Atari- Life After Death

Atari- Life After Death

(Small JustClaws Logo)

Atari people have taken over the industry!

Don Thomas says...

"Ron Beltramo is working out of his home as a consultant. Greg LaBrec is in the R&D department with me at Sony (as is Mike Fulton, Bill Rehbock, Pradip, and others in other departments. I'm having a great time and we're doing as well as I once hoped Atari would again do."

Don Thomas

(Former US Customer Support)

(Don Thomas at work)

Don Thomas at work, as usual.

Don was the man most people associated with Atari! He was one of the last people at Atari- in fact only John Skrutch has lasted longer than him. The Jaguar developer support guy, Scott Sanders, is still there, but he is now working with JTS on disk drive technology developments apparently.

Ted Hoff

(Former CEO Atari US)

(Photo of Tedd Hoff)

Picture courtesy of Don Thomas on Compuserve.

Tedd Hoff was appointed to turn around the ailing Atari Jaguar 64 console, and to many people he did just that. Tedd Hoff ploughed money into advertising (modest, but a massive improvement over what the Tramiels had been doing up until then,) and television "info-mercials". He arranged a number of deals to improve the Atari distribution of the Jaguar, getting the machine into the Wal*Mart chain, and improving sales to Toys'R'Us. He also brought in a TOUGH quality control system for games, CANCELLED several high profile titles, and also cut a considerable number of internal developers.

Tedd Hoff finally resigned from Atari, bitterly claiming that Atari's stated goals were not the same as their real goals. He claimed that Atari wanted to abandon Jaguar development, and invest the money. The Atari Jaguar marketing was not going to be backed with future products. I'm not sure what he's doing now. He was considered a "good guy" generally by Atari Jaguar users, but his legacy was more to do with marketing than success. Regrettably, by the time Atari appointed him, they'd already lost the next-gen war to Sony, and hype.

Bill Rehbock

(Former Jaguar Software Producer)

(Photo of Bill Rehbock)

(Yaroze Logo)

Bill Rehbock is now working on Sony's PSX devkit for hobbyists, "Yaroze". He is now Vice-President of Research & Development within Sony US, and is one of those former Atari people who sees Sony rather like a new Atari in outlook.

Scott Sanders

(Atari US Developer Support)

(Scott Sanders Photo)

Scott Sanders (whose address included the line "Jaguar Guru") was the main developer support person for Atari US. He wrote a good deal of the initial sample code for the Jaguar, but developer feedback on him seems to vary. The concensus seems that if he didn't like your project, you were sunk. Scott is now working on secret JTS projects.

Jeff Minter


Jeff Minter in pensive mood.

Although Jeff Minter was not part of the normal Atari team, he came to symbolise Atari's success or failure, as it was his title, Tempest 2000, which propelled the Jaguar to early success. He was actually a contract programmer and was "let go" to other projects after Defender 2000. His departure was seen as Atari abandoning Jaguar developments.

Darryl Still

(Former Atari UK Marketing Manager)

(Darryl Still)

Darryl Still- when Jaguar was doing well.

Darryl Still was the voice of Atari UK, and most UK users associated Atari with Darrly Still in the same way US users thought of Don Thomas. He left Atari in January 1996 and now works for Electronic Arts. It was his departure from Atari along with that of other executives which brought about the "Atari abandons Jaguar" rumous and the withdrawel of the Jaguar from shops like Electronic Boutique overnight in the UK.

Alistair Bodin

(Atari UK Developer Support)

Alistair Bodin was/is Atari UK's Jaguar Developer Support person. It seems that next to Scott Sanders, he was Atari's biggest Jaguar guru, and wrote lots of Jaguar software. He was heavily involved with UK developed titles, in particular "Attack of the Mutant Penguins". I was speaking to him over a potential project in early 1996 myself, but he quickly dismissed my proposals saying he didn't think they'd work well, and that his word was final. He is still working for JTS/Atari UK on unknown JTS projects.

The Tramiels

Gary, Sam (ST and Jaguar), Jack (father) and Leonard (approval) Tramiel.

(Jack Tramiel and Sons)

Picture courtesy of Don Thomas on Compuserve.

The Tramiel family "clan" was lead at Atari by Jack Tramiel, but when he stepped back from operations, Sam Tramiel helped to make the Jaguar what it is today. Sadly it appears that he suffered a heart-attack or other illness around Christmas 1996 and it was this that lead Jack Tramiel to step back in and take over operations, leading ultimately to Atari's move to abandon Jaguar and merge with JTS. The Tramiels are now no longer involved in the running of JTS/Atari. Their current work is unknown.