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TechStuff Classic: The Rise and Fall of Atari: Part Three

2022-02-04 | 🔗

In our final part in our Atari series, Chuck and Jonathan talk about the sad decline of Atari and what's left of the company today.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey there I'm Jes Milady confetti. Here I am psyche than I am hey shady lady, and welcome to boss level podcast refit your conversations with gas to levelled up bringing an experienced to the table. We pick the brains of professionals, creators and bosses and industries across the globe, the hope our listeners achieve their own boss devil. We are not just creating a podcast but a game, a fight and engaged community. This into boss level. On I hurt radio at Apple podcast or ever you got your pockets. Today what business needs most is creativity. So, let's create new possibilities from intelligent automation to cloud management that requires less management. Let's create something that changes everything I b M, let's create, learn more and I began dot com. There's a recipe for getting your car running. Just right and Ebay motors dot com has all the ingredients you need. They have over one hundred and twenty two million car parts and accessories in stock. All at the
prices now. That's tasty! They motors dot com, let's ride The welcome to tech stuff, a production from I heart, radio, the hey there and welcome to tech. Stop I'm your host Jonathan Strickland, I'm an executive producer with Iheart Radio and the love all things tech. It is time for us to conclude our tech, stuff classic theory. Where we were looking at the rise and fall of Atari. So two weeks ago we did part one. Last week we did part two this week. We did part three. This is all assuming that I don't change the actual order, of classic episodes, which I have been known to do I record these way in advance, so who knows? But anyway, this particular episode was originally published on March Ninth, two thousand and fifteen. The rise and fall of Atari part three hope you enjoy. There could be
seven eight episodes where we talk about all the things were going on the rear, radical political moves going on behind the scenes or some amazing technological development. We haven't really touched on the major competitors with a tory that were causing extra problems for them. I'm like you know the the early on the tv and CLI Go but then later on, we're talking and Tendo and Sega and then Sony with the playstation. I mean by that time. Atari is pretty much out of the picture anyway, but I mean it's just so much to talk about found some some websites that even broken down into when a Tory hired p well, and I'm not talking about the big names we've mentioned right, though, about like Marty, exactly was phenomenal. The documentation. That's out there, oh we're going to now in nineteen. Eighty four, tells you how detail we ve been. If you haven't heard the first, two episodes in the series go back, listened to those first, it's an amazing stories
guinea, for is when something happens to Atari that redefines everything and some people consider this yet another ass of a company? That's when Warner, which had purchased at all from Nolan Bush. Now the founder of a Tory Warner, splits Atari into two entities. One of it. One of them is a home computing division, which is called the or a corporation near, and the other is the arcade division, which is called a Tory games. And it sells off the home competing division, so Atari Corporation get sold to a man named Jack Trammel, yet he was he originally founder of Commodore. Yet in the famous commoner, sixty four compute which is great. For its time. Oh yeah, fantastic of there's a full text up assert about Commodore it published on very first two thousand twelve who I was
it's good. It was. It was fun to talk about that, to talk about the development of the Commodore system so It was another another pioneer in personal computing and home electronics and he saw some promise in that home computing division of Atari, something that, after the video game crash of nineteen eighty three people, thought had no value whatsoever, yeah hearing. I think he renamed the Atari Corporation yeah yeah. He decided to call it that, because, obviously you now, you have two separate entities that both have the Atari name in them, yeah, which is always confusing in the marketplace, and it's going to be confusing in this episode, because we're going to be talking about the fate of both of them right, so we're going to follow both the fatal Terry corporation and the fate of a Tory Games, so the Tory Games at in One thousand eight hundred and eighty four was still with Warner,
not for long. In fact, nineteen eighty five would be when that changes. So ninety five, some big stuff, happens in home video games. That's when the family com, also known as Nintendo entertainment system, is released in the United States yeah, which was a body blow. Oh yeah, it's the nomenclature, lies through ice and punch, owl, rare yes. So that was something that convinced people may be home. Video games aren't as dead as we thought they were because the video game crash we pretty much thought that's it. Personal computers are going to take over there won't be any home consoles dedicated video games anymore, because that idea of played itself out and apples on the scene at this point yeah making a stink yeah by and by ninety five, they are selling the Mcintosh Gazette came out. Eighty four, yes, I live in the real answer, but the brilliantly and tender dead. Was they learn from a Tories mistakes? They said Arthur.
