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Atari : A Visual History Book is now LIVE on Kickstarter

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Do not get me started on the era of false screenshots...

 

I hated that during my 800XL owning days.

 

Because the UK Press gave such scant coverage to the A8 (C+VG on occasion featured it and it's Atari Safari one off feature was the most in 1 issue i ever saw ) , often all i had to go on, was the cassette inlay.

 

Mastertronic spring to mind for being guilty of using C64 screens more often than i cared for..

 

Worse still was Richard Wilcox Software which went onto be Elite Software, repackaging the awful Blue Thunder to become Airwolf to tie in with the popularity of the TV series.

 

On the other end of the scale, Zzap64 were honest enough to admit their review of Bounty Bob Strikes Back on the C64 was based on the A8 version as the C64 version had not been avaiable by the review deadline.

 

 

And the early Miner 2049er Big Five adverts proclaiming game was now avaiable on the Atari 400/800 used (3) Screens from the TRS-80 version

 

If i know Greyfox, there is no way on earth he would use anything but Atari screenshots.

 

In the earliest days of contributing to the book, a lot of work went into trying to obtain the highest quality samples of the games artwork from their respective publishers and we (as it was we back then) were given the run around from 1 source who claimed to have all the original artwork stored in a bank vault, yet everytime we asked for art for a specific title..they suddenly didn't have that or the others..

 

 

Won't say anymore or name source as that ended up with me caught in the middle of a very heated email exchange between 2 seperate parties, at the end of a 12 hour shift and had come home to the bloody boiler breaking down at worst possible time

 

 

There ended my involvement in this project.

Edited by Lost Dragon

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Just purchased 2 books funded by the Unbound website, a first for myself and thought i would give an honest opinion of the 1st based on inital skim through..

 

Book was:

 

Terrible Old Games you've probably never heard of..by Stuart Ashen.

 

I used to watch a good few of his YT Vids, but once novelty wore off, boredom set in, so i was interested to see his work as a writer.

 

His writing is fine..it's the books format and layout i am really struggling with

 

The format is simply far too small, pocket book sized is the best description i can use and as a result games are spread across 4 pages and it follows the dreadful pattern the Unseen64 book did, with text running in columns down the side of a screenshot, so you end up with L-shaped blocks of text.

 

Making the book larger could of avoided this and reduced page count as games could of been fitted onto 2 or 3 pages.

 

 

So i do feel Greyfox has been very wise to avoid this issue with format choice for his publication.

 

He also uses 4-5 screenshots per title covered, so again any critiscm Greyfox has recieved regarding his 2 or 3 per game, is rather unjustified.

 

 

Part of me wishes Ashens had done a little more research as well...

 

An early title, BattleProbe on the ST was the coders first commercial title, having previously only written a C64 title and he arrived on the ST wondering why it lacked hardware sprites and scrolling which the C64 had and never recieved any pay for the game, but was simply given an Amiga 500 for his efforts, plus he was only 16.

 

I'm not excusing the game, it is bloody awful , but the coder had no control over things like games retail price.

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Having something of a rummage through the various video games books i purchased over the years and using the opportunity to do a few product reviews for Amazon.Co.UK whilst i am at it.

 

Looked at Britsoft:An Oral History and sorry, if there really is an established

set of accepted aesthetic rules, then very few people appear to be following them...

 

 

Whilst the various interviews are very well written, the manner in which they are presented is just odd...

 

You have a source being quoted and then in the middle of this C-block of text..you have a second source being interviewed..why not just have them as 2 seperate interviews?.

 

 

As for imagery..

 

The full colour photographs and images are fantastic, even if IK+ advert is spread across 2 pages, but the imagery presented in purple and green and blue, just does not work.

 

Why not stick to full colour photographs?

 

 

Anywho..back on topic.

 

Still no reply from Greyfox, but at this point i cannot help but feel the project should of been pitched as a soft cover Bookzine type affair, similar to the Retro Gamer Atari bookzine.

 

Drop the page count by removing the titles that really did not show the Atari hardware in a favorable light and keep the hardcover book concept for his coin op book which many of us have been hoping will still be made.

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The book is geared at being fun, lite and something of a vibrant coffee book to which for once covers the underappreciated far too long Atari 8-bit platforms that has been long overdue and officiously before work began on the book we had done a plenty of market research on what people thought and wanted from a book of this nature. We listened and took the essence of their appreciation and poured this into what you see now.

