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Atari : A Visual History Book is now LIVE on Kickstarter

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Sadly the focus of the thread became me, one of the people asked to contribute....I was hurled on to the keel haul him platform for speaking out yet I'd got treated like poo by Darren..

Personally, i think the thread has evolved rather well and has covered issues such as:

 

-Just how rampant Plagiarism has been in the games industry..

 

 

-The pitfalls facing both mainstream publishers (RetroGamer magazine) and indie publishers (Bitmap Books) and Y.T celbs (Ashens and Nostaliga Nerd) when it comes to drawing attention from Nintendo and using imagery that paints hardware in poor light (Bitmap Books:certain visual compedium books), school boy error typo's (RetroGamer magazine and Nostaliga Nerd), lacklustre research (RG, Ashens and Nostaliga Nerd).

 

-What these causal style of books offer, in terms of how little depth game text offers next to the imagery (Bitmap Books Visual Compendiums and Nostaliga Nerd).

 

 

It's morphed from a thread focusing on a single, yet to be seem project, to 1 that offers a lot of constructive feedback for anyone planning projects of their own.

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I think it evolved and now has sort of become side tracked, its supposed to be about the KS for Darrens book but now its talking about anything but...

 

The comparison and pokes about the failings of other mags etc seems the need for a separate thread as long as its Atari formulated..

 

Personally, this horse has been flogged, stripped and sold to the local takeaway...Lets give it some dignity..

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Well...

 

There have been no updates since the Kickstarter funded have there?

 

And once it had been successful there were still digs going on about Greyfoxes personal grammar issues, even though it had been established he has a proof reader for the book itself..and even if typos etc still creep in, his will be far from the only publication to suffer from it..

 

The issue of plagiarism over the cover still continued, so it was only fair to point out just how often those still highly respected to this day within the industry, have been even more guilty of plagiarism when it came to imagery and audio...

 

 

Sorry, but if the forum is going to act in judgement on one project, it has to be willing to accept other projects have suffered from every issue facing this one.

 

The difference here is, we have yet to see the final product and until such time there's no harm in having a general publication discussion.

 

People were happy to compare Greyfoxes project to the Atari bookzines RetroGamer put out and the Art Of Atari book, whilst the kickstarter was running.

 

The thread is to remain open, so why should we now not compare other people's crowdfunded books to the one Greyfox is about to bring us?.

 

I've just used the thread of late to establish the format these crowd funded books take, as some seem to hold hope Greyfox will drastically rewrite the game description texts..

 

Based on what i have seen, that seems unlikely as that's not how these work.

 

You admit yourself Mclaneinc your not a huge reader of these type of books, but want Greyfoxes to be of high quality so he might do a second run so you and others can purchase one, i am just trying to explain what type of book you should expect, format wise.

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Like anyone else, I don't know what the outcome of the book will be, I can only go by the words, pictures and way Darren sounded on the podcast, I wasn't overly stunned BUT could be pleasantly surprised which is what we all want.

 

For me the thread served its purpose at that and its basically just dwindling away....I really wish Darren all the best for him and his customers, its a big project and it needs to be as good as possible...

 

As they say on Dragon's Den, I'm out..(meaning this thread)

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Like anyone else, I don't know what the outcome of the book will be, I can only go by the words, pictures and way Darren sounded on the podcast, I wasn't overly stunned BUT could be pleasantly surprised which is what we all want.

 

For me the thread served its purpose at that and its basically just dwindling away....I really wish Darren all the best for him and his customers, its a big project and it needs to be as good as possible...

 

As they say on Dragon's Den, I'm out..(meaning this thread)

No offence meant to anyone on here but... this thread continued going time and time again after people said they had said all they wanted to say on the matter.

 

Even after many of us made our personal choices not to back the book and the kickstarter ran it's course with book being funded, there were various attempts to cast doubt on the project/attack Greyfoxes personal grammar and remind people how he seemed to treat individuals.

 

Now his interview on a podcast us being put under close scrutiny as well as his personal Atari experience.

 

You add all that to questions being raised early on in the thread about his Graphic Design skills and it comes across in a poor light.

 

I have to say, my personal feelings towards Greyfox aside, it has become clear people lack perhaps a greater understanding of the approach books by people like Greyfox, Nostaliga Nerd, Sam Dyer etc take ...which is fine, but the continual questioning of what backers will be getting is serving no purpose at this time.

 

There were enough people that wanted the book to fund it.

 

There are people arriving now the kickstarter is over who want it.

 

Until the book arrives, it's not for us who did not back it, to start casting further doubts on what those who did, will be getting.

