I did the programming for Miner 2049er and Bounty Bob Strikes Back! Curtis Mikolyski worked on the graphics for those games.
What did you think of the machine when you first encountered it?
It was a nice upgrade for me coming from the TRS-80. I was used to black and white graphics with no sound.
How do you think the Atari 8-bit stacked up against its rivals?
I liked it better than the Apple as far as colour graphics went. The Atari had so many colours you could show at the same time. In Miner 2049er I tried to use every possible colour! Of course on today’s computers there are sometimes over 16 million different colours so that’s a bit harder to do.
What were the good/bad points about the machine?
I liked the cartridge slots, but they limited programs to 16K. I had to design a special bank-selected cartridge to overcome that and release a 40K cartridge. The sound was great – I loved the POKEY chips and the noise rumble they could make.
Why do you think the Atari 8-bit machines should be remembered?
The Atari computers inspired a LOT of kids to become software engineers. I can’t tell you how many letters that I’ve gotten from people telling me that. Everybody has a favourite game from that system they fondly remember. I remember playing Star Raiders at the local computer store. Those were great times!
This interview was conducted by Kieren Hawken and is not to be shared elsewhere without strict permission.