 

This book is a collection of celebrated games both for their technical achievements and nostalgic footprint to which not just many Atari 8-bit fans but commodore fans who shared the same titles from both computers, this book hopefully will appeal to them too.

 

Cheers

Darren

 

Hey Darren,

 

We Backed of course (Steve and I both). 8bitrocket.com and the Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari Podcast is fully behind any great Atari books that come out.

I have heard of some of the squabbles over content, and while I don't like some things I have heard, this book is too important NOT to come out.

 

One thing though, I have a programming book for the Atari 800 that is almost EXACTLY the same cover of your book. I know that book is out of print. Did you choose this cover because of that book? Atari Color Graphics by Joseph W. Collins? I just want to make sure you won't have nay legal troubles getting the book out.

 

That being said, the publishing company is out of business. (Arrays, Inc), and I can't Find Joseph W Collins on linkedin, in, etc.

The book was published in 1984, and it takes 70 years for any part of it to fall into the public domain. I would just be careful and ensure that your cover is different enough to satisfy any right holders to the old Arrays, Inc copy rights.

 

Peace and good luck. I can't wait for my copy to arrive!

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@Jeff:

 

Whilst i am of course not privy to any squabbles over content you might have seen, i would once again like to reiterate that any of the content i provided for the book many months ago, is 100% the work of myself ( be it interviews i conducted in my own spare time or misc questions i put to the people Greyfox was interviewing himself or research into software publishers from that era on behalf of Greyfox) or that of people kind enough to assist with the book by contacting those i myself did not have access to.. (Chris Abbot of C64 Audio.Com deserves a thank you in particular).

 

Even if a source was found via research on behalf of another site (Unseen64) and passed on, it was 100% the work of myself.

 

How Greyfox chooses to use it, if he uses it at all, is his privilege.

 

I learnt an awful lot from my fumbling around with Atari Gamer magazine and by the time of ST Gamer Magazine, i was putting the hours in reaching out to people myself.

 

I cannot speak for any material bar my own, nor for Greyfox himself, but at the start of this project i very much believed it deserved to have credible and unique content and that's what i have tried to pass on.

 

The remaining content is for Greyfox to take responsibility for as this is his project and hopefully, if he is reading, he might find time to join us and respond to some of the constructive feedback left in his absence since his last visit....

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One thing though, I have a programming book for the Atari 800 that is almost EXACTLY the same cover of your book. I know that book is out of print. Did you choose this cover because of that book? Atari Color Graphics by Joseph W. Collins? I just want to make sure you won't have nay legal troubles getting the book out.

 

 

I always thought I have seen that cover before! And now I understand why the 3d effect of the "L" of visual does not look right and the colors just above the monitor.

 

post-6711-0-17764200-1558204893.jpg

 

post-6711-0-20370700-1558204909.jpg

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Hey Darren,

 

We Backed of course (Steve and I both). 8bitrocket.com and the Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari Podcast is fully behind any great Atari books that come out.

I have heard of some of the squabbles over content, and while I don't like some things I have heard, this book is too important NOT to come out.

 

One thing though, I have a programming book for the Atari 800 that is almost EXACTLY the same cover of your book. I know that book is out of print. Did you choose this cover because of that book? Atari Color Graphics by Joseph W. Collins? I just want to make sure you won't have nay legal troubles getting the book out.

 

That being said, the publishing company is out of business. (Arrays, Inc), and I can't Find Joseph W Collins on linkedin, in, etc.

The book was published in 1984, and it takes 70 years for any part of it to fall into the public domain. I would just be careful and ensure that your cover is different enough to satisfy any right holders to the old Arrays, Inc copy rights.

 

Peace and good luck. I can't wait for my copy to arrive!

 

Hi Jeff,

 

This was a great spot, I did indeed copy that cover and used elements from it and have no problems admitting this as I really liked the design of it and felt it fitted the concept for what was intended with the visual History book, I have taken a great amount of time from the comments here on the forum and have moved accordingly to improve many of the suggestings put to me here. If the cover is seen as plagiarism then I put my hand up to that at no point did/do I attempt to hide any form of deception and have answered everyone here honestly, I did myself attempt to contact the author of the "Atari Color Graphics" by Joseph W. Collins myself having no joy here and even spoke to somebody that was friends with him in the hope of reaching out, but the design of the logo was recreated in photoshop and not a simple copy and paste. With wanting to make this the best possible presentation for Atari fans, If people are uncomfortable with the front book cover of the book, I am open to suggestions in this regard.