 

I played my megre part in trying to ensure the book had a level of industry first hand experience and used my own personal experience to shape interview Q's.

 

I will listen to the podcast, but that's it now.

 

When the book arrives the backers can tell us if it's avoided the errors that crept into other similar publications.

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If people didn't listen already, Darren spoke about the book on the Antic Podcast Episode 59 between 37m and 54m

I have the podcast playing as i write and here is my personal interpretation of how Greyfox came across.

 

 

Yes he sounds quite nervous, possibly uncomfortable at times, but i assume this was a SKYPE conversation he knew was going to be used for a podcast and he was out of his comfort zone.

 

He openly admits there has been so much activity going on in the Atari community that it's been difficult keeping track of everything. .could not agree more, it's fantastic to see so much being done, created, discovered within the Atari 8 bit community, but it is difficult to track everything.

 

He explains the book is more than just the visual compedium/Game Art etc..9 interviews and what the aim of the interviews were..

 

#I found Justin online and passed his details onto Greyfox as i loved Lone Raider and had only seen Justin interviewed by 1 commercial magazine at the time, so this was an ideal opportunity to have him spoken with in depth.

 

Reviews:Possible the confusion creeps in here as he says he wrote the majority, then goes onto explain a lot were done by other contributors..so which is it?

 

 

As for his reviews..i read it as him saying he had not played certain titles in years and this was an ideal chance to rediscover them.

 

I'm glad he did play them and on real hardware..that should be the bare minimum for a book like this.

 

 

He is also at pains to point out coders have been used to give the full run down on the games they created, outside of the interview section?

 

Montezuma's Revenge coder possibly done something for the book regarding that title?

 

He made clear the book is simply following on from his previous PDF magazines..A natural evolution as it were.

 

So far there's nothing to suggest any inexperience regarding the Atari 8 bit in any way.

 

It's just someone not used to doing live interviews being put on the spot.

Edited by Lost Dragon

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Even after many of us made our personal choices not to back the book and the Kickstarter ran it's course with book being funded, there were various attempts to cast doubt on the project/attack Greyfoxes personal grammar and remind people how he seemed to treat individuals.

How does one 'attack' someone's personal grammar? What if I said to someone 'You have no discernible talent for writing'? Is that an attack, or an opinion? The words 'bullying' and 'attack' now seem to be substitutes for 'criticise' and 'disagree with'. No attempts to 'cast doubt' on the quality of writing already amply evidenced by everything on offer was necessary. What I saw - for the most part - were observers commenting on what was in front of their eyes.

 

Until the book arrives, it's not for us who did not back it, to start casting further doubts on what those who did, will be getting.

Who says what is and isn't for us? Backers-only discussions are available on the Kickstarter site itself. I'm sure those who backed the book are sufficiently sentient to sift discerningly through the available information and commentary. Anyone who wants to publicise themselves and their project heavily across forums and social media should surely a) understand what forums are like, b) know what the Internet is like, and c) be capable of delivering robust and comprehensive rebuttals of any criticism considered unjust or misleading.

 

This whole thing is gradually degenerating into a pompous treatise on the morals and etiquette of the forum. Nothing will be clear until the book is in the hands of the backers, and even a splendid product (which surely everyone hopes to see) will not retroactively invalidate criticisms regarding the quality of promotional material, etc.

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As you yourself said:Backers-only discussions are available on the Kickstarter site itself. I'm sure those who backed the book are sufficiently sentient to sift discerningly through the available information and commentary.

 

So why was there a need for a non-backer to post a copy of the last? Update on here, with a comment about what a treat backers would be getting, due to yet another typo by the books creator?.

 

It came across as a little petty..

 

 

There were ample accusations of the person behind this project being guilty of plagiarism, poor work ethics etc and i totally agree the marketing campain was very poorly handled and it's been made equally clear who should of handled it and why.

 

It's just that even when having explained himself and the project again on the Antic Podcast, the books creator and the project itself are further called into doubt.

 

It was implied that he came across as if the entire project was a bit beyond him (in ability i assume) and that he lacks the experience to write a book about the Atari 8 bit machines, again this is a visual compedium, it's not meant as an in depth look at the hardware anymore than others Visual Compendium books have been intended to cover the ZX Spectrum, C64 or Amiga.

 

 

 

Nobody is trying to invalidate the constructive criticism anyone has made throughout this thread, lessons can be learned for anyone attempting future projects covering Atari and beyond.

