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Article #540 (635 is last):
From: Michael Current 
Subject: Atari Celebrates 25 Years!
Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Edited-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Date: Sat Sep 20 17:09:55 1997

    Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 04:13:22 -0400

    Out of Sight! Atari Celebrates 25 Years!
    (c)1997 By Donald A. Thomas, Jr.

    Those who know me, know my undying commitment to remember how much fun I
    had with Atari products throughout the early years of the industry's
    evolution. Atari was once one of the most popular tradenames in the world.
    It ranked almost as high as Coca-Cola in brand name recognition and
    household members either read about it, spoke about it or played an Atari
    product virtually every day of their lives.

    Aside from the pure entertainment value that Atari provided over the years,
    Atari has influenced the industry in ways that most of us will never
    fathom. Apple Computer was born of Atari employees and the first Apple
    system ever manufactured is said to have been of parts "borrowed" from
    Atari engineering labs. Today, Apple Computer suffers from many of the same
    symptoms that Atari experienced prior to its unceremonious passing not long
    ago. After all these years, even Steve Jobs is wisely backing away from an
    "opportunity" at the helm. Apple might be wise to call on ex-Atari
    executives to advise them what not to do. SC&T, a formidable maker of video
    game driving controllers was founded by an ex-Atari employee and so was
    Activision. Ex-Atari people work at 3Com, AverMedia, Capcom, Creative Labs,
    Electronic Arts, Intel, JTS Corporation, Midway, NetManage, Photronics,
    Piiceon, Playnet, Reality Quest, Sega of America, Silicon Gaming, Sony
    Computer Entertainment America, Sun Microsystems, Super Dimension,
    Tecnomatix Technologies, U.S. Robotics, . . . virtually every imaginable
    Silicon Valley technology company in existence. In each case, their
    experiences from Atari help shape what they do in their present jobs and
    they will affect the way we enjoy tomorrow's technology.

    Those like me that remember Atari so fondly clearly recall "Pong", but many
    of us will remember different forms of the game. The Silicon Valley
    remembers a coin-operated stand-up system that had electronics affixed to
    an oversized electronics board and played through an off-the-shelf
    black-and-white Zenith television. Much of the country may remember a
    dedicated home-based console with two integrated paddles and several modes
    for one or two players. But what assuredly everyone over 18 remembers is
    the Atari Video Computer System (VCS aka 2600) and the elaborate forms of
    "Pong" it could play in color. And soon forthcoming was "Air/Sea Battle",
    "Breakout", "Combat", "Outlaw", "Slot Racer", "Super Breakout", "Surround",
    "Video Olympics" and many other innovative titles that exploited the pixel
    in every 2k way possible.

    On Tuesday, June 27, 1972, Atari was incorporated. Although Atari had roots
    that traced back more than a year prior, this is the date that many people
    recognize was the formal birth date. . . making Atari 25 years old in the
    year 1997.

    On Friday, July 12, 1996, Atari Corporation was informed by the Securities
    Exchange Commission (SEC) that their intentions to merge with Jugi Tandon
    Storage, Inc. (JTS) was approved pending the formality of a shareholder's

    On Tuesday, July 30, Atari Corporation hosted a special meeting of
    stockholders in the offices of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. in
    Palo Alto, California. The meeting was said to have taken about four to six
    minutes. With an outcome of approximately 42 million votes in favor and
    about 11,000 against, the stockholders ratified the decision to merge.
    Trading of ATC shares were halted at the end of the day. Upon the
    conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Sam Tramiel arranged to pick up the
    severance checks for himself and his siblings. Mr. Jack Tramiel, former
    Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Atari Corporation, remained to assist with
    a smooth transition with the handful of surviving Atari personnel.

    Essentially, July 30 was the final day Atari existed as an entity of its
    own. A handful of ex-Atari employees, who had remained faithful in a hope
    that someone or something would hear a heartbeat and jolt it back to life,
    accepted no new checks with an Atari logo. JTS stepped in, delegated any
    remaining liabilities and reassigned the staff to the task of selling hard
    disk drives.

    On Monday, July 28, a friend of mine sent to my attention the following

    Wednesday, August 13, 6-9 PM

    San Jose Live!
    150 South First Street, San Jose

    * 25 years ago, in June of 1972, Atari was born!
    * Come join Atarians from all the ages as we celebrate 25 years of
      innovation, technology, and countless memories.
    * Come play Pong (1972) and San Francisco Rush (1997) and see what
      25 years of technology hath wrought.

    All current and former Atari employees are welcome!

    * Bring old photos and memorabilla - come swap lies with some of
      the best!
    * Open Bar from 6 to 8 PM
    * Video Games. Video Games. Video Games.
    * Spotlight Event: High Stakes cash prize Video Game contest
      starring former Atari executives.
    * Please RSVP by phone, fax or E-mail to:

    Karen (Graham) Jefferson
    408-434-3910 (fax)

    Deborah Geyer
    408-473-9488 (fax)



    The notice clearly states that the event on August 13 is open to "all
    current and former Atari employees". The festivities will banner Atari's
    25th Anniversary and historic being. I have a copy of the original flyer
    and I noticed some interesting things:

    * The word "Atari" (or a derivative) appears 6 times.
    * There are 25 lines of type on the actual announcement.
    * The expression "Video Game" is found 4 times.
    * The term "25 years" or "25th anniversary" appears 4 times.
    * Both RSVP e-mail addresses end in

    "@agames"? Atari Games? Hmmm. I don't know much about San Jose Live! or how
    big the establishment is, but could this event be intended for just Atari

    Flashback to the "wee hours" of Monday, July 2, 1984, when Tramel
    Technology, Ltd. (Mr. Jack Tramiel) acquired the assets of Atari from
    Warner Communications by promising $240 million in long-term notes and a
    32% interest in the home-computer and home-game divisions. The resulting
    deal specified that Warner communications retain the arcade game and
    telecommunications (AtariTel) divisions of Atari. The deal with the
    Tramiels was initiated by Warner with a phone call to Mr. Garry Tramiel who
    was working as a broker at Merill-Lynch in Sunnyvale.

    Since that time in 1984, Atari Coin-op and Atari Home Consumer Products
    were more than separate divisions, they were entirely separate companies,
    but the deal that Jack made with Warner saved both companies and Atari
    survived as two companies for over a decade more.

    Quite frankly, I'm not sure what they will be celebrating at San Jose Live!
    on Wednesday, August 13, but it definitely is not an Atari Alumni Reunion.
    When I spoke to Karen to RSVP, she pointed out that this was only for the
    coin-op company which is currently owned by Williams and still calls itself
    Atari Games. Interesting, the terms "Atari Games", "Coin-Op" and "Consumer
    Products Atari not invited" appear no where on the invitation.

    How does that phrase go? . . . Out of sight, out of mind?

    -- END --

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