With a 1976 release, Atari's Breakout was right at the frontier of video game history -- and, it would seem, Apple's. The task of designing a prototype board with as few chips as possible fell to Steve Jobs, with an extra $100 for every chip less, and Jobs delegated it to his pal Steve Wozniak, who completed the board with just 42 chips in only four days.
Jobs, the sneaky cur, kept the bonus to himself, paying Wozniak a pittance. Atari couldn't even use the board, and ended up going with a different design that had about 100 chips.
Anyway, as interesting as all that is, you want to play Breakout on Google Image search, right? Head on over to Google and do an image search for "Atari Breakout" (or just click the hyperlink). … Read more
The next time you mash buttons on a video game controller, keep in mind that there's more than half a century of innovation behind the venerable input device.
To remind you of this fact, Pop Chart Lab's eye-catching poster, titled "The Evolution of Video Game Controllers," sheds light on the incredible technological progression of controller hardware. You'll probably never again see more joysticks, knobs, and buttons in one place -- well, unless you're hanging around CNET producer Stephen Beacham's retro video game console patch bay.… Read more
Welcome to today's show, where we're finally analyzing the food photography trend for what it is, with the help of this article in the New York Times that profiles restaurateur David Bouley and the creative tactics he's come up with to stop the dining room distractions.
The way we see it, the problem with food photography is that we've collectively lost our shame and sense of subtlety when it comes time to dine. Instead of snapping a quick 3-second iPhone pic, we've seen folks stand on chairs, use tripods with a giant dSLR, and even ask the restaurant to adjust the ceiling lights to suit the mood of the picture.
The fact is that there's really no better way to prove you're eating above your budget than to take a picture of it. Argue all you want, it's just a tacky move and plenty of restaurants agree. Check out today's show to hear some places are doing to avoid the awkwardness.… Read more
The U.S. operations of pioneering game maker Atari has filed for bankruptcy protection with the intention of separating from its unprofitable French parent.
Together with affiliates Atari Interactive, Humongous, and California US Holdings, Atari requested joint administration in U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing yesterday in an effort to raise independent funding to develop mobile games.
The filing comes a month after the French parent announced it was strapped for cash. The company, which has not been profitable since 1999, forecast in December that it would record a "significant loss" (PDF) for the 2012-2013 fiscal year and was … Read more
Here's something to make early video game enthusiasts feel old -- Atari's Pong is celebrating its 40th birthday today.
It was 1972 that Atari's first consumer product was created sending people into a playing frenzy. Rumor has it that lines of gamers vying to try out Pong at the arcade sometimes went at least 60 people deep. It wasn't until 1975 that the home version of the game was released.
"… Read more
I'm against tacky faux chrome stick-on portholes on cars, but I wholly endorse Etsy seller Empira's geeky custom car emblems.
The emblems cover most of the top sci-fi franchises, including "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "Battlestar Galactica," "Doctor Who," and "Firefly." There are even shout-outs to the fictional Canyonero from "The Simpsons" and to Atari with an Atari 2600 stick-on.
The emblems are convincingly done in the style of real car emblems. The Land Speeder even apes the look of the Land Rover logo. If you already own a vintage Ford Falcon, then you'll be on top of the universe with a Falcon Millennium Edition stick-on. Prices range for $12 to $15.… Read more
Zap! Atari and Microsoft today launched Atari Arcade, an excellent example of how HTML5 can change the way we play video games.
The portal of retro entertainment -- primarily launched to celebrate Atari's 40th anniversary -- includes Asteroids, Centipede, Combat, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Super Breakout, and Yars' Revenge. The best part? It's free, and doesn't require Flash, Java, or any other plug-in to play, running solely on HTML5.… Read more
Yesterday was your last chance to get in on the Kickstarter fundraising for Boxer8's Ouya. After 30 days and more than 63,000 backers, the Android-powered home gaming console pulled in a total of $8,596,475 ($99 of those from your correspondent).
Steve Jobs' Atari memo sold for $27,500 at its Sotheby's auction, just shy of twice its estimated worth.
The handwritten memo was jotted in 1974 by then-19-year-old Jobs, who described changes Atari could make to its World Cup Soccer coin arcade game to make it more fun and functional.
Jobs worked nights at Atari for a brief time in 1974, employing Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to help whittle down the hardware required for a prototype of a single-player version of Pong, the game that would go on to become Breakout. Jobs would leave Atari that summer to travel … Read more