"DEAR AGH" (November/December, 1999)

Subject: I Have 7800 Info That Is Missing From Your Site
From: William

Are you aware that we at Optimized System Software, under contract to General Computer of Boston (the developers of the OS for the 7800), developed *both* a BASIC and a DOS for the 7800?

Since both naturally depended on the keyboard unit, and the keyboard unit was scrapped, they went the way of all too many Atari efforts.

Actually, it would be more correct to say we developed a combination BASIC/DOS cartridge. That is, the BASIC had all the DOS commands built into it, somewhat like the C64, rather than having a separate DOS command processor. Yes, it had DIR and RENAME and DELETE (file) and I think even COPY. The BASIC was really Atari 400/800 BASIC (which we had originally developed) reworked. Several commands specifically for the 7800 added, some 400/800 stuff dropped. For example, no LIST to disk or ENTER from disk. LOAD and SAVE actually used text listing form.

Ah! And I just remembered: Although the DOS was pretty much a rewrite from the ground up, the file system and the files themselves were compatible with Atari DOS 2.0 for the 400/800. That's why the text listing form for LOAD and SAVE in 7800 BASIC: So that you could actually SAVE a program you wrote on the 7800 and then ENTER it on a 400/800 and run it! Providing, of course, that you didn't use 7800 graphics that were unavailable on the 400/800.

What else do I remember...hmmm....Ah! The DOS only allowed ONE file to be open at a time! (Well, gee...remember we were squeezing *both* the BASIC and the DOS into an 8KB cartridge, where the original BASIC alone had been 8KB. *Something* had to go!) (I may be wrong on that...maybe the DOS per se was on the disk? Gads...what a few years will do to your memory!) The disk drive was, of course, an Atari 400/800 standard 810 disk drive.

Sorry I don't remember a lot more about it. We turned over all our materials to GCC and Atari (per our contract) and were too honest to sneakily keep a copy for ourselves. Sigh.

Subject: Help Identifying A Game!
From: Meghan

My name is Meghan, and when I was younger I use to go over to the neighbors and play their Atari...there is one particular game that sticks out in my memories but I can't remember the name. It had a chicken on the top of the screen and a man on the bottom. The chicken would lay eggs and the man had to catch them in the basket that was on his head. I have been looking for this game for a few months now but it is kind of hard when you don't remember the name, I was hoping you guys could help me figure out what the name is for this game. I appreicate your time and I look forward in hearing from you soon.

The game in question is Eggomania by US Games (the company was also known as VidTec.)

It plays a lot like Kaboom! by Activision.

Subject: Atari
From: Syd

Since you maintain that Atari 5200 FAQ sheet, I thought you might be the one to ask. I have a couple questions about Atari games, specifically for the 5200. The first is about Pac-Man. I heard that some guy beat Pac-Man with a perfect score. The fact that he beat it was what impressed me; I always thought those sort of games went on into infinity. But he beat it on an arcade Pac-Man, not the game console. The questions are specific and general. Is there an end to the Atari 5200 Pac-Man? And, in general, do all those type of games, like Berzerk and Joust for instance, have endings?

When I heard that that guy beat Pac-Man, I decided to try it myself. So, I played this mind-numbingly long game of Pac-Man, from the first level, on my 5200. After about four hours it started me off on the first level again. Is that the end, where it just loops back to the first level over and over (if you were crazy enough to keep going)??? Is that how all those games (Galaxian, Joust, etc.) "end"? Alright, one last question. If any of those other games do have endings of some form, is there any way or where to find out at what level? Thank you for the time you've taken to read this. Hopefully you can give me some insight.

First of all, WOW. You rolled the screen in 5200 Pac-Man? That game is hella hard and the controllers don't help either. Hats off to you!

Yes, games like Pac-Man, Joust and Galaxian generally don't "end". Some people consider "rolling the screen" (where your score goes back to 0 after, say, 999999) as beating it. Others think you beat the game when the system overheats or malfunctions, or a bug prompts the game to stop.

Anyhow, for the vast majority of classic games, they do not technically end, but rather just keep going on and on until you make a mistake and lose your last life.

Subject: Cube Quest
From: Philly

I use to play Cube Quest when I was a kid. I am now searching for this game. I see that you have it in your Museum. That was all my web searched turned up. At least I found it, I was starting to think I dreamed this game up. Can you guide me to the manufacturer, if they still exist, or better yet, point me to where I can buy the game.

The manufacturer is long gone, unfortunately. Good luck on finding the game, as less than 15 were EVER made. We know of only one person in the world who has one (he has two), but is a hardcore collector and won't give it up, even for someone's left nut :)

Subject: Top Game
From: Joan

track and field is the top game of all time because i created a book based on the 1982 game track and field. i really like it because i want it to be my book and playstation game in march2000 march11th my birthday so guys at atari will you create research and mail it in 2000 march with the book and game. thank you.

track and field is a very excellent game and we're happy that you created such an awesome book based on the 1982 game track and field. it's not hard to understand why you like it since you want it to be in your book and playstation game in march2000. we're extremely glad that your birthday is coming up soon, i'm sure you will have a good time with your family. we are looking forward to march2000 when your book and game are finished and ready for read and play!

Subject: Good Ole Days
From: Michael

My wife and I used to own XLent Software. This was a small company that produced a series of print software for the Atari computers. We were in the top 10 titles for a while and we continued to support the Atari well into the 80s.

I remember when computing was fun. I had fun with my Ataris in a way that I haven't since. I spend far too much time administering my current computer. What a shame that Atari didn't survive to produce Internet appliances.

I can see it now, plug in the browser cartridge and dial. I hope we can get back to the days when computing was fun and easy.

Subject: Arcade's Greatest Hits 12-Pak For PlayStation
From: Renzie

What happened to this game? I was looking forward to playing Gorf, my favorite coin-up game. How can I get my hands on this game. Maybe a Gorf/Tron classic game in the future would be super cool.

As you probably read in our AGH news page, it's now a 6-pak called "Arcade Party Pak" for the Playstation. Unfortunately, having all 12 games would've required two discs, and I guess Midway balked at spending too much on manufacturing. Therefore, no Gorf, Wizard of Wor and others.

Subject: James
From: Location Of Atari

Can you tell me where Atari is located? I am a junior in high school and have an opportunity to spend a few weeks doing an internship.

The home division of Atari (under the ownership of Hasbro) is located in Beverly, Massachusetts, while Atari Games (the coin-op company, part of Midway) is in Milpitas, California.

Subject: My Great Idea For A Spider-Man Game!
From: Tommy

My name is Tommy and I have a new idea for an arcade game that will be a great seller. It is a Spider-Man fighting game like Marvel VS Capcom or like Street Fighter VS Marvel Super Heroes. I don't know who to talk about that. I have all the players you choose from and their special and super moves. I just need help finding the right person to talk to. If you know anyone who yoi think can help please e-mail back.

The appropriate person for you to talk to is your elementary school counselor so he can check your mental health!

Subject: Wow!
From: Ken

Thanks for letting me on your dynamite page :) I know there are a lot of other people who like games such as Frogs and Flies but who don't rank it as one of their all time faves. Guess everyone is different.

How long have you been an enthusiast? I'm only 21 years old so I never lived through the days of when Super Pong and the VCS and the like were brand spanking new. But I've been playing since age 4 and have never looked back..

Each one of us are in our late 20's or early 30's, so we've been there from the very beginning. That doesn't mean anything, except that we're all certified classic gaming freaks :).

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