Well, we are gonna licence games like then they have to be certified yet ass. You can't development and tender independently without submitting the game for us for certificate. In that way, we still have some control. What is going on Foreign Warner's wanted, but they didn't get out ahead of it now in time like Nintendo Dunno ACT, Activision, pretty much doomed Atari, but Activision set that that precedent that a third party developer can can create cartridges for another platform that they don't own. Yet once that president was at the end that policy wasn't in place. It was. It was game on literally for everybody who wanted to develop for Atari, yeah and pardon. My ignorance is because I'm not a current gamer, I'm still stuck in the eighties sure Activision still around right. Why it's part of something bigger but look, but they they survive everything and did well. I mean that could do a full episode. Haven't Activision too it's kind of like, or it's kind of, like a Tory
and you know how Atari technically exist without any right. Also, The eighty five that's when Warner communication cells, the arcade division of a Tory games to a competitor NAM. Co. Yes, so that for the company that that developed path- man. Yeah NAM Co only on it for about a year and then some employees about Atari Games from NAM. Co, yes and then made a few more pretty good arcade Games paper. When I was a big one god yeah. Gardener was one wizard needs food. You had good games they put the little more life blood into the occur at our games. And yet they also started to develop home games, but here's the thing where and Warner split it up between games at corporate
and had the sole right to sell home game under the Italian. and yet, which they had already proved a struggle post, twenty six hundred yeah without a really great solid, follow up the right to hundred in the oversight. In June over a year and then you ve got a tory game was making these these arcade games wanted to make home video games, but they couldn't do it under the Atari. because that belong to a Tory Corporation, so created a new brand called tension tee and g and right, which also comes from a aspect the Old board game go really some other tare intention the game that the board game the japanese go or that's great, there's a great story that are our going way back to the first episode talked about the the founders of Atari. They used to play go in their office, which was an officer was originally meant for one person, but to be
had to share it right, so they would play games of go in between actually getting any worked on a low according to TED. Mr Nolan never really actually did any work. far as he could tell whether remembered he had a lot of sour grapes after legitimate reasons we notice. What's going on now is Atari. The corporation is getting really fractured. Yeah and their home computer business with a four hundred and eight hundred were doing okay yeah, but the behind the curve, yeah, so to speak and catch up. They were a new computer system, the Atari S, he they did that at the winter CS. I didn't episode about see. Yes, once where I explained this, but once upon a time there were two big c s. Events one happen in the winter here
what happened in the summer and dead now there's only the winter version, but as that, as this was back when there were still to an at winter c e S, they announced Atari ST the ST stands for sixteen slash, thirty two, which are furs to the microprocessor in it's internal and external bus connections, but anyway it had five hundred and twelve kilobytes of ram yeah smokin fat yeah, and it could be expanded up to four goodnight. So there's that add a graphical user interface, so Dewey or gooey. If you prefer I'd once the whole Jeff gift thing came out yet it. Messes everything up not sound like its appropriate by hit us at any rate is nice. It will go with gooey, I think that's the boat, more than more than overwhelming choice, Also a floppy disk drive
It would end a cartridge, DR yes said both the and it would be produced up until the early ninety nine. Yet it was the cheapest six in bit computer and, like, like you said it feels I ran to the ninety nine as it did: okay yeah in fact in in Europe, it did pretty well here in the United States, did okay and in Europe it did. It did better and, and then we've got the Atari Corporation, releasing the Tory seventy eight hundred pro system in nineteen. Eighty six of the fifty two hundred come out the seventy eight hundred comes out in a digital joystick rather than the older analog type, the seventy eight hundred had a weird little story and that it was manufactured and then shelves gap in a warehouse, basically fur on american for how long, two years ago, two years they basically were just going to sit on it yeah and then find They said well the decision really is arbitrary is was to sell these same yeah. They release like
couple of early models, but in that two year period, but they like your saying they didn't, sell it like it. People talk about it being re day, viewed or re introduced, but they ve never was fully introduced in the first yeah, but one cool thing about it was it was backwards compatible with almost all twenty six hundred games. it's kinda neat is better than the fifty two hundred and yeah it. It ended up not really competing very well against the Nintendo
If the payment system, it would only be produced until ninety ninety one or supported until nineteen. Ninety one that's when Atari announced they would no longer produce games or consoles Sony hundred those, also the twenty six hundred Junior, a companion, yeah model to the seventy eight hundred, and it's true basically that the public at this point, a Nintendo fever had struck and Sega started to come out with their systems and Atari was just kind of sadly lost in the shuffle there. As far as the home systems go yeah, if you're, if your mascot wasn't a little italian plumber yeah, you are out of luck, we'll be back with more about Atari. After this quick break and oh hey there, I'm just melodic,
Here I am psyche, and I appreciate the lady and welcome to boss level podcast, where we feature conversations the faster levelled up, bringing an experience to the table. There was always my response is like I'm like a unicorn here, Ray because there's not allowed oak like out of the closet, gamer is supposed to say: there's not been an increase. I know a lot of them like it was like a battlefield there like this. Is our cool police club here, no sorry, honey, a very dark corner and our lot of light of rain. We pick the brains of professionals, creators and bosses and industries across the globe to help our listeners achieve their own boss level. We are not just creating a podcast, but a game of hide and engaged community. Doesn't Abbas level on heart, radio, up apple podcast or ever you got your pockets, there's, a recipe for getting your car running just right and whatever
