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Did the Tramiels kill the 8-bit?

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Do you guys think the Tramiels intentionally killed the Atari 8-bits?

 

I think they did. The 130XE was two steps forward and one step back because it was so flimsy. You could practically wring it like a wet towel the case was so thin. Really sad compared to the Atari 400/800 tanks and the keyboards were all crap including the original metal spring ones.

 

It seemed like most 8-bit development was undertaken only due to pressure from the userbase to DO SOMETHING. (The XEP-80, the XF-551, and AtariWriter+)

 

They never really put any effort into extending the functionality of the machine compared to what Apple did with the IIGS or C= did with the 128 and GEOS. It survived almost entirely due to 3rd parties.

 

It seemed like they wanted to drag 8-bit users kicking and screaming to the ST, despite the fact that the ST lost a sound voice, had no hardware sprites, and couldn't produce 16 shades ala GTIA.

 

This just created a rift in the Atari faithful at a time when Atari needed to hold onto their existing userbase. You had the loyalists who stuck to the 8-bit and those who moved to the ST.

 

What do you think?

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I think the tramiels killed Atari as a whole, with severe mis-management, so of course they killed the 8-bit. They killed everything they ever released due to a lack of support and/or very lathargic support at best. They were cheap in every way, but I could afford Atari stuff and not Apple at the time, so I bought Atari. Commodore would have been my natural choice, but I figured that the Tramiels did so well promoting the C64, that they would rejuvinate Atari in the same way. Boy, was I wrong, but hey!, I already had the 130XE and the technology inside was still fantastic just like it was in the days of the 800/XL lines, and I fell in love with it and was never impressed with the C64 or Apple II lines when compared to my XE, they were no worse and no better to me, so I stuck with Atari and never looked back. Luckily, like you said, thrid party companies from around the world continued to support the XE far into the '90's. I rarely felt like I "missed out" on anything not owning an Apple or C64, and oft times found the Atari versions of classic games to be better anyway...just compare a classic like Alternate Reality the City to the C64 version and you'll see that the Atari version wins hands down! Same with games like the Lucasfilm classics, because of the C64's lack of graphic modes compared to the ones they used in the Atari versions, the C64 ports of those games can't compare. No regrets except that the Tramiels ruined what should have been on top.

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The Tramiels were no friends of the 8-bit, but the decline started long before. Computers were in rapid change from 8 to 16 to 32 bit processing. Its perfect hindsight 20/20, of course, but the ideal step after the brilliant 800 in 1979 would have been to plan a compatible 16-bit machine. Perhaps the XL line would still be needed because 16bit machines were too expensive in 1982, but by the time the ST came out, it should have been possible to produce a backward compatible 16 bit for a reasonable price.

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I guess I'll go against the flow here...

 

I really don't think the Tramiel family killed the 8-bit line. Let's face it - by the time the XE line came out 8-bits as a whole were dying off... we're lucky they even made the XE line instead of just running the 800XL for a few more years before dumping it...

 

At least they did give us a new machine and a whole new line of peripherals for the 8-bits, plus the XEGS... perhaps they were a bit flimsy compared to the old tanks of before, but they also were a lot cheaper to buy, too than Warner's ridiculous prices for the 8-bits...

 

Considering Atari's limited resources we're lucky they put a cent into the line with the ST being their main focus for the future...

 

I think it would have been a bit nutty to spend big bucks on the 8-bit line heading into the late 80's with the big brother ST looming overhead. I'm sure some will hate to hear this, but I'm fairly satisfied with what the Tramiels gave us for 8-bit support.

 

Maybe it did survive almost entirely due to third parties... but so has the IBM line of computers...

 

What is everybody else thinking?

 

Cheers!

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While I do think that the Tramiels killed Atari with their stinginess with little or no advertising in the US, I don't think they necessarily killed the 8-Bit. I do think that the 130XE keyboards were cheap and had a poor feel compared to the keyboard of the 800XL.

 

I think what really killed the 8 bit was the gradual shift to more powerful computers (the PC being the ultimate winner despite the fact that it was inferior to the ST or Amiga series of computers) and the fact that there was a lot of piracy on the 8 bit line that discouraged companies from porting over their software from other machines.

