TMR wrote:And three years wasn't enough to get at least some mastery going? Three years into the C64's lifespan meant games like Airwolf, Paradroid, several Minter titles but i'll mention Batalyx in particular because it was several playable games in one, Bounder, Impossible Mission, Cauldron and the list goes on; most of these games took the C64 forwards in leaps and bounds, the animation in Impossible Mission, the simple parallax in Bounder, the sheer involvement of Paradroid...
Except the 1979-1982 and 1982-1985 eras can't be compared as things had moved on with a more mature market and a winning Commodore strategy. Maybe the C64 led the way more than the Atari should have but I still think context and circumstances played a major role in Atari's semi-failure. I also explained why I believe a more meaningful presence in the UK would've changed things (you're also proving my point: all the games above except Impossible Mission
were coded in the burgeoning UK market). Also, don't forget the Atari 800 set some trends of what could be done.
There definitely WAS some nice stuff being worked on in 1982-83: take Eastern Front (1941)
(first wargame with a scrolling map), Excalibur
(artificial intelligence), Preppie!
(most colorful game of the time with multi-channel sound), Boulder Dash
, the Ozark Softscape games, the Lucasfilm stuff (the Ballblaster
beta is from 1983)... Take a look at the what coin-op games looked like at that time and you'll pretty much agree with me that the Atari wasn't ridiculous. This was NOT 1985 where things had changed radically.
My point is that the Atari didn't have documentation available whilst the C64 did. Forget comparing platforms for a moment, look at the difference between the first games and those three years after launch; what other reason is there for the Atari not having the same kind of software support? It won't be marketing because Commodore weren't much better and barely wrote their own software anyway, it can't be because the hardware wasn't as powerful because most of the Atari camp keeps insisting it was, so unless the lack of documentation hurt the Atari's formative years, how else can the lack of overall popularity be explained?
I think I clearly answered these points already, sometimes twice.