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revenue streams without adding any more work to your day, go to square dot com, slash commerce, to learn, what's possible. The so nineteen eighty seven Terry, would release the Atari Ex a video game system, a the Atari ex Ici S, which was based off the eight bit computers Atari had previously created so think of that fifty two hundred was kind of the video game console of the four hundred eight hundred bit or four hundred eight hundred Atari computers year. was the next computer, infusion within Atari, I don't yeah, they even knew what kind of company they were at this point. No, I don't think so in this one actually had one game hard coded into it. Oh really the Atari. You could play other games like a get the disks or other games and play
But it had one game, those hard coded into it, and that was missile command. I suppose not a bad choice yeah. I was again one of the things were. You might feel that Atari didn't have a clear vision for what its place was a thing. I'm just gonna money there foundering and thousand nineteen. Eighty nine. They would release the five twenty s, the five and the ten forty, the one thousand models of Ste Home Computer, which had computer color palate and a graphics processor, a dedicated YO processor for the graphics, which is something this common now, but at the time was pretty new Yes that mean they were. They were doing some of the right things on the home computer front, but there was just so much more competition. Yeah, you had apple, you had the idea compatible, and yet I am plus the meat It was still out there can forget about the meagre now. I had a friend who was a die, hard Amiga fan and I gotta admit the Amiga
The thing I loved about the Amiga was that well before anyone else, it was doing amazing, sound and graphics like years before anyone else had managed to do that and affordable way and die. So I remember my friend had several games for the meagre that I found to be like light years. Beyond anything, I could play a my apple tv or my two, eighty six at home, but the day the cpu on these devices had a bullet speed of eight megahertz. While talking about the multiple gigahertz now and has Slow in my phone is way faster than that but a ninety nine. That's also in a Tory Corporation, acquired the right to manufacture and sell a handheld gaming council that had been developed by a different company yeah the links yeah disease
I hear the links was really quite a bit developed by a company called epics E p. Why acts, but epics had entered financial difficulty. Oda lot of money to various companies, the largest that it owed. Money too, was a tory exit. The largest amount it owed was to a Tory yeah, and so they had this kind. Settlement to say like while. How are we going to make good on? This? Could epics is on the verge of just disappearing and as part of the deal? Essentially, they signed over this. This handheld gaming system they had been developing and that big the Atari, the Lynx great. I had a couple of friends had it it was released. around the same time as the Gameboy yeah. It had full color, graphics, yep it looked better, it sounded better. You could link them together, yeah, you could link them together. It was. It was sort of large and had a horizontal. I guess body yeah, and so it was
big, which wasn't great, has a little ungainly. The battery life would only last four to five hours, so that was kind of frustrating, because this is this. The era of rechargeable batteries, for most people here, you're pop out old ones and replacing it with new ones, so that could get really frustrating, but the one thing links did not have was game called tetris yeah, and that is what basically was the death blow Then to the links. Venturous editors, just such a huge deal, it was the killer app. Yet there was the killer app and it's what made game boy, but it was. I got the gameboy and address and then by I d ninety one like you would think that will maybe if they can stick it out, then the links will have a chance, because then a tender Gameboy once everyone's got, that they'll see that the lynxes got betters That's it maybe go with that, but then and ninety one say good came out with the game gear.
Was already doing really good business too, and that just that just meant that the links had no place in that competition. I kind of feel bad for Atari at this point, because they're coming up with superior products in certain cases, build, can't get market to its either bad timing or a combination of bad timing and a lack of a compelling library, two years games and really shows how you need I have strong launch titles to move a console, yeah there's a lot more to it than just like this has the best graphics. In fact, you know going into personal account here I don't own a current generation game I love gaming. I consider myself to be a gamer, I'm not a hardcore, gamer and certainly I'm sure any of my listeners listening- could beat me at any game of their choice, I don't want to. I don't put that out, thereby I will say that I love gaming, but I haven't purchased an Xbox one or p S. Four, because
when we're finally, at a point now, where it's different, but for the longest time the libraries weren't compelling enough for me to make that investment yeah wait. So I I would think yes is clearly superior to the system I have now, but the games aren't games that I want to play yet you'll want to wait until there are enough games that I want to play to justify that expense and now we're at that point. I just haven't well for one thing: I'm not allowed to have isn't for another year and a half I have a two year two year period, where I can't get presents- or at least my wife won't buy me- presents for a good reason, and it's not a bad one. It's that I made a substantial donation to a nonprofit and in return the agreement was two years Nope you're a good man. How here's my deal with gaming now is, I played and tender and stuff through the through the sixty four in college was way into it and then dropped out for a long time until my step father, I'm sorry.
