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Profile Atarian: Craig Lutas - The Atari Times

Profile Atarian: Craig Lutas

Burning up the Atari!
by Craig Lutas

March 15, 2003

I can still remember the feint smell of electric fire and then bang, one dead Atari 800XL.

It's a little funny being an Atarian in the modern age. I mean, Atari recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and yet I'm just half that age. I'm sure Nolan didn't think anyone would still be playing now and he must still get a certain buzz off all the fans.

My collection started at about 5 years ago, when I really started to get into games. I have always enjoyed finding old computers on Car Boot Sales (Thrifts in US). My first ever Atari would be the 2600. I bought it alongside a bunch of common games for about 2 pounds. Having followed gaming history before that I knew all about Atari, and so couldn't wait to test it and see how good the machine actually was. Let's just say it lived up to expectations and then some. I don't remember all the games I got, but I do remember staying up until about 3am that first night, shooting missile's in Missile Command.

After a good few month's of occasionally buying 2600 games from different places I found my next bit of kit. An Atari 800XL, lying in a box and complete with tape deck and a bunch of tapes. I asked the stall holder how much and he said 1 pound. I bought it as quickly as I could and brought it home. I got home and tried it and it worked, for about 10 minutes. I can still remember the feint smell of electric fire and then bang, one dead Atari 800XL. I'm not entirely sure what was wrong with it and didn't hold on to it for too long.

The 800XL incident put me off buying Atari for a small while, until another bargain came up. An Atari 6 button Woody, complete with about 12 games. All for the sum of 2 pounds. I was overjoyed so much I sold my other Atari 2600 (for about 5 pounds, these were pre Ebay days). I know had the woody and about 30 games. However I wanted more and started researching the other Atari consoles. Around this time I discovered the magical place known as Ebay.

Ebay was a place I could get practically anything, but for a price. I knew exactly what system I wanted. An Atari Jaguar, and AvP and Tempest 2000 to go with it. However Ebay is not where my Atari Jaguar was purchased from. Electronics Boutique had found a large warehouse full of stock. This stock included new and sealed Atari Jags. So I rushed down to the shop and bought a new and still sealed Jaguar for 20 pounds. I also bought copies of Doom and Iron Soldier for 5 pounds each. I later picked up Tempest 2000 and Alien Vs Predator off Ebay for a price!

Today, I am perhaps not so obsessed with my Jaguar or indeed Atari. But every couple of days I'll still pull one out of my cupboard and just play a little.

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