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Nathan Strum

Stella at 20 documentary

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After a very, very long time, I'm pleased to announce some news regarding Stella at 20!

 

In the summer of 1997, AtariAge member Glenn Saunders (mos6507) gathered Atari veterans together to reminisce about the golden age of videogames and to celebrate the 20th birthday of the Atari 2600. Capturing the proceedings on video, he created the two-volume documentary: Stella at 20.

 

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Available only on VHS, the documentary has been out-of-print for many years. And while there have been requests over the years for a DVD edition, efforts to re-edit the original footage into an expanded version were ultimately abandoned.

In order to preserve this historical footage and share it with the Atari community, Glenn decided to put all of the original, unedited camera tapes online for all to enjoy. Altogether, the tapes comprise nearly 14 hours worth of rare and amazing material.

The tapes contain a treasure-trove of history, stories, anecdotes and insights into the golden age of Atari, the creation of the Atari 2600, and the rise and fall of the early days of the videogame industry. As these are unedited (save for in-camera edits made during filming), the material is presented as-is, “warts and all”. This was done for the sake of preserving history, and to give Atari fans a rare opportunity to be a fly on the wall during these once-in-a-lifetime interviews and gatherings.

The list of people interviewed is a veritable “who’s who” of the early years of Atari, Activision and Imagic, including:

  • Al Alcorn
  • Nolan Bushnell
  • David Crane
  • Joe Decuir
  • Steve DeFrisco
  • Tod Frye
  • Rob Fulop
  • John Harris
  • Jim Huether
  • Larry Kaplan
  • Dennis Koble
  • Rick Maurer
  • Steve Mayer
  • Al Miller
  • Ron Milner
  • Doug Neubauer
  • Carol Shaw
  • Bob Smith
  • Larry Wagner

...plus rare archival footage of Jay Miner, from 1989.

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The Stella at 20 camera tapes are available to watch in their entirety at Archive.org:

https://archive.org/details/StellaAt20

Enjoy!

Stella at 20 was produced and directed by Glenn Saunders.

Production funding and support provided by Jim Nitchals.

Post-production funding and support provided by Joe Decuir.

Digitizing and uploading to Archive.org by Nathan Strum (details here).

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Wow that is amazing!

Thanks for helping to make this happen, Nathan! What a gift to the community -- can't wait to dig in deeper to all of this.

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Fantastic, I enjoyed what I was able to watch on youtube , raw footage will be a delight as well although a whole LOT of it was WAY over my head

 

what I drew from the youtube VHS rips was that early Atari was a group of engineers collaborating together to solve "the problem" , that's why there didn't seem to be a need for any one individuals recognition (at the time)

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Thank you so much for sharing. I'm downloading the entire pack now.

 

Just curious...are these public domain? What stops the current Atari from using these in products in the future without compensating Glenn and others?

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Excellent - I wasn't sure this would ever see the light of day. I've got a long plane ride coming up and now have my entertainment planned out.

 

You should ask Al to post this up on the front page?

 

Chris

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You should ask Al to post this up on the front page?

 

He will when he has a spare moment. He's heading off to PRGE this week.

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John Harris: The Atari 800 was the best 8-bit computer that had ever been made.

Best quote ever.

And wrong. :P

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And wrong. :P

 

As a very proud Atari 800 computer owner back in the day, I would respectfully disagree with you Thomas.

Well, let's drop the "respectfully". C64 was good, but Atari 800 had a certain elegance.

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The Atari was maybe the best when it was released, but clearly surpassed later (e.g. Armstrad CPC).

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The Atari was maybe the best when it was released, but clearly surpassed later (e.g. Armstrad CPC).

Amstrad was like Schneider (who distributed Amstrad in DE), cheap and cheerful stuff of low quality. For the masses (sounds like Commodore).

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You have your opinion and I have mine. Let's not further hijack this thread.

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Thank you!

Interesting to note that we are now actually approaching "Stella at 40" now... my God how time passes... :(

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The site might be getting overwhelmed, I came back from lunch and the download had stopped. I'm now downloading them video by video instead of the all-in-one zip file.

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Shame the sound from the questions is sometimes so quiet compared to the 'loud' answers.

 

The questions (Glenn is the one asking them) were never intended to be part of the documentary, so he wasn't mic'ed. There are a number of times you can hear Glenn ask people to re-phrase their answers so hearing the questions wouldn't be necessary in the final edit. That said, it's interesting to listen in on the off-camera talk, which can be heard if you turn up the volume.

Edited by Nathan Strum

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Awesome!

 

Downloading now. Plan to drop them into iTunes on my Mac mini DVR so I can watch them on my TV.

 

Is there "cover art" for it? I found this, but it's pretty low res:

 

I can scan a higher-resolution version from the VHS box of volume 1 if you'd like me to post it here. I don't have a copy of volume 2.

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I can scan a higher-resolution version from the VHS box of volume 1 if you'd like me to post it here. I don't have a copy of volume 2.

 

 

That'd be awesome! Think it would make sense to put "Behind the scenes", or something along those lines, in the image somewhere?

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Does anyone know how big the whole thing is? I don't have the fastest internet connection and would like to be able to schedule it around my family's steadily increasing internet habits.

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