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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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1 minute ago, zzip said:

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.

And yet Japanese computer manufacturers quickly moved away from 1 button joysticks pretty quickly. ASCII Corporation made the MSX compatible with not only multibutton joysticks but control pads. For all of Atari's bleating about how the Japanese were coming, nobody ever paid attention to how Japanese companies were improving QOL for consumers.

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4 minutes ago, zzip said:

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.

But I think even the c64 can use a 2 button controller.  It was just weird to me that the ST did not.  I think even the Atari 8bit could if you set it up right?  With it having lightpen support, etc.

Ha, anyone know who made the design decision to put the mouse / joystick ports under the system?  Like who do we forward our 'wtf?' To?  I know the ones before the Floppy was included have them on the right side, but having them in such a terrible spot...

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

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.

Seriously!  It is even more frustrating than needing a joystick swapper on the C64 as people randomly decided to make one or the other port the first player...

You basically need one of those mouse master boxes...

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1 minute ago, zzip said:

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.

Which is true.  And, with the 7800 not being an in-house design, that may also have contributed to the one-button decision on the ST.  With both being products under the Consumer division, though, it seems like that's the sort of thing that might have been standardised across projects.  We are talking about Atari, though ;)

1 minute ago, zzip said:

If you plug a 7800 into an ST, can it recognize the second button?  (I never tried)

That's an excellent question.  I've never thought to try it either.  Next time I have one of the STs out, I'll give it a shot.  Just need to know what might potentially be able to read a second button.

1 minute ago, zzip said:

yeah CV and INTV had multiple button controllers, but they weren't exactly well-loved designs.

Which is a fair point.  FWIW, the ColecoVision controllers can be used on an A8 (no idea about the ST); AFAIK, the second button and keypad aren't read, but direction and button 1 work.

1 minute ago, zzip said:

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.

Absolutely.  However, there were other consoles that used Atari-compatible pinouts with extensions - or as directly-compatible.  Later Odyssey² models, for example, are 100% compatible (though admittedly they're only a one-button design).

 

When you start getting into stuff like ZX Spectrum joystick interfaces, though, all bets are off regardless of what the port might look like ;)

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1 hour ago, high voltage said:

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 

Remember having to use the space bar on a few C64 titles for things like smart bombs etc.. hated it 😂

 

 

Know some folks used to use their feet to hit it, others would hammer the space bar so hard, it broke. 

 

Once i experienced the M. D 3 button controller, I never wanted to go back. 

 

 

ST was a very versatile system, that just happened to also be suited to games. 

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46 minutes ago, leech said:

But I think even the c64 can use a 2 button controller.  It was just weird to me that the ST did not.  I think even the Atari 8bit could if you set it up right?  With it having lightpen support, etc.

But it all comes down to if games will use the second button, right?   Do we know for sure that the ST can't poll the second button at a hardware/OS level?

 

48 minutes ago, leech said:

Ha, anyone know who made the design decision to put the mouse / joystick ports under the system?  Like who do we forward our 'wtf?' To?  I know the ones before the Floppy was included have them on the right side, but having them in such a terrible spot...

I think it was by necessity.   The joysticks are read by the keyboard controller.  So putting them anywhere else in the case that didn't directly attach to the keyboard would have required some more engineering work.   The keyboard was installed at an angle, so putting them on the side might have caused them to be angled funny, or forced ribbon them to use ribbon connectors in an already cramped area of the computer.  

 

I hate the port placement too, but when I've taken these computers apart, I don't really see a whole lot of other options --  unless they somehow put them along the front like the Atari 800.   The STe joystick ports were not tied to the keyboard, so they were on the motherboard and could be easily placed on the side.

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

Which is true.  And, with the 7800 not being an in-house design, that may also have contributed to the one-button decision on the ST.  With both being products under the Consumer division, though, it seems like that's the sort of thing that might have been standardised across projects.  We are talking about Atari, though

Jack probably laid off most of the consumer division when he bought the company so..   

Also they weren't building a game machine so much as much as they were trying to build a Mac-killer, so they used a lot of standard off-the-shelf components when they could so they could accelerate the design process. 

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

That's an excellent question.  I've never thought to try it either.  Next time I have one of the STs out, I'll give it a shot.  Just need to know what might potentially be able to read a second button.

I think the best thing would be to write some kind of program to poll the joystick ports to see if the second button registers and is indistinguishable from the first.   Unfotunately, I never figured out how to poll the 9-pin joystick in GFA, it was needlessly complicated due to being part of the IKBD controller.   Polling the STe/Jaguar joystick on systems that had it was much easier.

