by Profundo

Industry Whispers and Meditations

Yes, Virginia, modems that will not require telephones are on the horizon. Several companies are developing modems that will accept information from the airwaves and pass the information along to a home computer, via a radio receiver and special interfaces. You can start looking for a shakeout in the telecommunications industry, as companies that have not as yet come into the public eye fold their tents. The technology is becoming outdated before a product can be shipped. The field of modems, data base systems and phone-transmitted games has already become cutthroat, as every entrepreneur in America jumps on the bandwagon. AT&T’s announced deal with Coleco for a game-transmission service may scare some people away…and then never materialize.

All of the companies developing interactive laserdisc games for home and arcade are maintaining a level of secrecy that George Lucas might envy. The secrecy mainly surrounds storylines and the visual techniques with which to tell those stories.

One secret that they are all keeping from each other is that most of next year’s crop of games will contain computer animation, either totally or in coordination with live action. One company (no names, please, jobs are on the line) is doing a Raiders of the Lost Ark type adventure with computer animation and live action.

And we have learned that Bally/Midway has contacted Triple-I, who realized some of Tron’s effective effects, to create twenty-two minutes of animation for a game in development there.

What would we rumor-mongers do without Atari? Rumors are running the gamut from: Warners is going to cancel Atari’s computer hardware division; to: Warners is going to cancel Atari, the whole shooting match. I choose not to believe those rumors. Sure, Atari is losing a bundle for the parent company, executives are being ushered in and out like lambs to the slaughter or shear, 250 white collar jobs were cut in New York alone (who’d’a’thunk that they had so many executives so far from the SilValley?), they were forced to destroy thousands of cartridges, they are being hit by lawsuits and labor actions, and their computers are late to the Christmas market. But we all have problems. Naw, Atari will survive. What would us rumor-mongers do without them?

A group of the most prominent computer scientists in the world recently collaborated in order to create the most powerful computer mankind has ever known. The size of a 7-11, boasting 250,000K of memory, six thousand-bit macroprocessors, the computer known as Colossus chugged to magnificent life. Immediately the scientists programmed Colossus to answer this question: “Is there a God?” The computer—lights flashing, disks whirring-processed the question for brief minutes and at last delivered its reply:

“There is now.”

That’s no rumor, that’s a joke, son.

Whatever happened to Atari’s Cosmos series…the long-ago announced line of 30 holographic hand held games? For that matter, whatever happened to Milton Bradley’s boardgame/computergames? And while we’re asking questions to which there are no, or pro-forma, replies: did Mike Katz leave Coleco early this year because he saw disaster in the making?

VCS Picks of the Month: Moon Patrol (I don’t care what anyone says, I have a good old time toodlin’ and shootin’) and Krull, both games from Atari.

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