Task: Explore Atari User Group Newsletters
Needed: Web browser
Time: 10-15 minutes
I grew up Atari in a small Midwest town and didn’t have access to some of the enriching activities such as calling local Bulletin Board Services (BBS) or participating in local Atari user groups. I had a few friends with Atari computers but that was it. My link to the outside world was what I read in magazines. I think it would have been really fun and educational to have access to an Atari user group. As such, I have had fun reading and exploring the numerous newsletters these groups across the country produced that are now online on archive.org.
Newsletters contained all sorts of useful information. You will find software reviews, hardware tips, code, letters to the editor, local software library information, advertisements, news, and tons of other good stuff. I even found a word search in one of the newsletters for when you get bored with all the content. It is interesting to see what was on the minds of Atari folks as the technology was unfolding before them. Much of it sounds familiar to my own experience. Below is an example post to the Twin City Atari Interest Group Newsletter from February of 1983. This is totally something I would have typed in and tried. There is also some software you can download from some of the user group libraries. These are on archive and a few other places such as Atari Archives.
Navigate your browser to the archive.org posts with the keywords newsletter and Atari. Have fun browsing!
In the pre-internet era these newsletters were likely lifelines for many Atari computer owners. I still have all my father’s Atari files and in there I found a letter from one of the newsletter editors in my state. I posted this to archive. My father was clearly reaching out trying to establish some sort of community.
Thanks all the people that took the time to scan and post these online for all to enjoy! Alan Bushman has posted a good number of these. I had the pleasure of seeing his Atari User Group exhibit at VCF East 2019.