"DEAR AGH" (November/December, 1998)

Subject: Atari 7800 At 1983 Summer CES
From: Rolenta

  • Hey guys,

  • Now that I have a fast computer I could really dig into AGH. Anyway, I just came across the below letter: Now I don't know who Thomas E. is but the 7800 definitely was NOT shown at the 1983 SCES. That was the only Summer CES that I attended and it wasn't there. Nor was it at the January 1984 CES. According to Phoenix: The Fall And Rise Of Videogames (I don't remember where I got the info from) Atari announced the 7800 on May 21, 1984. Just thought I would get this straight.

  • Here's the letter that was on your old mail page....

    "DEAR AGH" (July/August, 1998)

    Subject: Atari 5200 Histroy - 1983 SCES Info
    From: Thomas E.

    I attended the 1983 Summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago - the last big showing for Atari, while still owned by Warner Communications. At that show, Atari showed the 7800 to the public, I played Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede, Food Fight, Asteroids, and the yet-unfinished Desert Falcon. I spoke with Atari's hardware and software engineers and got a taste of what Atari was getting ready to launch.

    I also played games on the Atari 5200 to Atari 7800 cartridge adapter - AND also used the High Score Game Cartridge while playing Asteriods Deluxe. (A piece of 5200 History you missed : ) Something else also shown at the show was the computer module - but I can't remember if it was running on the 5200 or 7800.... It had the Atari Lab software running on it with a disc drive. Another thing Atari was showing off was the "Mind Link" bio-feedback controller that you would wear like a headband. You could use it, sometimes at least, to move a character back and forth on the screen.

    I can't find my product catalogs that I picked up in '83. I remember they were yellow.. They had pictures of all these devices. Years later, when I was working with Atari Lombard, I ran into John Scrutch and asked him about these devices as I wanted to get my hands on the prototypes. John swore they never existed - BUT if they didn't exist - what was I using at the SCES? I'll bet you anything that when the engineers who developed this stuff were fired by the Troll-meals, they took their protypes and went home. Needless to say 1983 sucked when the game industry crashed for the 1st time.

    P.S. - I have 4 prototype 7800 carts that I picked up at the '86 SCES - and they are on GREEN PCB's. The 2600/7800 dev kit is also on a green PCB. (Atari's favorite color)

    Subject: "Monogrammed" Space Chase Question
    From: S. Lindberg

  • Hello!

  • First off, I would like to thank you for providing such a great resource for all us Atari enthusiasts. As a collector of Atari 2600 games and hardware, your site is an incredibly valuable resource to me.

  • Now, on to my question... I was looking through your scan archives, and came across the ad for a "monogrammed" SpaceChase cart from Apollo. I was just wondering if you all have ever seen one of the carts that actually had a monogram written into the code? I would love to know if such a thing actually exists somewhere (and if I should start buying up all the SpaceChase carts I find during my weekly thrift trips in the hope of finding one!) Thanks much!

    We're not sure how many people actually bought Space Chase AND sent it in, along with $99, to get it monogrammed. But we're pretty sure that this service was actually offered. $99 might sound steep, but can you imagine how cool it would be to have your Zelda 64 or Crash Bandicoot personalized? But I digress. No, there not yet been a verified sighting of a monogrammed Space Chase. And yes, we buy every Space Chase that comes our way in the hopes that we'll be the first to find one :)

    Subject: Booster Grip
    From: T. Curtin

  • Hello!

  • I know you are busy, but nobody else had any good answers. I would like to know what the purpose of the 2600 Booster joystick was. Is there any advantage to using it? And what games did it apply to.

    The Booster Grip (by CBS Games) for the Atari 2600 added a second fire button for use with Omega Race. It was packaged with the game. The Booster Grip also was planned for use with Wings, but the game was sadly never brought to market.

    Subject: AGH For Sale?
    From: D. Bartley

  • Would you ever be interested in selling the site?

