Re: [stella] Stella @ 20

Subject: Re: [stella] Stella @ 20
From: Glenn Saunders <cybpunks@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 03:53:19 -0700
At 11:21 PM 8/24/2000 -0500, you wrote:
I just recieved my copy of Stella at 20, and was completely awstruck.
Just thought I would recommend it to anyone who hasn't gotten it yet.  If
you are at all interested in the history of the developement of the VCS or
Atari, or even want to pick up a few of the programming tips, I think you
will find it quite worth it.

Thanks a bunch. This is the most positive review I've read so far. Classic Gamer Magazine had a couple nice things to say about it too in their coverage of CGExpo 2000, and also Atari2600 Nexus. I'm still trying to get the bad taste of Tom Russo's Next Generation review out of my mouth. The tapes aren't meant for everyone, but I think that those who want to know everything about the 2600 and to a letter extent about Atari culture, will get a great deal out of the tapes, and not just information, but what I feel is a really special, often personal and emotional moment in time for these people--something you can't get out of a book or even a CG Expo keynote speech. I also think Volume 1 is the kind of tape that anyone too young to know Atari should watch as a mandatory history lesson, and both volumes would certainly be a great viewing for anyone working as a programmer in the game business today, regardless of whether they are Atari fans.

One thing. Make sure you watch past the credits on Volume 1. I didn't want to put Doug Neubauer's interview before the credits because it wasn't a fitting finale, so the interview is tacked on at the end as elegantly as I could. I think a lot of people are stopping their VCRs at the end not knowing there is more, though. Some how I need to get the word out.

BTW, Glenn, is that you with the cake?  Do you appear at all in either

Yes, it's me. The late Jim Nitchals and his wife put the cake together for me. It was kind of a mutual idea between us all to have the cake. We brought it in early in the morning and Nolan's wife stored it in their huge fridge until the lunch break. As far as I know, it was a total surprise to everyone when I came out with it, including Nolan. Right as everyone breaks for lunch Nolan says "this is too much fun." That is what gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment, that I could somehow get so much great content without making it a chore to people. You know, traditional one on one interviews are not fun. They are highly structured. They have makeup people, lav mikes going up your shirt, careful lighting, plenty of stops and starts. You just don't get the same kind of off the cuff material in such a sterile setting. Technically, it's better because it's more controlled, but I sacrificed the technical aspects in favor of the sincerity of the moment.

It was just a really lucky break that I managed to convince everyone to do this thing, and originally Nolan was not on board. He jumped in when he realized everyone else was going to do it, and agreed to host at his place, which was very gracious. But I could go on and on about the behind the scenes... There is way too much to tell in this 3 year epic of a project...

I'm not in Volume 2 at all. I appear in the background during the opening of Volume 1 incidentally, like when Jerry Jessop, Larry Anderson Jr., and I are crowded around Nolan Bushnell showing him pictures of someone's Computer Space collection.

The only time you hear me ask a question is during Nolan's talk about making the Axlon carts, where I asked him how he felt about being the "attendant to the death rattle". Luckily, asking him to elaborate led to a wonderful additional monologue on the Tramiels.

It should be noted that there is still plenty of good stuff left on the cutting room floor, so to speak. We'll see how it goes with Volume 1. It may be possible to put something good together with what's left, especially if it also includes that 2600 technical primer I failed to include with Volume 1. But realistically we're talking another year before that happens. In the meantime I'm at least going to try my hand at 2600 programming. After having programmed in AtariBasic, 3 years of Javascript/VBScript, and about 10 months of Cold Fusion, plus 3 or so years of researching the 2600 I think I may have finally developed the aptitude to write a 2600 game, and I think the process of doing that will make me that much more qualified to draft the tutorial stuff myself.

But the pressure's off now because the really best stuff that exists is out there.

Glenn Saunders - Producer - Cyberpunks Entertainment Personal homepage: Cyberpunks Entertainment:

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