 

@Fred_M

This part of the title design has been corrected since you brought it up a couple of pages back.

 

With only 11 Days left, I am optimistic that the funding will hopefully take place and if not, then I will be rebooting the book with a considerable amount of cut back in order to reduce the overall cost of everything including printing, shipping and reduction in costs that may not be releivant to the project at its relaunch later in the year making it more manageable to those that want to see the book with alternative ways to bring everyone what they expect for a visual history book on Atari's third-party software, As this is my very first time into producing a book like this and the whole crowdfunding thing I am completely new to it with researching printers, perks and the likes and have learned a great deal from this fantastic experience and have acknowledged everybody's concerns.

 

Thanks for everything so far.

 

Darren.

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Hi Jeff,

 

This was a great spot, I did indeed copy that cover and used elements from it and have no problems admitting this as I really liked the design of it and felt it fitted the concept for what was intended with the visual History book, I have taken a great amount of time from the comments here on the forum and have moved accordingly to improve many of the suggestings put to me here. If the cover is seen as plagiarism then I put my hand up to that at no point did/do I attempt to hide any form of deception and have answered everyone here honestly, I did myself attempt to contact the author of the "Atari Color Graphics" by Joseph W. Collins myself having no joy here and even spoke to somebody that was friends with him in the hope of reaching out, but the design of the logo was recreated in photoshop and not a simple copy and paste. With wanting to make this the best possible presentation for Atari fans, If people are uncomfortable with the front book cover of the book, I am open to suggestions in this regard.

 

[snip snip]

 

Darren.

 

Yeah, copying the cover like that without permission is starting to border on plagiarism. Reaching out to the original designer was good and had you received permission then you could properly give cover artwork credit to the right person. Seeing you received no answer and the publisher is out of business then you may try to argue "abandon-ware". That may be tough though.

 

A new book deserves a new cover. If I were you I'd change it.

 

I see your Kickstarter goal is about US$38k and you're at US$21k. You need about US$17k more in 11 days, or about US$1.5k per day. At US$32/book you need to sell about 46 books a day, which would mean 46 backer per day. That seems like a steep mountain to climb but its not impossible.

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Yeah, copying the cover like that without permission is starting to border on plagiarism. Reaching out to the original designer was good and had you received permission then you could properly give cover artwork credit to the right person. Seeing you received no answer and the publisher is out of business then you may try to argue "abandon-ware". That may be tough though.

 

A new book deserves a new cover. If I were you I'd change it.

 

I see your Kickstarter goal is about US$38k and you're at US$21k. You need about US$17k more in 11 days, or about US$1.5k per day. At US$32/book you need to sell about 46 books a day, which would mean 46 backer per day. That seems like a steep mountain to climb but its not impossible.

 

I have already begun preparing something of a new cover that removes all traces of the previous design with it being 90% changed and no Plagiarism to be seen, All will be revealed after this campaign in the direction I wish to take it, but again many thanks to everyone that signature-ed their thoughts and concerns.

 

Kind regards

Darren.

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This was a great spot, I did indeed copy that cover and used elements from it and have no problems admitting this as I really liked the design of it and felt it fitted the concept for what was intended with the visual History book

Not cool. Not cool at all.

 

If the cover is seen as plagiarism then I put my hand up to that at no point did/do I attempt to hide any form of deception and have answered everyone here honestly, I did myself attempt to contact the author of the "Atari Color Graphics" by Joseph W. Collins myself having no joy here and even spoke to somebody that was friends with him in the hope of reaching out

There's no 'if' about it - it IS plagiarism. Not being able to contact the author or publisher doesn't give you carte blanche to use the art from that book. The original artist of that image may well still have copyright of it for all you know, as it wasnt necessarily owned outright by the author or publisher.

 

but the design of the logo was recreated in photoshop and not a simple copy and paste.

