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Would Atari had been better off if Bushnell hadn´t sold it?

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123 members have voted

  1. 1. Would Atari had been better off if Bushnell hadn´t sold it to Warner?

    • Probably yes
      49
    • Probably no
      38
    • I have no idea
      36


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21 hours ago, Lostdragon said:

I honestly never knew the Fairchild Channel F was a thing until Retrogamer Magazine ran a feature on it. 

 

The Intellivision, not until i saw it on an old Telegsmes What Videogame System VHS tape and was later amazed to find it had a 16-bit CPU. 

 

The 2600 simply dominated that era of my childhood, everyone i knew as a kid had one, be it a woody or a Jr. 

 

I was in the first year of secondary school before i even knew of the Colecovision, friend of mine had one, let me borrow it for a weekend, blew me away, couldn't get my head around why it hadn't beaten the 2600...

UK gaming:

early: Atari VCS, Pong systems

not so early: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro

the next level: Atari ST, Commodore Amiga (a little bit Sega Master System)

the new kids: Sega MegaDrive, Super Nintendo

and the two mighty: PLAYSTATION, PC

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52 minutes ago, high voltage said:

UK gaming:

early: Atari VCS, Pong systems

not so early: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro

the next level: Atari ST, Commodore Amiga (a little bit Sega Master System)

the new kids: Sega MegaDrive, Super Nintendo

and the two mighty: PLAYSTATION, PC

I'm thinking back to when i was in early years of secondary school now, which Micro's dominated.. 🤔

 

Myself and 2 others in the early years had Atari 800 XL machines, before we joined the throng of C64 owners. 

 

A decent number of people went onto stick with the ZX Spectrum and bought the  128K machines. 

 

I knew one C16 owner and one Acorn Electron owner, but you only went round to see them when you were on your own. 

 

One mates dad had a PC and few games, but it was very much used for serious applications. 

 

Never knew anyone with an Amstrad CPC. 

 

 

School had a lot of BBC machines set up,can't remember who, but do remember someone bringing Elite in and being allowed to run it at lunch breaks. 

 

I swear there was a Dragon 32 user in the upper years, think he might of brought it in once or twice in the computer room. 

 

 

And a very dusty, very forlorn Sinclair ZX80 stayed sat on top of a cabinet until i left 😂

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1 hour ago, high voltage said:

UK gaming:

early: Atari VCS, Pong systems

not so early: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro

the next level: Atari ST, Commodore Amiga (a little bit Sega Master System)

the new kids: Sega MegaDrive, Super Nintendo

and the two mighty: PLAYSTATION, PC

In 1992, the Master System did better than the ST:

 

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I forgot Game Boy, the girls loved it.

 

Trouble with NES in UK was that the games were so expensive. Games for the Amiga and ST were a third of those for the NES, and they were 16-bit and of high quality and game play.

 

Went on a shopping spree in London, at Virgin Records there was a NES on display for £48,99, but the game sitting next to it was £69,99, you're like WHAT????

Edited by high voltage
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6 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

In 1992, the Master System did better than the ST

This is completely believable, and gels with my recollections.  By 1992, 16-bit machines were starting to come to the end of their market life and the shift to PCs and consoles was getting underway.  Slowly, but it was happening.

 

It wasn't really until around the time when the PS1 reached the market that it was absolutely clear that all of the 16-bit computer giants (which really means Atari and Amiga) were done.  The market had moved on to consoles and PCs, and that was it.

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6 hours ago, high voltage said:

I forgot Game Boy, the girls loved it.

 

Trouble with NES in UK was that the games were so expensive. Games for the Amiga and ST were a third of those for the NES, and they were 16-bit and of high quality and game play.

 

Went on a shopping spree in London, at Virgin Records there was a NES on display for £48,99, but the game sitting next to it was £69,99, you're like WHAT????

It wasn't just the prices either, by the time the UK NES saw the likes of:

 

Ikari Warriors

Bubble Bobble

Gryzor 

Green Beret 

 

Many more, we'd paid our £9.99 for them on our C64's etc and moved on, if you wanted better versions of a lot of them, the ST versions would only set you back at most £25 and whilst not instant loading, didn't take that long compared to what we had put up with on cassette. 

