Written bonus plan: Departmental Budgeted Operating Income (DBOI) disappeared. Developers called it “Don’t Bet On It!” Final Straw: marketing memo – top game on list – tells developers: “These games are selling really well. Do more like this!” Not All Bad: Ray Kassar did raise the sales of Atari from $75million to $2.2billion in the time frame of only a few years. During one fiscal season Atari made $400million in pure profit under Kassar’s leadership. Atari Commercial: 13
Atari Secrets: Al Alcorn begins work on a secret gaming project using holograms and technology from a bankrupt company Atari bought. Kassar refuses to release “Cosmos” prompting Alcorn to quit. He is the last member of the original team that worked at Atari outside of original employee Cynthia. Major Game Culture Point: Easter Eggs Warren Robinett: Atari programmer and creator of the game Adventure. This game created an entirely new genre for games: the Adventure format. Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Tomb Raider all owe their existence to this game that started their own brands of games. It was based off of his love of text based DOS games. The point of the game is to retrieve a magical chalice stolen an evil magician. There are bats and three dragons, Yorgle, Grundle, and Rhindle that try to defeat the player. Warren loved his job at first though later soured due to non-recognition. Couldn’t even get the company to buy him a pizza for a good game development. Warren was assigned to the game Adventure and wanted to show the world that he made the game. He created a special room in the game that was accessed by selecting a single grey dot on a grey wall. Inside was Warren’s full name – a breach of Atari policy. It was so severe that had he been caught her could have been instantly fired. Warren kept the secret for a year after 300,000 cartridges were sold. It cost $10,000 to manufacture games at the time and Warren was afraid of being fired or asked to remaster the game. His Easter Egg took up 5% of the total storage of the cartridge. It was discovered by Atari when a 12yr old boy from Salt Lake City sent a letter to Atari asking about it. The term Easter Egg was coined by the publishers of Electronic Games who also reported the story of the kid from Salt Lake City. The Egg caused a sensation and the popularity forced Atari to re-examine their game designs and paved the way for future games to be entirely designed around these secrets and secret areas. Side Notes: Modern Easter Egg Example: Pokemon – Mew, Programmer Shigeki Morimoto Midway: Created Easter Eggs to get kids to dump more quarters into the cabinets. Kids could score extra points by banging on the box in a certain way. Kids could only find these after playing many, many, many games.
- Spring '17
- Mathew Powers
- Video game console, Atari