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gilsaluki

Why The Dedication?

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Many, and I mean MANY years ago, I wrote a letter to my Atari Club Newsletter (the AAAUA-Alamo Area Atari Users Association) FRANTIC, why we (the dedicated users of Atari 8-bits) stick with our 'antiquated' computer system. I wrote an article about PRIDE. Pride in our system, the system we chose (or was chosen for us) for our computing needs (back in the 80s). We stuck with it because it simple met our needs, and it works...simply. We have PRIDE in our system. Dedication to the system we chose.

 

 

What is your reason for STILL using the Atari 8-bit system. I say pride in ownership and its fantastic long-term quality has proven my original theory correct. It's a well-built system that delivers what we need....simply.

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Everyone will have their own reasons for their continued interest in 8-bit Atari hardware/etc.



For me - I feel very strongly that there is still some creativity/etc to be had and explored with this hardware - and I like to see that realized. I don't want just missing conversions done - but also shown they can be of a very high standard - and in so many ways maybe? bettered than their coin-op originals - if possible?



Though such projects - are not going to be commercial as such - because of the low sales numbers.



The limited hardware sprites are a serious shortcoming to work with - I do wonder if this can be addressed by perhaps using more frames animation - with the use of different colours? This would only be a very small advantage as such - but maybe worth using?


For those who can't draw - get someone on board - who can....For those who can make music - volunteer your services - they will be duly required.



I personally can't see the advantage of using these old 8-bit computers for your normal writing, word processing, etc applications - seeing that you're probably using a PC laptop already? for your normal computer usage. That we're using laptops today for applications/etc that were never dreamt of - back in the 80s or 90s....



Harvey

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I'm too old and slow for todays fast pace 1st person shooter games. And I've discovered that online games seem to be full of juveniles that think cussing

makes them sound grown up or tuff. Besides, the Atari brings back a feeling of a long ago time of youthful memories (before my kids were teenagers).

 

DavidMil

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I love to play with hardware (if that's not obvious), and the A8 is at a level I can both understand and appreciate. I'm not much of a coder, or a gamer, but I sure do love designing new widgets and the Atari lets me do that. And when it comes to those new designs, I'm more old school, so having a through hole based board makes me feel right at home.

 

Back in the day (mid 80's) I had all these dreams about things I could do that would be so cool and make my A8 really awesome, problem is... I didn't have much money back then, and I didn't have any of the great design tools that are so prevalent and inexpensive to even free now days. I remember thinking that if only I had a time machine, I could go back and rock the Atari world. But that never happened, and I had pretty much given up on this dream until I discovered AA about two years ago and saw all the cool stuff being made for it, and the activity and cooperation that far exceeded what I'd seen in the good old days (thanks internet). And who knows when I get done dreaming up new mods, maybe I'll actually sit down and use it to play some games, or better still try my hand at doing some coding.

 

- Michael

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Well, for those of us old enough to have grown up with the first generations of home computers, they represent the dawn of an exciting new era of technology and we're nostalgic about the unique experience of having been there. This kind of dedication is blind- we all chose (or were given) a computer we probably knew very little about at the time and we tinker with it today only because it is the one tied to our memories.

 

However, the more I learned about the various machines I didn't own or use, the more I appreciated the thoughtful design of the Atari machines. When you think about what was available to the hobbyist in 1979-80, it was truly a dream machine. Sure, today it's easy to wish for more features and whatnot but it's really the limitations that define any retro object.

 

Today, I mostly get a kick out of playing with a system that can be completely understood and seeing what was really possible. Every time I see something new I wonder what we would have thought if we'd seen it years earlier. It's also nice to remember a time when computers were fun and not the focus of everyone's workday.

