The creaky, dusty Atari vault door is showing signs of life

I was recently asked what I would do if suddenly found myself an extremely wealthy individual. Many things would be in the mix, but one activity I might consider would be to head out to California and plop myself in Scott E.’s warehouse. Scott’s ‘Vault’, as I like to call it, is filled with so many Atari goodies, history, and information that it would probably take a lifetime to document it all. Fortunately, Scott has been on a recent rampage – publishing more of this information for all to enjoy – including new production floor photos.

Missile Command and Battlezone production at Atari

Most people are visual by nature, and I am a sucker for an old arcade related Polaroid or any other weathered photo – so I naturally loved getting a time preserved look inside Atari when Missile Command and Battlezone were in full production. Here are a couple of those photos.

Atari Production Floor Photo 1Atari Production Floor Photo 1

Atari’s leadership made them profitable – but included calculated risk

Scott has also posted a couple of interviews with Owen Rubin and Mike Hally. I enjoyed the Mike Hally interview a bit more, and some of the history surrounding the making of Star Wars. But this particular statement from Mike about Laser Disc games stuck out in my mind;

He said Atari is “most definitely” going to come out with a laser disc game fairly soon “We haven’t always been first, but we always try to be best” he said. “We’re looking at doing a full blown string capability” which would allow players to control the action at every point in the game — some things videodisc games cannot do now.

Ah yes. Atari will be the best at Laser Disc games, the games of the future – reliability be scorned. Atari was successful because they did not follow, they lead in innovation. But I had to laugh because I remember what Owen Rubin said when he came on Coinopspace for a live chat;

The laser game that actually went the closest to production but did not make it was Road Runner. The Road Runner Laser Disc game was amazing!, real backgrounds (video), animated characters for the game, and actual cartoons. If something happened in the game where a cartoon was available, it would get shown. Then all hell broke loose, Firefox was a disaster from a technical side, and Laser Disc games got canceled.

I went to MIT for session in video and LD production while at Atari. When I came back I suggested that we NOT do Laser Disc games, the technology would not work. It was too soon, the technology sucked big time, and they would break all the time. They said I was wrong, and tried. Such is history!

Laser Disc games would have worked, but the technology was still in its infancy, and adoption before proven data of duress was a hard headed folly filled with too much risk. Regardless, both interviews are an interesting read. For more on these interviews, the photos, and other great Atari history, visit Atarigames.com.

Other Atari Documents and Photos?

I don’t what Scott has in the way of development artwork, but I hope we can see more of that – like the Food Fight concepts he published last year. How about you? What would you like to see?

Here are some similar arcade posts

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Anything Pole Position or Black Widow ….

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Why does it feel like we’ve seen concept art for Pole Position in the past? I certainly would like to see some thumbnail sketches for Black Widow, and any variations…

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“Why does it feel like we’ve seen concept art for Pole Position in the past?”

Did I miss something and/or not do enuff research? 🙂

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I really appreciate Scott releasing the information he does, but the large watermarks ruin much of the experience of viewing these old photographs and documents.

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I certainly understand, especially for what they are. I wish the images were a bit larger, I don’t believe that they are full size and then I don’t think the red watermark would be as big of a deal.

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The watermarks are there to prevent people from stealing my images and using them as their own. The minute I do not watermark an image, it get’s snatched up and used on someones site with no credit or link back to my site. While I would love to post up larger images, I don’t feel it’s my job to provide free content to every gaming site on the net. I left 1 article up on my site without inserting a watermark, and it took less than 2 days for it to appear somewhere else, with no credit or link. Some other person was running a ‘art of the video game’ site with my images being 30% of the content.

I am currently scanning these at high res, to make them available at several commercial image libraries on the net. That way, people who want to use them in articles, web pages and documentaries can pay their fair share for using the images.

The only other solution, is for me ‘NOT’ to share any of the images…..

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I say do whatever you feel is fair to protect your images and keep ’em coming! 🙂

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Scott, I understand the worry of someone else claiming the content as their own, especially as it appears that you intend to profit from your collection, but it does dramatically lower the value of the imagery for the viewer.

If a watermark must be imprinted on everything, perhaps something that’s slightly less intrusive?

Unfortunately, if it’s on the internet, there’s always a chance that someone will attempt to copy and represent the content as their own. Often, the best thing to do is to first communicate with the poster, and when that doesn’t work, simply let the world know that “Hey, that guy over there is trying to present my stuff as his. Not cool.” Mob justice can work wonders.

(personally, pretty much everything I put online is under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. You may find a CC license that’s suitable for your own work as well)

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I tried all that, but it does not work for me. If I make the logo less obtrusive or smaller, they just cut out my logo, or paste over it. Licenses only work, if you are going to take the time to sue people. I can’t sue a bunch of insolvent gamers.

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I’m just happy to get a glimpse of some images that we might otherwise have never seen. Scott saved a big chunk of history and the effort to provide some of that content back to the community is a huge undertaking, thanks!

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