We cover Atari news, reviews, and a special feature each show for the Atari 8-bit line of computers (400/800/XL/XE/XEGS)
ANTIC Interview 413 - Valerie (Atkinson) Manfull, Atari Game Research Group
Valerie (Atkinson) Manfull, Atari Game Research Group
Valerie Atkinson was a member of Atari's Game Research Group. Now named Valerie Manfull, she was on the team that designed and programmed the game Excalibur, along with Chris Crawford and Larry Summers. Excalibur was published by Atari Program Exchange in fall 1983. She is also one of the programmes of Ballsong, along with Douglas Crockford. Ballsong is a music and graphics demo program released by Atari, in which a ball bounces on the screen in response to an improvised tune. She was one of the programmers, with Ann Marion, of TV Fishtank, a demonstration of an artificially intelligent fish. (It's unclear if the fishtank program was released anywhere, though it apparently was shown at the 1984 SIGgraph conference.)
This interview took place on April 22, 2021.
ANTIC Episode 4 - Chris Crawford
ANTIC Interview 240 - Douglas Crockford
TV Fishtank at SIGgraph
Jim Leiterman describes TV Fishtank
Chris Crawford describes the development of Excalibur in The Art of Computer Game Design
Excalibur announced in Atari Program Exchange, fall 1983
Excalibur review in Atari Connection
Excalibur at AtariMania
Video of Ballsong
ANTIC Episode 77 - Jason Moore PhD
ANTIC Episode 77 - Jason Moore, PhD
In this episode of ANTIC The Atari 8-Bit Computer Podcast… Jason Moore joins us to discuss his atariprojects.org Web site and we discuss all the news rocking the Atari 8-bit world.
Floppy Days Podcast
Kevin’s Book “Terrible Nerd”
New Atari books scans at archive.org
ANTIC feedback at AtariAge
Atari interview discussion thread on AtariAge
Interview index: here
ANTIC Facebook Page
Eaten By a Grue
Next Without For
ANTIC Interview 412 - Linda Brownstein, Atari VP Special Projects
Linda Brownstein, Atari VP Special Projects
As I've researched Atari and it's 8-bit computer projects over the years, one name has come up over and over again, attached to the most interesting projects. Linda S. Gordon. Executive Director of Atari Computer Camps. Linda. Executive Producer of The Magic Room, Atari's movie about its camps. Atari's collaboration with Club Med to offer computer labs at vacation destinations — Linda again. Atari Club, the fan group that published Atari Age magazine - Linda launched that. More recently, in my interview with Ann Lewin-Benham of the Capital Children's Museum, Linda's name came up once again -- she was the liaison between Atari and the museum. Linda worked on the most interesting projects.
Today, her name is Linda Brownstein. Linda joined Atari in December 1980 as Vice President of Special Projects, where she worked on most of the projects that I mentioned before. In October 1983 she became Senior Vice President in Atari's Education group. She left the company in July 1984 after Jack Tramiel took over the company.
This interview took place on April 21, 2021.
ANTIC Interview 78 - Manny Gerard, The Man Who Fired Nolan
ANTIC Special Episode - Atari Summer Camp
ANTIC Interview 410 - Ann Lewin-Benham, Capital Children's Museum
ANTIC Interview 185 - Ted Kahn
Atari Computer Camps — The Magic Room
Video version of this interview
ANTIC Interview 411 - Mark Simonson, Atari Artist and Font Designer
Mark Simonson, Atari Artist and Font Designer
Mark Simonson used his Atari computers who create art that was published in magazines in the 1980s, including a portrait of Nolan Bushnell that was commissioned by TWA Ambassador, an inflight magazine; a colorful street scene for the cover of Minnesota Monthly, the magazine of Minnesota Public Radio; and a juggler for the cover of Credit Union Advantage magazine, among others.
Professionally, Mark is a font designer. He created Atari Classic, a free TrueType font family for modern computers that looks like the Atari 8-bit screen font. Today, you'll see Atari Classic used in many Atari emulators, web sites, the WUDSN IDE, and elsewhere.
This interview took place on April 15, 2021.
Mark's Atari reminisce blog post
Mark's Mac/Atari Fusion site
Mark's Nolan Bushnell portrait in Hi-Res Magazine Issue 1
A wild Mark appears on AtariAge
This interview on YouTube
ANTIC Interview 410 - Ann Lewin-Benham, Director of Capital Children's Museum
Ann Lewin-Benham, Director of Capital Children's Museum
Ann Lewin-Benham was executive director of the Capital Children's Museum in Washington, D.C. The museum was home to the first public-access computer center in the nation’s capital, and indeed, one of the first in the United States. In 1981, Atari and Apple each donated dozens of computers to the museum. The exact number is unclear, but 30 is the number I've seen most often for Atari's contribution.