 

But the sad fact is, thanks to this thread we have already lost a very valuable member of the Atari Age community (JoSch), we know Greyfox himself will not be returning to explain what has been changed since kickstarter finished.

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1 last fix and then nothing but the JoSch reference I take personally, a few people made out that I forced a grown man off AtariAge because I argued back, I got the old thing that I was alleging collusion which I did't I mere asked if he had more to do with the project and he never did answer despite all that, I explained VERY CLEARLY why I said that I even apologised if he took it the wrong way which was twice I tried to make the situation calm. But what isn't addressed is that JoSch was being just as negative as anyone, making random claims of bullying for him and Darren and yet even a MOD had to step in and say it wasn't so.

 

So I don't want JoSch's moving on dumped at my door because that is what was said by him and others,

 

Sorry but no, JoSch was simply not listening, arguing for the sake of it and making unfair claims despite the words being written by Darren..

 

Sorry but that is nothing to do with me, JoSch simply got the hump as we brits say and the toys were thrown out......Grown man, grown attitude needed..

 

DO I want him to have gone, no, I've nothing against him, I didn't even know he was a dev, he just joined the argument and shook it like a dog with a bone....I've been annoyed with things on here but I've never just given in, you get in to an argument, you settle it and move on..

 

As for Darren not returning...?? Would be a truly daft thing to do considering he got backers from here..

 

I said I was OUT before and so in the rather dodgy words of Mickey Flanagan, "I'm going out out"...No return, no surrender...(ends with a film joke)

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It's sad for any active and respected user to quit any forum, espically in this day and age where forums are a dying breed and it's even more disheartening when it's due to a discussion thread about a project that in principle should of been a fantastic thing for the greater Atari community.

 

But that's what happened...

 

I'm not singling anyone out Mclaneinc, i am merely stating the fact that this thread got very out of hand and there were consequences.

 

Look, i myself have very little time for Greyfox because of this bloody book and in particular the handling of the content, it's marketing, the hours involved trying to get content for it, you name it..it became the proverbial millstone.

 

The damn thing has cost more than 1 friendship already and if Greyfox did not forsee the issues that arose by going with that cover, using WIP pages to preview a finished product and not at very least having his proof reader check his marketing campain and updates..then he deserves every bit of critiscm that lands at his feet, sorry but he does..

 

He wanted this thread locked do not forget that please, does that sound like a man who plans to return? .

 

 

It's a big and harsh world out there and the moment you ask for others money, you have to ensure your work is worthy of it and it does not matter which publisher you work for or how big a deal you are on YT or whatever...your not doing this for free.

 

 

But it was unfair to imply he lacked enough Atari experience to take on something like this,just because of some podcast interview nerves.

 

When it comes to Atari, he and his sources used, know the system better than the YT celb turned writer types i have named in this thread and a lot of RG freelancers.

 

He is no expert i am sure, but then there seems a chronic lack of understanding on here about what a Visual Compendium actually is as people lack experience of them and that itself has caused perhaps unrealistic demmands?

 

 

I'm just rather surprised to see this project have the reaction it has..

 

Maybe it is an Atari thing?

 

Or would i find the issue of Bitmap Books plagiarising Nintendo Imagery and falling foul of Nintendo with the NES compendium before being resolved, on Nintendo forums in the manner the cover was on here?

 

 

If i venture to a C64 forum would the issue of Rob Hubbard conducting a live orchestra to play arrangements of music he took from others (Monty On The Run and International Karate) be treated the same as someone now using imagery from other sources?

 

I would hope not, though GTW told me the C64 community can be far worse than the Atari one and Nintendo fans can be rather intense.

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As for Darren not returning...?? Would be a truly daft thing to do considering he got backers from here..

 

Like a bad habit, Darren has returned and at least logged in. I consider that a good thing. :)

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On Facebook Greyfox books published some pictures of the new pages of the book. Fair is fair, it looks much better!

 

I don't want to be a nitpicker (I probably am), but when I looked at the second picture in the post I saw a mistake right away.....

 

That is not the Atari 8-bit cover of Black Lamp. That is the Atari ST cover of the game published by Firebird UK. The Atari 8-bit version was published by Atari UK and has a very different cover. Firebird never (re)released Black Lamp for the Atari 8-bits. Another (very) small thing I noticed is the red box (with Atari 800XL/130XE) on the Blinky's Scary School cover. That is the C64 cover, Zeppelin used a green box for the Atari 8-bit with the text Atari XL/XE.