 

 

It was a bad combination of long in the tooth conversions, on 8-bit hardware, being sold at eye watering prices. 

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It was a bad combination of long in the tooth conversions, on 8-bit hardware, being sold at eye watering prices. 

The NES was even less significant in the Irish market.  Nintendo didn't even bother with entering it until late 1989 / early 1990, had the Virgin Megastore in Dublin as its sole retailer, and, Irish import duties and VAT being what they were at the time, systems and games were anywhere from 50% to 100% more expensive than in the UK.

 

I was given a UK-market NES by a relative in England around 1987 or 1988.  We were able to bring it back by car without customs finding it, but I was then stuck with a system where no software was available locally for a couple of years.  Relatives in America sent me a few cartridges, but when I found out what it would take for Nintendo UK to make them PAL-compatible followed by shipping them back to Ireland and subsequently picking up import duties, it just wasn't worth it.

 

This was right in the thick of me having both 8- and 16-bit Atari computers, which offered way more than a dedicated console.  I'd occasionally fire up the NES and play Gyromite or Hogan's Alley, but it just didn't hold appeal based on everything else that was available on the market.

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9 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

In 1992, the Master System did better than the ST:

 

1992, the ST was more or less designated to the closet, but yes, the Sega Master System did well(ish) in UK. 

Edited by high voltage

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10 hours ago, Lostdragon said:

I'm thinking back to when i was in early years of secondary school now, which Micro's dominated.. 🤔

 

Myself and 2 others in the early years had Atari 800 XL machines, before we joined the throng of C64 owners. 

 

A decent number of people went onto stick with the ZX Spectrum and bought the  128K machines. 

 

I knew one C16 owner and one Acorn Electron owner, but you only went round to see them when you were on your own. 

 

One mates dad had a PC and few games, but it was very much used for serious applications. 

 

Never knew anyone with an Amstrad CPC. 

 

 

School had a lot of BBC machines set up,can't remember who, but do remember someone bringing Elite in and being allowed to run it at lunch breaks. 

 

I swear there was a Dragon 32 user in the upper years, think he might of brought it in once or twice in the computer room. 

 

 

And a very dusty, very forlorn Sinclair ZX80 stayed sat on top of a cabinet until i left 😂

How did Acorn do in general?

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6 hours ago, high voltage said:

1992, the ST was more or less designated to the closet, but yes, the Sega Master System did well(ish) in UK. 

In many ways I would rather game on the master system than the ST, still think it was silly that the ST only supports single button joysticks.  What were they thinking?

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5 minutes ago, leech said:

In many ways I would rather game on the master system than the ST, still think it was silly that the ST only supports single button joysticks.  What were they thinking?

True, but it is in keeping with the precedent Atari set with the A8 line of not upgrading and enhancing the machines in the right ways over time.

 

That was something I found odd about my first ST, which I had in tandem with my A8s: still only one fire button on the joystick, but the mouse had two.  And three-voice sound?  POKEY did four.

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

True, but it is in keeping with the precedent Atari set with the A8 line of not upgrading and enhancing the machines in the right ways over time.

 

That was something I found odd about my first ST, which I had in tandem with my A8s: still only one fire button on the joystick, but the mouse had two.  And three-voice sound?  POKEY did four.

Ha, yeah.  Back before I understood tge whole Commodore became Atari and Atari became Commodore thing that happened, it would have made so much more sense for fans to have gone from the A8 to the Amiga. 

Granted, I did not get an ST until the Mega STe, so in many ways it was equal to the Amiga, but a faster CPU and built in SCSI.  But then almost all the games used the lesser ST sound...

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6 hours ago, leech said:

I differentiate the difference between a console the same way I would RAM vs ROM.  A conputer is meant for both consumption and creation, which is why they get keyboards and disk drives to save new things to.  Consoles had cartridges for software (up until the optical drive era) and did not contain any data storage beyond save games until more recently where the lines started to blur between simple consumption of entertainment, and information.  Now a Console these days are very close to computers in possibilities, but not in function.  While you can certainly hook up keyboards and mice to the last few, you can't then open an IDE develop on it, or run a word processor.  At least not without some shenanigans.