 

It is too bad too. The 8 bit line was the first computer that I ever owned and I have a lot of fond memories of working with my Atari 800XL.It was a great little computer and did a lot of things that I do now (word processing, playing games, spreadsheets, etc.) so it was a useful machine and deserved a better fate than what it received.

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The Tramiels didn't kill the 8-bit, or even Atari. At least, not single-handedly. There are a lot of factors to consider.

 

1. Warner. Warner's Atari CEO Ray Kassar got the ball rolling through nearly militant autocratic rule of the company. Employees were overworked and underappreciated, and accorded no respect or recognition. Kassar's opinion was that they were cogs in his great machine, of importance only inasmuch as they kept the machine going, but of no note individually. He practically choked the creative life out of Atari. Of course, we can thank him for a few things -- most notably those few disgruntled employees who got fed up with him and his regime, left Atari and formed Activision, still today one of the biggest gaming companies around.

 

2. The Crash of '84. After the big lawsuit between Atari and Activision over third party 2600 development, which Activision won, a plethora of new third party development houses sprung up virtually overnight to make games for the VCS. This became a double-edged sword for Atari; on the one hand, the wealth of new games available for the VCS as a result was a great boon to Atari. People bought consoles in droves, pushing Atari to the top of the charts and making the VCS the best selling game console in history. On the other hand, Atari's lack of any quality-control over new titles eventually lead to a great deal of crappy titles. That, coupled with several key flops from Atari (Pac Man, E.T., Raiders...) lost the public's faith in Atari and, in a larger scheme, in video games as a whole. That's when everything crashed down around everyone's ears.

 

3. Commodore. Despite being 3 years late, Commodore overtook Atari as the most popular home computers by a significant margin. They advertised more. And any market-savvy individual will tell you: Superior technology will always lose out to a louder mouth.

 

4. The Tramiels. After Jack Tramiel left Commodore and bought Atari from Warner, he had an uphill battle. After the crash and the public's loss of faith in Atari, he was left to run a cash-strapped corporation with only a small number of faithful Atarians who still beleived in the company. Commodore still had the majority of the home computer market, with Atari in second place, and the introduction of the Amiga versus Atari's release of the ST didn't help matters any; the ST wasn't widely advertised, while the Amiga was. The ST was underpowered in many ways compared to the Amiga. The only real place Atari excelled was with musicians; its built-in MIDI ports naturally attracted both musicians and music software companies to the platform. That was a relatively small market, though, by comparison; the Amiga excelled at graphics, particularily once NuTek revealed the Video Toaster. The 8-bit suffered the consequences of being the unfortunate children of a company who could no longer afford to concentrate on the 8-bit line. It was fast becoming a 16-bit world, and with a company such as Atari, whose assets were fairly threadbare compared to their contemporaries, the 8-bit simply became the expendible line that had to be phased out in order to pour remaining assets into their money makers.

 

5. The Sons of Tramiel. (Or: The final nails in Atari's coffin) Let's face it: Jack wasn't too bad. He made Commodore into the success it was, and though he couldn't pull the same thing off with Atari, he did give it the good ol' college try. His mistake was retiring and handing the corporate reins (reigns? :-) over to his Three Stooges: Gary, Leonard, and Sam. Not their father's prodigies, these three. Watching them work was sort of like a Keystone Kops caper. They did continue one trend their father started though: Keep the advertising budget to whatever you find underneath the rec lounge's couch cushions. More than the wasted R&D dollars on scrapped projects, more than the burning of dealer network bridges, more than the alienation of their installed userbase, this is what killed Atari. Sparse and little-seen advertising.

 

The 8-bit really just died of natural causes, if accellerated slightly by the need to divert sorely needed funds to more profitable ventures.

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quote:

Originally posted by Glenn Saunders:

Do you guys think the Tramiels intentionally killed the Atari 8-bits?

 

I think they did. The 130XE was two steps forward and one step back because it was so flimsy. You could practically wring it like a wet towel the case was so thin. Really sad compared to the Atari 400/800 tanks and the keyboards were all crap including the original metal spring ones.

 

It seemed like most 8-bit development was undertaken only due to pressure from the userbase to DO SOMETHING. (The XEP-80, the XF-551, and AtariWriter+)

 

They never really put any effort into extending the functionality of the machine compared to what Apple did with the IIGS or C= did with the 128 and GEOS. It survived almost entirely due to 3rd parties.