    We can confidently say that we'd sell our wives before we let AGH go. Well, maybe not.. but you get the picture. Hmmm, maybe it's time for another viewing of Indecent Proposal.

    Subject: VM Labs Site?
    From: Siberio S.

  • Are you guys ever going to cover Project X? Seeing as it's being made by the same people who did the Jaguar I thought maybe it could be possible that you talk about it on your website. I know your website is all Atari but since VM Labs is made up of mostly all the people from the Atari's Jaguar days I thought you could possibly include it.

    Providing coverage for Nuon (as the technology is now called) is certainly a possibility, especially if the system takes off. We'll definitely be reviewing Tempest 3000 and Iron Soldier III when they become available, but we can't comment on the amount of coverage that we'll provide for the machine as a whole. After all, we've only scratched the surface with our Atari content!

    Subject: 32/64/128-bit 1980's-era Phoenix, Zaxxon & Pleiades in the year 2000!
    From: Jnitz

  • Dear Sirs:

  • I wish that we could bring back the old space arcade games with 2000 technology. Every game in the arcades at the mall seem all the same. Almost all of them seem related to Mortal Kombat in one form or another. What if the next generation games were the 1980's era arcade games were exactly as they were but used the latest tech 128-bit technology? Variety is lacking in today's arcades. I feel bored when I walk through todays arcades, its like there is something missing... and that something is space games. Picture 128-bit old-time Phoenix, Zaxxon or Space Invader. The old games only cost a quarter, so raise the price to $.75 or $1.00. Please pass this request on.

    Ready to rumble in the next millenium!

    Subject: TV Boy
    From: Olivier

  • Bonjour

  • I am working for "les puces informatiques", a magazine that writes about old videogames: 2600, Coleco, etc. (I don't know if there are some other magazines like that in the world. do you ?)

  • We found in the biggest French shop a lot of TV Boy units (with 126 games). (price = 300 FF, about 45$). Is it piracy of a real 2600 and its games? Or does the manufacturer have a licence?

  • Thank you for your answers.

    The TV Boy is a pirated 2600 with pirated games that are built into the unit. There are quite a few "fanzines" that are devoted to the coverage of classic videogames. 2600 Connection, Digital Press and Classic Gamer are among the prominent ones in this hobby.

    Subject: Alien Vs. Predator False Advertisement
    From: Dustin

  • Helly everyone,

  • I own an Atari Jaguar and bought the game Alien Vs. Predator. I played the game and noticed that for the Pulse Rifle there are no grenades or means of attaining grenades for the weapon. I then took a look at the box holding the game and saw a screenshot. The picture clearly shows that the marine has grenades in the pulse rifles ammo window. This upset me very much because I felt that this was one of the things the game was lacking that seemed would be fun. I was wondering why the box shows the grenades clearly but in the game there are none? Please help me in finding out why this is the way it is and maybe inform me of a place I can contact to express my thoughts further.

    If it bothers you so much, perhaps you should return it to Atari and receive a full refund :)

    Subject: Atari 5200 Asteroids: Is It Really That Bad?
    From: Scott

  • Sure, the 5200 Asteroids would be horrid with the 5200 stick, but have you ever tried the 5200 Asteroids with the prototype Asteroids Controller or the prototype self-centering 5200 stick? See if this changes your mind.

  • Even if the standard controllers suck (with some games.) But the prototype Atari self-centering 5200 stick does exist, (mabye you could ask Curt Vendel of the Atari Historical Society to loan you one, or you loan him the Asteroids cartridge for him to try with the self-centering 5200 stick.

    To check out the controller go to:


    or you can e-mail him at cvendel@aol.com

    First of all, there is only 1 self-centering prototype stick. There are many 3rd party self-centering joysticks which we have tried with Asteroids and the game is still horrible. The prototype Asteroids controller that we recently acquired is not in working order and we're still trying to fix it. So take our review for what it's worth. When you try Asteroids with the self-centering stick from Curt, you can write a review for us.

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