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Alternate Atari History

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17 hours ago, pacman000 said:

I doubt the concept of a spreadsheet ever was patentable or copyrightable; it’s just a financial ledger on a computer.

Hard to say! Don't forget, this little company called Amazon patented the 1-click "technology"..

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And Atari patented the idea of moving bitmaps off one side of a screen, then making them appear on another.

 

And Ralph Baer patterned collision detection on TV screens.


It really is hard to say; those ideas seem blatantly obvious today, but they might not have been when invented. I dunno; software patents are weird. Sometimes it seems inventions are only obvious, ineligible for a patent, when it’s a smaller company facing a bigger company. But this is just my opinion; I’m neither an engineer nor a lawyer.

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36 minutes ago, pacman000 said:

And Ralph Baer patterned collision detection on TV screens.

 

I think I just patterned myself a little.

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22 hours ago, toiletunes said:

Atari VCS released.  Changes:

 

  1. -6502 chip with 16 rather than 13 pins
  2. -read/write pin is present, allowing in-cart RAM expansion, and with bank switching, up to 512KB ROM, 32KB RAM
  3. -256 bytes (not 128) of RAM (or 512?)
  4. -2 colors per sprite
  5. -4 sprites per scanline without flicker
  6. -256 colors, but 8 per scanline

 

 

Hmmm... An interesting project TODAY would be to make such a VCS-e (enhanced)

 

  1. OK
  2. OK
  3. OK
  4. maybe
  5. maybe
  6. maybe

 

If such a console were to be homebrewed, but with 100% backwards compatibility  (using some sort of extra pins on the cart like the 7800) or if only one pin is needed, add a little phono plug cable and a phono jack on enhanced carts? Pop cart in, connect enhance cable, play...

 

What would our homebrewers do with such a thing?

 

Hmmm...

 

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9 hours ago, MrTrust said:

Sorry, I'll try to make my shitposting more on-brand

Yeah, but is it really shitposting if it just looks like all the other shit you normally post?

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41 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Yeah, but is it really shitposting if it just looks like all the other shit you normally post?

If a shitposter shitposts in a shit thread and nobody is around to read it......

 

 

.....does it still smell?

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Alternate history.

1977: An enhanced version of the VCS is released.

1979: a jealous George Plimpton convinces the Kremlin it should send a bomb to take out the Sunnyvale HQ. Ferris Bueller tries to stop the Kremlin computer from sending the bomb by playing 3D Tic-Tac-Toe with it, but he loses, and the bomb launches anyway. Luckily Nolan and the employees are all out back in the hot tub when the bomb hits, and are unscathed, except for some soot-covered faces and smouldering hair. With the building destroyed, George Plimpton convinces the bank manager to foreclose on Atari's mortgage, but at the last minute Nolan manages to sell the rights to the name "Atari" to some french company. Cut to Nolan, the employees, and Ferris Bueller all triumphantly dancing outside the rubble, and George Plimpton sulking away.

 

If anybody reading is wanting to option the rights, I currently have several bidders, so come in with your best and final.

 

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Even with slightly better and more expensive (thus harder to sell) hardware the big N was coming.  The only alternative history that makes sense is if Atari called Miss Cleo for their free reading and agreed to become a shell company that sells Nuntendo product.

 

The problem with THAT is that purchasers for big stores were sure video games had stopped being a trend.  Also, very little trust in Atari to sell like the old days.  I doubt Atari management would follow the big Ns "bend over backwards" and "hide the fact it's a video game system" philosophy that won the day either.

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13 hours ago, Gemintronic said:

...a shell company that sells Nuntendo product.

I remember Nuntendo as the only game system marketed directly to Catholics.

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8 hours ago, RJ said:

I remember Nuntendo as the only game system marketed directly to Catholics.

It comes with a ruler controller that slaps your hand whenever you say a swear while playing.

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On 4/30/2021 at 9:09 PM, RevEng said:

Alternate history.

1977: An enhanced version of the VCS is released.

1979: a jealous George Plimpton convinces the Kremlin it should send a bomb to take out the Sunnyvale HQ. Ferris Bueller tries to stop the Kremlin computer from sending the bomb by playing 3D Tic-Tac-Toe with it, but he loses, and the bomb launches anyway. Luckily Nolan and the employees are all out back in the hot tub when the bomb hits, and are unscathed, except for some soot-covered faces and smouldering hair. With the building destroyed, George Plimpton convinces the bank manager to foreclose on Atari's mortgage, but at the last minute Nolan manages to sell the rights to the name "Atari" to some french company. Cut to Nolan, the employees, and Ferris Bueller all triumphantly dancing outside the rubble, and George Plimpton sulking away.

