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So far I think Jerry Jessop has been my favorite interview.

I could listen to him talk for hours about The Amiga project, his interactions with Atari Corp., etc.

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And the most current record (until tomorrow) has been entered. I also compiled some interesting statistics. I need some time to make them presentable. I'll then send Kevin or Randy the ATR and material. They can then choose to discuss in the next Antic episode or post the material or whatever.

 

Teaser: Interview Episode 60 is 60 minutes. Coincidence?

 

post-37823-0-49218500-1458861039_thumb.png

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David Johnson, Popeye

David Johnson co-created the Atari 400/800/5200 version of Popeye, which was released by Parker Brothers.
This interview took place on November 9, 2015.
Teaser quote: "That was my first work experience. I really enjoyed it.
We were doing like 60, 70 hours a week."
post-803-0-00471100-1458870652_thumb.gif
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Leigh Zeitz, Epson Connection book

Leigh Zeitz wrote the book The Epson Connection: Atari Edition, about using your Atari 8-bit computer with Epson printers; as well as a version of the book for the Commodore 64.
This interview took place on November 8, 2015.
Teaser quotes:
"IBM came out and said: 'Well guess what? As of next month we're not going to be creating any more IBM PCjrs.'"
"'Uh, Leigh, I probably don't even need to make this phone call, but we don’t need your book.'"
Jeff Johannigman
Jeff Johannigman published his first two computer programs through Atari Program Exchange: Rabbotz and Snark Hunt. He went on to program the Atari ports of Mask of the Sun and Serpent's Star for Br0derbund, then worked on Relax for Synapse, GI Joe for EPYX, copy protection for Electronic Arts, and was producer of Master of Orion, published by MicroProse. Jeff is also one of the co-founders of the Game Developers Conference.
This interview took place on January 30, 2016.
Teaser quotes:
"So the next day, an email goes out to everybody in the company. 'No more Atari ST software, period.' So, somebody has no realization that he totally sabotaged the Electronic Arts support for Atari ST with one phone call."
“[Dan Bunten] also gave me one of the best pieces of advice about game design back then. He said that what's important in making a good game is not what you put in; its what you keep out."
Art Prag: Mapware, Starware, and Astrology
Art Prag, along with Harry Koons, published three programs with Atari Program Exchange: Mapware, Starware, and Astrology. Harry Koons died in 2005.
Mapware first appeared in the fall 1981 APX catalog, where it won second place in the personal interest and development category. “With the MAPWARE programs you can create a wide variety of high-resolution world maps. MAPWARE already contains 9,000 pairs of geographic coordinates for locating main land masses and islands on Earth. These maps are useful for such applications as games and simulations, tracking satellites, pointing amateur radio antennas, and teaching geography and cartography.” The program came on two disks and cost $20.95.
Starware first appeared in the spring 1982 APX catalog, on disk for $17.95. “With STARWARE you can explore the heavens by way of your Atari home computer. STARWARE displays the stars on your TV screen ...Its 900 star coordinates accurately locate all the constellations in both hemispheres.”
Astrology first appeared in the summer 1982 catalog, a program for creating astrological charts. “With ASTROLOGY, the mysteries of the zodiac, planetary positioning, natal charts, and rising signs willunfold in your very own living room.” It cost $22.95.
This interview took place on January 30, 2016.
Edited by Savetz
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Richard Leinecker, Your Atari Comes Alive

Richard Leinecker is author of the book Your Atari Comes Alive, which was published by Alpha Systems. The book provides instructions for building hardware projects that work with the Atari 8-bit computers, such as event detectors, motion sensors, a light pen, Christmas lights, and networking computers together. The book has been scanned as is available at the Internet Archive. He wrote a followup book called Your Atari ST Comes Alive. He also wrote for Compute!, A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing and ST-Log magazines.
This interview took place November 8, 2015.
"That was my first attempt at any writing of any kind. I didn't necessarily really know a whole lot. ... It was a lot of stumbling around trying to figure out what to do."
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Not my interview or my podcast, but relevant to our interests:

 

Bill Budge interviewed on Open Apple:

http://www.open-apple.net/2016/03/12/show-057-bill-budge-electronic-arts-and-pinball/

 

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with legendary Apple II programmer, Bill Budge. In addition to being an icon of Apple II gaming and graphics, he is the number-one-requested guest by listeners of the show. Mike and Quinn are very excited he was able to make some time to talk to them, and hope you agree it was worth the effort. Bill is, of course, the author of such seminal classics as Raster Blaster, Pinball Construction Set, and MousePaint. He was an influential force in the golden years of Electronic Arts, and did many good works with early Apple as well.