I'd challenge that claim. It's pretty clear that the logo shown on the cover image in the campaign is a direct copy. The middle line is a hatchet job, and explains the incredibly poor perspective on the added letter L. More damning than that, though, is the use of the asterisk in the yellow square on the last line. If you were redrawing that logo you just wouldn't have bothered drawing an eighth square. The image of the computer is EXACTLY the same as the one on the ACG book cover, you've just put a different monitor graphic over the top of it. Claiming that you've not copied it is disingenuous, and an insult to the intelligence of many of us in the community. Its an even bigger insult to the artist who created that cover originally. If you're genuinely a designer as you claim you are you wouldn't steal another designer's work wholesale.

 

That was a really shonky move.

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Sorry you feel that way UltraSteve, Again I'm willing to set the wrongs to rights here and from the overly hostile-vibe you've sent out from the outset, I really don't know what your issue is with me and my work here, I think it's best that you either add me on block here on the forum? I will leave this up to you. I have already posted that I am addressing the issues raised here.

 

Kind regards

Darren.

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Sorry to say this Greyfox and you can think of me what you will, but having followed the books progress so far, your taking the right steps by planning changes for a relaunch as based on the average backers per day, for the last 10 days, your not going to get 46 backers a day, each and every day from here until the campaign end.

 

 

That's just the simple reality.

 

 

You should be proud of the level of support you have already achieved, there is clearly a demand out there for the type of product your offering, but there are also clearly inherent risks in terms of:

 

pricing book itself, let alone shipping...

 

 

Content:Nostaliga is nice, but it does not always mean your representing the best the A8 has to offer, plus your looking to feature games that have already been covered by other publications, be they magazine or book.

 

Simple fact is many might feel they already had the coverage they longed for at an earlier stage.

 

 

You would be wise not to rush into a relaunch, get the pricing sorted, trim the fat from the books content, tidy up the presentation and ensure it is not imating the appearance of others work to the point where your bordering on plagiarism, but rather trying to capture the essence of the A8 commercial era.

 

 

I give you my full permission to use any/all of the material i submitted to you for the book for any revamp, use it as you see fit, all i would ask is any unused material you either return to myself or pass on to Atarimania, so the community get to see it.

 

And the very best of luck for your future ventures.

 

Hopefully you will launch the Coin-Op book as that's something i would back in an instant.

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Thank You Lost Dragon,

 

You've been an amazing help on the project and all that has been mentioned will be taken under advisement and that the book will come out regardless of what happens next. Thank you.

 

Kind regards

Darren.

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I recognised the title right away, I'm familiar with the original book. I always assumed it was a deliberate 'homage' style copy like my Platoterm boxart is an homage to Telelink I (and a collage of images from the net).

 

https://atari8bit.net/platoterm-boxart/

 

Giving Greyfox a kicking for that, kinda feels like piling-on to me.

 

I agree with the sentiment of Ultrasteve's first critique of the book and haven't backed it for exactly those reasons. There's no need to start pulling apart other book elements too. I doubt he drew the TV image that features on most pages either, the page numbers are atop Atari rainbow stripes (that also feature on my websites header, I redrew them as SVG but I didn't seek permission).

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Just out of curiosity, is there a reason you chose to use later or European box covers for titles originally released in the U.S. using different artwork (e.g. Eidolon, Jumpman, Zaxxon, Beta Lyrae, Beach-Head, Spy vs. Spy: Island Caper, Rescue on Fractalus, etc.)?

Edited by Farb
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All i have done is taken the same approach with your project as i did in the past with the Unseen64 book, which itself was ambitious, but in all honesty a poorly presented production. ..

 

And the GTW Project of which i myself have yet to see anything of.

 

For all it's flaws and the horrendous treatment it recieved at the hands of the Tramiels, the A8 will always have a special place in my heart.

 

Those who worked on it are sadly getting harder and harder to reach and are fewer in number with each passing year.

 

So it made sense to try and capture what we could here and now.

 

 

I feel this thread has run it's course and there are some borderline personal attacks starting to surface, rather than constructive criticism or concerns.

 

You and i have to this day very polar views on the project but remain civil with our discussions, no need for others to treat you any differently.

 

@Ultrasteve:Your in danger of coming across as having a personal beef with Greyfox and if this is the case. ..it should be taken to P.M.

 

I assume your of a similar line of work, yet so far you have yet to showcase any of your own work to the best of my knowledge.