my father in law, gave me his ps3 couple years ago because he didn't want it and since then, I buy like I just look up once a year and buy like the two best reviewed games of the year. and I'll play those for about a month and then that's what we don't have the time to devote to gaining jacket forty three years or have you know, and I accept my house, I know I've got a house. I got a puppy aid or animals yeah we ve done to avoid were obviously getting a little off topic, but it's true like we just have reached a point: our lives. Well, you just can't gamely and more about about the last of us off and ass the game and task see. I still have that gamer in me, because I was addicted to this game. Yeah Then I bought one of these Bio elbow shock, Bio shock, the birth of the steam punk, when right so by a shock, infinite yeah that one
and I played that one through, and that was really great. The music in that game is amazing, yeah and that's the extent of my gaming. Now I hear ya two years of the best two games, the last of us. I don't I mean I don't see how you can get any better I was very emotionally impact for game. Where are your right at my areas? So ninety ninety yeah, accident. They should give. I love doing this. I just that conversation otherwise, but no DE ninety there's only one thing I have dimension, which is that a Tory Corporation released the Atari TT, zero three zero or zero. Thirty never heard of it. It's a workstation, really we too Megahertz processor workstation, so there were still staying in the home computer business. At that point, the families you yeah there they're trying to hang in there I I don't have any notes for ninety one, but a ninety two. Let's pretty said here in ninety two
sorry corporation would release the falcon, which would be the last of its computer systems. The falcon was the last time they tried to do a home computer, and then they made the decision to switch back to trying to do video game com once again. So ninety? Ninety three: that's why we see the release of the Atari jagged jack. You are If you want to go with the british pronounce Jaguar again. Atari is doing the right thing, they're ahead of the curve. It's the first sixty four bit: yes them yeah, so it's so it is graphically and as far as the processor goes more powerful than any of the competitors on the market at that yeah and had had a couple of success. Successful titles and alien were spreading throughout their that's one. That's consider to be one of the best titles for that system. A tempest two thousand up there was the other one really good, but the controller on it was herbal here was here. It was unwieldy.
and didn't have a lot of software support right. The that we just mentioned are pretty well beyond that. I can't really justify buying. It says there seven games ever released and gods it and I think, more than seven ten of em registered on the right. Are you read over the that many just like? Well, I I never heard of this. There. That's got to be one of the reasons why this Jaguar never took yet well in the insisting for was just awesome and they again games and then at the play station coming on when Sony starts really throwing down, then it really This was like of last, like that. I see a Torreon just reaching for that rope yeah rope trying to grab a hold of it and then turned out in some areas is pulling the rope higher. So we
haven't heard about a Tory Games for a little bit. That's the that's the branch that did the arcade version yet not and also produce some home video under home video games and attention time Warner communications. Just in case you didn't know, Warner and time merged in nineteen. Eighty, nine, just a little bit of a merger yeah Time Warner, communications purchased controlling interest in a tory game, so targets would get consolidate with other properties and ninety. Ninety four, I had become known as time Warner, Interactive, so tardy games with part of time Warner active. But this means that part of a tory is back with Warner. Remember Warner was the one off so crazy,
so yeah of Werner had sold. It often am co than employs, bought it back from them co and then Time Warner Communications buys it, and it's just. This is why it gets really hard to talk about the end of a Tory, an ideal any sakes, another confusing thing: J, T, storage, Jes, a hard disk manufacturing, yes, yeah J D has merges with a tory corps parisian since the home computer. Neither Qatar Games one so J T S merges with a Tory corporation, but J T S, in a tough spot, because it was already a cash flow problem. and so it was looking for way to avoid going into bankruptcy and thought that by acquiring Atari, which had lots of cash but not a whole lot of market share
most the cash from a tory was actually coming from lawsuits, like that said, they were going after other company area, so they weren't making money off their products as much as they were off some of the losses. So data comes in acquires a Tory, then fires, almost all of the former, a terrible employees and liquidates the remaining a tory inventory as a means of helping stave off this impending disaster, which it did not do. No. Two years after that It has brought interactive. Yum, buys J T S for five million bucks. Yes, simply about the Atari Corporation from J T. As for five million J T S actually went bankrupt that year, it essentially the Atari name here for five million. We have because of that point there really was nothing left right now. It has ended this point, the name it's like you're, you're, drunk, uncle who was a. He was a big shot in high school. That's what Atari is at this point: yeah, it's like
you know, stumbling around in the alley? You know: don't you know who I am and around the same time, to make matters worse? Okay, so that that's Atari Corporation right getting acquired for five million by Hasbro Interactive. Meanwhile, around that same, Atari Games was split off from time. Warner. Interactive, didn't stay at Time Warner very long either like three years was gone, exploits off and is purchased by W M S, industries, which was the aren't company or a Williams and Bally Midway right. So now we're seeing a consolidation of the big names that you know twenty years earlier than the Define Arcade Atari games. and meanwhile, you've got Hasbro Interactive. That's acquired the Atari corporation. So at that point that then they sold it yeah, that's true, but don't get ahead of me. So at that point
When, when Hasbro gets hold of Atari, Tory Wms Industries doesn't want confusion here, they just purchased Atari Tory Games are relate already confused. So what they do is they rename Atari games? Yeah Atari Games gets rename. into Midway games West, so appear now. When I talk about, sorry games of actually talking midway games. West. Don't worry background to make things more confusing later so has now we get to two thousand: that's when the dot com bubble bursts, poor Atari, The two bubble bursts right: the video game bubble and then the dot com bubble man, so they probably had were affected by the real estate bubble in some way to probably, I was affected by the dotcom bubble. I worked for a human resources management consulting firm at the time and most of our clients were dot. Com companies are really yeah. Suddenly our client lists schedule.
