Just a few pages I scanned from my copy—this particular book is not yet available at the Usborne site. Note the “long distance game” predicted “by the year 2000,” somewhat anticipating the internet. The irony is that the internet has enabled an attention deficit disordered culture that, with few exceptions, no longer has the patience or smarts to play a game of chess.
Tuck those t-shirts in, nerds. You wouldn’t want to get beat up or anything.
(Photo via SA_Steve)
I forgot how big the cart boxes were for the 400/800. The console wars of the late ’70s and early ’80s were fought largely through package art and package design. Demo centers were few and far between, but we all saw the boxes faced out under glass counters or behind the registers. The 400/800 packages were bigger, Atari would have us believe, because the contents were more sophisticated. Pac-Man wasn’t just a game when played on the Atari 400 and 800. It was a “computer program.”
When I got my 800 in ’82 or ’83, it came bundled with Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.
(Photo via vigorito; box scan via Atari Mania)
The kid is Stewart Butterfield. From what I’ve read, “camp” was a room in the back of select stores. The younger kids (8 to 11) learned Logo, and the older kids (12 to 15) learned BASIC.
RadioShack filed for bankruptcy in February of this year.
There’s a demo on YouTube of Algebra Dragons from 1985 that appears to be a sequel to this game. “Press -C- to continue” brought back some memories.
Clever concept for a game. Still, I wouldn’t have made it past the first dragon.
Images are via Flickr. Click through for a bigger view.
More, including daily schedule and newspaper/magazine articles about adult computer camp, at Robert A. Kahn & Associates. I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting on a boat that’s being “sailed” by an Atari 800.
Atari ad execs really enjoyed word play on ‘hardware’ and ‘software’.
The computer camp concept was pioneered in 1977 by Dr. Michael Zabinski, a physics and engineering professor at Connecticut’s Fairfield University. Zabinksi had received “several federal grants to train teachers at the University to integrate computers into their classrooms,” and wisely thought of merging summer camp and computer training to reach young people. The first National Computer Camp was held in 1978. NCC is still going.
I talked about the Atari camps, with a breakdown of the hefty cost and daily schedule, here. There was a big push to get girls more involved with the Atari camps, as seen in the 1983 article here. Girls are also heavily represented on the brochure. Unfortunately, the male computer whiz stereotype established in the early ’80s stuck, and the number of women majoring in computer science peaked in 1984 at about 37%. That number has dropped steadily ever since and currently hovers at between 15-20%.
I have no doubt that the camp experience “lasts the rest of your life.” I don’t remember hearing about it at the time, or maybe I did and simply put it out of my head: my parents would never have been able to afford it.
I found the brochure at Robert A. Kahn & Associates, the company that designed it. The PDF is here. You have to admire how many activities were crammed onto the brochure cover, including, for some reason, catching butterflies.
Rob Flickenger, outfitted in pale blue Batman pajamas, is pretty stoked about getting his first computer. I also see a Stomper, a paintable Ewok figurine (similar to the Yoda seen here), and a Garfield plush under the tree.
Well done, sir.
The photos were taken by Jim Willing and are hosted at Jason Scott’s Flickr. The first West Coast Computer Faire was held on April 16 and 17, 1977 in San Francisco (Jobs and Wozniak introduced the Apple II there). The 7th Faire ran from March 19-21, 1982, also in San Francisco.
The last photo above shows the Adventure International booth and Scott Adams (powder blue suit). I also found a two-page spread from Computer Gaming World #4 (June, 1982) featuring more photos, including another shot of Adams and the AI booth, as well as Atari’s Chris Crawford, who’s playing Scram, a game he designed, on an Atari 800.
The photos are from a 1982 Miami Herald story and show Adams inside and outside Adventure International’s Longwood, Florida headquarters. According to an interview I found in Antic, Adams moved into the “custom-built geodesic dome” in 1979. By summer of 1983 Adventure International had 40 employees and, according to The Free Lance-Star, was a “multi-million dollar company.” Many of Adams’ classic games appear in the second photo, including Adventureland.
Geodesic domes are largely DIY and “often identified with the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s.”