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Discuss Intellivision, Atari, Colecovision, Nintendo, and More! » The Atari Section » The Atari Forum » Tramiels

Tramiels

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1 Tramiels on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 7:32 pm

sloan

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OK, Jack Tramiel has been blamed for everything except world hunger. Do you think he was a savior or wrecking ball for Atari in the later 1980's?

My main gripe is that he could not see past the Nintendo 3rd party developer stanglehold to make new and inventive games for 7800. Yes, Nintendo had the infamous exclusivity agreement with its developers and publishers, but why could Jack, with his C64 background and connections, not come up with a stable of inventive game designers to put out some good titles on 7800? There is a homebrew called Bentley Bear: Crystal Quest getting ready for release that really shows what could have been if Jack had not been so tight with the purse strings.

Post your thoughts about the Tramiel era at Atari.

2 Re: Tramiels on Thu 19 Jul 2012, 8:37 pm

TrekMD

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I think the Tramiels ended up hurting more than helping Atari, unfortunately. They made a number of decisions that had a negative impact on the company as a gaming company because they wanted to focus on computers. When they finally realized they should continue the video game stuff, they did not make an real effort to compete, even though they had good hardware to do so! Very unfortunate! The 7800 is a great console that could have had great ports with enhanced carts (more RAM and POKEY sound). Thankfully, the homebrew community for the 7800 is good and now that the XM will be released, we'll be able to see those enhanced games with these added capabilities. Bob's Bentley Bear: Crystal Quest is a fantastic example of what the 7800 can do!

The Atari Lynx was a beast for its time, far better than the GameBoy or any other handheld of the time yet poor marketing did not help it. There are so many games that did not see release because of poor decisions, it is sad. The same could be said of the Jaguar.


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3 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 1:37 pm

onthinice

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I look at earlier failures at Atari as the downfall and I think decisions before the Tramiels ever took over led to a mistrust of Atari.

So I do not think they ever had a fair shake.

To me they kept the Atari name going and tried to battle Nintendo with one hand tied behind their back.

4 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 2:42 pm

TrekMD

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Ah, but you have to remember that Jack Tramiel stated that Atari was "now a computer company not a video game company" when he took over. So, the meant that a lot of funding and projects that had been planned for the video game systems got stopped, underfunded, or delayed. Up until then, Atari was truly known for games primarily. In the end it was a combination of factors and poorly made decisions at several levels that led to Atari's downfall. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20!


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5 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 3:28 pm

onthinice

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You are right about that! They spent so much time trying to beat a dead horse.

But I think Atari's image was damaged because of the poor games released. Were as Nintendo was new in the States so they did not have to make an image change. I mean good or bad who knew of Nintendo back then?

So I guess my point is Atari had to be wary of damaging their image even more while Nintendo ran roughshod over their competition.

As the guy from In Search Of said "It is based on theory and conjecture". Smile

6 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 5:10 pm

TrekMD

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Third party games that were horrible on the 2600 did damage Atari's reputation. That irony of it is that those games were not made by Atari, yet they did a lot of harm to their reputation! Yes, they did make mistakes with some releases (Pac-Man) but they made up for those (Ms. Pac-Man, Defender II).

Nintendo was the new kid on the block, so they did have a good chance. Of course, they had good marketing also! To think that Nintendo offered Atari an opportunity to sell their Famicom console under the Atari brand and Atari said no! Another Tramiel blunder!


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7 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 5:14 pm

onthinice

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You got me on that TrekMD!

Ms. Pac Man and Junior were big a big step up. I haven't played Defender II yet.

8 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 5:16 pm

TrekMD

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Defender II/Stargate is a superb game on the 2600! It can probably be considered to be the best arcade port on the console. Compared to the original Defender (which was somewhat of a blunder), this game is like you are playing on a different console. I recommend that you give it a try. My cartridge actually has the Stargate name. The name was later changed to Defender II due to some licensing issues.


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9 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 5:18 pm

onthinice

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Cool!!

10 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 7:57 pm

sloan

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onthinice wrote:
To me they kept the Atari name going and tried to battle Nintendo with one hand tied behind their back.

Their own fault. There were definitely ways to fight the NES exclusivity agreement, but Tramiel seemed at a loss. Also, Atari's marketing was a mess during the 7800/XEGS years. I do not recall a single TV commercial for 7800 or XEGS, but Nintendo had commercials on a regular basis.

11 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 9:35 pm

onthinice

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Maybe! But Sega also seemed to have a hard time with Nintendo.

I do not remember the commercials either. But it is funny the XEGS was battling the Commodore line of Computers.

12 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 11:45 pm

sloan

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Oh, don't let me come across as all-knowing (or having an inflated self worth). It is all speculation. I just have to think that Atari could have hired their own stable of programmers and made some kind of challenge to mighty Nintendo during those years. Maybe wishful thinking on my part.

13 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 11:50 pm

TrekMD

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sloan wrote:Oh, don't let me come across as all-knowing (or having an inflated self worth). It is all speculation. I just have to think that Atari could have hired their own stable of programmers and made some kind of challenge to mighty Nintendo during those years. Maybe wishful thinking on my part.
It's fun to speculate. I agree with you but doing this would have meant for Tramiel to admit that he made a mistake and assigning a lot of funds to the video game division, something I don't believe Tramiel wanted to do.


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14 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 11:53 pm

sloan

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When did Atari's computer division officially meet its end? I don't remember any Atari home computers past the XE in the late 80's. The Jaguar came out in 1994, so the gaming division proved old Jack wrong anyway. How ironic.

15 Re: Tramiels on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 11:55 pm

TrekMD

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sloan wrote:When did Atari's computer division officially meet its end? I don't remember any Atari home computers past the XE in the late 80's. The Jaguar came out in 1994, so the gaming division proved old Jack wrong anyway. How ironic.

I honestly don't know. I'd have to check when that happened. Wasn't the XEGS the last one they made? It was a computer/gaming machine hybrid.


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16 Re: Tramiels on Sat 21 Jul 2012, 12:20 pm

onthinice

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I want to thank you both! I have learned more and that is always my quest!

My hope is more members will post about this subject.

I think the Atari ST computers ran till about '92 or '93 so you are right about the gaming division outlasting the computers sloan.

17 Re: Tramiels on Sun 22 Jul 2012, 11:23 pm

TrekMD

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The XEGS was the last computer by Atari and it was contemporary to the Jaguar, I believe.


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Going to the final frontier...gaming!


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18 Re: Tramiels on Wed 22 Aug 2012, 9:26 pm

sloan

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I got to wondering what if Atari had launched 7800 in 1984, a full two years before NES hit the states? Maybe many of those 3rd party devs that got locked up by Nintendo's infamous exclusivity clause would have jumped on board with the 7800? Hindsight is always 20/20, but it sure looks like Atari lived (and died) by the statement, "He who hesitates is lost". Tramiel had 7800 ready for launch in 1984 and sat on it for a full two years. What were they thinking?

19 Re: Tramiels on Wed 22 Aug 2012, 9:42 pm

TrekMD

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Tramiel was thinking that Atari was a computer company, not a video game company. He saw no future in video games and that led the Atari's death as a leader in video gaming.


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