 

It seemed like they wanted to drag 8-bit users kicking and screaming to the ST, despite the fact that the ST lost a sound voice, had no hardware sprites, and couldn't produce 16 shades ala GTIA.

 

This just created a rift in the Atari faithful at a time when Atari needed to hold onto their existing userbase. You had the loyalists who stuck to the 8-bit and those who moved to the ST.

 

What do you think?

 

Glenn,

 

The release of the 65XE and 130XE were done for one simple reason: To sell off excess inventory that the Tramiels were stuck with when they bought Atari. Their designs were based on the 800XLF design released in August 1984 and were cost cut to no end. In fact if it wasn't for extreme pressuring from several key Atari Computer User Groups, the XE line wouldn't have had the ECI interface at all. As for the XF551 that was actually in response to a lawsuit by Nintendo charging Atari with false advertising when its ads stated that its XEGS had the most games (while the vast majority were on diskettes and Atari no longer produced disk drives as the 1050 was canceled in 1984) The XEP80 was a kludge joystick monstrosity... Atari could've easily have made an ECI compatible interface but went with a unit that would plug into all Atari 8bits and of course would require the purchase of a disk drive to load the needed drivers! This and the SX212 were both from pressure by users demanding a fair share of support. Meanwhile Alan Reeve of Reevesoft had been developing an 8bit Graphics OS system (I worked with Alan quite a bit on beta testing and I created the icons in Rev 2.0 and higher for his Diamond GOS product)and he had a meeting with the Tramiels... I remember the phone call from Alan later that night and how disgusted he was with the Tramiels and their arrogance.... Here he developed a new OS that made the XE's look and act just like low-res ST's and even used an ST mouse and the Tramiels wanted no part of it.... why? Because it conflicted with the sales of their ST's

 

Atari had many opportunities to bridge the gab between the XE users and ST's but choose to more alienate the older 8bitters in hopes that they would migrate to the ST computers eventually.

 

The plan had a few major flaws, 1: 8bits are diehards and most did not want the ST's 2: These are Atari users and they hated the new owners from Commodore and their wanna-be Computers that had the Atari name slapped onto them.

 

If the Tramiels had truly wanted to honestly support the 8bits, they would've released the Expansion Box, made an interface box to allow the use of the same 3.5" ST disk drives as the ST's, the expander would've allowed for Parallel/Serial cards and would've allowed the 8bit's to use the ST Parallel printers and Atari could've made a standard Modem without the extra r-verter hardware built in for SIO support.

 

The Tramiels could've done a lot more, they choose to focus on their computers and leave all legacy Warner-days Atari owners and products off to the wayside to be ignored.

 

 

Curt

The Atari History Museum

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I'd like to comment on the 16-bit hybrid XE. I'M GLAD THEY NEVER RELEASED ONE!!!

 

The perfect example of this mistake is the Apple IIGS which used a 65816 hybrid 8/16-bit CPU. Looking at the specs, it looks like a good machine, with lots of sound voices, a good synthesis chip from Ensoniq, and graphics comparable to the ST and Amiga. I tried it out at an Apple dealer, and IT WAS SOOOOOOOOO SLLLLOOWWW! My god, I had to move the mouse SOOO SLOOOWLY just to move the pointer up the screen. It took me 3 'scroll ups' (ie move the mouse from the bottom to the top of the mousepad) just to get the pointer from one end of the screen to the other. What a joke! It seems like the CPU just couldn't handle all the graphics and sound data going through it.

 

If a hybrid 8/16-bit XE was going to be like the Apple IIGS, I'm glad Atari was smart enough not to release one. The 65816 just can't handle 640x400 graphics, lots of sound voices, etc. The 68000 can though, and I think if one wanted something more powerful than the XE, it was time to move up to the 68000-based machines.