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Kevin, thanks so much for working on this -- these interviews are just fantastic. I'm slowly working my way through all of them during my commute.

 

Recently I tried to listen to Gray Chang from here https://archive.org/details/Atari_Gray_Chang_Interview however, when I try to download the mp3 or ogg file there I get the message "The item is not available due to issues with the item's content."

Claim Jumper is one of my favorite games of all time. I remember waiting to play with a childhood friend for what seemed like forever while the game loaded from my 410. I still play it today.

Edited by retrobits

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Kevin, thanks so much for working on this -- these interviews are just fantastic. I'm slowly working my way through all of them during my commute.

 

Recently I tried to listen to Gray Chang from here https://archive.org/details/Atari_Gray_Chang_Interview however, when I try to download the mp3 or ogg file there I get the message "The item is not available due to issues with the item's content."

Claim Jumper is one of my favorite games of all time. I remember waiting to play with a childhood friend for what seemed like forever while the game loaded from my 410. I still play it today.

 

I can't replicate the problem with Gray's interview. Try again? Different browser?

 

-Kevin

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Very strange. I've tried different browsers and different networks at home & work. When you try to repro the issue do you log out of archive.org first?

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Mark Reid, Getaway!

http://playermissile.com/podcast/ep019.html

 

Mark Reid was the author of the public domain programs Lunar Shuttle and Fire, and 3 programs published by the Atari Program Exchange: Solitaire, Downhill, and Getaway!. He won the 1983 (and final!) Atari Star Award for Getaway!, as Atari was purchased by Jack Tramiel in July 1984 and the APX program was dismantled.

 

"There were 4 programs in the final running and mine was the only game. This was the 3rd Atari Star awards and a game had never won the award. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to win; something more practical would be something they'd want to publicize, so I was really floored when it won the award!"

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So far I think Jerry Jessop has been my favorite interview.

I could listen to him talk for hours about The Amiga project, his interactions with Atari Corp., etc.

 

Jerry's even more fun to listen to in person! :)

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Is the John Palevich interview coming really really soon?

 

 

It still needs to be edited, but I can make it next up for editing. I can easily get it published in the next two weeks. Do you need it sooner?

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Very strange. I've tried different browsers and different networks at home & work. When you try to repro the issue do you log out of archive.org first?

I'll ask Jason about your problem. In the mean time, here's the interview: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lzei4n507plju2b/Gray%20chang%20interview%20archive-org.mp3?dl=0

 

(this link is temporary - months in the future when someone reads this and the link doesn't work, get it from https://archive.org/details/Atari_Gray_Chang_Interview )

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If your inclination is "Financial guy, yawn" your inclination is wrong. Stories of James Bond-level intrigue in Taipei.

 

Alan Henricks, Controller

http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-154-alan-henricks-controller

 

Alan Henricks was Controller at Atari during the Warner Communications era. He was there from 1978 through 1983.

This interview took place on November 17, 2015.
Teaser quotes:
"Had the next generation of technology - the personal computer - succeeded, Atari would be where Apple is today."
"The first thing he said to me, looking me in the eyes ... he said, 'I speak to you on fear of my life.' My response was, 'I so don't want to be here.'"
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It still needs to be edited, but I can make it next up for editing. I can easily get it published in the next two weeks. Do you need it sooner?

 

Is that a trick question? :)

 

You, my friend, probably have everyone interested in the AMY that's aware of this interview sitting on pins anxious to hear what he had to say on the subject. :)

 

 

It's like… "John…can I call you John? So you were programming and overseeing the adaption of DANDY into Dark Chambers at the behest of Atari Corp. Did they once ask you to help finish the AMY or at least get it to work for them? What happened, man? Can we get it finished for the retro community? And did you ever fight Ed Logg?" :)

Edited by Lynxpro

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Is that a trick question? :)

 

You, my friend, probably have everyone interested in the AMY that's aware of this interview sitting on pins anxious to hear what he had to say on the subject. :)

 

 

 

I think you may be disappointed by the amount he had to say on the subject. But the interview was in November and I haven't listened to it since. I'll get it published soon.

 

—Kevin

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dang, wish i knew you were going to interview jerome domurat. since he worked with dave staugas, i was hoping he'd be able to explain what the heck is up with the "dave staugas loves bea hablig" hidden message in atari TOS.

