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Leonard Tramiel Exclusive Text Interview - Great Commodore & Atari Insight

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Leonard Tramiel Exclusive Text Interview - Great Commodore & Atari Insight

 

Commodore and Atari legend Leonard Tramiel kindly gave up some of his free time to answer some questions for Arcade Attack. He discusses his time working at both companies, developing the Jaguar and Jaguar CD as well as the ST and the canned Panther. He also gives an insight to working with his father, the amazing Jack Tramiel. It’s a lovely read with a true gaming pioneer, enjoy.

 

https://www.arcadeattack.co.uk/leonard-tramiel/

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What a great interview! He seems lovely and I'm sort of sad that his (at least) working relationship with his father seemed to be fractious, still

 

Quote

What did the Atari name mean to your personally at the time?

Atari was the second best known trademark in the world.

sort of says it all for me. If I had had the chance to be a part of Atari in 1984 (at the age of 12!) I would literally have hassled people on the streets...gone on talk shows...swam with sharks...to flog the A8 line and Atari as a valuable brand amongst enthusiasts, and not just view it as a commercial property. And I'm sure I would have run the company into the ground by 1987.

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Nice interview; he seems mellower than I expected. Good to know the ST game system would've cost too much. Good info on the Panther too; wonder what problems it had.

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Really fascinating, he looks a lot like his father did at his age(albeit with a bit more hair)

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On 5/3/2020 at 2:18 PM, Adriano Arcade said:

Leonard Tramiel Exclusive Text Interview - Great Commodore & Atari Insight

 

Commodore and Atari legend Leonard Tramiel kindly gave up some of his free time to answer some questions for Arcade Attack. He discusses his time working at both companies, developing the Jaguar and Jaguar CD as well as the ST and the canned Panther. He also gives an insight to working with his father, the amazing Jack Tramiel. It’s a lovely read with a true gaming pioneer, enjoy.

 

https://www.arcadeattack.co.uk/leonard-tramiel/

Nice to see you interview him. 

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3 hours ago, Adriano Arcade said:

Thanks my friend. Leonard is a true legend.

He's provided some useful and entertaining information over the years. 

 

He's often been made the scapegoat by others, rather than them admit their own company failings, so I appreciate you giving him a voice. 

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I think he's changed a bit even from five years ago. Even then when talking about what went wrong he still pointed to outside events. 

 

Now he seems more self reflective. Yeah there are some things we could have done differently sorta thing.

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😉 If you ever do secure an interview with Sam Tramiel, would you mind asking him about his realationship with the PRESS? 

 

Basically, by carrying on his father's tradition of using the press to ensure Atari stayed in the headlines and thus in effect gain free advertising, did he not realise his comments were literally making a rod for Atari's own back? 

 

 

Constantly talking of new hardware (Panther, various models of the XE and ST including the CDST), let alone software (when launching the Falcon in Europe he promised we'd see the biggest PC games being converted and they'd run faster and in true colour) that never appeared.. 

 

Making claims that Atari would sell a combined figure of 2 million Lynxes, Portfolio's and ST Laptops within 12 months and go onto dominate the handheld market and kill off Nintendo within 5 years... 

 

 

By the time everything depended on the Jaguar being a commercial success, nobody in the press believed a word he said and he went onto make even more absurd claims. 

 

 

Jaguar only a little way behind the Playstation hardware, more powerful than the Saturn.. 

 

Overstating the role of a UK Engineer who'd joined Atari and was part of the Jaguar Duo team. 

 

 

Did he honestly believe what he was saying or was it all just talk for the sake of showing confidence in the Atari name?. 

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Sticking with Sam... 

 

Recently found a previously unseen (by myself) interview in UK Press he did in the Summer of 1991

 

He claimed he was happy with Lynx sales, on track to reach 800,000 by end of the year.. 

 

Said Sega had screwed up the chips on the Game Gear as it suffered screen blur, Atari were looking at a TV tuner for the Lynx. 

 

Sam was happy with there only being 24 titles at that point being available on the Lynx.. because they were all quality games. 

 

The 2600 and 7800 were apparently going very well around the world, except in the USA... 

 

Really? 

 

That wasn't true of the 7800 here in the UK, it was niche at best. 

 

 

Atari had to discontinue the STFM so developers could focus on the STE... 

 

Atari with the STE was going to blow Commodore and the Amiga away.. 

 

Interviewer said given the situation here in the UK, some people might find that statement a touch contentious... Sam replies he always likes to be contentious. 

 

The Commodore CDTV was in his eyes, a con job and it wasn't going to work, you needed a keyboard for any serious work on such platforms. 

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