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atarimusician1 wrote :

 

" The perfect example of this mistake is the Apple IIGS which used a 65816 hybrid 8/16-bit CPU. Looking at the specs, it looks like a good machine, with lots of sound voices, a good synthesis chip from Ensoniq, and graphics comparable to the ST and Amiga. I tried it out at an Apple dealer, and IT WAS SOOOOOOOOO SLLLLOOWWW! My god, I had to move the mouse SOOO SLOOOWLY just to move the pointer up the screen. It took me 3 'scroll ups' (ie move the mouse from the bottom to the top of the mousepad) just to get the pointer from one end of the screen to the other. What a joke! It seems like the CPU just couldn't handle all the graphics and sound data going through it. "

 

"If a hybrid 8/16-bit XE was going to be like the Apple IIGS, I'm glad Atari was smart enough not to release one. The 65816 just can't handle 640x400 graphics, lots of sound voices, etc. The 68000 can though, and I think if one wanted something more powerful than the XE, it was time to move up to the 68000-based machines. "

 

I have to disagree with this. The Apple IIgs may have been slower than the ST but it still is a great machine. Unfortunately it suffered the same fate as the Atari 8-bits. Jobs wanted his new Macintosh computer to replace the Apple II line while the Woz wanted to make a better Apple II that could run all the old software. Well, you know who won.

 

If Tramiel had used his chip comapany to build a better 65816 chip he could have built a competative machine. His philosophy of letting the machines 'sell themselves' in addition to abandonning his 8-bit users really did them in.

 

Plus, if he had took the 'Video Game' industry seriously, it would have helped him support the computer division until it was making a good profit on it's own. If they had pushed the 7800 early in '84 with better software or even better, had bought the NES when Nintendo offered it to them, they might have made a bundle and keep them alive.

 

I think the worst thing about Tramiel was that he just was to cheap with everything. Not just the hardware but with everything including advertising. It eventually did him in.

 

In spite of all this, don't forget that as bad as Tramiel was, it was Warner who wanted to get rid of Atari. If Tramiel or anyone else hadn't come along and bought Atari, Warner would have probably dumped it. If that had happened there wouldn't be no XE's, no ST's, no 7800, no Lynx, and no Jaguar. So don't be to to harsh on the Tramiels.

 

JMO,

Allan

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Nobody "killed" the 8-bit computers (as a whole). With higher-end PC clones flooding the market at prices lower than the launch prices of Atari & Commodore, they didn't have a chance.

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"I think it would have been a bit nutty to spend big bucks on the 8-bit line heading into the late 80's with the big brother ST looming overhead. I'm sure some will hate to hear this, but I'm fairly satisfied with what the Tramiels gave us for 8-bit support."

 

Between 1984 and 1990 or so, 16-bit machines were an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE more expensive than their 8-bit counterparts.

 

We're talking thousands of dollars vs. hundreds of dollars. I think the original Amiga for instance was something like $3,000.

 

8 bit machines in the mid 80s including disk drive were only like 2-300 bucks. A great value considering that they could do pretty much everything people were using computers for in the home at the time about as well as need be.

 

The whole idea of sub-$1000 computing began with the 8-bits. Only recently have we again seen new computers costing less than $1000.

 

To most households, a computer purchase was for your kid and it's a luxury to spend that much money for what most parents thought of as a glorified toy.

 

So it really wasn't until the early 90s that the mainstream started to come to terms with the pricepoint of 16-bit computing.

 

During this transition, I would argue that the majority of home computer users (not business, in the home) were sticking to their cheaper 8-bits, although certainly there was a shift in the public mindset as PCs took over mainframes in the workplace and began to gain legitimacy with adults. This is when all the hobby hacker mags like Byte and Compute became suit-and-tie business PC type magazines.

 

It really wasn't until after the crash that the C=64 hit its golden age.

 

So you can't just say the 8-bit was put out to pasture due to obsolescence if the C=64 is sustaining a huge userbase over a similar timeframe.

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Huh?! 16-bit machines for thousands of dollars?!

 

I don't know about the Amiga, but in 1986, I could buy an Atari 1040ST for $750. That comes with 1MB of RAM and 1MB (unformatted) disk storage which was unheard of at that price.

 

Even more affordable, an Atari 520ST w/disk drive was $300. That's a full 16/32-bit CPU with 4 times the memory of a 130XE, store more per disk, 4-5 times the speed, better graphics, etc. I just don't see how the 8-bits could compete with this type of aggressive pricing.

 

I guess you've been in the PC/Mac world too long, eh? I remember comparable Macs and PCs (to the ST) were $2800 and over $4000 respectively.