 

I hope Darren still has time to correct these mistakes. And I hope he will acknowledge Atarimania as a source for the screenshots ;-)

 

book.jpg

 

The Atari 8-bit cover of Black Lamp

 

blacklamp.jpg

 

Zeppelin always used a green box for Atari releases (the older releases used a blue box)

 

blinky.jpg

Edited by Fred_M
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Appreciate you sharing the images as not having FB,first time i have seen them.

 

I'm only going off memory here, but..

 

Regarding sources of game covers we had the Phillip Morris of English Software fiasco (claiming he had every original cover stored in a bank vault, turns out he had no such thing :@) 

 

But from what i remember Greyfox saying a lot of the of cover imagery was being supplied from your remastered site and Blinky's came from there.

 

I tried to get him to reach the coders of the game as Atari User had done a Making Of..feature on it back in the day.

 

That's why it stands out in my mind.

 

Never really rated it or Black Lamp that highly, personally.

 

The Black Lamp cover does indeed look from another version,  but it was used on the ST-C64 as I had it on those platforms.

 

A quick search shows it used on the ZX Spectrum version 

 

There was also some awful art (blue background)  On the Amiga and C64 disk versions doing the rounds.

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9 minutes ago, Lost Dragon said:

But from what i remember Greyfox saying a lot of the of cover imagery was being supplied from your remastered site and Blinky's came from there.

 

Those covers are not my scans ;-) I am still seaching for a copy of Black Lamp to complete my Atari UK collection ;-)

 

As you don't have Facebook, here are the other pictures:

 

 

1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

4.jpg

Edited by Fred_M
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😕 I didn't say Black Lamp was yours, just it could of come from any number of other formats and thankfully the awful blue background art has not been used (small mercies and all that :-))) 

 

I swear I was told Blinky Scary School came from your site though..but that's something you and Greyfox need to clarify between you.

 

My attempts at sourcing art started and ended with Phillip Morris,as did my involvement with the entire project after that.

 

As dissapointing as it is to see such errors cropping up in any publication, in a case like this (crowd funded),  it's really a matter for those who funded it,to decide how much it impares their enjoyment of the book, as their money,  not ours made it possible. 

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17 minutes ago, Lost Dragon said:

I swear I was told Blinky Scary School came from your site though..but that's something you and Greyfox need to clarify between you.

The Blinky cover is not my cover. I only collect Atari ;-)

 

I don't have any contact with Darren and I don't want to. I was just noticing that he used the C64 cover.

 

After the huge discussion a few months ago I deleted his access to my scanned covers.

Edited by Fred_M

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1 hour ago, Fred_M said:

The Blinky cover is not my cover. I only collect Atari ;-)

 

I don't have any contact with Darren and I don't want to. I was just noticing that he used the C64 cover.

 

After the huge discussion a few months ago I deleted his access to my scanned covers.

;-) Indeed and as was made very clear during the epic discussion a few months back, whilst both you and i have contributed materials to the book..scanned covers on your part, interviews and interview Q's on my own..

 

For our own personal reasons,  neither of us backed the book and any errors contained within the finished item are something Greyfox will need to explain to the backers.

 

If this project was something going on general release, i would be on likes of Amazon.co.uk pointing the errors our so potential customers had fair warning. 

 

But it's not.. It's going to those who funded it and thus even as a contributer to the book, it's not my place to really start highlighting mistakes in it,silly as they undoubtedly are.

 

When it's in the hands of it's backers and they give honest feedback, we will have a greater understanding of how it's been received. 

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Agreed ;-)

 

But do know that Greyfox announced on Facebook the book will be available for everyone to buy mid November.

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I honestly cannot comment on that..I have no FB account, haven't seen said quote,so not sure in what context Greyfox made it.

 

Project as i understood it was quite simple..

 

Crowdfunded.

 

Only available to backers.

 

No additional print runs after the initial run done for the backers. 

 

Hence i was never going to see how my interviews had been used (not that this ever mattered, but i would of liked to of seen how the Rampage coders answered my Q's about why the A800 version was so bloody awful). 

 

He's either changed plans or a comment has been taken the wrong way.

 

If you have a screenshot of his announcement,  that'd be helpful to clear this up once and for all.

 

The last updates on the kickstarter page are either private (backers only) or announce Chris Wilkins Fusion Annual. 

 

Are you sure he wasn't saying book will be in people's (backers)  hands by mid-november?

 

If that is the case then,no mistakes can't be corrected as it should be in hands of the printers by now.

 

I know lead times as Luca on Unseen64 went through the process with my making his book happen.. 

