Archive for Atari
I must confess that i am a great admirer of Atari and what they have achieved over the years. With the era of cartridge gaming, consoles starting to slowly fade i.e. the 2600, 5200 and the 7800. Atari along with other major companies introduced a completely new platform of gaming in the form of home computers. The Atari 400 & 800 were just two systems that came from a large range of 8-bit computers created by Atari and released in 1979.
My first contact with these machines was in the early 80′s, at the time I was an avid Commodore 64 user but i can clearly remember being pleasantly surprised when i was introduced to Atari 800 and the 800 XL were i saw that the system’s features were quite comparable to that of the Commodore 64. Over the next few months it became apparent that there was quite a battle building between these two rival systems for superiority and there were really only a few key elements that separated them.
The Atari 520st was officially launched to us by the Atari Corporation in January 1985 at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The letters “ST” stands for “Sixteen/Thirty-two“, which refers to the Motorola 68000′s 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internals.
Other machines that arrived at a similar time were the Apple Macintosh and the main contender being the Commodore Amiga. Although the Amiga had custom processors which gave it the edge in the games and video market, the Atari ST was generally cheaper, had a slightly faster CPU, and had a high-resolution monochrome display mode, ideal for business and CAD.
The Atari ST was also to be the first home computer with integrated MIDI support. Thanks to this unique feature the system enjoyed great success for running music-sequencer software and also more importantly as a controller of musical instruments among amateurs and professionals alike.
The members of the ST family are listed below, in rough chronological order:
The Atari 7800 or the Atari 7800 ProSystem as it was also known, reached our stores in 1986 and was to be the successor to atari’s flop, the Atari 5200. The project was originally to be called the Atari 3600, but it was later thought its designation needed higher than that of the 5200 so before its release it was changed to the Atari 7800. (atari 2600 + 5200 = atari 7800).
The Atari 7800 ProSystem was the first game system from Atari Inc. The system was designed by an outside company, General Computer Corporation (GCC) in 1983 through 1984 with an intended mass market rollout in June 1984, but was cancelled shortly thereafter due to the sale of the company to Tramiel Technology Ltd on July 2, 1984.
Released in Southern California in June 1984 the system was accompanied with thirteen well known game cartridges:- DigDug, Galaga, Centipede, Pole Position II, Ms. Pac-Man, Joust, Desert Falcon, Track & Field, Food Fight, Ballblazer, Robotron 2084, Xevious and one of my personal favorites Rescue from Fractalus! . . .
Well what can i say…… the Atari Jaguar, despite it’s history, is not only in my eyes but many others a ‘cult classic’ games console…..with a cult following!!!
This was a real grand finale for Atari and when the Atari Jaguar console was finally released, it was to be the most technically advanced machine of it’s time.
In 1991, a rumor circulating was that Atari was to make a comeback with a 32-bit console called the Atari Panther. This was later canceled and in 1993 the Atari Jaguar was released. This was to be the last gaming system to be released by the Atari Corporation.
Jeff Minter, Mr Llamasoft himself who i have a great respect for was the man who gave us such great early titles like ‘Sheep in Space‘ and ‘Revenge of the Mutant Camels‘ but most importantly of all on the atari jaguar he left us with the awesome ‘Tempest, and Tempent 2000‘. He was also a major key part in the development of the Jaguar and also briefly on the panther which i will later go into (a real treat for you real Retro Gamers ! ! !).
The Atari 2600 is probably the best known games console of all time. Over it’s life span it had many different names such as ‘The Woody’, the VCS – (Video Computer System), the CX-2600, CX-2600A and most famous of all “The Heavy Sixer“.
My earliest recollection of the Atari 2600 was back in the late 1970s, getting on a bus from school into my local town and going straight to Woolworths. There they had a 2600 in a glass case were myself and schoolmates played games like Space Invaders, Pacman and Breakout when they just being released in October for the Christmas sales.
The first version to appear was the Heavy Sixer which was released in October 1977. There are many that say it was called this because of its heavier internal shielding but this is incorrect, it was heavy purely because of its thicker moulded casing. These units were made by Cherry Leisure in Sunnyvale, US and this is noticeable with the Cherry Leisure label on the power supply.