Graduate Pic 1

  • Atari's Graduate, also known as "My First Computer", was designed as an entry level computer system slated for release in September of 1983. This snap-on module keyboard with supporting electronics was to convert the venerable game console into a powerful, small computer. The unit consisted of a keyboard with a built-in microprocessor. For less than $100, the Graduate enabled the 2600 to become an 8K computer with 8K of built-in Microsoft BASIC. It was promised by Atari to be an incredible graphics machine, with a pallete of 128 colors. There were 16 basic colors, each of which can be displayed in eight different shades. The 8K RAM memory that comes with the machine was expandable to 32K as well.

    Graduate Pic 2

  • Atari planned to support the Graduate with a full line of peripheral products including data storage devices, additional memory, a modem and a printer.

      - I/O MODULE + 8K RAM
      The I/O Module plugs into the Graduate expansion port and was to offer 8K additional RAM (doubling the Graduate's memory), access to specifically designed peripherals for the Graduate and featured a compact design that delivers power to peripherals and eliminated the need for extra cords. The modem and 16K memory expander were but two of the add-on cartridges that could be plugged into the I/O Module.

      - PRINTER
      This letter-quality, 40-column printer was to be functionally equivalent to the 1027 printer that had been around for the Atari 8-bit computers for years.

      - MODEM
      This specially designed modem was able to accept the cord from a telephone -- eliminating the need for a bulky acoustic coupler. It transfered data at 300 bits per second.

      Plugged into the I/O Module to bring the Graduate up to a full 32K of RAM, for more complex programming capability.

      The low-cost tape drive was to be the primary means of data storage and was to be packaged with the necessary interface cables.

      This full-funcional data storage/retrieval device was claimed to perform at a fraction of the cost of standard floppy disk drives. Data was to be stored on conventional business card wafers, and featured up to 128K of information, complete file directories and random or sequential files.

    Graduate Peripherals Pic

  • As for software, nine products was to accompany the introduction of the low-cost computer system. Initial programs for the Graduate were to include introductions to programming using Microsoft BASIC (which is built into the Graduate), educational programs, home management aids and a selection of games which benefit from the enhanced graphics capability of the computer module.

  • The initial software lineup was to consist of:

      * An Introduction to Programming
      * Children's Introduction to Programming
      * The Home Filing Manager
      (the Graduate Wafer Drive was required to support this program.)

      * Family Finances
      * Typo Attack
      * Monkey Up A Tree (Educational)
      * Donkey Kong
      * Robotron: 2084
      * Caverns of Mars

  • Unfortunately for 2600 owners who eagerly anticipated the highly touted computer add-on, the subsequent collapse of the videogame market and the financial health (or lack thereof) of Atari prompted the company to can the Graduate just months prior to its official release.

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