Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation by Jamie Lendino

By Jamie Lendino

Atari 8-bit desktops are the 1st machines that really bridged the divide among game gamers and residential machine lovers. The Atari four hundred and 800 signaled the beginning of a brand new period in computing. Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit pcs outlined a Generation is the 1st ebook to hide what made Atari's groundbreaking laptop line nice: its first-class photos and sound, versatile programming atmosphere, and extensive aid from the burgeoning domestic laptop neighborhood.

For these people coming of "gaming age" within the 80s, Atari video games have been easily amazing—and you will find out what remodeled a hundred titles rather a lot enjoyable to play. Breakout additionally explores the Atari 8-bit platform because it stands this present day, with a strong fanatic and modding neighborhood, the expanding price of Atari desktops and peripherals, and the way to start with one now or get your outdated one operating back.

Jamie Lendino is the Editor-in-Chief of formerly, he controlled the patron electronics stories workforce for, and has written for the print and electronic types of PC Magazine for over 10 years. he is additionally had articles released in Popular technology, digital Musician, Sound and Vision, and on and

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Extra resources for Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation

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You could also port an existing TRS-80 or Apple II program to the Atari, and the result would be similar (and we saw this with some truly good games like Choplifter and Spare Change, which I’ll get to later on). But for a program to be truly Atari-native and exploit the hardware to the fullest, the programmer had to rewrite the code with the Atari’s more advanced chipset and features in mind. Inside each 400 and 800, underneath all the shielding, there were three main component boards. The largest was the motherboard, which ran front to back.

The TV delivered a giant 25-inch color picture for playing games and typing in programs. To use the computer, I sat at a marble-and-imitation-gold-leaf coffee table, the kind you’d find in a lot of houses with Italian grandmothers living in them. I typed and looked to the right to see the results on the screen, which was absolutely fantastic for a developing 8-year-old’s neck muscles. Eventually, my ever-supportive parents set me up with a real desk and chair. First, I used a small 13-inch Magnavox TV set (also with fake wood paneling), and then a beloved Commodore 1702 computer monitor.

The GTIA chip meant the machines were capable of 256 colors instead of 128, and had three additional graphics modes; this remained true for all future 8-bit Atari computers as well. For a time, Atari authorized a GTIA upgrade for earlier CTIA-equipped 800 machines; you could have the upgrade performed at various service centers across the country. Today it’s pretty rare to stumble on an 800 with CTIA, although it could happen, especially since many people don’t realize exactly what they’re selling in estate sales, pawn shops, and the like.

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