The main difference between a modern console OS and a computer one is that the former is essentially running a single process rather than scheduling multiple ones. Back in the days of the original Xbox, it'd unload almost the entire OS while a game was running to maximize the amount of resources available. In more recent models it stays resident, and can keep some background applications alive, but has to run on a single core with a limited amount of RAM. So, you've got an exclusive VM that runs the game and a shared one that does everything else, where games have no privileged status on a regular OS and can suffer performance dips as a result.

 

In terms of the applications you can run, it's mostly a demand thing. The existence of things like Smile BASIC and RPG maker suggests that a full-on IDE ought to be possible, and anything with a web browser can run Google Docs, Office Online, etc. which are pretty close to the functionality of desktop office software these days. I've even seen people running Windows 365 on the Series X, so there's a way to get a full desktop on it if you really want one. However, few people will; once you've hooked a PC up to a TV set, you're unlikely to be doing much more than media, games and the occasional bit of web browsing on it and consoles already have those bases covered. It's only really hacky stuff like unsigned games and emulators that you'd want to add, and I can't see things like that ever garnering official support.

 

On the whole, the situation isn't that different to the 1980s. You could, after all, expand an XEGS into a full A8 computer system. That sort of versatility wasn't particularly useful unless you had something that'd be competitive as both a computer and a console though, and it wasn't really either.

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48 minutes ago, Matt_B said:

I've even seen people running Windows 365 on the Series X, so there's a way to get a full desktop on it if you really want one. However, few people will; once you've hooked a PC up to a TV set, you're unlikely to be doing much more than media, games and the occasional bit of web browsing on it and consoles already have those bases covered.

As an aside: I've seen this as well, and whenever I do it seems like not much more than a throwback to Microsoft's WebTV days.  Sure, there are people for whom having the computing appliance hooked up to the TV does the job for them - which is fine - but it's a setup that was roundly rejected in the late '90s and early 2000s by the vast majority of consumers.  3Com Audrey, Compaq Clipper, Sony eVilla...  This is essentially the same thing, just repackaged by way of a console.

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

As an aside: I've seen this as well, and whenever I do it seems like not much more than a throwback to Microsoft's WebTV days.  Sure, there are people for whom having the computing appliance hooked up to the TV does the job for them - which is fine - but it's a setup that was roundly rejected in the late '90s and early 2000s by the vast majority of consumers.  3Com Audrey, Compaq Clipper, Sony eVilla...  This is essentially the same thing, just repackaged by way of a console.

The funny thing was, pretty sure it was specific individuals arguing about the advertising/ marketing words of the Atari VCS that said you couldn't use it as a PC and I had responded with google docs or office 365 is perfectly doable with the web browser... but meh.

Point is still the same, while you CAN, doesn't mean that was is the intention.  Consoles are meant for consumption and computers are meant for creation.

1 hour ago, Matt_B said:

On the whole, the situation isn't that different to the 1980s. You could, after all, expand an XEGS into a full A8 computer system. That sort of versatility wasn't particularly useful unless you had something that'd be competitive as both a computer and a console though, and it wasn't really either.

The XEGS was fine as a computer.  You either bought the one with the keyboard, or got it later, and added a floppy drive.  Then you pretty much had a colorful 65XE.  XEGS is a pretty nice NES-like with a keyboard Attached.  It definitely needed more software, and probably should have been the concept that was released instead of the 5200... it was silly as it competed with the 7800...

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22 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Thanks for that - it makes things a lot clearer for me.

 

Would it be fair to say that in a Nuon-capable DVD player, it was effectively a split-personality machine - Nuon using the DVD side for disc reads and A/V output, and the DVD side relying on Nuon for features beyond what DVD was capable of?

Just got home - sorry for the delay.

 

Yeah - all normal DVD features the Nuon chipset was invisible, just decoding and playing back as any standard player would.  Any other features, be it smooth zooming, hi speed FF or REW, or even other stuff like playing games, was the realm of the Nuon chipset - only needing the DVD to load the program into "RAM".