Smaller, but look where you are now yeah, but it was a long road, but I glad I'm here so has, RO because Hasbro Interactive was hit hard by the stock compress everyone wants you right away. You just had this is another market correction, sure that was it the devastated a lot of companies and lives, so password decides to sell off Hasbro Interactive, including the intellectual property from a Tory corporation. Remember the home competing one. They sell it to a french company that I always misspell, because I always think that the name is a typo yeah in programmes yeah in that info games. Yeah. I keep thinking it's info games, it's info groms because it's spelled like info games, but with an extra are there right after the G yeah, the French that was in two thousand yep and so Hasbro Interactive becomes info. more interactive and in two thousand and three, unless you have anything between two thousand and two thousand three Nasser, thank goodness so,
three in Vogue Robs interactive is renamed a Tory interactive It creates a subsidiary called a Tory incorporated which has its own listing on NASDAQ. Yet they still value in that Atari name despite the pummeling it took over the and keep in mind that by this point there's nothing left of the original Atari attached to the sitar. Hurry name is a name and an idea, but it's no longer associated with the original company at all. The european Branch of Info Grams, known as a Tory Europe, an invalid Australia became Atari Australia in Pilgrim's, the UK became Atari UK. Yeah, and there were re releases of some of the classic game. Yet there were some newer games on one called alone in the dark in two thousand, and eight, though, was a supposed to be pretty good. I never played it fantastic. Was it good
so they had some successes. But again, though, is just confusing, as they were. You know a publisher and destroyed The really didn't really know what they we're doing completely with the Atari name right and info grams in particular, was into this like acquisition mania like they were. They were buying properties left and right, yeah, which is always a little dangerous yeah, because it can lead to a lack of focus, which is exactly what happened in this case I mean, obviously hindsight tells us that right sure we would necessarily know that otherwise, but it is the case midway games in two thousand and three Midway Games West. I should say I know that what used to be a target of decisions now midway get the Games West dispense. So now, Atari Games is just a name. In fact, there was a holding company that was still called midway games. West there was just a holding company. There was no nothing else too. It is an office now, the secretary now
no games coming out of it, nothing that so it only exists as a name literally at this point, two thousand and four, the Atari Flashback launches. Now the flashback is a dedicated console with games that are hard baked into it. So it doesn't use cartridge. Yes, a selection of games that it looks like the twenty six hundred yet, except for some added buttons here and there a gap I buy. I don't know who made a, but about that one point: someone is selling the joys oh yeah alone, lugs directly into the idea that had like twenty games or something not right, and that was I put the heck out of that thing. Oh yeah, I do. I one of those at home, but I have one of those at home right next to my fifty five inch tv, though not trying to brag or anything, I mean, I realize that almost everyone out there probably has a larger tv. So please don't make me feel badly about myself.
The first one. now with a models in two thousand and four two thousand and five, two thousand ten, two thousand and eleven and two thousand and twelve different companies would produce it over the years, but they were all licensed by Atari and by Atari I mean Atari Home computing, which means info Grams, as opposed to midway games, which a mess, I know really two thousand and five seriously Hasbro what the heck are. You doing. Hasbro buys back some intellectual property from Atari S, a which is the info groms version, the home computer version also known as Atari INC as the subsidies, materials. They were. Sixty five million dollars see that's what's confusing, the act crazy, that Hasbro got out of the game and then literally got back into it for them under sixty five
Clearly that dot com bubble, scared everybody and then once we started seeing recovery, people wanted to get back into it, the ones that were still around anyway. Now, as now, a Tories, not your drunk uncle, it's just the it's like confused yeah. I don't even know which, which way is up at this point this. This is the this. Is the person who's just wandering the street and talking about how you know the trees are convincing them to buy Doritos. What does that now that point here so into them mate info grams offers to buy out a Tory incorporated shares to make in Vogue rooms the sole owner of a Tory incorporate again because they had listed a Tory incorporated on NASDAQ. So they old shares the other party easier, making it a publicly it company, but now they're saying well. We need to fix Atari like this and is not doing what we needed to do. We think this grant could save us
info grubs as a whole, was having a lot of issues we want to be to re brand ourselves, but nor to do that, we first need to get all of a Tory back belonging to us, so they offered by it out its accepted and ever growing requires a tory completely so now it totally bloused if a grams. as Hari meanwhile had acquired another company called cryptic studios which developed a game called city of heroes. It's an online multiplayer game where you create a superhero and you're an original superhero that you can play the one that I always wanted to get into it, but I never. I never had the time to dedicate to those massive online games right and their monthly subscription base for a while now they're mostly free to play, but back then they were all monthly subscriptions and you're busy, creating your own real life. Superhero person, that's true, but you know that's going to talk about this. Alter ego thing that we need to steer away from we're going to take a quick break for some messages.