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Not likely Atari wasn't being managed as a business.  It grew fast because it was free or restrictions and rule and no one else had pioneered bushiness before Nolan Bushnell so they were able to grow fast and with little competition.  Growing fast and making a ton on money in the process doesn't mean you are not going to have mega debt so it would have eventually caught up with them.  Now in terms on innovations and staying relevant they would probably have fared better with Nolan Bushnell still at the helm as Time Warner and Jack Tramiel shut those divisions down and that was the end of the era of Atari innovation.

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Amiga supported more multibutton controllers than st but as we all know that didn't stop half the game from using only one button. You had more multibutton game on IBM machine.

 

Which was 4 years behind in games unless you want CGA Kings Quest

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5 hours ago, Lostdragon said:

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.

Funnily I bought it recently to play on my Mega Sg. I remembered it having good reviews and I was always curious about it, even though I don't really like that game to begin with. I only remembered screenshots with black backdrop in magazines so I was kinda floored by the first level; it's way closer to the original game than I thought! There's even some kind of parallax scrolling indeed. Alas the gameplay is still dull and difficult though. 😅

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And regarding the lack of buttons on joysticks for Atari ST... I was a big fan of Chase HQ but I had to use my chin to press the space bar for turbo! 🤣

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49 minutes ago, roots.genoa said:

And regarding the lack of buttons on joysticks for Atari ST... I was a big fan of Chase HQ but I had to use my chin to press the space bar for turbo! 🤣

Ha, at least that is more usable than using the button on the second controller like Spy Hunter did on the 8bits...

 

51 minutes ago, roots.genoa said:

Funnily I bought it recently to play on my Mega Sg. I remembered it having good reviews and I was always curious about it, even though I don't really like that game to begin with. I only remembered screenshots with black backdrop in magazines so I was kinda floored by the first level; it's way closer to the original game than I thought! There's even some kind of parallax scrolling indeed. Alas the gameplay is still dull and difficult though. 😅

I have considered buying Ultima IV for the SMS.  Still the best looking version of the game.

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15 hours ago, leech said:

But I think even the c64 can use a 2 button controller.  It was just weird to me that the ST did not.  I think even the Atari 8bit could if you set it up right?  With it having lightpen support, etc.

Ha, anyone know who made the design decision to put the mouse / joystick ports under the system?  Like who do we forward our 'wtf?' To?  I know the ones before the Floppy was included have them on the right side, but having them in such a terrible spot...

Seriously!  It is even more frustrating than needing a joystick swapper on the C64 as people randomly decided to make one or the other port the first player...

You basically need one of those mouse master boxes...

The Annihilator joystick from Cheetah,had 2 independent fire buttons and came bundled with the C64GS games console. 

Games that apparently used it included: Battle Commabd

Chase HQ 2 

Myth

Last Ninja Remix

Robocop II

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I did more research on Nolan Bush. Before buyout he had been at odds with staff and he usually wasn't much of a good decision maker himself combine that with his personality and I think now it was a good idea to sell Atari.

 

I think mistake was selling to Warner they did not understand any of the electronic markets they were involved with they were at best movie and film company and for a time arguably telecom.

 

2600 shot to success the big part being post asteroids 1979, but from there they had no idea what to do and they brought in computers but never had a plan to make money, they never did much market research they did not know what people want or not want and they never had a software strategy to bring in revenue.

 

I'm wondering who would be a better company to sell it to. And you know who was big at the time, also was a major retailer and made their own products and had good brands, had great mindshare & plenty of financial backing, and for another 10-15 years was among most competent companies in the country and no one thought they could be beat, and even interacted and produced their own version of Atari console systems, and would have been much better company to sell to than warner?

 

Sears.

 

Case dismissed.

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55 minutes ago, James Vontor said:

I did more research on Nolan Bush. Before buyout he had been at odds with staff and he usually wasn't much of a good decision maker himself combine that with his personality and I think now it was a good idea to sell Atari.

 

I think mistake was selling to Warner they did not understand any of the electronic markets they were involved with they were at best movie and film company and for a time arguably telecom.

 

2600 shot to success the big part being post asteroids 1979, but from there they had no idea what to do and they brought in computers but never had a plan to make money, they never did much market research they did not know what people want or not want and they never had a software strategy to bring in revenue.

 

I'm wondering who would be a better company to sell it to. And you know who was big at the time, also was a major retailer and made their own products and had good brands, had great mindshare & plenty of financial backing, and for another 10-15 years was among most competent companies in the country and no one thought they could be beat, and even interacted and produced their own version of Atari console systems, and would have been much better company to sell to than warner?

 

Sears.

 

Case dismissed.

Well, I guess what that question comes to is: who also would have been interested?  Sega was around to buy them.  Namco maybe?  Not sure if Sears would have been interested.  One of the Arcade makers definitely would have been cool.  Or if Jack had bought them instead of Warner and Commodore and Atari merged...