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I have three reasons:

  1. Programming and working with the 8-bit Atari computers is a pleasant relaxation - a simple and straightforward system to play with. In my professional life, I am working on System z (a system sometimes too complex)
  2. Nostalgia. Atari was my first computer that helped me to develop my programming skills
  3. I like going to Atari events
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I own C64, ZX128k, Sega Megadrive... But Atari (I own 6x A130XE and 6x Atari ST) was my first computer. Lot of good memories. I like POKEY soundchip much more than softfilltered SID. I love ZX games but 320x192 hires on Atari is even more beautiful. I love C64 games and its amazing graphics.But I also know if all that companies was producing some years ago for XL/XE too, we will have same amazing games or maybe better versions on XE/XL too.And you cant see such demos on C64 or ZX...Atari is simply best!Also Atari is for me still something as you wrote. I am Atari fan.Its my fav. computer company.Something like on modern consoles market is (Sony vs. Microsoft vs. Nintendo).

 

And yes I am playing Titanfall2, Overwatch and some other modern FPS games. But never had so much fun on todays PCs/consoles as I had with my cousin in 80s/90s on Atari (loading game from tape). Its same like in movies. Todays scifi movies have superb 3D effects.But all have same story (dystopian society or alien invasion). But every scifi movie from 60s-80s had very original idea. Same on Atari games.Every ATARI game had brand new gameplay, game system, every game created brand new subgenre. I remember playing JOUST or CLAIM JUMPER for 10hours with my friends non stop when it was raining.

 

Today I play FPS max 2 hours. I am very good in them. But its waste of time...

 

I wish I will not live in X86/AMD vs. ARM world (MIPS,ALPHA,SPARC,POWERPC is almost dead)! As we have 1000s of animal species on Earth. I wish we will have 100s of computer platforms... For example 65c864 with 8 core running 3ghz... Or same with Motorola 68090. I dont understand why IT segment is so one-sided.

Edited by Matej
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It's also nice to remember a time when computers were fun and not the focus of everyone's workday.

 

Nailed it. Lock the thread now ;)

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I don't stick to a given system, but the 8/16-bit machines have a whole set of quirks, strengths and weaknesses that make each one unique to use and to code for.

 

That makes it a bit more fun than coding for modern stuff (which I also do)

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To say most of us are "still using" our Atari 8-bits is a bit misleading. I assume most people tinker with them as a hobby, but aren't using them for serious day-to-day use. Sure, there are probably some exceptions, but by and large these machines are a curiosity, a novelty, and a nostalgic touchstone that connects us to an earlier, simpler, more fun time in our lives. In 1984, the 800XL was my first computer, and ultimately it was the platform that launched me into my career in software and hardware engineering.

 

I've found a lot of joy in reconnecting with those old memories, and through the process of developing a modern WiFi PBI peripheral for the A8, both literally and figuratively bridging the past and the present. Filling in the gaps in my understanding of the technical details of the platform has been interesting, and it has allowed me to appreciate the architecture and design of the system from an entirely different perspective. When I was a teenager I defended the Atari from a highly emotionally charged place - it was the only computer I had, and I defended it tooth and nail. Now, removed by 25+ years, and with the benefit of a lot of study of other contemporary systems of the day, it's much easier to appreciate the Atari from an objective standpoint and see both the computer and the various incarnations of the Atari company for what they really were - and understand them in the proper historical context.

 

Interestingly, this does not diminish the nostalgic value for me. I was concerned it might spoil the 'magic' that surrounded the system, but somehow learning more details has not diminished the warm memories I have.

 

Any computer platform is, in essence, a world unto itself. The myriad of design decisions that led to the final product created a unique world that each of us has inhabited at different levels - from simply enjoying programs and games on the system to living deep down in the 1's and 0's by programming the system or making hardware for it. By nature of these systems being so much simpler, their design was influenced by a relatively small number of people. I have found that this is one of the contributing factors to giving the classic machines so much more personality than the bland systems we have today. This is certainly a piece of what makes them still enjoyable to appreciate even all this time later.

Edited by TangentAudio
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Another aspect is why would some of us choose to spend so much of our time developing new software or hardware for a nearly 40 year old platform? Aside from the intrinsic enjoyment we get out of the experience (it's still fun, after all), there's a community element that adds to the enjoyment. Computers are somewhat unique in that they are a creative platform. Unlike some other forms of nostalgia and collecting, where it's all about simply obtaining an item and staring at it on a shelf once it's been obtained - these computers are still living platforms that can support new creations.