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Wow, this is a great thread. Just wanted to get my two cents in here.

 

As an Atari 8-bit user who eventually transitioned to the ST, I just want to say that once the Tramiels took over it was very aggravating being an Atari computer owner. Peripherals and software were very slow in the making, and once the ST line was available it seemed that Atari wanted nothing to do with the 8-bits. On the one hand you couldn't blame them, 8-bit machines were definitely getting long in the tooth. However, the ST line was considerably more expensive and it would be a while before I could afford to buy one.

 

Then, when I *did* manage to get an ST (I believe my first ST was a 1040STfm), I remember having a hell of a time finding software for it. Even finding computers got difficult at one point, as Atari seemed to be shipping everything to Europe. A friend and I once had to drive an hour away just to find a dealer that had a Mega ST2 in stock, and it's not like we lived in the middle of nowhere. And these machines weren't flying off the shelves, the dealers just weren't getting any.

 

I believe the 8-bits were simply at the end of their run and that even if the Tramiels hadn't taken over there probably would not have been much support internally at Atari. It's unfortunate that the ST line was rushed to market so quickly to compete with the Amiga, or perhaps there would have been less resistance from 8-bit users to switch (price issues aside).

 

..Al

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To open this topic a little further I wonder how you felt software piracy affected the atari 8-bit's demise? Generally I feel that copying software is an excuse used by corporations to keep prices high - witness how the poor music executives claim to have lost lots of money to illegal mp3 downloads. Yet, on the other hand I remember reading an interview with David Fox from Lucasfilm who came across illegal copies of Rescue on Fractalas before it released whenever he sent it to Atari to look at.

 

"I had a pretty bad experience with pirated software on my first game, Rescue on Fractalus! A mostly completed version of that game as well as Ballblazer was given to Atari for market testing. Within a week, both games were on all the pirate bulletin boards" David Fox Interview, http://lucasfans.mixnmojo.com/features/int...w_davidfox.html

 

Was the atari community too small to not be affected by piracy which then would have added to the Tramiel's list of excuses not to support the 8-bit line?

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quote:

Originally posted by atarimusician1:

Huh?! 16-bit machines for thousands of dollars?!


 

I did some searching online and here are the original release prices for the various 16-bit platforms:

 

Atari 520ST - $799 (this isn't including any other peripherals, of course)

Amiga 1000 - $1295

Mac Plus - $2600

IBM PC XT - $3285

 

Yeah, the ST was the cheapest, but other than having better graphics than the PC and the Mac (which didn't count for much at the time) there wasn't a lot of capability there. The original ST used single-sided 360K floppies and its OS was not as slick looking as the MAC nor did it have the multitasking of the Amiga.

 

The ST didn't have a lot of expansion options vs. the PC or even Amigas (all of which had expansion slots of some sort). And while the Mac was getting 040s in them, Atari was still shipping 8mhz 68000s in their STs. (Unlike the 8-bit I don't think there was a hardware dependency on the internal CPU clock.) That lack of progress must have infuriated those who chose to follow the ST line and build up a new software library investment vs. staying put with the 8-bit.

 

At the time I didn't see anything new that was exclusive to the ST that compelled me to switch at the time.

 

If I had taken a closer look at the Amiga I would have saved my pennies, though. The Amiga was really a better design and left itself more open to 3rd party expansion than the ST, so that even when C= started to ignore the platform, 3rd parties delivered bigtime to keep the machines fast and vital. Each ST is much more of a closed system so to upgrade you pretty much have to buy a whole new box, ending up with the Falcon.

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quote:

Originally posted by Glenn Saunders:

I did some searching online and here are the original release prices for the various 16-bit platforms:

 

Atari 520ST - $799 (this isn't including any other peripherals, of course)

Amiga 1000 - $1295

Mac Plus - $2600

IBM PC XT - $3285

 

Yeah, the ST was the cheapest, but other than having better graphics than the PC and the Mac (which didn't count for much at the time) there wasn't a lot of capability there. The original ST used single-sided 360K floppies and its OS was not as slick looking as the MAC nor did it have the multitasking of the Amiga.

