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Ray Kassar had died

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Ferg of the 2600 Game By Game Podcast made a comment on one of my Facebook posts last month referencing Ray. I was prompted then to google him to see if he was still alive. That’s when I found he had died just a month or so prior. Weird.

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I only learned about Paul Woakes dying last summer, this morning; now Ray Kasser as well. With the amount of retro stuff I follow on Twitter, I'd expect to hear sooner than a moth or more later.

 

Sad day today.

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Randy and I tried several times to interview him for the podcast, but were never able to.

I hope I am not alone in feeling thankful for your efforts... Every time an icon passes away, I realize once again how relevant the labor of the Atari 8-bit podcast is...

Edited by RodCastler
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Well he is generally not seen as an "Atari hero" but I don't think he did everything wrong....in that light, it would really have been great to have had a good interview with him.

 

R.I.P. Ray.....and thanks for your efforts for Atari.

 

Now....I should of course play the game that was named after him.....

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Paul Woakes as well?

 

I was only playing encounter and backlash the other day..

 

Damn its painful to see our 'heroes' fall one by one with an all too rapid turnover, some of these are people I'd met and talked to over the years at shows and now gone, their work thankfully means they are never forgotten..

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RIP. He did guide them through their (second phase) glory days. Sure, plenty done wrong but that seemed to be the rule of the industry at the time. Plenty of others fell away and practically none of the contemporaries of the time are left today.

And the saddest part is that the survivors were in fact the boring ones like Nintendo and Apple.

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Least he had a hand in creating the third party game market by telling the Activision guys they were no more important than the box packers

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Well.....in a way he was right. Without the box packers the game developers wouldn't sell a single cartridge........but I know what you mean ;)

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I think it was Ray who made the decision to make the 2600 follow on a computer instead of just a game platform. To that, I owe him a major thank you. Atari was the fastest growing company in U.S. history at the time. When things move that fast on the way up (1979-1982), he also find out that things can move that fast on the way down too (1983). Under his reign, Atari became a household name. Definitely would have liked to hear an interview of him especially during the 1979-1982 years.

Edited by ACML
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I only learned about Paul Woakes dying last summer, this morning; now Ray Kasser as well. With the amount of retro stuff I follow on Twitter, I'd expect to hear sooner than a moth or more later.

 

Sad day today.

 

There is this page dedicated to Mercenary and Novagen:

 

http://mercenarysite.free.fr/merce.htm

http://mercenarysite.free.fr/novagen.htm

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That's a very good interview with Ray Kassar. Thanks for linking to it!

 

There's no doubt Atari needed real management, and Ray brought that. His term at the top wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for everyone, but nothing ever is. There can be no doubt that he presided over the golden age. And also no doubt that it wasn't he who ruined the company.

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Rays interview reads alot like re-writing of history in his favor. He brought a retail manufacturing mindset to a gaming industry that didnt work so strictly. He gave himself the white glove treatment with private jets and executive lunch room privileges. A little bit of rigor and some marketing was all the 2600 needed to make anyone successful, so he was one lucky SOB.

 

What did Ray miss - just about everything the video game industry was to become. HIs mention about Alcorn doing the hologram thing as a distraction was laughable - Ray didnt provide any technical leadership or direction, so there were 100's of laughable 0 potential engineering projects going on cause all Ray and his mgmt team cared about was milking the 2600.

 

If Ray had any idea what he was doing he wouldve dropped Nolan (like he did) and either promoted someone internally with an eye to the future or found an outsider that could do that job without smoking a ton of dope. That person would pick a path and focus the company on that path, instead we have 100's of dead end prototypes that came out of a rudderless engineering department.

 

He lays all the problems on the feet of ET which of course wasnt his baby, but the seeds of destruction had been sown with the lack of vision, 5200 debacle and loss of engineering talent under his watch.

 

My $0.02

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Was he rewriting history in his favor, or was he just telling his side of it like everyone else has been all along?

 

As for the private jet and such, it sounds like he didn't really want to take the job and so he asked for the sun, moon, and stars. Does it make him a bad guy that Warner agreed to give it all to him? :)

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Paul Woakes as well?

 

I was only playing encounter and backlash the other day..

 

Damn its painful to see our 'heroes' fall one by one with an all too rapid turnover, some of these are people I'd met and talked to over the years at shows and now gone, their work thankfully means they are never forgotten..

Gutted to hear of Paul's passing (and RIP Ray also), huge fan of Encounter and even if the games weren't my thing..i had the utmost respect for what he had achieved with the Mercenary games.

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Was he rewriting history in his favor, or was he just telling his side of it like everyone else has been all along?

 

As for the private jet and such, it sounds like he didn't really want to take the job and so he asked for the sun, moon, and stars. Does it make him a bad guy that Warner agreed to give it all to him? :)

 

I think without Warner the 2600 would have been killed too early. And it might never have landed in Europe either. So I'm really thankful for that to Ray.

However, they did totally milk-out the 2600 wayyyy too long....

 

His worst answer in the interview is about the 5200.....WTF ?!?!?

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His worst answer in the interview is about the 5200.....WTF ?!?!?

 

Did he mean the technological improvement of joysticks that self-center? :P

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What did Ray miss - just about everything the video game industry was to become. HIs mention about Alcorn doing the hologram thing as a distraction was laughable - Ray didnt provide any technical leadership or direction, so there were 100's of laughable 0 potential engineering projects going on cause all Ray and his mgmt team cared about was milking the 2600.

 

 

So he cancels forward-thinking projects like the hologram game system, milks the 2600, and then says that the 5200 failed because it didn't have the newer technology the market was looking for.

 

Maybe he shouldn't have shoe-horned the aging Atari computer line into a "new" Atari game console and used a new project instead.

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Hi Kevin,

 

I have a full audio interview I did with him, let me go through it and see if any sections have "off the record" that would need to be omitted and I can give you a copy and you could use it in a podcast.

 

 

I just learned that Ray Kassar died in December.

 

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=187558023

 

Randy and I tried several times to interview him for the podcast, but were never able to.

 

I have submitted an FBI FOIA request about him, as I do.

 

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