Edited by Lost Dragon

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1 hour ago, Fred_M said:

 

Those covers are not my scans ;-) I am still seaching for a copy of Black Lamp to complete my Atari UK collection ;-)

 

As you don't have Facebook, here are the other pictures:

 

 

1.jpg

 

Past drama aside, that new cover looks really nice.

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55 minutes ago, Lost Dragon said:

If you have a screenshot of his announcement,  that'd be helpful to clear this up once and for all.

Here you are 🙂

 

 

greyfox.jpg

 

And further along the comments:

 

greyfox2.jpg.1d59abfff6ca4bd18ab7d2439219a5b3.jpg

 

This is "normal" practice with a lot of UK retro "publishers". Chris Wilkins does exactly the same and this is not the first time Darren republishes his material. A few years ago he had a similar big arguement with Kieren Hawken about republishing his interviews. It is not at all about the love for a retro computer, it is a way of making money....

 

 

Edited by Fred_M
added extra screenshot
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Way, way better and quite nice actually (though I don't understand why some games from the US still have the ugly European covers).

 

However, whether the book shows any real progress in the spelling / grammar department remains to be seen, particularly when you're reminded to like the page "to hear about it's status"...   

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Fred_M said:

Here you are 🙂

 

 

greyfox.jpg

 

And further along the comments:

 

greyfox2.jpg.1d59abfff6ca4bd18ab7d2439219a5b3.jpg

 

This is "normal" practice with a lot of UK retro "publishers". Chris Wilkins does exactly the same and this is not the first time Darren republishes his material. A few years ago he had a similar big arguement with Kieren Hawken about republishing his interviews. It is not at all about the love for a retro computer, it is a way of making money....

 

 

Appreciated. 

 

With so much being on Social Media platforms like FB, my exposure is understandably limited.

 

 

So...

 

What i assumed was going to be a book who's final scrutiny lay in the hands of those who hand backed it at Kickstarter,  is actually a commercial venture..

 

I should of paid a lot more attention, that is  evidently clear.

 

I knew Ashens books had started life as crowd funders as that's made clear at start and details the backers in it.

 

Honestly cannot remember if same applies to History of Ocean and History of US Gold books i bought from Chris Wilkins. 

 

The Ocean one was something i bought second hand off one of the backers..signed copy and i was more concerned about how little new content it had and how Chris allowed so many interviewed to use interview to throw people they had worked with or under...under the bus.

 

The US Gold book whilst far from perfect..come on Chris, if GTW and myself could get the Strider II Tiertex Panther/Lynx info, you should of been able to..It was a big improvement on the Ocean book and i simply thought he's taken constructive criticism onboard from the first book and hit ground running with the follow up.

 

 

All i will say at this point (other than how stupid i now feel and thank you for sharing the FB grabs) is this...

 

 

I carried out the work (such as it was) in the book with the Atari Community in mind.

 

I did my utmost with very limited resources to try and ensure as many industry people as possible could be involved interview and book foreward wise and i am eternally grateful for the time and material they supplied.

 

I tried to phrase questions to generate the best answers.

 

I hope those that go onto purchase the book or whom have already funded it, get the book they deserve.

 

 

But ultimately,  given what has now come to light and what was detailed months ago which caused me to have my name removed from the book in hindsight i should of been wise enough not to get involved in others projects...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry @Lost Dragon I thought you knew about these publishers.... They are in for the money.... You know you can visit and browse Facebook without an account ;-)

 

Not to make things worse for you, but here is an old message of Chris in the "Retro for sale" group on Facebook about the Ocean book....

 

 

chris.jpg

 

His company is still selling his books on his website: https://fusionretrobooks.com/collections/retro-books

 

Rest assured, I am regretting giving my many many hours of "scan-work" away for free too..... I was just as naive....

 

By the way, looking at the discussion between Kieren and Darren about the "copyright" of Kierens interviews, I think (if you want to) you can share the interviews you wrote with the community without any problems.

 

Edited by Fred_M

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10 minutes ago, Fred_M said:

Sorry @Lost Dragon I thought you knew about these publishers.... They are in for the money.... You know you can visit and browse Facebook without an account ;-)

 

Not to make things worse for you, but here is an old message of Chris in the "Retro for sale" group on Facebook about the Ocean book....

 

 

chris.jpg

 

Rest assured, I am regretting giving my many many hours of "scan-work" away for free too..... I was just as naive....

 

By the way, looking at the discussion between Kieren and Darren about the "copyright" of Kierens interviews, I think (if you want to) you can share the interviews you wrote with the community without any problems.

 

No sympathy at all for that liar Kieren. 

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