 

By all means by critical and raise concerns, but keep them within context please.

 

 

Maybe it's time this thread was locked before it takes a turn for the worse?.

Edited by Lost Dragon
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LOL... The redundant yellow box with the asterisk is an original touch. Nice.

No harm meant*

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I recognised the title right away, I'm familiar with the original book. I always assumed it was a deliberate 'homage' style copy like my Platoterm boxart is an homage to Telelink I (and a collage of images from the net).

 

https://atari8bit.net/platoterm-boxart/

 

Giving Greyfox a kicking for that, kinda feels like piling-on to me.

 

I agree with the sentiment of Ultrasteve's first critique of the book and haven't backed it for exactly those reasons. There's no need to start pulling apart other book elements too. I doubt he drew the TV image that features on most pages either, the page numbers are atop Atari rainbow stripes (that also feature on my websites header, I redrew them as SVG but I didn't seek permission).

 

There's a fine, fuzzy, squiggly line between homage and plagiarism. I don't know where that line is and when it is being crossed. A lawyer usually tells you when that line was crossed. I can imagine several other ways how an homage could have been paid to the original cover.

 

For example, could a photo have been staged where someone dressed in vintage 80's clothes and puffy hair is walking along an "Atari Hall of Fame" and that person is holding an easily discernible copy of the book in their hand? Even then ... how about a bonus appendix highlighting some cool Atari book cover art?

 

With today's tools and technology there is a whole world of creative possibility. There is no need to leverage someone else's work so much. Again, new book = new cover to me.

 

I personally never had any problem with the book itself, the layout, etc. It's looks like it will be a fine piece of work and I'm glad its in the works. Writing a book takes a tremendous amount of time and effort and I applaud Darren for striving toward its publication. Darren is exposing himself to the public vs publishing ahead of time and waiting for the feedback. He hasn't shied away from here either. So, I give him credit for that.

 

I'll add that we must be a passionate group of fans. Imagine if we weren't? All we would do is offer a collective shrug. Then what? The project would be dead.

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I sense duplicity here.

This forum is full of screen shots of copyrighted material, but I don't see UltraSteve oppose that.

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I sense duplicity here.

This forum is full of screen shots of copyrighted material, but I don't see UltraSteve oppose that.

 

unfortunately, your comparison doesn't bear scrutiny. Ultrasteve's criticism is based on examination of a paid-for piece if work.

is anybody posting screenshots on this (or any other forum) making money out of those screenshots? thought not.

 

if you're not comparing like-for-like, then there's no duplicity.

Edited by brenski
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My two cents about copyright issue and the focus on Greyfox and his book.

I agree he has to change the cover so that there is no more copyright issue in the released book.

But at least he tried to get in touch with the copyright holder. Not enough to use the picture but a smart concern.

 

I feel it is fair to ask Greyfox to change his cover but not to give lessons about copyrights.

 

I guess that if a layer started to look at the AtariAge content, it would be a disaster.

How many games imaged and posted here without the author permission ?

How many software disassembled without the author permission ?

How many documentation scanned without the author permission ?

How many material (software or whatever) transformed (hacked, protection removed, enhanced sprites, infinite lives, XL compatibility for old software...) without the author permission ?

I don't see copyright discussion in each of these threads...

 

So my question is: Why not pointing out the copyright issues on all AtariAge threads ?

 

I have the beginning of an answer:

The purpose is not the same: we are talking about a commercial activity with Greyfox's book and it's just "preservation" activity on AtariAge.

But all of us (including Greyfox) are sharing the same love of computers, games and Atari nostalgia.

Well, let's face it, whatever the purpose, both activity kinds (commercial vs "preservation") are orthogonal with law and copyrights.

This "preservation" activity seems to be a magic joker that allows to do anything.

 

About the book, I fear that the target is out of reach.

This was my concern in my very first post in this thread where I estimated that 600 backers where needed to reach the target.

In terms of 'business plan', the market is over-estimated.

I feel that the price is not a real issue.

The problem is much more about the number of people ready to pay for a book.

But of course this is very difficult to evaluate before starting the project.

 

I really hope the book will get published now or later if the target is not reached as I want to support people doing new devs, new books, new hardware because this is the only way to make the Atari adventure continue.

 

 

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