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1 hour ago, James Vontor said:

I'm wondering who would be a better company to sell it to

Warner seems like a bad match in retrospect, but I could argue that some lessons learned from marketing movies and music can be applied to marketing videogames.   It's too bad they hired a textile guy (Kassar) to run Atari, and he didn't seem to have a clue about the entertainment industry.

 

Apart from that, what about someone like RCA?  They had consumer electronics, and media divisions.   I know they tried their own console but the VCS would have been an upgrade for them.

 

Or since in those days toy companies like Coleco and Mattel were doing consoles, what about Hasbro?  😜

4 minutes ago, leech said:

Well, I guess what that question comes to is: who also would have been interested?  Sega was around to buy them.  Namco maybe?  Not sure if Sears would have been interested.  One of the Arcade makers definitely would have been cool.  Or if Jack had bought them instead of Warner and Commodore and Atari merged...

Definitely not Jack!    I don't know how well capitalized the other arcade makers were, some may have been small like Atari, but others had pinball and slot machine businesses prior to videogames and may have been big enough. 

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I have a question about the Atari Corp's reverse merger with JT Storage. Was that specific company the only one the Tremiels looked at as a potential buyer for Atari Corp? If not, were there talks about approaching maybe Apple or Microsoft or some other major US company?

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38 minutes ago, empsolo said:

I have a question about the Atari Corp's reverse merger with JT Storage. Was that specific company the only one the Tremiels looked at as a potential buyer for Atari Corp? If not, were there talks about approaching maybe Apple or Microsoft or some other major US company?

That was Jack tramiel forming a company to absorb Atari corp and sell assets as a panic move to secure family wealth. Stepping out of retirement after a combo of Jaguar debt and his son Sam's Heart attack.

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2 hours ago, empsolo said:

I have a question about the Atari Corp's reverse merger with JT Storage. Was that specific company the only one the Tremiels looked at as a potential buyer for Atari Corp? If not, were there talks about approaching maybe Apple or Microsoft or some other major US company?

Yes, it was specifically JTS.


Atari were cash rich after their legal settlements with Sega and still owned a fair amount of real estate; they just had no worthwhile products to sell after the failure of the Jaguar. JTS had products to sell but desperately needed investment.

 

I suppose they could have picked any other company in a similar situation to merge with, but the one thing they didn't need was a buyer who was going to put money into the company. The idea of selling Atari as a going concern to develop further computers, consoles and games just wouldn't have crossed anyone's radar at the time because they'd spent the past five years bombing hard in those markets.

 

There's some background to the sale here, although the bulk of this case relates to a property deal:
 

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1534421.html

 

 

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2 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

That was Jack tramiel forming a company to absorb Atari corp and sell assets as a panic move to secure family wealth. Stepping out of retirement after a combo of Jaguar debt and his son Sam's Heart attack.

That is what it felt like to me.  I had never even heard of JTS until the Atari Merger, and from what someone had posted on the forums here had said, basically all but one Atari employee left or was let go when that happened.  And basically JTS themselves went bankrupt like a year (or two) later?

 

Edit: sold off the Atari assets 2 uears later, went bankrupt in '99 (company literally lasted 5~ years.)

Edited by leech
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On the note of the 'End Times' of Atari.  It kind of went out with a wimper, where they reverse merged into JTS, assets were sold off to Hasbro, then what little IP they still had was sold off to Infogrames...

 

For Commodore, you had companies fight over them, then go bankrupt or lose interest, and then pieces picked up here and there to the point where it is just a mess of legal battles still going on...

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Wasn't just Commodore, when Commodore started to fail and end was nigh, Commodore and Amiga was split over the fight. People pass Commodore brand around like prostitute while Amiga was grabbed by Gateway PC which in turn was brought by Dell?P? forgot.

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On 9/14/2021 at 4:36 PM, zzip said:

Warner seems like a bad match in retrospect, but I could argue that some lessons learned from marketing movies and music can be applied to marketing videogames.   It's too bad they hired a textile guy (Kassar) to run Atari, and he didn't seem to have a clue about the entertainment industry.

 

Apart from that, what about someone like RCA?  They had consumer electronics, and media divisions.   I know they tried their own console but the VCS would have been an upgrade for them.

 

Or since in those days toy companies like Coleco and Mattel were doing consoles, what about Hasbro?  😜

Definitely not Jack!    I don't know how well capitalized the other arcade makers were, some may have been small like Atari, but others had pinball and slot machine businesses prior to videogames and may have been big enough. 

Or Sears which already make their own 2600 and publish their own games, they understood how industry worked. Bally Williams also big contender.

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