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3 hours ago, leech said:

The funny thing was, pretty sure it was specific individuals arguing about the advertising/ marketing words of the Atari VCS that said you couldn't use it as a PC and I had responded with google docs or office 365 is perfectly doable with the web browser... but meh.

I believe the discussion was about whether the VCS was more useful at such than a comparably priced laptop and the point others - myself included - was that the laptop was a better buy because it's got all the peripherals - keyboard, display, mouse, etc. - built in where you'd need to acquire them separately for the VCS. Obviously, you can do pretty much anything computer related via the web these days though. It's just going to be rather unlikely that the best device you have on hand for the job is a games console that you've suitably equipped for the task.

 

The more popular consoles have also developed their own app ecosystems for the bulk of their non-gaming functionality to the extent that you'd rarely have to use a web browser on one or attach a keyboard any more unless you're doing something decidedly oddball. The VCS seems like a bit of a throwback on account of the way that pretty much everything bar games runs through the web browser can't adequately be navigated with just the controller.

 

3 hours ago, leech said:

The XEGS was fine as a computer.  You either bought the one with the keyboard, or got it later, and added a floppy drive.  Then you pretty much had a colorful 65XE.  XEGS is a pretty nice NES-like with a keyboard Attached.  It definitely needed more software, and probably should have been the concept that was released instead of the 5200... it was silly as it competed with the 7800...

It was pretty obvious from day one that it wasn't going to get much software. Developers had largely moved on from the Atari 8-bit platform a couple of years earlier and most of the 'new' releases it got were just repackaged older games. I don't think that was necessarily a problem if you knew what you were getting though, as there was a decent legacy library of games. The 7800 was clearly the machine that was going to get the new games, although that wasn't exactly swimming with them either and relied heavily upon the 2600 compatibility.

 

If released in 1982, I'd think it'd do better than the 5200 but that's only really because hindsight allows them to avoid the worst of that machine's issues like the controller and lack of compatibility with existing 8-bit cartridges. I don't think hybrid console/computer concept helps it any more than it did the Coleco Adam, APF Imagination Machine, or any of the prior attempts that failed.

 

Mainly though, unless you can change the attitude of Atari's senior management that the time is right for something to be positioned as the replacement to the VCS - and appropriately priced and marketed as such - it's still going to be something that they don't know what to do with.

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10 hours ago, leech said:

In many ways I would rather game on the master system than the ST, still think it was silly that the ST only supports single button joysticks.  What were they thinking?

I would take the Master System versions of a good few titles over the ST version. 

 

 

R-Type (hidden level) 

 

Gauntlet (smoother scrolling) 

 

 

Shadow Of The Beast (improved gameplay) 

 

 

Bubble Bobble (extra levels) 

 

 

Chuck Rock Gary Priest put far more effort into the M. S version than Core did for the ST version. 

 

I put far more time in on MS Prince Of Persia, than i did the ST version. 

 

Outrun and Afterburner (better than the crap Probe and Argonaut gave us on the ST) 

 

Galaxy Force was more impressive than Activision ST Galaxy Force II

 

And putting the Joypad port on the underside of the machine Atari.. 

🙄

 

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2 hours ago, Lostdragon said:

I would take the Master System versions of a good few titles over the ST version. 

 

 

R-Type (hidden level) 

 

Gauntlet (smoother scrolling) 

 

 

Shadow Of The Beast (improved gameplay) 

 

 

Bubble Bobble (extra levels) 

 

 

Chuck Rock Gary Priest put far more effort into the M. S version than Core did for the ST version. 

 

I put far more time in on MS Prince Of Persia, than i did the ST version. 

 

Outrun and Afterburner (better than the crap Probe and Argonaut gave us on the ST) 

 

Galaxy Force was more impressive than Activision ST Galaxy Force II

 

And putting the Joypad port on the underside of the machine Atari.. 

🙄

 

I put so many hours of my childhood into R-type on the SMS!  Still my favorite version.

I had no idea Shadow of the Beast or Gauntlet were on it!  Might be time to fire those up!