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Jerome Domurat, artist and interface designer

Jerome Domurat worked at Atari from November 1981 through July 1986 as an artist and interface designer. He started creating art for the home game systems, including E.T., Krull, and Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Atari 2600; and Jungle Hunt, Pengo, and Baseball for the 5200. He made the transition when Jack Tramiel bought the company: he worked on user interface design for the Atari ST. He also helped design the NEOchrome paint program, and adapted the graphics and animation for the ST version of Star Raiders.
Picture of Jerome with Jim Eisenstein and Dave Staugas, March 1985 - http://i.imgur.com/hBIja3X.jpg
This interview took place on February 1, 2016.
Teaser quote:
"User testing with people — like I would just get random people to sit down and go through the system and have them think aloud. I would ask them what they thought this symbol meant or that symbol meant. I mean, you show people a trash can [icon] now and they immediately know that that's 'delete'. But at that point, they thought, 'Oh, it's a can for storing things for later.'"
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Alan Hendricks was a really interesting interview. He did a great job confirming the "Steve Ross killed helped Atari with E.T." thought-line. He also confirmed that Atari got complacent with technology, and that was the worst thing they could have done. I think the mast fascinating part was the whole bit about the "Sales Meeting In Monte Carlo" that Kassar promised if they reach $1 Billion in sales. Kevin wanted to get a little insight into waste, and Alan wondered if the trip was "appropriate" and then ultimately decided to himself that it *was*.

 

After thinking about it a bit, the thought struck me that the two things things are not necessarily independent of one another. Atari did become complacent with technology, and one of the reasons might be that the sales staff was rewarded so highly for doing the same thing. If you received a huge trip to monte Carlo and you did it by the pushing the 2600 so hard, would that then give you the false impression that doing the same thing the next year would result in the same reward? Maybe it would if they were selling soap or breakfast cereal, but they were selling an entertainment technology is an incredibly fast moving industry. So instead of taking a chance on new tech (i.e. pushing into the home computer industry as the next big thing, making the 5200 cheaper and backwards compatible) they played it safe, imagining further debauchery at the $2 billion dollar sales meeting in 1982, and repeated what had worked before...but it didn't.

Edited by fultonbot

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Yeah, yeah, yeah..."Atari did this wrong, Atari did that wrong..." The guys there must have done some things right, or this website wouldn't exist, for one thing. That mindset is just as imbalanced as the whole "Nolan Bushnell isn't cool after all" garbage that we've heard from a couple of his bitter old partners (and just as inaccurate, for that matter, as "the first personal computer was an Apple." Revisionism, anyone? :D).

 

This isn't necessarily directed at you, Fultonbot; statements along the lines of, "Boy, Atari sure was full of dummies! Har har har!" are disillusioningly common nowadays, even among interview subjects. Well, then, where did this entire industry come from? Positivity is a good thing, especially when it comes to a pastime / hobby / fixation / obsession that's never in any danger of being exhausted. Hindsight is the easiest tactic in the world to apply when one looks back and contemplates massive creative risks and daring undertakings (by people who aren't the hindsighter), and it's strange to me that those latter feats, which are shied away from by large companies and independent programmers these days, often get overlooked.

 

The above couple of paragraphs look grumpier than how I meant them. To balance it out: I like pizza. Yum. Pizza rules.

 

Also: That's awesome that you guys scored an interview with Jerome Domurat! I'm looking forward to listening.

 

("Hindsighter"?)

 

 

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I do think Atari became incredibly inept, but I also think that was pretty much par for the course in those days. Even Apple has done stupid things that almost capsized the company. There weren't a lot of visionaries who saw where things could be in 10 or 20 years, or at least they weren't in charge. Most of the time technology was treated like a fad and marketed according to the rules for blenders or jeans. It was even worse because Atari had been sold to Warner who didn't understand that it was the people and their talents who made their acquisition so valuable.

 

The good part is that that some things were done right and the 400 and 800 were designed before things really started to fall apart.

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I do think Atari became incredibly inept, but I also think that was pretty much par for the course in those days. Even Apple has done stupid things that almost capsized the company.

 

I have to agree. I'm currently reading "The Future Was Here", a book about the Amiga, and I've also read "On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore" and it is clear there was just as much ineptitude going on at Commodore in the post-Tramiel years. Eventually their inept stewardship of Amiga was their downfall.

 

The truth was that it was a brand new industry and nobody knew what was coming next. I totally agree that if Atari had played their cards right they could be where Apple is today, but the same could be said for Commodore as well.

Edited by FifthPlayer
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