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Vintage Atari 1987 CES video

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I wish more stuff like this would surface from the Atari Corp era.

 

 

I'd love to see more CES booth pics, videos etc from 1985-1995.

 

 

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"superb sound effects"

:music: :lolblue: :music: :lol: :music: :lolblue:

I love my 7800, but that's laying it on thick.

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Wow for the 7800 Atari actually showed screenshots of the C64! .. For Impossible Mission , Winter Games and likely others ? That is so sleazy and lame !

 

Look how different the 7800 graphics are compared to the Atari commercial that clearly shows the C64 graphics when talking about the 7800 graphics.

 

 

Edited by thetick1
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Wow for the 7800 Atari actually showed screenshots of the C64! .. For Impossible Mission , Winter Games and likely others ? That is so sleazy and lame !

 

Yeah. I'm guessing at the time, they had the license and maybe had started development on the 7800 versions but didn't have anything to actually show ... so they substituted.

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Gotta love these promo vids!

 

During one of 7800 stints (besides showing Gato and Skyfox which was very cool), they also showed a screenshot of Midnight Magic - as they were talking about 2600 compatibility - but was not 2600 Midnight Magic pictured on the screen. Must have been the A8 or C64 version? MM was already out by then, so why go out of their way to mislead or misrepresent? Even if there was overlap in the video's release by some months before MM arrived, surely they knew it wasn't going to look like the computer version. :ponder:

 

..."add to that, we've included a detachable keyboard so you can play the most sophisticated arcade games". Really? Which arcade games ever utilized a keyboard? lol Space War had a compliment of numeric keys, but... even if they were trying to make the case for more buttons, brings me back to why they didn't release a two-button CX-40 loooong ago. Never thought a keyboard made a very good substitute. Convenient, yes - especially for the die-hard computer gamer on an extremely tight budget and didn't really care maybe. And/or got used to a keyboard as a game controller. ha

 

Also love when they're hyping up the 64k 65XE... "half the price of the competition", then BOO-BAM in time with the percussion, out pops up the 130XE! Yep, proof somebody knew they were competing amongst themselves. :rolling:

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Not a bad little marketing video. Watched about half of it before I got interrupted.

 

Emphasizes the company's strengths well; it's hard to believe they'd be back in trouble in 5 years and gone in 10.

 

Computer ads were generally good. Seeing Apple's logo on an ST and a Mac made me laugh. The expensive components IBM and Apple used made me laugh. For awhile I've thought Atari Corp's ads were too focused on product features; they should've emphasized the benefits of those features instead of saying "Look! All this for less!" And they introduced Atari's PC clone. Sigh. Atari may have had the best PC clone price at the time, but with in two years other companies would introduce even lower priced clones. Also, the way it was introduced sends a mixed message. Why would Atari release an IBM compatible if the ST was better? They shouldn't have used the phrase IBM performance; that implied IBM really was better. They should have said "If you want to use IBM software, like Lotus 123, dBase, and WordPerfect, at an Atari price, here's our version of the PC."

 

And Jack Tramiel really liked himself, didn't he? The video seems like a Traimel tribute at times. I practically screams "I did this! I brought Atari back from the brink! It was all me!" Ok, that's fine; he did save a company that was basically bankrupt. Still seems hubristic, which makes Atari's next decade a classic tragedy.

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That video was painfully 80s. I was expecting the 80s guy from Futurama to be featured at some point.

 

What completely stuck out at me was the emphasis on being cheaper than the competition. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but I think now with the benefit of hindsight meant that Atari wasn't really developing and pushing their platforms to be as competitive as possible and making sure the software they published was as good as possible as well.

 

The other thing that jumps out was how many platforms they were supporting and developing for. I am at the point where I get the decision to repackage and keep the 2600. And I am sorta ok with the repacking and continuation of the 8-bit line, Commodore and Tandy did the same. But still, and as much as I enjoyed my XEGS, I still cannot justify the the XEGS's existence. The focus should have been the 7800 for the video game market and the ST line for the home computer market.

 

 

I never knew Atari made, or at least planned, to make an PC clone. Did that ever make it to market?

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The only 7800 games they showed that were actually 7800 versions were Pole Position II, Joust and Ms. Pac-Man.

 

Choplifter, KArateka, Winter Games, One on One, Impossible Mission, were all the C-64 version, and Skyfox and Gato were vaporware.

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And Jack Tramiel really liked himself, didn't he? The video seems like a Traimel tribute at times. I practically screams "I did this! I brought Atari back from the brink! It was all me!" Ok, that's fine; he did save a company that was basically bankrupt. Still seems hubristic, which makes Atari's next decade a classic tragedy.

