Found an Atari 800 and it still works!

We spent the weekend cleaning out the new garage and putting away most of our stuff from the old house.  We even filtered out some more and had several bags more of trash and many boxes for the rummage sale Sandy’s going to have.  I also dug out the Atari 800 I pulled from the wreckage of the old house’s basement and tried it out.  I told Jay I would ship it to him in Arizona if it worked.  It actually did!  I was amazed.  It fired right up and took me to the blue “READY” prompt instantly.  And I mean instantly.  Back then there was no OS to load (unless you had an OS on a floppy you wanted to load, like DOS.  Kevin was shocked when I demonstrated my programming skills by writing this program in a jiff:


20 GOTO 10

Then I typed RUN and off it went, filling the screen with “HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! HELLO WORLD! ” infinitely.  After a few minutes he asked how to stop it.  I press BREAK and it stopped on line 10.  I thought maybe it would plant a seed, making him wonder what else it might be capable of, or what kinds of programs could he possibly write using those mysterious “word” commands… but he quickly moved on to something else and asked for his chair back… which I had been using as a stand for the Atari 800.  So it’s in a box now, I just have to pack it up tightly and get it over to the UPS Store.

I also got the gas-powered leaf blower started today, and he had a blast filling several bio bags with leaves.  I found that setting it up as a leaf SUCKER–with attached bag–makes it much more useful than a leaf blower. The day was awesome–as Jay pointed out–it was 60F this morning here, which it was in the 30’s in Arizona.  I told him “Things are getting weird as the end of the world approaches!”  The wind was out of control though–it was very very windy, so even after we filled several bags with leaves, more just filled the yard again.  With our new chain-link fence and a big tree in the backyard, we now have our own, personal, yard-sized leaf bin!  It felt good to get a lot of them cleaned up though, and even better to have a good chunk of the garage cleaned up as well.  Things are coming along.  I only wish I could say the same for the bank.  They’re moving like molasses with the old house.

Author: Jim

1 thought on “Reminiscing

  1. Wayne Wilson sent me this private comment (reprinted with permission) :

    Just read you post about the Atari 800. I also had an Atari 800 years ago. I remember buying magazines that had games in them but all of the games were in computer code. You had to type in all of the codes in order to play the games. There were pages and pages of codes to type in. Maybe that is why I was so good at entering the numbers, I took data processing at gateway. I worked second shift at the time and would come home and sit there entering the data for hours at a time. Then I would save them on a floppy or on the tape drive that I had. Those were the days.

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