 

The ST didn't have a lot of expansion options vs. the PC or even Amigas (all of which had expansion slots of some sort). And while the Mac was getting 040s in them, Atari was still shipping 8mhz 68000s in their STs. (Unlike the 8-bit I don't think there was a hardware dependency on the internal CPU clock.) That lack of progress must have infuriated those who chose to follow the ST line and build up a new software library investment vs. staying put with the 8-bit.

 

At the time I didn't see anything new that was exclusive to the ST that compelled me to switch at the time.

 

If I had taken a closer look at the Amiga I would have saved my pennies, though. The Amiga was really a better design and left itself more open to 3rd party expansion than the ST, so that even when C= started to ignore the platform, 3rd parties delivered bigtime to keep the machines fast and vital. Each ST is much more of a closed system so to upgrade you pretty much have to buy a whole new box, ending up with the Falcon.

 

 

Glenn,

 

The Mac Plus in 86' wasn't it and came with 800K(720K formatted) floppies, and there was no expansion until 1988 with the Mac II design. Before that the original Mac (released just 1 year before the ST) was using 400K (360K formatted) disks and later the "Fat Mac" a 512K Mac still had 400K floppies. In 1990 the Mac IIx with 68030 came out and the years that followed showed Mac's with 040's.

 

As for the ST's, the Mega ST line could've finally did something with the ST's in terms of Expansion, but the MegaBus was never brought external and only a few vendors developed for it. Also, its quite true, while coming out of the gate in 85' with a good start, instead of truly revolutionizing the design, the Tremials simple (and slowly) evolved it with simple bells and whistles tacted on it like built in floppies, RF modulators, more memory and so forth. It really wasn't until the TT030 and Falcon030 that the ST's actually took a leap forward instead of a crawl, too bad it took nearly 7 years to finally do something, too little too late.

 

Curt

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If I recall correctly, the biggest thing hampering the ST's progress was TOS - It was quickly put together to launch the ST and was 68000 bound. Getting it to work on anything more advanced took alot of time and Atari couldn't fix it fast enough for the Mega's - I belive this is also what crippled to Blitter in the Mega's also.

 

The Amiga OS was more mature and able to handle 68010, 68020's without a hitch.

 

I was an early ST owner and enjoyed the machine(and got alot of use out of it). The 'Mac Plus' at the time was no where near as powerful and x86 machines were just getting EGA/VGA capabilites for twice the price.

 

As for the original thread the 8bits were on the way out before Tramiel took over IMHO. The software market was drying up as companies such as EA claimed the Atari market was rampant with pirates (and the C64 scene wasnt!)

 

I also seem to recall the pirated copies of Lucasfilm games were stolen off of Lucasfilms mainframes and not Ataris though I could be mistaken.

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The Atari 8-bit computers weren't that popular over here in the UK which was probably due to the fact that most games you could buy on cassette would take over 20 minutes to load and usually it would crash and you would have to start again.

 

Popularity of 8-bit and 16-bit computers here in the UK(1981 to 1992) were as follows:-

1. Sinclair Spectrum

2. Commodore 64

3. Amiga 500(and later 600 and 1200)

4. Atari 520STFM

5. Atari 400/800/xl/xe

6. Acorn/BBC

 

Also not many games were released for the Atari 8-bit. Usually the atari would be left out. People didn't like the grey colour of the computer.

 

I got my first Atari computer at xmas 1987, a Atari 65xe and I could only buy games at a local market. Mostly Mastertronic lable games on cassette at £1.99 or £2.99 but there was only about 20 titles for sale while c64 and spectrum games would have about 60 titles for sale.

 

Evently I had to buy games by mail order from Silica Shop.

 

Actually I found the Atari versions not as good as other platforms. I remember being disappointed with Atari 8-bit version of 180. The Spectrum version was much better.

 

David

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Robbins....

 

I would take issue with your UK market analysis in several areas.

 

You can't lump a 1982 machine and a 1986 machine in the same "popularity list" really – to condense the 8bit (1981-1985) and the 16bit (1986-1992) eras does a disservice to the machines. Whilst Spectrum, Amstrad and C64 continued to sell thru to the early 90’s they represented a dwindling market, mostly awful budget games, and the 16bit machines represented the dominant formats…

 

As a retailer in the UK from 87 to 91 I've got a pretty good finger on the shape of the UK market (both computer and console).

