Monday, September 18, 2017

In-Store Demonstration Program



This In-Store Demonstration Program ad was paperwork that was included in the 1982 Atari Home Computers Retailer Information Packet. This packet of information, made available to Atari Home Computer dealers in 1982, included product information, order forms, helpful selling guides, merchandising aids and other interesting ephemera.

Atari In-Store Demonstration Program Introduction Screen

The Atari In-Store Demonstration program was a colorful, hands-free (optionally, a user had a short time period to enter his or her name, otherwise the demo would continue with the default name NEIL) demonstration program that showed off the Atari 8-bit Home Computer's advanced (for the time) graphics and sound capabilities as well as the wide-range of tasks that one could accomplish with the 8-bit machines and the proper software.

Atari In-Store Demonstration Program CLX4019 Box

The Atari In-Store Demonstration program came in two official versions, a 16K ROM cartridge version for both the Atari 400 and Atari 800 Home Computers and a 5 1/4 48K diskette version for the more advanced Atari 800 Home Computer when used along with the Atari 810 Disk Drive. There is also an unofficial, more mature, hacked Naughty Remix version floating around on the Interwebs as well.

According to the Atari Home Computers Merchandising Aids Order Form, the CX8117 Atari 800 Demonstration Diskette cost dealers $16.00 in 1982, which is approximately $40.39 in 2017. The CLX4019 Atari 400/800 Demonstration Cartridge cost dealers $23.00 in 1982, which is approximately $58.06 in 2017.

Atari Merchandising Aids Order Form

The 16K cartridge version of the Atari In-Store Demonstration Program contained about three minutes of programming before restarting. It showed off glimpses of computer-aided tasks such as Record Keeping, Home Entertainment, Personal Finance, Education and Personal Development. A video of the running program is available on archive.org.

Atari In-Store Demonstration Program CX8117 Box

The longer, 5 1/4 diskette 48K version of the Atari In-Store Demonstration Program, which had just under five minutes of programming before restarting, contained additional sections including Personal Financial Management, Business Management, Professional Applications, Programmability, Business Graphics, Statistics, Complex Calculations, Word Processing, the ill-fated Atari Accountant series vaporware and Forecasting With Visicalc. A video of the running program is available on archive.org.

Some Additional Sections In CX8117 Version

Another interesting note is that the CLX4019 Atari 400/800 Demonstration Cartridge program ends with the "We've Brought the Computer Age Home..." tagline. Whereas the CX8117 Atari 800 Demonstration Diskette program ends with the "COMPUTERS FOR PEOPLE" tagline.

Different Taglines

What to know more details of the Atari Demonstration Program? Kevin Savetz, one of the co-hosts of ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast, interviewed Mike Albaugh, the developer of the program, way back in Episode 6 of the podcast, published on December 15, 2013. The interview with Mike Albaugh begins at around 1 hour and 2 minutes into the episode.

You can also find additional information on the Demo Program section of the AtariWiki site.

Today

These two programs are useful in showing off the basic capabilities of the Atari 8-bit machines in your vintage computer collection. They also make for a great quick demo during an Atari Party event or as part of an Atari 8-bit Home Computer exhibit at an Vintage Computer Festival.

Now, almost forty years later, there are much more impressive modern demo programs available that exploit the full range and depth of the capabilities of Atari Home Computers.

Neither the cartridge version nor the diskette version of the Atari In-Store Demonstration program seem to be available from the few Atari retailers that remain in business today. Used copies of the 16K ROM cartridge version appear periodically for sale on eBay. The 5 1/4 48K diskette version is now exceedingly rare.

Best of luck selling demoing and exhibiting!

-- Bill (@BillLange1968 on Twitter)

 

4 comments:

  1. Great article! I love that everyone was NEIL unless you provided a name. I wonder who NEIL was?

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  2. There are actually 3 Atari computer demonstration cartridges; there is an XE Demo Cartridge, In-store Demonstration program cartridge (brown label), then the silver label version in which your box is for. I'm not sure if the brown version of the cartridge came in a box, but I would love to know. I have all three if you need comparisons. Thank you.

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    1. I have the silver label cart version and the unopened disk version. I'll keep my eye out for the brown label and XE versions. Thanks for the information.

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    2. There is also a brown label version on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Atari-In-Store-Demonstration-Program-Cartridge-CXL4019-/282682933008?hash=item41d1373f10:g:ohAAAOSwpuBZ1tAf.

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