 

If anybody reading is wanting to option the rights, I currently have several bidders, so come in with your best and final.

 

I have a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood and four 8 foot two-by-fours. Will that do? Don't haggle. I know what I have.

 

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50 minutes ago, Zonie said:

I have a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood and four 8 foot two-by-fours. Will that do? Don't haggle. I know what I have.

 

Given the prices on lumber as of late, that's hardly even a joke.

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On 4/23/2021 at 9:34 PM, JJohnson said:

-Atari and SEGA successfully sue and get Nintendo's exclusivity contracts nullified, and third parties do port games to the Master System and 7800, such as Megaman, Castlevania, Contra, etc.

-NES is released as before and releases practically the same games as before, but Atari does release side-scrollers, RPGs, shooters, etc. to compete, leading to over 250 games for the Atari 7800.

 

Even in an alternate history, it might take too long for Sega and Atari to break the exclusivity contracts through lawsuit. The contracts only worked because of the Master System's poor performance in Japan and NA. Nintendo obviously had very strong first-party titles, system sellers, which in turn attracted other companies to develop for the NES. 

 

- Let Sega have a strong mascot early in the Master System's life. Sonic 1985! ;-) 

- Both Sega and Atari should realise much sooner that gaming has moved on from early 80's arcade ports. If they can't innovate, let them have faster copy machines!

- Nintendo were actually quite hesitant to fully invest into the video game market - and they licensed their arcade games to other companies. Maybe the people at Atari were big fans of the toy company from Kyoto and made a much more general deal that allows to port any Nintendo game to any Atari video game system for the next ten years!

 

So no more Nintendo exclusives. Whatever Miyamoto-san comes up with will appear a couple of months later on the 7800 and in an awfully mutilated form on the 2600. Fortunately for Nintendo, the deal will run out by 1989. Unfortunately for Nintendo, Miyamoto-san left the company for Sega years before then.

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On 4/29/2021 at 11:12 PM, pacman000 said:

I doubt the concept of a spreadsheet ever was patentable or copyrightable; it’s just a financial ledger on a computer.

That doesn't mean someone wouldn't have tried.

 

The online shopping cart was just a shopping cart in an online store, but someone patented that,  and a patent troll used it to extort money for years until Newegg finally got the patent tossed out.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/29/2021 at 12:06 AM, JJohnson said:

No, you don't.  I have 3 jobs, I have little free time.  I'm trying to publish a book in addition to try to enable me to drop one of those 3.

I don´t know about your situation, but it sounds like you are working too much. If you work too much, you actually get less done as you will be tired and inefficient. If possible, I would recommend cutting costs so you don´t have to work that much. People would generally be happier working- and spending less.

 

Even better, cut costs so much that you can invest a substantial share of your income every month in index funds (although I don´t recommend investing in the stock market right now, I think it is overvalued). I am not a financial adviser.

Edited by Lord Mushroom
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On 4/29/2021 at 1:01 AM, JJohnson said:

the Man in the High Castle,

I have watched season 1 of the series, and the beginning of season 2. It was pretty good, but I have a feeling they have started departing from the book, and are just dragging it out to cash in on relatively high ratings.

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On 4/30/2021 at 12:22 AM, MrMaddog said:

I already did the "what if Atari still lives" thing myself over a decade ago and still have the outline on my hard drive.  Basically it involved Bushnell not selling Atari to Warner,

This is what would have saved Atari.

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Just leaving this comment here before this thread is locked. 

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On 4/23/2021 at 12:34 PM, JJohnson said:

So here goes:

 

1977: Atari VCS released.  Changes:

-6502 chip with 16 rather than 13 pins

-read/write pin is present, allowing in-cart RAM expansion, and with bank switching, up to 512KB ROM, 32KB RAM

-256 bytes (not 128) of RAM (or 512?)

-2 colors per sprite

-4 sprites per scanline without flicker

-256 colors, but 8 per scanline


1977: Atari releases this version of the VCS. It is so expensive that no one buys it. Amid huge losses, Warner closes Atari and barely escapes bankruptcy themselves. As a direct result of the VCS fiasco, the programmable home console is seen as non-viable in North America. The Intellivision, Odyssey2, Astrocade, Colecovision and (of course) Atari 5200 never see the light of day. With no consoles to produce games for, companies like Activision and Imagic also never exist.