The computer lab was called The Future Center. There, the museum offered computer literacy classes for people of all ages, from Compu-Tots for preschoolers, to programming classes for adults, there was even a computer literacy session for members of Congress. It also used the lab for birthday parties. (Last year, I interviewed a woman who had her 8th birthday party at the museum.) The museum used more of its computers in its exhibit on communication. It established a software development laboratory, called Superboots, in which developers created custom softare for the museum, and one product that was released commercially: the graphics program PAINT!
In a 1982 article titled A Day At The Capital Children's Museum, Melanie Graves described the scene:
"My twelve-year-old friend Sarah and I went to the museum to explore the computers. There are several dozen computers scattered throughout the building which are used for exhibits, classroom teaching and the development of educational software...
A machine that calls itself "Wisecracker" is the noisest of the computers that beckon visitors to the Communication exhibit. "My-name- is-Wise-crack-er," it says in a monotone, "Come-type-to-me." This message repeats endlessly until someone types at the keyboard or turns off the computer. "Hello, how are you?" Sarah typed, and pressed the return key. "Hel-lo-how-are-you," the machine’s voice responded. Sarah typed for awhile longer and then proclaimed, "It sure is dumb, but its voice is kind of cute."
The computer next to Wisecracker has a data base program that asked Sarah her name, where she came from, and other questions. It informed her that she was the thirty-seventh person from Virginia to type in data that day... "Fifty-five percent of the people who came here were girls," she told me. Next to the data base, a computer is set up with a music program. Sarah pressed some random keys, causing notes to sound. At the same time, the letter names of the notes appeared on the keys of a piano that was displayed on the screen.
There is also a Teletext terminal that tells inquirers about weather predictions, and news releases, the latest acquisitions at the public library, local cultural events and whatever else has been entered into the data base for that day...
After playing with Teletext, Sarah and I went to the Future Center, a room equipped with twenty Atari 800s. On weekdays, the classroom is available to school groups ranging from prekindergarten to high school. On weekends, families arrive for courses in programming. Classes have also been created for working people, senior citizens, community groups, congressional spouses and other special interest groups. This summer more than sixty students from the Washington, D.C. public schools attended one of two free month-long computer camps at the museum."
This interview took place on April 2, 2021.
Ann's web site
Museum in Atari ConnectionVolume 1 Number 4
A Day At The Capital Children's Museum
Computers And Kids, article by Edith Holmes in ASIS Bulletin, June 1981
Compu-tots and other joys of museum life by Peter Hirshberg, Instructional Innovator, Sept 1981
Description of donation in "Atari in Action Atari Institute Newsletter" Fall 1982
ANTIC Interview 391 - Tracy Frey, Atari Birthday Girl
ANTIC Interview 407 - Guy Nouri, Interactive Picture Systems
National Children's Mus
ANTIC Interview 409 - Ed Fries: Romox Ant Eater, Princess and Frog, Sea Chase
Ed Fries: Romox Ant Eater, Princess and Frog, Sea Chase
Ed Fries programmed three games for the Atari 8-bit computers, which were published on cartridge by Romox: Sea Chase, Ant Eater, and Princess and Frog. His forth game for Romox, Nitro, was unfinished because the company went out of business before Ed was done coding it.
Years later, Ed became vice president of game publishing at Microsoft where he oversaw the creation of the Xbox. In 2010, Ed released Halo 2600, a demake of the Halo video for the Atari 2600. In 2013, he coded an Atari 2600 version of Rally X.
This interview took place on March 11, 2021.
After the interview, Ed sent me the assembly language source code to five games, which he graciously released as open source. You'll find the code for Sea Chase, Ant Eater, Princess and Frog, the unreleased/finished game Nitro, and a chess game, at GitHub.
AtariMania's list of Ed Fries' games
2015 Atari Compendium Interview
Ed on Twitter
This interview at Youtube
ANTIC Interview 76 - Tim McGuinness, founder of Romox
The Paper Computer Unfolded
Sea Chase source code
Ant Eater source code
Princess and Frog source code
Nitro source code
Chess source code
Get your 8 bit out of the closet
The podcast is a joy to listen to. I learn new things every show and relive great memories. I put my 130xe away years ago because floppies and hardware were getting scarce. I will be setting it back up now that I know about all the new hardware that makes this wonderful machine useful again. Thanks guys, will be a longtime listener.
Love reliving my old 8-bit days
Love the show, got a late start and found it after I started building up my 8-bit Atari computer collection again. I really enjoy the review and interviews.
I'm binge listening to all of the episodes now. Great show and brings back a lot of fond memories of my 800xl. Thanks and keep up the great work!