Monday, August 17, 2015

Camp Atari

Wet Hot American Summer
When I was a kid back in the 1980s, I remember being in the back seat of my parents' car, probably on our way back home from the mall, and listening to two guys on the radio prattling on with some "back in my day" rant -- kind of like this blog. At one point, during the laughter and comedy, one of the DJs says to the other "if your kid comes back from summer camp with a tan this year, it's because they moved Pac-Man outside." The idiot kid I was, I immediately sat up in my seat and inquired of my father as to just exactly where this awesome summer camp was where they play video games. "It's a joke, son, they were joking" was all I got back.


Well as it turns out, there actually was such a camp, sort of.

Back in 1982 our old pal, Atari, decided to throw their fortunes at a risky proposition (they were great at doing this) by investing in a series of computer camps across the U.S. called, of course, Atari Computer Camps. I never got to meet anyone that actually went to one, and at nearly $3,000 for a week's stay that's not a shocker. Keep in mind, $3,000 back in 1982, adjusted for inflation, would be about one kajillion dollars today. So you know, that one super-duper-rich kid in your school probably got to go. Along with the normal camp activities, swimming, baseball, volleyball, weaving, bonfires and sing-a-longs, kids got to learn how to program and operate Atari 8-bit computers, thereby positioning the next generation of kids to be well-informed future-consumers of all things gadgety and technical. I would have LOVED it! Legend has it that all of the remaining E.T. carts that weren't buried in that landfill in New Mexico were used to stuff mattresses at the camps while the instruction manuals were stacked high in the commodes for, ahem, personal use.

Want to know more? Then watch this historical document:



Oh, and there's a mini-documentary on the subject as well. Have a gander at this:



Still not enough? For even more info check out the links below:

CLICK HERE TO READ AN ARTICLE FROM ANTIC MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 1982

CLICK HERE TO READ AN ARTICLE FROM ATARI CONNECTION, AUGUST 1982

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OFFICIAL ATARI LITERATURE INCLUDING BROCHURES

CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST AND MORE LINKS FROM THE TEAM AT ANTIC

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