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14 hours ago, leech said:

In many ways I would rather game on the master system than the ST, still think it was silly that the ST only supports single button joysticks.  What were they thinking?

They were maintaining compatibility with the traditional Atari joysticks.   Also the ST was released before the NES caught on and everyone decided that a joystick/gamepad really does need more buttons.   Eventually the STe and above added the Jaguar joystick ports that allowed multi-button controllers.

 

Although when I look back at what games I was playing on my ST BITD,  I see that it was heavily geared more so towards RPGs, Civilization, Sim City and Populous and the like more so than pure action games.     So I was playing more keyboard + mouse games than joystick games.   The joystick was a pain in the ass to plug into on the ST models where the ports were under the keyboard anyway,  and I'm sure that dissuaded me from playing joystick games 😄

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15 hours ago, leech said:

In many ways I would rather game on the master system than the ST, still think it was silly that the ST only supports single button joysticks.  What were they thinking?

The ST had a whole keyboard to choose from. Space Bar could've been another fire button. Computer designers never think of games. They want their computer to 'compute', not to play  'stupid little games'.

ST was doing great for musicians, for example 

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42 minutes ago, zzip said:

They were maintaining compatibility with the traditional Atari joysticks.

True, but the 7800 released ahead of the ST with two-button sticks that maintained backwards compatibility with the original single-button controls.  It's a puzzling design decision, particularly given that at a minimum the 5200, ColecoVision, and Intellivision had been on the market with 2-button controllers for a few years before the ST showed up.

Quote

Also the ST was released before the NES caught on and everyone decided that a joystick/gamepad really does need more buttons.   Eventually the STe and above added the Jaguar joystick ports that allowed multi-button controllers.

More accurately, the Jaguar used the STE's joystick ports - they predated the Jag by about three years or so.

Quote

The joystick was a pain in the ass to plug into on the ST models where the ports were under the keyboard anyway,  and I'm sure that dissuaded me from playing joystick games 😄

It always pissed me off when an ST programmer decided that what their game really needed was for player 1's joystick to be plugged into the port that the mouse was usually connected to.  Thanks.  Thanks for that.  You're a real pal there, ol' buddy.

 

Yes, I also hated the joystick port placement.

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2 hours ago, leech said:

I put so many hours of my childhood into R-type on the SMS!  Still my favorite version.

I had no idea Shadow of the Beast or Gauntlet were on it!  Might be time to fire those up!

M. S Shadow Of The Beast is far from perfect, but nice to see parallax scrolling, your characters chest moving as he breathes. 

 

The added inventory system is nice, but comes at a cost, it uses button 2, so you have to press up to jump. 

 

Tony Porter did M. S Gauntlet and used a 1040ST to do the graphics, he made sure he knew the M. S hardware well before attempting the conversion and people are often surprised how good Gauntlet is on the system, as it's by Tiertex 🤣

 

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

True, but the 7800 released ahead of the ST with two-button sticks that maintained backwards compatibility with the original single-button controls.  It's a puzzling design decision, particularly given that at a minimum the 5200, ColecoVision, and Intellivision had been on the market with 2-button controllers for a few years before the ST showed up.

Well keep in mind some of the ST design work was done before Tramiel bought Atari, and the 7800 was in limbo until some time after the ST released, so it would be hard for them to make them the official controller.   If you plug a 7800 into an ST, can it recognize the second button?  (I never tried)

 

yeah CV and INTV had multiple button controllers, but they weren't exactly well-loved designs.  Also at the time, the trend was for computers to have simple joystick designs as they had a full keyboard at your disposal.   The Atari 8-bit, C64, and Amiga all used the standard Atari joysticks.

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

It always pissed me off when an ST programmer decided that what their game really needed was for player 1's joystick to be plugged into the port that the mouse was usually connected to.  Thanks.  Thanks for that.  You're a real pal there, ol' buddy.

This is still a problem for emulators-  you'll have something that maps to joystick port 2 that handles most games, and every so often a game will expect joystick 1, and you'll have to go in and edit your config.    C64 also has this issue where you need to swap the ports for some games.

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