Category: Atari

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December 13, 1982: Atari 1200XL

1982 – After a decent success of the Atari 400/800 line the company noticed the console was looking a little “old”. After all, the Atari 400 actually discolors upon UV light. The 400’s non-tactile keyboard was replaced with the 800’s raised key keyboard. Still, Atari felt they needed to bring this personal computer into the 80’s.Therefore, the 1200XL was born. It was a hybrid computer – using what they called “Sweet 16” – a byte language developed by Steve Wozniak.  It was to manipulate 16-bit pointer data from an 8-bit system. The Atari 1200XL also featured 64 KB of RAM...

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October 1, 1979: Ex-Atari Employees Started Activision

1979– Activision was founded by four ex-Atari, Inc. game designers: David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead. They teamed up with Jim Levy to produce game cartridges for the Atari 2600 game system.  This, in fact, was the first company that developed game cartridges only. The company started with an investment of $700,000. It’s also a DITH history point – October 1, 2011 I took Day in Tech History off of Geekazine and onto its own website. This Day in Tech History podcast show notes for October 1 EPOCOT opens The original Apple Mac is retired Microsoft Search Perks...

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July 30, 1996: Atari, JTS Merger Approved

In a four minute meeting, the stockholders voted 42 million to 11 thousand in favor to the merge Atari and JTS in 1996. Because of the decision, Sam Tramiel picks up the severance checks, but agrees to stay in office while the company transitions. JTS held the Atari name until March 1998 when Hasbro bought the brand for 5 million dollars. Full Day in Tech History podcast show notes for July 30 The Lisa Project starts The PowerPC alliance Time Warner joins the WiMAX revolution Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe! Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More

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July 6, 1984: Jack Tramiel Fired Atari Staff

In a very bold move, Jack Tramiel laid off the majority of his staff outside of engineering. This comes in 1984, 3 days after Tramiel buys Atari for $240 million in 10 and 12 year notes. The employees note that it wasn’t a Hard layoff. One employee stated that no one cared if they looted the building, so they did. Full Day in Tech History podcast show notes for July 6 ABC joins Hulu Microsoft’s first corporate president Source code of e-mule was released Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe! Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | More

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June 30, 1986: Paperboy Incident with Atari

1986 – Mark Caesar and Robin Hallingstad sued Atari Games for $1 million dollars. Apparently, the boys (ages 14 and 16) submitted a game idea called “Paperboy” to Atari back in 1983. Paperboy is a popular game where the kid on a bike had to throw papers on the stoops of houses and avoid cars, cats, rc cars and guys with jackhammers. It had one sequel (Paperboy II) and was recreated for many of the game systems. In 2009, it was adapted for the iPhone and iPod Full Day in Tech History podcast show notes for June 30 IBM unbundles software from...

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February 13, 1996: Jugi Tandon Storage (JTS) Merged with Atari

1996 – Atari Corporation announces the merger with Jugi Tandon Storage (JTS). Atari extended a bridge loan of $25 Million so JTS can still build drives. The company would still be known as JTS, but Atari would own 60% of the company.While Atari was sold to Hasbro via THQ, JTS could not emerge from the debts. They ended up filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Feb 28, 1999. Wikazine – Full show notes for February 13 The Last Peanuts Comic Strip is released one day after Creator Charles Schultz passes Apollo Computer is formed Rush Limbaugh gets service call from Steve Jobs...

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February 9, 1977: Atari – My First Computer Keyboard

1977 – The “My First Computer” was an add-on to the Atari 2600. This device would turn the game console into a full computer. For $90 you could get 8K of RAM (expandable to 32K), 16K ROM and 8K BASIC. The My First Computer was to tap into the Video Console System (VCS) in which over 10 million have been sold. The keyboard would attach to the top of the console – using the cartridge slot. The rubber chicklet keypad would allow you to type using the QWERTY style. Wikazine – Full show notes for February 9 Craig Neidorf (Knight Lightning)...

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Jack Tramiel and Sons

Jack Tramiel and Family – Six Years with Atari

Friend Andy Marken asked to post this great article on Atari with the Tramiels. It was a great insight into Jack Tramiel and family’s life. Of course, if you were a kid growing up in the Atari days (like me), you were always hoping for the new game or program that would keep you fixated on a computer screen for hours. Andy was Atari’s PR those six years. He started in 1986, then was fired and came back for another two. After a second firing, he was then brought back for the final two. His account is much first-hand. So...