 

I think there are many parallels to the classic car scene. Some people buy classic cars for some of the same reasons we enjoy collecting this old Atari stuff - to connect to their younger times. Classic cars, like our computers, are simpler to understand and work on. Most classic car scenes have people who put their skills to use making new products that help keep the old cars running or bring touches of modernity to them. Enthusiasts still spend their time and money tinkering on these old cars, going to weekend meets and shows, etc. Yet, I suspect most classic car enthusiasts drive something modern and practical as their daily driver.

 

A major difference is that cars are, in North Americal culture at least, worshiped. Computers do not enjoy the same sort of status in our society, but the patterns of behavior surrounding the hobby are very similar in my opinion.

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Atari was my first love
And it'll be my last
Atari's not the future
Atari stays in the past.
To live without Atari
Would be impossible to do
In this world of troubles
my Atari pulls me through

...

 

Similarities to John Miles "Music" are fully intentional. Who does the Pokey cover of "Music" for the A8 ?

Edited by CharlieChaplin
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For me, it's largely the nostalgia. A link to the past and what in my memory were better, or at least simpler, times. I built my first business around the Atari before moving on to other things, but you can never let go of memories. The thrill of going to London to the Atari User shows in the 80's, then exhibiting at the All Micro Shows in the 90's. You just felt part of something back in the days before 24/7 social media. When America felt a world away, and communicating with somebody there about your Atari meant writing a letter and sending it by Air Mail! When getting new software meant waiting for the postman to come and drop an envelope full of disks through your letterbox! When finding out what was going on in the Atari world meant waiting a month for another issue of Atari User and Page 6 to come out! Going to an actual physical shop to buy the magazine, and then bumping into people on the street because you couldn't wait to get it home, so you read it while trying to walk! Better days! :)

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One thing that has changed for me is which machines I like and which ones I don't. Back in the day the C64 was the biggest threat and it seemed like everyone was getting one so I hated it. Today it's my 2nd favorite because of it's innovative custom hardware. Several of the other 8-bit machines now seem like klunky rush-jobs to me.

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Nostalgia, simplicity, the platform whose inner workings I know best as I had more spare time and more energy then to read and discover. Still, I am far from being able to program even a fraction of what it can do, so dabbling in software keeps me entertained.

 

Being able to afford lots of peripherals and machines I only knew from magazines in the 1980s as well as convenient modern peripherals and add-ons is a bonus.

 

Playing games I feel most comfortable with single-button joysticks, I never could get the hang of button-sprouting control-pads on later machines.

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Many, and I mean MANY years ago, I wrote a letter to my Atari Club Newsletter (the AAAUA-Alamo Area Atari Users Association) FRANTIC, why we (the dedicated users of Atari 8-bits) stick with our 'antiquated' computer system. I wrote an article about PRIDE. Pride in our system, the system we chose (or was chosen for us) for our computing needs (back in the 80s). We stuck with it because it simple met our needs, and it works...simply. We have PRIDE in our system. Dedication to the system we chose.

 

 

What is your reason for STILL using the Atari 8-bit system. I say pride in ownership and its fantastic long-term quality has proven my original theory correct. It's a well-built system that delivers what we need....simply.

Atari just has nostalgic appeal for me. But I'll play the occasional games on them, I no longer use them for actual work.

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Well, I also do not use my collection for work.

(Except my Amigas EpromBurner)

My parents could not effort a computer in the 80th. I was doomed to sit beside our neighbor's child, just watching him playing. Afair he had an C64. When I earned my first money at the army, the first thing I bought was an Amiga. (the 8bits already lost attraction in the early 90th).

But i still suffered the lack of those famous

computers while I was a child.

 

When it became cheaper and cheaper to buy

an Atari, Amstrad or Commodore 8bit, I started collecting 'em.

Today I'm just glad to own some of them.

I enjoy the early AND actual games. I'm happy

to be part of the retro community.

