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Dear Fruitman... - The Atari Times

Dear Fruitman...

Atari is my favorite
by Fruitman

July 12, 2001
What is your favorite Atari?

The Player

Dear Player,

There have been a lot of Ataris. Why, I remember way back when good old Nolan still controlled Atari. Pong ruled the earth. Games like Tank and Night Driver and Football crowded the arcades. A time when skill was nothing but a matter of who could roll their tracball faster than their opponent. And a man playing Pong could hold a girl in one hand and control the game with the other. Pure bliss.

Then there was the Warner Atari. This was the Atari that made billions for a company that would end up squandering it on expensive booze and fancy cars. Back in those glory days of gaming when we had nothing but a yellow square to represent your character. You'd be chased around a maze by funky looking ducks who were supposed to be dragons. Where Space Invaders each had names... Rabbit Ears, Red Hot, Spaghetti Head, the Purple Football... Where school kids came up with such creative names for Asteroids, Dodge 'Em, and E.T. (Usually E.T. was just called 'stupid.')

I long for those days of old. When games were games and dragons were ducks.

Then the Tramiel Atari that tried so hard to become a computer company. I bought into the ST world. IT is the GREATEST computer IN ALL the WORLD. I will DO your BIDDING lord TRAMIEL. I did love the ST because it brings memories of playing Dungeon Master in summer school instead of learning geometry.

TheTramiel Atari brought us the Lynx and the Jaguar. Two of the greatest gaming systems of all time. Both of which were under appreciated by the gaming community. Perhaps is wasn't so much a lack of marketing as a lack of enthusiasm by a family hell-bent on making a game company a computer company? They knew they were licked and tried one last-ditch effort with the Jaguar, abandoning the computers they held so dear. (Maybe releasing the Falcon three years earlier as they had planned would have helped too.)

Then the JTS Atari. When the Tramiel's sold our beloved piece of history to a hard drive company. Those bastards.

Then the Hasbro Atari who picked it up for a song, and proceeded to deliver substandard games with new "fancy graphics." Some of the games were good, but how about creating something NEW for a change? You can only take Missile Command and Pong so far before you'll need to come up with a fresh idea! Wow! Now there's a concept for you!

Finally, we have the Infogrames Atari. We can only guess what will happen to Atari now? Let's hope that they can recreate the magic the Nolan Bushnell started.

Oh, who the hell are we kidding? No one will ever be able to recreate that. Mr. Bushnell, I salute you. You are my favorite Atari (person). ;-)

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What is the greatest video game company of all time? (Hint: Atari.)