Then we'll be back with more of the rise and fall of Atari. Here's the only found that style herbal when a migraine attacks strikes. Attack. Odp, remember pan. Seventy five milligrams can provide migraine pain relief, which can help break the silence Norton is the first and only medication proven to treat and prevent migraines in adults don't take if your allergic to Nurtec common side effects, were nausea summit pain and ended. Gesture for important safety prescribing and patient information visit in you are too easy dot com at princess.
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can taste in hydration. You can feel, the two thousand and nine good grief. Could this story get more kill us Warner. Brothers, entertainment purchases, the midway intellectual property include. the name a Tory Games, so for the third time Warner. Kids back in the Azores Warner own something called a tar ear, nuts. three ties biogas Well, I don't know Meanwhile, NAM Co Band, I acquires a Tory Europe from Info grams info groves itself, changes its name to a Tory essayed to create a united Company, and it also has the Atari group, which is the collection of divisions from around the world, like a tory Italian, that kind of thing that still have the Atari Brandname twenty ten.
Here's a name we haven't heard for a while Bushnell Bushnell, he comes back. He actually because of an acquisition ends up on the board of directors or for so Atari incorporated specifically, so they brought him back for the that very reason right to sort of get some mention again. I imagine so yeah cause. This is again why those things where you ve got the name, but otherwise there is no connection. But now you ve got the guy who founded the company. So that's big news definitely did get a lot of people writing about it at the time. I m all, though, if you look at twenty tend to now, you realise not a whole lot has will remind you of the old golden age of
Sorry do so in two thousand and eleven Atari incorporated cells off cryptic studios, the one that they had bought Ray density heroes, one and in two thousand and thirteen Atari incorporated files for bankruptcy January. Two thousand and thirteen that's right so remember this is the this was formerly in vogue. Roms Atari incorporate was formerly part of immigrants now part of a Tory as a deterrent were brave files for bankruptcy partly to escape the debt accrued by its parent company and in an the pay off the debt, they attempt to sell off the portfolio of more than two hundred video games, but they only received fifteen preliminary bids really and none of them approach the price that authority was hoping for, so they don't accept any of them. Instead, they decide they'll cell
bits and pieces off rather than write rather than sell everything off at a price too low. They are going to sell bits and pieces often try and get themselves through it and it works. I mean they sell some stuff, not everything, but they sell some stuff and then, by the end of two thousand and thirteen, they emerge from bankruptcy December. So, like the entire year of two thousand and thirteen Atari incorporated in bankruptcy the saddest year for dairy- maybe it's hard to me, there's a lot of competition at a time that a title twenty four, in finally last year. That's when we have the documentary that we talked about previously, the one that went out to the desert to dig up red to find out of eating
It really was beneath it, the cartridge, not the character yeah and that kind of resurrected a little bit of interest in Atari, again yeah yeah. There was a lot of talk about. There are a lot of people wondering whether or not they were actually going to find anything or if they would just find scraps as opposed to entire cartridges, and as we mentioned in a previous episode, they did find cartridges so yeah the whole story behind that is they manufactured four million cartridges. They were unable to move. Three and a half million of those man, so they add only a couple of choices. Do use store this and hope that you can one day sell. It could keep in mind, storing stuff costs, money right. You can't It's not like there's just a magical space like that. That's going to occupy space that you would otherwise use for something else or deer, call it a loss and throw it away and they chose option number two yeah, and so What's amazing to me about the whole eighty debacle is that word: gotta Emmi, MRS Pre INS.
and were the ideal got around that fast Urim Johnny telling his neighbor Billy how bout I sought and Billy telling his neighbour right and act in a watered down so fast that there was an old five hundred thousand gap. Is there is no like Qatar? who forum, or something or people who say like this word of mouth, held a sex yeah then, and there scoffing over bargain bends at your local toy store, and so what going on with a Tory now. Well, it's folk developing games for social platforms like Facebook and for mobile devices, primarily although there looking at some other stuff as Well yeah, a former employee named Fred, I dunno how to pronounce sets e h e s n a I. I believe, as one in Asia. The french fellows from invoke robs arouse, perhaps perhaps he's now the ceo and he said that he is going to try and be relevant in the pc world again with a few different things: notably gambling
real casino gambling and just for fun casino gambling. So I think this would be like if you walked into a casino. You know how you see all those licensed slot machines like Lord of the rings, thou and by the way, treats me really well. So I love the lower the rings slot machine, but I could see like this. PETE slot machine and then only some of the game play you're gonna do both are gonna, have a licensing programme and they're gonna have an actual online casino, gotcha social casino with virtual money, and I said that gambling thing and licensing and games. They said the flash back, they're gonna going to keep around, they have idea for the Lgbtq Community and he said they're developing a new asteroids game. That is a pc game where you will actually be surviving on the asteroid itself, so
turn things around a little better try and he thinks that they can capitalize on that Atari name, and I get it back to relevance again, but I dont know yes, so you know it Whether or not we see anything coming out of this division also keep in mind the the Atari Games that was purchased by Warner Brothers, entertainment near you know. The story is not necessary. we over for Atari, although you could argue that, as far as the original company is concerned, that story has been over since the eighty year or so interesting and and sometimes upsetting store. the rise and fall of the the Tory in it all started at all, yet again, people, I remember, reading things like. Could the video game crash happen again and if you look there is a large number.