So, from my point of view, I'm not really pride,

it's more a reconciliation with the past ;-)

 

But I totally understand your point of view!

 

Stefan

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Several of the other 8-bit machines now seem like klunky rush-jobs to me.

 

Commodore Plus/4, I'm looking at you...

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Like some the Atari is nostalgia and a link to happier times, most people know the Atari was both my job, my hobby and was part of my life, for me its nice to sit down and have a play, it helps me forget the pain from my illness and the stress that comes with my daughters illness, it relaxes me and that is almost a magical feeling. The Atari will always be my computer love but there are several 'mistresses' like the Amiga, Snes, Gamecube, PS2, etc etc whom I visit as well but I always return to my beloved Atari. I agree with the notion to remember when computers were fun but they WERE a focus of my workday too :)

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Most of the dedication is that the Atari 800XL made me realize, how much fun programming could be and how good I'm at it. I then went on to study computer science.

Today the challenge is working with the constrained environment. Nowadays, you just put more memory or a bigger platter in your computer and be done with it.

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In my life from computer-history there have been a few computers that left a very good impression and memory.

 

1. The Atari 800XL (I did win this computer, and it was an amazing machine... well it still is)

 

2. The Apple //c (this one did follow my Atari 800XL)

 

3. The ZX81 (Well, actually a Sinclair Timex 1000)

 

4. The iMac G5, with iSight (My first Apple Mac with OS X Tiger, I loved that machine till the very end!)

 

5. The Atari 2600 ( I had this one next to the 800XL, and I loved playing games on the 2600 with my dad)

 

6. The Atari 1040ST

 

 

The Atari 800XL is my number #1 machine. The reason I love this machine so much, is that I grew up with it. It was rather hard to obtain games for this machine in my place, and I guess that has been part of the success. When I finally was able to obtain a game, I have been playing that game for hours and hours. I still see that today... with all the modern gadgets (which I all appreciate and use) like MyIDE2, SIDE2, IDE+, Sio2SD, Ultimate SD card, The!Cart, AtariMAx... well you name it.... you have litteraly thousands of games in reach. Once a game gets a little boring you simply switch to another game, and another and another.

 

Friends of me had MSX or Commodore 64 and they had also hundreds of games in their collection. They were not that dedicated.

 

I remember having a game on tape called the Universal Hero. A game with almost no sound, a stupid bug, and a pretty long loading time on tape. I have playing that game for MONTHS! Man I loved that game. And as soon as I obtained a new game (I remember I got Dizzy Dice on tape, and later Mr. Dig) I was as really happy. I also have tortured my fingers on typing in BASIC games. That was really a lot of work, so I have simply spent years behind the atari keyboard, just typing in all that stuff. Well spent time! In the meantime I learned how to code, because of that.

 

For me the atari 8bit is connected to this time. It is a friendly machine, which virtually endless possibilites.

 

Between 1990 and 1994 I have been without the Atari 800xl. I have regret it that I sold all my a8 stuff, which explains why I later decided to buy as much a8 stuff as possible. Lol... I had experienced life without atari 8bit haha, and I had to prevent that would happen ever again.

 

The things I love most on my Atari 8bit is:

 

* The music sound (I like Pokey way more than Sid or any other soundchip)

* The incredible cool game library which titles I still love like the unique and amazing game called Millipede)

* The expansion possibilities on PBI and cart.

* Lots of coding languages like MAC/65, Synassembler, TurboBasic, Action!, Atari basic

* Simply the 'soul' of the machine. It has been a good friend, and it will ever be. Today my daughter (8) appreciates it too, so we play games together on it, which is a whole new experience... and again a good one!

 

I have lots of stories about those other machines too. Especially that Apple //c did steal my heart too. And I must say playing The Secret of Monkey Island in black/white screen on my 1040ST without a play-through-guide, is a fabulous memory too... and my first experiences with the iMac G5... wow... or that sweet little ZX81... or the games like River Raid and Missile Command on the 2600 with my dad. I could not part of those memories too.

 

But the all time winner will be: The Atari 800xl!

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