 

1982: Emerson, sensing that the failure of the VCS was due to its price rather than lack of interest from the public, release the Arcadia 2001, a low-cost console that, with the market all to itself, sells tens of millions of units and becomes a cultural touchstone for a generation.

 

1983: Nintendo, looking for a way to introduce the Famicom to North America, approaches Emerson about a distribution deal. Emerson, seeing the potential of releasing this new console under their name, agrees and the Emerson Entertainment System, launched in 1984, dominates the home console market for the rest of the decade.

 

1998: With Emerson still one of the biggest (and most litigious) names in home video games, Albert Yarusso does not launch the Arcadia 2001 Nexus fan site. Three years later the non-existent site is not re-launched as ArcadiaAge, its forums do not become the most popular place for retro gaming fans to discuss classic games and this thread does not exist.

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18 hours ago, Lord Mushroom said:

I have watched season 1 of the series, and the beginning of season 2. It was pretty good, but I have a feeling they have started departing from the book, and are just dragging it out to cash in on relatively high ratings.

Talk about the ultimate "What-if" scenario.

Yeah, it really was good until it jumped the shark in Season 3. I'll leave the details out. I was wondering if we would see an Atari in that since everything seemed to come out years earlier, like the Concorde, Video Phone, etc...

Season 4 is really interesting.

 

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On 5/4/2021 at 4:19 PM, Zonie said:

Talk about the ultimate "What-if" scenario. [The Man in the High Castle]

Yeah, it really was good until it jumped the shark in Season 3. I'll leave the details out. I was wondering if we would see an Atari in that since everything seemed to come out years earlier, like the Concorde, Video Phone, etc...

Season 4 is really interesting.

 

There was a video game system in Wolfenstein: Youngblood which has the same premise...only with more guns.

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On 5/4/2021 at 8:47 AM, KaeruYojimbo said:

1982: Emerson, sensing that the failure of the VCS was due to its price rather than lack of interest from the public, release the Arcadia 2001, a low-cost console that, with the market all to itself, sells tens of millions of units and becomes a cultural touchstone for a generation.

1994: RCA Studio II the Hedgehog comes out. The console is otherwise forgettable compared to the might of Emerson's IP. Nonetheless, RCA the Hedgehog keeps the Studio II alive and competing with the Emerson juggernaut. After poorly mismanaging the brand, however, RCA the Hedgehog becomes a historic footnote.

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On 5/2/2021 at 3:07 PM, kimchipenguin said:

Even in an alternate history, it might take too long for Sega and Atari to break the exclusivity contracts through lawsuit. The contracts only worked because of the Master System's poor performance in Japan and NA. Nintendo obviously had very strong first-party titles, system sellers, which in turn attracted other companies to develop for the NES. 

 

- Let Sega have a strong mascot early in the Master System's life. Sonic 1985! ;-) 

- Both Sega and Atari should realise much sooner that gaming has moved on from early 80's arcade ports. If they can't innovate, let them have faster copy machines!

- Nintendo were actually quite hesitant to fully invest into the video game market - and they licensed their arcade games to other companies. Maybe the people at Atari were big fans of the toy company from Kyoto and made a much more general deal that allows to port any Nintendo game to any Atari video game system for the next ten years!

 

So no more Nintendo exclusives. Whatever Miyamoto-san comes up with will appear a couple of months later on the 7800 and in an awfully mutilated form on the 2600. Fortunately for Nintendo, the deal will run out by 1989. Unfortunately for Nintendo, Miyamoto-san left the company for Sega years before then.

You're probably right about that.  Nintendo was great at making new ideas, and Atari at least, was living on arcade ports far too long.  That's why I included something in the speculation on them breaking Nintendo's exclusivity contracts.  Perhaps porting any Nintendo game to any Atari system would be a licensing deal that could have happened.  If the 7800 had better tile support, better scrolling, better audio, and could handle more colors at higher resolutions (a lot of asking), it could've competed better.

 

If Sega had had a stronger mascot earlier, I think their 8-bit system might've fared better, along with a few big franchises.  Alex the Kidd never really did much for me.  It seemed like a generic platformer to me without innovation, but I'll give it a try some time.

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In my alternate Atari universe, everything happens as it did, but in '83, Tomy buys Atari and we suddenly have LCD arcade machines.

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