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History of Atari Computers

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Cholly, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

    Mar 22, 2004
    Here's a fascinating slideshow history of Atari computers, courtesy of PCWorld. Back in the day, my first real computer was an Atari 800 with 48K of memory, a tape recorder and a 300 bps modem. I didn't realize that Atari continued the manufacture and sale of computers until 1990.

  2. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

    Jul 8, 2002
    New Hampshire
    I had an Atari 800 (games of 4-player M.U.L.E. were probably the most fun ever had for a 'gaming party')

    Later, I picked up a 1040ST and wrote a lot of stuff in TrueBASIC for that.

    After that it was an Amiga and then I made the switch to DOS, to Windows, etc.
  3. BobaBird

    BobaBird EKB Editor

    Mar 30, 2002
    The power without the price.

    I still have my 520ST and 1040ST. Even at the time they were contemporary, it was hard to get people to accept that what I had wasn't a toy.

    Eventually, IBM-compatibles started using 3.5" floppies, establishing as a "standard" what the ST, Mac and Amiga had been using from their beginnings.
  4. sum_random_dork

    sum_random_dork Icon

    Aug 21, 2008
    very cool find! Growing up we had an Atari 800 and 1200 played many games on those over the years. Still have them around, after the Atari was retired we had an Amiga. At the time that machine seemed well ahead of it's time, I remember my dad brought home a modem for it and I didn't understand how it could be cooler if you hooked the computer up to the phone and had it dial out. It was one of the old modems where you actually placed the phone on top of it. Amazing how far computer technology has come in the last 30 yrs.
  5. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

    Jun 24, 2007
    Northern VA
    I wanted an Atari 800 to follow my Atari 2600, but my uncle had other ideas and got me a Vic-20. Upgraded to a C64 and then moved on to a 80286...

    - Merg

    Sent from my iPod touch using DBSTalk
  6. TheRatPatrol

    TheRatPatrol Hall Of Fame

    Oct 1, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks for the link. Theres a lot of other cool slide shows on there as well.
  7. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    The portable atari reminded me of my SX-64.
  8. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    When I was young, I *really* wanted a computer, but they were expensive and my parents, my dad especially, were technophobes. To this day, my dad doesn't have an ATM card and only has a cell phone because my sister bought it for him (he HAS learned to use it).

    Anyway, one summer my buddy Kirk, whose mother worked in the school district, was able to borrow a computer from school. I immediately went over to try it out. It was the Atari 400 with the membrane keyboard:



    What a hunk of junk that was. The keyboard was damn near impossible to type on. You had to press super-hard on those membrane buttons, making typing super slow and eventually painful. Still, I spent hours trying to figure it all out...

    A few years later, my neighbor, also ironically named Kirk, had an Atari ST that I used to borrow to type my reports and stuff on. The computer was miles better than the 8-bit Ataris, but by far the most interesting thing was the printer:


    The printer had a motorized print head with 5 or 6 rubber bands with all of the letters and symbols on them. The rubber bands would spin around until the correct character was in front of the impact hammer, which would whack the character against the ink ribbon and onto the paper. Because there were multiple rubber bands, the print head had to move back and forth to position the right rubber band where the next character was being printed. It was fascinating to watch, but with this much complexity, the letters tended to run up and down along the intended "print line", much like an old manual typewriter with some bent hammers. Clearly the design wasn't successful as I've never seen another printer like it.
  9. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    Remember all the Alan Alda commercials for Atari's computers?


    You've got to love that 40-character screen...
  10. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

    Mar 22, 2004
    Ah, yes - Atariwriter! I did a mod of it for the NEC PC-8023 printer, providing semi-proportional spacing so all line lengths would be the same, along with a few other neat features. That was over 25 years ago.
  11. Dude111

    Dude111 An Awesome Dude

    Aug 6, 2010
    Atari 2600 is my FAVOURITE CONSOLE!! (IMO the best released!)

    My second favourite console is Coleco :)

    I have alot of Atari/Coleco Games :)
  12. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    My first PC was an Atari 800… thanks for this!
  13. bobukcat

    bobukcat Hall Of Fame

    Dec 20, 2005
    My dad bought my brother and I an Atari 400 after many, many hours of begging and ensuring him it was a learning tool and not just a toy. I'm still surprised he bought it because that was an unbelievable amount of money to my family back then (I never had a new tricycle or bicycle, almost all my clothes were hand-me-downs, all my jeans had been patched at least 3 times, etc.). My brother never took to it but I spent so many hours teaching myself basic on that horrific keyboard and totally unreliable tape drive, I can't believe I kept at it after all the times it would fail to recover a program I had saved to tape.

    I would end up thanking my father more than a few times for buying that 400 for us, one of which was many years later in my second year of tech school when I knew tricks for programming in Basic that not one of my instructors did. I didn't go on to be a programmer but have worked in technology all my adult life and like to think that my background understanding of s/w architecture has helped me many, many times over the years.
  14. gfrang

    gfrang Hall Of Fame

    Aug 29, 2007
    River Raid by Carol Shaw .
  15. dmurphy

    dmurphy Active Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Bah. It was all about Intellivision.

    I have a signed poster from the Intellivision programmers... very cool :)
  16. Dude111

    Dude111 An Awesome Dude

    Aug 6, 2010
    I didnt ever have any intellivsion stuff,as good as Atari 2600?
  17. Rob

    Rob Icon

    Apr 22, 2002
    TI 99-4
  18. code4code5

    code4code5 Godfather

    Aug 29, 2006
    My family had the Atari 2600, but my first computer was the Atari 65XE received as a gift from my grandmother at Christmas. I used to spend days and hours writing Basic programs and making GUIs with the ASCII characters.

    Anyone else remember the Conversational Spanish program that came on about ten cassette tapes? I can still remember the funky disco background music that would play while it loaded, only to get a load error after an hour.
  19. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    I know it doesn't count, but... I bought an Atari "Pong" back in 1972 for $1,200.
  20. Dude111

    Dude111 An Awesome Dude

    Aug 6, 2010
    My 1st computer ever!

    Quite special for what it was :)

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