 

I can see why you'd think that, but this screams to me "appealing to potential stockholders". In perspective, they'd been hearing about Atari's demise all over the news for years upon years upon years. Stockholders, analysts etc focus on accomplished leadership, especially in cases like Atari's where they likely weren't paying much attention to the (newly public) company and what they likely remember was an industry that crashed and a company they thought was dead or dying.

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At one point, they even used the term "high end" to describe the XEGS. What? :lol:

 

Yeah - it was their "premiere" game system for year or two, because they killed it and refocused (briefly) on the 7800.

 

The thought in their minds was that they could pitch this as something to grow from a game system to a computer (which it was) ... and correspondingly find a way to sell a warehouse of peripherals and software + use the parts they had piled up as well.

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But still, and as much as I enjoyed my XEGS, I still cannot justify the the XEGS's existence. The focus should have been the 7800 for the video game market and the ST line for the home computer market.

 

One of my neighbors had an Atari XT compatible PC.

 

On the XE Game System, I've posted this before and I think it's good to repost in terms of getting their thought process at the time.

 

 

 

We come again to that perpetual question: is Atari intent on killing the

8-bits?

 

One way to answer that would be to give you a tour of our warehouse. If you

could see the number of 8-bit computers and software in inventory, you'd

know we are highly motivated to keep the line going.

 

Regarding the new XE Game System, which on the first glance is a slap in

the face to those who know how powerful the 8-bitters are -- this system is

purely a strategic move on our part. In order to keep the 8-bit line going,

we must do two things:

 

1. Get the computers available in more stores, and

2. Get new software developed for them.

 

Software is not being developed by and large because of problem #1. So

which stores do we go to? The mass merchants, who sold the bulk of the

hundreds of thousands (not, unfortunately, millions) of Atari 8-bit

computers out there, are currently retreating from the computer business.

K-Mart carries NO computers. Ditto for Montgomery Wards. And for J.C.

Penney's.

 

On the other hand, these same stores are doing a fabulous business in game

systems like Nintendo, Sega, and, of course, Atari.

 

The solution, from a business point of view, was to develop a product that

would be appealing to the mass merchants (and also to the public which buys

there), one that also accomplishes the corporate objective of revitalizing

the 8-bit line.

 

So what we have with the XE Game System is essentially a 65XE in disguise.

Internally it contains 64K of RAM, the standard OS and BASIC in ROM, two

joystick ports, SIO port, etc. It is completely compatible with the current

8-bit line, including software.

 

Physically it is more appealing to those who don't want a computer but who

do want to play games. The main console simply has the 4 console keys from

the XE (Start, Select, Option, and Reset), plus the cartridge port and

connectors. The keyboard is a separate unit which plugs into the console.

 

When someone buys the XE Game System, they get the complete package --

console, keyboard, light gun, and 3 programs (including a new version of

Sublogic's Flight Simulator including scenery, all on a single cartridge).

 

We expect stores to do a great business in these. We'll make available the

current library of cartridge software, plus we're converting some disk

programs into cartridge format for this system. As time goes by, we expect

to see dramatic increases in sales for 8-bit software -- hopefully, this

will also include practical applications as well as games. This should in

turn encourage developers to create new titles for the 8-bits.

 

Once things get moving again in the mass merchants, the current supply of

8-bit computers should also get moving through the dealers -- after all,

they make a better value than the game systems, and take up less space.

 

So, those few of you out there who are looking at Atari management as the

evil group who are plotting to quash the 8-bit line, you have it all wrong.

We're trying hard to keep things moving forward. Without the distribution

and the software, no amount of advertising and new hardware development

could work. The XE Game System is our best hope to keep things moving.

--

--->Neil Harris, Director of Marketing Communications, Atari Corporation

UUCP: ...{hoptoad, lll-lcc, pyramid, imagen, sun}!atari!neil

GEnie: NHARRIS/ WELL: neil / BIX: neilharris / Delphi: NEILHARRIS

CIS: 70007,1135 / Atari BBS 408-745-5308 / Usually the OFFICIAL Atari opinion

 

I wanted them to focus on the 7800 and ST too, but I get their point on trying to make the XE a Trojan horse to resurrect the 8bit line. Especially with a warehouse full of 8bit stuff and retailers/developers dropping support all over the place for the 8bit line. Didn't work, but I get the logic.

