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ScuzzBlog: Diaries October 2019

Entry 12th October 2019: Post 01: Atari 400/800 - Happy Families.

Atari 400/800 - Happy Families.

It is a common theme with most computer artwork of the early home
computer era that mom and dad were key to the kids having fun with
the computer. The notion that a younger member of the family would
want to lock themselves away and be the only user of the computer
was so strange as to be very rarely represented on any computer
box work. The issue was more to do with most households only having
one TV and also computers costing so much.

And so we have wonderful images of dad using the Atari 400/800 and
no doubt making reference to the very informative guide book. How
dad would have coped with memory maps and assembler subroutines is
a moot point. Suffice to say the makers wanted parents to buy the
machines and then the kids to hog the TV to play games. I know of
very few families that embarked on a computer purchase that didn't
eventually just have to get the kids another TV. Or suffer endless
pinging and ponging and screams of joyous laughter from kids.

I doubt many got their fingers even close to a BASIC computer program.

OK ! Must be time to check out the Atari 400 and 800. I really am not
going to bore you with all my various tape tests. Be assured that
they both worked a charm. These computers need the cartridge to use
the BASIC. If you don't have one then you will need to get one.

Also the power supply, as ever, varies from the later machines. In
truth they are simply wonderful computers, albeit very boring. I do
like the 400 keys interestingly. They look so funky.

That's that .. just time for some River Raid. Having the cartridge
slots in these machines was a real clever move. And if you don't know
how cartridges work then just simply think of them as a removable
part of the actual motherboard. This gives instant access to the
circuitry on the cartridge. Whereas tape data has to be loaded in as
does disk data. It really is an almost instant process accessing the
game data.

The Commodore Plus/4 has four cartridges built onto the motherboard,
they are called chips. Not exactly true but follows the same idea.

Atari 400/800 - Happy Families.

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Last updated 12th October 2019

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