We're just back from AMOA and haven't had much time yet to really sort out all our thoughts and impressions and numerical results (number of games sold, etc., etc.), but there are some things that are so obvious to all who were there that I feel obliged to pass them on immediately. Without a doubt, Gauntlet was the runaway HIT of the show. And if Gauntlet was a "10", there wasn't even anything close to being a "9". In the entire 12 years of my association with Atari (and in attending the majority of trade shows that took place during those 12 years), I think it's safe to say that we have never had a more enthusiastic positive reaction to a product than we had to Gauntlet. Please accept the sincere thanks from an Atari loyalist to all of you who helped make the design, manufacturing, and sale of this product possible. I really wished every Atari employee could have been at the show in person, because then you could really have appreciated the often- expressed comment of operators and distributors alike: "It's sure good to see Atari back on top again where they belong." Even competitors were surprisingly complementary in a very positive way: "It's good to see a game like Gauntlet putting such a spark of excitement back into an industry that's been in hibernation for the last couple years." Reports of initial collections in the > $1,000 per week range were common on the show floor, as operators compared notes with us and other operators on what their very early testing results had been on Gauntlet. The highest reported earnings came from a mall arcade in Toronto, Canada, which had received their first Gauntlet 10 days before the AMOA Show began. The game had AVERAGED $500. PER DAY, earning $4500. in its first 9 days on location. Needless to say, this operator was quite satisfied with his "projected" ROI on Gauntlet. As I said earlier, Gauntlet was clearly perceived as the runaway "10" of the show. Listed below are my personal ratings of the "8"s, "7"s, and "6"s as I saw it. There were also probably another 20 to 30 "5's and under" beyond these, but I won't go to the trouble of listing them here. For a complete report and brochures on all that various products that were shown, see the '85 AMOA binder that I will be circulating thru-out the company in the next couple weeks. The "8"s: 1. Atari's "Temple of Doom" 2. Sega's "Choplifter" 3. Cinematronics "World Series" 4. Bally's "Sarge" 5. Konami's "Rush'N'Attack" 6. William's "Comet" Pinball The "7"s: 1. Taito's "Legend of Kage" 2. Taito's "Knuckle Joe" 3. Data East's "Shootout" 4. Capcom/Romstar's "Gunsmoke" The "6"s: 1. Taito/Digital Control's "Ghosts'n'Goblins" 2. Taito/Memetron's "Mat Mania" 3. Nichibitsu's "Terra Cresta" 4. Exidy's "Crack Shot" 5. Capcom/Romstar's "Tiger-Heli" 6. Bally/Sente's "Mini-Golf" 7. Data East's "Ring King" 8. Nintendo's "Arm Wrestling" The "Specials": 1. Taito's "Super Dead Heat" - 4 player 4-monitor driving game ala Sprint 4 2. Taito's "N.Y. Captor" - long distance (6-10 ft) video shooting game 3. Tatsumi/Data East's "Speed Buggy" - 3-monitor driving game ala TX-1 4. Bally/Sente's "4-Player Hat Trick" - Indy 4 style cabinet 5. Bally/Sente's "Stompin" - Nolan finally got someone to do his "foot- control dance machine" 6. Bally/Sente's "Sacman" - a generic Sac-1 kit to convert Pacman games 7. Nintendo's Pac Kit - a generic Uni-system to convert Pacman games Please remember, the above lists are only my personal subjective opinions, and based on past precedents, are probably not very accurate. The only things I am clearly sure of (from my typical Atari objective viewpoint) is that there was nothing there that came close to competing with Gauntlet, and nothing there that I felt was a better second than Temple. Product sales have clearly justified my appraisal of Gauntlet. I'm still waiting to see if they'll do the same on Temple.
Nov 04, 1985