Of different providers that are all trying to clamor for attention now, when we think of consoles, we think Nintendo, Sony and Xbox, some people would say just Sony and Xbox, they don't even think of Nintendo and by then we have the mobile game market. We have computers, pc gaming is hitting a resurgence so and then there are people like me who hold back from buying current generation consoles, because we don't necessarily see the Valley you and the men are the reason to upgrade, or I was given one by my father in law yeah, so they ending by when we get to that point where we think you know it's pike is possible. You can't never say that you're too big to fail yeah and some rookie mistake yep
It comes before the fall that as true, so we have a completed the story of Atari, but now we've got a little time to talk about some personal reflections beyond the stuff that we've talked about in the previous episode so Chuck. What are some of your fond memories of Atari in general? Well, I buy. PAC man Christmas day. Actually man I actually enjoyed playing it as a twelve year old yeah I didn't realize how bad it stuck at the time here, because it was pack man in my house yeah, you know, is a little kid. You're not like others did look just like it and sound dislike it. I think older kids, probably where little moral,
exactly, but I was young enough to ride, enjoyed it. Adventure like we talked about men, them the imagination, yeah playing adventure, while the fact that they incorporated things like the bat mechanic, which meant that you could never expect the same. Gameplay experience two times in a row there, which was pretty interesting like a lot of these games, like that, games, it involved memorizing patterns and, if you memorize the pattern you could play yeah definitely, but that didn't work for games that actually would introduce some sort of element that could at least be perceived as random, Yo River red, fantastic, a huge game to meet holds up still today. Yes,
at the game. I think out of all the the shooter Games, that's like by shooter, I mean like you're, controlling a ship, that's moving around and shooting things in this case. It's a it's. A jet yeah was flying over a river that one I didn't own river raid, but a friend of mine from down the street owned it, and I would go over to his house all the time to play it, because it is the one title on a tory that I really wanted, but denied what actually mother to river rate and pitfall. I, I owned either of those, but I have played the heck out of them. Yeah, I think reverted was the first top scroll game. Yeah pitfall was huge Genre of Games interesting. I was because the Zurich grandma warlords, yeah man, I had a ton of frogger- I mean yup- that I know that was sort of a kids game, but I still like Frogger still,
challenging I like frog or as well. I remember I had some games that I wish had been better like I had donkey com to near that really ere it in measure up nearly as well to the arcade version which also didn't measure up very well to the version kind of was it's like. I had a lot of those those games, a licensed games and stuff as well yeah, the I I also have really fond memories of arcades. Like oh dude, you know I lived in the yeah there were there were times where I would just go to the arcade to I know spend a dollar or whatever, and you always try and find the game that you figure you're, going to get the most value for your money like. I can play this one for a long time. I'm going to play this one and- and luckily there are also a lot of them made by Atari that were really fun. I mean STAR
as is still like, I love these star Wars trilogy gain that came out. There was model after on closer after movies, like we'd, better graphics and everything, but there still ass a place of my heart for that vector, graphics, star wars, game and I wasn't kidding when I said that I would actually consider purchasing one of those, because that was such and such a fine memory. Like the two arcade games I went back to over and over were were star wars and spy hunter. Oh yeah now spanner was nine Atari game, but, oddly enough, I think so. Or two in it are being distributed under a tory even though, we get the whole backing yeah, and you know I hate to sound like the old guy, but I am really thankful that we grew up in that generation. There was some really special about seeing something
invented for us yet right in front of our very eyes created at out of nowhere like we talked about in nothing up so too, and there are three tv stations array of five or six tv stations and crappy handheld games and It was just it blew my mind and I spent a lot time in the arcade in the games there. amazing, but mine blow. Isn't there like? It was back then, because it's all building on what happened before it, and this was building on that out of thin air and at all So I mean it was an era where a single person could develop now we have companies that have entire divisions dedicated to that It was also an era where people were making weird game. Slicker weird games That could be a lot of fun, but had nothing to do with it. Like you look at yours,
the age. I dare you to tell me what that's supposed to be or idea. It is bizarre, but it's awesome and there are a lot of really fun games. You ever wrote the heck was Kubrick yeah, huge, huge risks right both in the arcade and in the home video game market. Just people saying Let's creates of a fun experience. It doesn't matter if it quoting what makes sense or whatever these days you look at video games and a lot of the companies tend to get hung up on creating franchises. They want they want to create a title that they can make, play clones of with. Case in a movie yeah, and then that way they have built in a built an odd got all these are the people who are call of duty players. So let's call of duty game every single year: they'll buy it wait, no, though by it, because they are coloured duty fans, as opposed to saying what kind of cool experience can we create, which is sort of given rise to the independent developer com
