"DEAR AGH" (May/June, 1999)

Subject: Xonox 3rd Party Publisher
From: John V.

A question about Xonox -- I noticed that with most 3rd party publishers you say where they were located. This is not the case with Xonox. Any idea on where they were based?

Hmmm.. good question. We'll look it up and get back to you by posting here sometime next month.

Subject: Finding My Favorite Game
From: John V.

I have been searching for my favorite game in either coin or home version. I am not even sure if it is an Atari game. It is called Star Castle. The game has a ship in the middle of bars that surround it. You control the outside ship and the object is to shoot through the bars and hit the inside ship. Can you give me any insight on this?

The original version of Star Castle was a terrific vector graphics coin-op game by Cinematronics. The only other version known to exist was for the Vectrex console. If you'd like to play it on your PC, you can check it out by downloading MAME (multi arcade machine emulator) and the Star Castle ROM.

Subject: VCS Hookup Question
From: Sean

I have question -- how can I hook my Atari up to my TV if I don't have antenna hook ups in the back of the TV? All I have in the back of my TV is a cable outlet and video in and out plugs. Do I have to get a older TV set that has these hookups?

You can get yourself an antenna to coaxial (cable) adapter from Radio Shack for next to nothing.

Subject: Where is Warren Robinett?
From: Rick


It was a thrill to see your devotion to the "microdot" in Adventure, which was one of those great finds we were so proud of when our neighborhood discovered it.

We always wondered about Warren Robinett, and heard a rumor that he was fired by Atari for sneaking the microdot and his name onto the game, since Atari was not attributing its games to specific designers like Activision did. Is this true? Do we know where Warren is today?

Thanks for creating such a great website.

Adventure will go down in history as not only the first game with a memorable "easter egg", but also because it's one of the best games, period.

Contrary to popular belief, Robinett was not fired by Atari. In fact, Atari was quite pleased with the publicity garnered from the easter egg. It didn't hurt that Adventure was a smash sales success. Yes, Atari programmers were irritated by not given credit for their efforts. Some left (like the Activision and Imagic guys) while others, like Robinett, elected to stay for awhile. Robinett later founded a company called "The Learning Company", which recently was bought by Mattel for a couple hundred million dollars. It's an understatement to say that Robinett isn't doing too bad for himself nowadays.

Subject: Atari 5200 Burgertime
From: Michael

As an avid Atari 2600 and 5200 fan, I couldn't help but notice the omission of Burgertime for the 5200. I happen to have one, complete with box and instructions. As are all my 32 2600 carts and 21 5200 games. Please contact me for any more literature.

5200 Burgertime? Yeah, and we have 2600 A.P.B. :)

Subject: Nintendo Site on the AtariHQ Server?
From: Michael

I'm not sure why I'm asking this but find it incredibly...well... wierd that you are hosting a Nintendo "best 8 bit system" according to its homepage. Is this for real and not someone that has hacked into your server?

I'm blown away by the irony. :)

|tsr (the site's owner) is a good friend of ours, and he approached us about hosting his site when he ran out of server space. Given that |tsr's NES Archive is a well-respected website and he needed help, we happily obliged. In our opinion, there's no irony. Atari shot itself in the foot, their failures were not attributed to anything that Nintendo ever did.

Subject: Varunas Forces
From: Brian

Could the game Varunas Forces be released for the Jaguar now that it is an "Open system?" Also, are there any prototypes of this game available anywhere?

Just because Hasbro released the Jaguar hardware rights to the public domain does not mean that Jaguar games themselves are "fair game." Hasbro's intent was merely to allow Jag developers to produce games without having to go through Hasbro to obtain permission. We have a demo version of the game on CD, but as far as we know, it's far from being complete.

Subject: Question About A Nintendo System
From: Matt

This may not be something you can help me with, but I can't find anything about this ANYWHERE. I have stumbled across a 19" television with a regular Nintendo game system built in to the base. On the base it says "Game TV" and has a Nintendo copyright of 1986 on the back of it. The Television has the official Nintendo Seal of Approval on it. Everything works, but I can't find anything about this sort of thing anywhere on the net: What it was, where it was sold, how many were made. I am a bit of a video game collector, and I have never come across one before. I was hoping you may have had some information on either what the heck this thing is, or where I may be able to research it. Thanks!

The system you speak of is the C1 by Sharp. It's a dedicated system that has a TV with a built-in Famicom. The C1 was generally sold in consumer electronics areas instead of gaming sections in Japanese stores as it served a slightly different purpose (sort of like an RCA TV with a built-in VCR). Sharp also sold a unit called "Twin Famicom" which was a combo Famicom/Famicom Disk Drive unit.

The reason Sharp was so involved with FC related things is that the company actually helped design the FC and provided the ROM chips for the FC cartridges themselves. They also produced the disk drive mechanism for the FDS (Famicom Disk System).

Subject: Public Domain For 7800?
From: Keith

Now that there's been good progress on the Hasbro/Jaguar front, is there any chance someone can ask Hasbro about the 7800? Seems like a perfect time! :-)

Don't hold your breath on that one. For now, please take joy in Hasbro's decision to release the Jaguar rights to the public, because it's almost unprecedented (Vectrex is the only other machine to have been released to everyone.) The Jaguar is really the least famous of Atari's home systems and is probably the least marketeable as well. This most likely factored into Hasbro's decision to let the 64-bit system go. And no, don't count on them allowing the 2600 to be fair game anytime soon.

Subject: JTS Drives
From: Rita

Please help!!! I have been trying to get an email address or phone number for JTS. All the info says they have merged with Atari. Which brings me to your web site. I have tried emailing from JTS site and calling the 1-888 number listed but the number is always busy and the email rejects as undeliverable. HELP!!!!

We're sorry to report that JTS is no longer in business. They closed shop just a few short months ago, after selling all their Atari rights to Hasbro.

Subject: Hasbro and Atari Jaguar
From: Attila

Dear Mr. Hardie,

I was wondering if you could confirm the post recently made on Jaguar Interactive made in your name. This post is regarding Hasbro declaring the Jaguar as an open platform. Thank you for you time.

John Hardie: Yep, it's pretty much official. In fact, they handed us an official written press release indicating the exact thing. Check it out in our AGH news page for the full write-up.

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