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Wow.. want to go buy an ST now. :P

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4:46 "What a terrible marketing company Atari is" Wow, just summed up the problem with the Atari era in under a minute. :P

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I wanted them to focus on the 7800 and ST too, but I get their point on trying to make the XE a Trojan horse to resurrect the 8bit line. Especially with a warehouse full of 8bit stuff and retailers/developers dropping support all over the place for the 8bit line. Didn't work, but I get the logic.

 

I sort of do, but I think it was dumb logic. It is sort of along the lines of "we have a warehouse full of stuff that we need to get rid of because it is not selling, so lets spend $x to develop an updated device we can sell at KMart and ToysRUs." Being totally speculative I am wondering if the low end of the home computer market circa 86-87 was really kind of going away -- with the much larger Commodore customer base holding onto what was left. There was a reason that Kmart, Penney's, Ward's, etc weren't selling home computers any more. Leave the low end of the market to Commodore and Tandy and really push this awesome product you have in the ST. Frankly I don't think Atari was a big enough, and profitable enough, company at the time to be supporting (and really marketing) all those platforms.

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Am I the only one who has been saying Jack TRAM-EL all this time instead of Jack TRA-MEL?

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Finished watching it, tho I skipped the 2600 Jr. Commercial. I'd already seen the Jr. Ad, and found it annoying.

 

Atari Corp's gaming line up didn't look too bad, but it did look dated, and Nintendo would quickly release a bunch of new, modern games. The only good looking game Atari was offering was their light-gun game. Besides, a robot toy is 1000x cooler than a keyboard. If Atari wanted to make an XE game system, they should've focused on more recent games: http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/atari-8-bit/1987/

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The only good looking game Atari was offering was their light-gun game.

 

Bug Hunt? Seriously? :P I agree about focusing on more recent games, though.

 

I'm a fan of the XEGS (and 7800 and 2600jr., of course) but the whole point of it is muddled and convoluted. I get that Atari Corp. was sitting on a lot of backstock of 400/800 product and that at the same time, retailers weren't selling computers anymore. But with the costs of developing a new platform, even a recycled one, for the sake of moving old excess inventory, it seems like they were doubling their losses (well, probably not literally "doubling," just adding to existing losses).

 

Now, if they had actually treated the XEGS as the "high-end game system" they said it was, I think it could have been a different story. Instead of being just a 65XE in disguise, be a 65XE in disguise with new game cartridges packed with extra RAM and helper chips, and with the two-button control pad. And, oh BTW, it's backward compatible with 400/800/XL/XE software and accessories. It still wouldn't have been as good as the NES, but it would have come a lot closer.

 

Of course the problem there is, you've still got the 7800, too.

 

The real problem overall was that aside from the ST and Lynx, Atari Corp. was trying to stretch out really old hardware when they needed something new. There are reasons for that, though, too (namely, it came part and parcel with the acquisition of the consumer division of Atari Inc.).

 

Honestly, the XEGS really should have been the STGS. Or, forget the "consolized computer" concept altogether, just write off the old 8-bit backstock, and put everything into making the 7800 the system it could have been.

 

So many couldas, wouldas, and shouldas.

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I'm a fan of the XEGS (and 7800 and 2600jr., of course) but the whole point of it is muddled and convoluted. I get that Atari Corp. was sitting on a lot of backstock of 400/800 product and that at the same time, retailers weren't selling computers anymore. But with the costs of developing a new platform, even a recycled one, for the sake of moving old excess inventory, it seems like they were doubling their losses (well, probably not literally "doubling," just adding to existing losses).

 

So - I might be wrong about this, but I also wonder if "cost of maintaining platform" actually did weigh in their minds when releasing the XEGS?

 

Again, I don't think it was the 'right call', but I wonder if they looked at the 7800 and said "we'd have to pay to write all these games from scratch" and then looked at the XE Game System and said "You know ... we can probably license these computer games already made and cheaply put them on cart ... and they're probably good enough. Closer to what Nintendo is offering visually, more competitive than the 2600 is"?

 

In 1987 and 8 , a lot of their XE and 7800 titles were computer games. Some of it was that Nintendo had locked the arcade games up. Some of it was they likely licensed computer rights for the XE and just carried them over to the other systems

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Bug Hunt is supposed to be a bad game, but it's the only game they showed which looked close to a NES game. That's what I meant to say; Missile Command's good, but it really looked dated.

 

Actually, I'm beginning to wonder if Atari shouldn't have nixed the 7800 to focus on the XEGS. The XE line had more games than the 7800, similar graphics, and a sound chip. Of course, Atari probably thought they'd be able to undercut Nintendo's price, sell more systems, and attract developers that way. Did Atari know Nintendo signed 2-year exclusive contracts with publishers when this video was released?

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