yeah. So in a way, those early Atari days are very similar to what we see with independent game community these days, except, of course, the independent game developers are, are not, as you know, nice in Ireland a sense that their nonjuror an umbrella like a tory was death but other. that their their operating in a very similar way. You look at those early. of Atari. It really did sound a lot like what an internet start up sounds like today. Here was the wild west. Here you are defining what you did it and The work rules cause no one had done it before here. The time for my needs that we were talking earlier, somebody needs to get on that Atari movie. Yeah when the area we talked about, the possibility of someone needs, do a documentary about this. Like take this idea are of the rise and fall this three episodes that we have done and and really look into it and and make it a a film to document what happened and explain the processes,
and because it does get so so convoluted and complex towards the end of it's existence. And, of course, we could argue that by that time it's the old saying the name Atari is meaningless because, again it's the word that point, which is sad it were. It did have such an important part. In my childhood I mean I am my plate so much both in the arcade, Andrea blisters. hand. Oh yes, they can. Oh, no yeah. You would get like. I remember because of the way I would hold the the joystick and in the the in between my thumb and forefinger, where I would, I would grip the I would have a blister right now and yeah. It also was one of those things that would frustrate me because I'm a left, hander and
I ended up a needle for you, my friend yeah. I I coped yeah well enough, but yeah it was a little it it. I guess it kind of helped with my precision of my right hand, otherwise a I probably would just be flailing around the office on fire I think a for that as well, but Funny I never owned when the Atari crap view can crush happen. Terry was the only Video game console I owned at the time of the game consoles being being built, right so again and television, but that was after and television had was no longer a thing right. That was, there was a hand me down. I didn't get in Nintendo, I never my college roommate had one of those I what I did was I this and over two computers and I became one of those snooty computer gamers, because the games on computers were deeper, more sophisticated. They they didn't, have the Arkady kind of graphics that dedicated video
game consoles could have, but they did have a richer game experience in my mind, and so I became a computer gamer now Money is now my console. Gamer again, although well transitioning back to computer gamer and that's because of services like steam, which allow me to buy games and have them download directly to my computer, and I don't have to go to a store. I don't have to buy a box. I get the game delivered straight to my computer and I can play it off of there. So it's funny cause I keep going back and forth. I went console to pc to console. In fact I was console for a long time with the and in sixty four game cube. the p s, two, the p s, three, the Xbox, the Xbox three sixty I have all of those yellow cast. I got dreamcast. Do I'm thinking back now. I've never bought a console. You ve only been given that a twenty six hundred was Christmas. My college roommate, head than First Nintendo YA, had the superintendent another culture
they had the sixty four, my friend and ally had the Xbox who live next door to me, which we can my mother, who bought the game either through. Not all of us can walk outside expect continent. It rained down from the have never bought. One just occurred to me. to be fair, some others work were gifts me. Actually, the dream cast was given to me after dream: Cassowary folded and my wife bought it like a use dream cast, and then we just got like a folder full of games that that came out for it. By the way, I should do a full episodes. on the dream casts some point, because that was also an amazing system that died on necessarily like you. It was it was the like the the Jaguar in that it came out, and it was clearly superior to its it competitors new space, but because of bad timing, and about
library early on and never took off, the least not to appoint their could sustain a company and there you have it. The classic three part Series the rise and fall of Atari You enjoyed that, like I said, was a lot of fun to look into one of those where at the time when we are looking into this, we came across lots of different conflicting stories about the history of a Tory and who played what role em. There's lots of of kind of accusations and cross accusations of people misrepresenting things it made it a bit of a challenge of those a lot of fun to thoroughly talk about and, like I said in the last episode, if you want to hear more, you should check out the more recent episode I did of the video game crash of nineteen. Eighty three, that tells some more of the story of a tory that kind of compliments what we have gone through with these classic episodes. If you have suggestions for topics I should cover in future episodes, please
reach out to me. Best way to do that is on twitter. The handle for the show is tax, started, teach us and I'll talk to you again, releasing text is an eye heart radio production for more podcast. From my heart radio visit the eye hard radio, an apple pod can Where were you listen to your favorite jobs, he there I'm Jes Milady confetti here I am psyche than I am hey shady lady and welcome to boss level podcast for repeat your conversations with gas to have levelled up bringing an experienced to the table. We pick the brains of professionals, creators and bosses and industries across the globe to help our listeners achieve their own boss, devil. We are
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-19.