe the graphics were being generated in real time. He insisted they must be coming from a VHS tape.

 

In retrospect I don't know how much impact I had on this. The Atari 8-bit line became very popular in the mid 80's as Sinclair and Acorn crashed, and Commodore muddled the market with the C64 and the Plus/4. The open trade policy among the Atari group attracted members, and I would like to believe most owners did buy several products that helped suppliers, but whether the overall impact was positive or negative I don't know.

 

I ended up frying my 800XL with a Commodore power supply many years ago, and the 410 deck has long since fallen into disuse. I still have the PAL Atari 800 in it's box and I still love the lines of that beast. I doubt any of my converts still have their set ups though!

 

Happy Atari memories.

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I'll never know. That was my job in 1981. I was told I gave great demonstrations but I only sold one! Wonder how many went elswhere to buy cheaper?

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I dunno Claus.. You steered me to Atari. After that, CHAOS and MC2 did a pretty good job of turning people on to Atari as well.

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I actually had it pretty good I think. I had 1 friend with a C64 and another with an Apple II - with my Atari 800 we got to see/play alot of different titles. It was pretty hard as a kid to convince some other kids family to drop $800+ on an Atari system so my family only influenced one other who picked up a 1200XL at the time (doh!).

 

I was able to convince more to buy an Atari ST.

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I convinced about 20 people or so to buy an Atari 8bit computer. We had the Atari CLub Eindhoven that got some new people buy Atari 8bit computers. I myselve sold 5 Atari 8bit computers to local people in my neighbourhood.

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When I first got the 600XL and my best friend at the time got his C64 we each tried to steer each other toward our computers of choice. Our arguments grew heated at times, and as he was several inches taller and quite a few pounds heavier than me, I had to tread carefully, lest we go to blows. At tiimes I almost caved and joined his ranks: it seemed every store we went into sold his software, and the music that eminated from his machine seemed to have been written by the gods themselves. If it wasn't for interminably long load times on his 1541 disk drive, I wouldn't have stood a chance. So I can't say that I convinced anyone- but at least no one convinced me to abandon the Atari.

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When I first got the 600XL and my best friend at the time got his C64 we each tried to steer each other toward our computers of choice. Our arguments grew heated at times, and as he was several inches taller and quite a few pounds heavier than me, I had to tread carefully, lest we go to blows. At tiimes I almost caved and joined his ranks: it seemed every store we went into sold his software, and the music that eminated from his machine seemed to have been written by the gods themselves. If it wasn't for interminably long load times on his 1541 disk drive, I wouldn't have stood a chance. So I can't say that I convinced anyone- but at least no one convinced me to abandon the Atari.

 

Seems the dark side of the force is always trying to corrupt us Atarians:)

 

May the Atari Force be with you!

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