Around 1981 or 82, I learned to program - if you could call it that - on the Atari 400, copying programs out of magazines, one uncertain finger at a time. I also learned the proper way to cuss out a computer when I'd miss a comma or make some other mistake, getting nothing more than SYNTAX ERROR for my hours of hard work. Guess which skill still serves me today?
While I was doing some admin stuff on the Geek Group at Propeller this morning, I saw that member JBooth had submitted Atari: The Golden Years. It's a fabulous article at Gamasutra that covers 1978-1981:
This four-year period -- from 1977 to 1981 -- contains some of the most exciting developments the company ever saw in its history: the rise of the 2600, the development of some of the company's most enduringly popular games (Centipede, Asteroids) and the development and release of its first home computing platforms.
This comprehensive look back, filled with quotes from the original creators and other primary sources, offers a detailed peek into the company that popularized video gaming as the '70s turned into the '80s, and created the first viable market for home consoles.
If you ever owned an Atari computer or played any of their ubiquitous games, this article is going to be an awesome ride on the nostalgia bus for you. It's also useful for you damn kids today who want to understand why guys like me get all worked up about 8-bit computers, but get off my lawn before you read it.
You know . . . there are lots of great 80s computer emulators available now, and I've often wondered if it would be as fun as I think to fire up an Atari 400 emulator, track down one of those old magazines, and see if I can actually get one of those games to run.