 

On the 8bit side the Spectrum and c64 swapped market lead every few months – and I would rank the 8bit market thus:

 

1. ZX Spectrum

2. C64

3. Amstrad CPC

 

I would say acorn was about 2% of the market and the 8bit Atari even less

 

On the 16bit side The ST was the clear 16bit market leader until 1990 in the UK - when the Amiga overtook it.

 

8bit conversions of spectrum and C64 games were by and large awful, since there were few truly competent Atari 8bit coders in the UK. And MAtertronic, Firebird, Byte Back etc were just chucking out titles there were soem exceptions (Zepplin titles, Henry's House - just compare C64 and XE!!!! etc) - but just remember Archer Mclean's Drop Zone and International Karate were UK products and all the great English Software titles (thanks Phil!) too!!

 

sTeVE

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quote:

Originally posted by Gunstar:

I think the tramiels killed Atari as a whole, with severe mis-management, so of course they killed the 8-bit. They killed everything they ever released due to a lack of support and/or very lathargic support at best. They were cheap in every way, but I could afford Atari stuff and not Apple at the time, so I bought Atari.

 

 

Agreed

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I just wanted to mention something that perhaps people might not remember. Consumer Reports listed the Atari ST series of computers as the best price value at the time.

 

It is too bad that the idiots..umm...I mean the Tramiels did not see fit to advertise the ST more. Some of the commercials that I have seen archived on the Atari Historical Sight would have been good for selling the ST but I never got to see them except for one time.

 

The ST was the best little computer that no one heard about (except for Europe that is).

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As an Atari 8-bit user who eventually transitioned to the ST, I just want to say that once the Tramiels took over it was very aggravating being an Atari computer owner.

 

I was in a similar boat, but for different reasons. I lived out in the country and had no money, facts which combined to make me largely out of the loop - no internet back then! I was also 17 and in the middle of the platform wars "mine is bigger than yours" game. As a result when the ST's were coming down the pike it was "natural" for me as an Atari guy to get one. I couldn't think of doing anything else, nor afford it.

 

Sadly my blinders were fastened on so tightly it was years before I realized what a pile the ST was. Mine in particular required periodic "resetting" of the ROM with the infamous Atari Twist. So to those wondering about the cheapness of the case on the 130, let me assure you that the ST was EVEN WORSE.

 

The "brilliance" of JT's Commodore was simply undercutting everyone else. As always this lasts until the market as a whole is pushed into the commodity level and your margin goes to zero. At this point you typically go belly up because you have nothing left for R&D.

 

There's a reason Commodore kicked him out, he was bankrupting the company. But being the one-trick pony he could only pull the same thing at Atari, cut prices on the parts and ship them out by the boatload. This was a foregone conclusion.

 

Maury

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As an Atari 8-bit user who eventually transitioned to the ST, I just want to say that once the Tramiels took over it was very aggravating being an Atari computer owner.

 

The "brilliance" of JT's Commodore was simply undercutting everyone else. As always this lasts until the market as a whole is pushed into the commodity level and your margin goes to zero. At this point you typically go belly up because you have nothing left for R&D.

 

There's a reason Commodore kicked him out, he was bankrupting the company. But being the one-trick pony he could only pull the same thing at Atari, cut prices on the parts and ship them out by the boatload. This was a foregone conclusion.

 

Maury

 

The other thing was the market had changed, but Jack didn't. He thought he could build a machine, not have to advertise and people would just flock to his new machine and feel honored to own it.

 

Asthetics aside, the machine design was simple and did what it had to do, but nothing more. Something the Tramiels knew nothing about and didn't bother to continue to improve was the User Interface. While no one at the time was an expert, everyone else evolved and heavily improved their GUI... but just like the ST's were instead of revolutionary upgrades, small updates would be hung on the design: a built in floppy, an RF modulator, BLiTTER and so forth.... well the same was true for the GEM GUI, while an excellent start for 85' it grew long in the tooth by 87' and nothing true MAJOR was done until many years later, meanwhile the Apple Finder and MS's Windows would continue to evolve and heavily improve. As that mouse was a hunk of sh*t, it was difficult to use, klunky and I'd bet the Atari 2600 TrakBall had better resolution!!!

 

 

Curt

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