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Profile Atarian: Rodney Sochocki - The Atari Times

Profile Atarian: Rodney Sochocki

Atari's fall was avoidable
by Rodney Sochocki

May 4, 1997
My relationship with Atari goes back to Mother's Day 1979, when my dad bought the family a 2600 (The Mothers day slant was just a way to justify the purchase to Mom, her "gift" being it distracted me from driving her crazy, I was only 6 at the time) I instantly fell in love with Atari and it's games. For Christmas 1982, my brother and I got a 5200, and my life changed after I played Star Raiders for the first time. Star Raiders was one of the first huge steps forward in video games (just like E.T. was one of the great steps backwards) and I was quickly drawn into an exciting world. I loved my 5200 and I still think that even today it is the finest looking system ever made. Oh so sleek and futuristic. And unlike many others, I actually had nothing but good experiences with those infamous 5200 joysticks.

The next chapter in my Atari history was in December 1983, when I got an 800XL. What a wonderful machine. I spent much of 1985/1986 playing Gyruss and Joust, but all that game playing took its toll on the old 8-bit soldier and it started to act up during the spring of 1986.

That summer my family inherited some money and we decided to purchase a new computer. My dad supported IBM, but my brother and I laid down the law: "The Sochocki's are an Atari Family!" and when we showed him the demo at the local Family Computer Center he quickly jumped on board. And on Aug.28, 1986 we bought an Atari 1040 ST. The ST was a sweet machine and to this day I think it's easiest machine in the world to use (and it's right up there with the 5200 for external beauty of design, it's still a smart looking machine). I spent the second half of the 80's playing great games like Blood Money, Deep Space, and Baal (as you can see I had a thing for Pysgnosis games).

Entering the 90's I got very excited about the Lynx and bought one in December '91. With the exception of maybe the Turbo Express, the Lynx has no handheld rivals. I don't want to even think about how many hours I spent playing Turbo Sub, Stun Runner, Gates of Zendocon. The Lynx was a godsend, such a compact bundle of overwhelming electronic joy.

In October '95 I used some of my student loan money to buy a Jaguar. And wow, no other game is any where near as exciting as Tempest 2000. I currently own about 30 Jag games my favorites other than T2K include Ultra Vortek, Rayman, Power Drive Rally, Hoverstrike:UL, and of course Alien vs. Predator.

In 1995 I was able to acquire a 7800, and within 60 days I had tracked down and purchased over 50 new 7800 and 2600 carts. My favorite 7800 games being Tower Toppler and Desert Falcon.

The death of an independent Atari was very painful for me. After all, Atari has been a important part of my life for nearly 20 years, it was the only company I really cared about. I mean I love my Toshiba TV, but I don't care anything about Toshiba. But I did care about Atari. I once wrote a school paper comparing the break up of Atari to the fall of France in 1940. Both were tragic and AVOIDABLE.

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What is the greatest video game company of all time? (Hint: Atari.)