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Draft Atari manual to The Last Starfighter


jmccorm
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Hi! I've been tied up lately, but I came across something that I thought I'd share right quick. I hope that it is not widely known? It is a draft copy of an official Atari manual for The Last Starfighter cartridge for the Atari Home Computer and Atari 5200.

 

Last Starfighter 800 Manual.pdf

Last Starfighter 5200 Manual.pdf

 

SOURCE: http://www.cliffhouseproject.com/games/games.htm

 

 

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Thanks. It's a pity the deal fell through in the day. I didn't mind the movie and the leaked game was great despite the obvious too easy parts which were mostly addressed in the official SR2.

Having a game so close to completion but never released in the day - it's a worse tragedy than having a great game that technically could have been done but wasn't (with the usual piracy and too few sales prospects excuses).

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I'd love to claim credit, but the extent of my effort was to recognize the importance of someone else's effort and then to promote it here on their behalf. Apparently, it was no accident that this early draft copy of The Last Starfighter's manual was preserved.

 

Gary Stark is credited as the co-designer of The Last Starfighter. He's also given co-credit for the audio and graphics. He worked at Atari as a project manager (although some of the other documents lead me to believe that he still practiced some relevant technical skills). From the outside, it seems a little bit difficult to pin down the extent of his involvement in each area. Apparently, most of his effort was on the coin-op side, but there was this consumer project for the Atari 800 (Atari 5200), and he was also involved with a Cookie Monster Crunch, an educational cartridge for the Atari 2600.

 

As it turns out, Gary preserved and republished the documents from his own projects (as well as a few other) during his time at Atari. It looks like he made these documents available sometime around 2015 (and his webpage doesn't appear to have been updated since early 2016). I only managed to stumble across his documents when I was doing some research for the parody project that I'm working on. As an owner of Pit Fighter, Guardians of the Hood, and Thunderjaws arcade PCBs, I greatly enjoyed reading the design and development documents that he preserved and shared from the coin-op side of the house.

 

I sent Kevin Savetz an email and recommended Gary Stark as the subject for an interview in the ANTIC Atari 8-bit Podcast. All the way around, I think that Gary Stark would have some fantastic stories that we'd all like to hear. Kevin is just the guy to make it happen in the best possible way. (I'm also hoping that Gary is sitting on some source code and that Kevin might persuade him to give it the abandonware treatment.)

 

All around, Gary Stark seems like a good guy. I'm eager to learn more!

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  • 3 years later...

Would it be possible to get at least the 5200 version printed, possibly by AtariAge?  I just looked at my copy of The Last Starfighter (can't even remember where I got it, I think eBay) and I only have the box and cart, it would be cool to mate a manual with that.  Taking a quick look at it I understand that it's just text but having seen some of the great manuals included with 5200 homebrew games sold here I, at least, would be willing to pay for a nice printed manual to make playing the game easier.

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It would be wonderful if someone with a creative mind (not hinting Mr Robot, honest!) taking the words and making them in to a real manual with fancy graphics. It would do the game proud, I never liked the fact Atari changed it to Star Raiders II, it was such a good Startfighter game, a film I love to death.

 

I forget the reason they did the swaperoo, just another poor choice by Atari, imho.

 

And to add, there's LOADS of material on the collectors edition DVD that could be used.

Edited by Mclaneinc
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55 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

It would be wonderful if someone with a creative mind (not hinting Mr Robot, honest!) taking the words and making them in to a real manual with fancy graphics. It would do the game proud, I never liked the fact Atari changed it to Star Raiders II, it was such a good Startfighter game, a film I love to death.

If someone could make it look like a real Atari 5200 manual I'd buy it in a heart beat.  TLSF is one of my favorite 5200 games, it really captures the feeling of the movie (that intro alone!).  I need to look through my website to make sure I didn't miss anything (I had to wing it and figure the game out on my own), but just skimming the manual I don't think I did.

 

http://www.atariprotos.com/5200/software/tlsf/tlsf.htm

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Oh, If you like the original movie... you might like the sequel. It's stop and go... hopefully the rogue one writers working with it don't screw it up too much. You never know what you'll get but it's working title is 'The Last Starfighters'

 

As to the game on Atari, well that was down to money/licensing. The movie became somewhat of a sleeper in that initially it didn't draw large at the box office... but as more people watched the movie it did better over time with other distribution etc.

 

Such a wonderful program couldn't be wasted so it was reworked... I really wish they didn't make it SR II, but simply came up with a different name all together... of course the original Last Starfighter game was so good already... even though more could have been done and tweaked... that it simply had to leak out there so it wouldn't be lost for all time. :)

 

Damn fine game. Hope the Movie sequel can hold cannon and standards. Who knows what will appear on the Atari after the next movie as it may inspire something.

 

As to the template, well you'd use fonts and artwork inspired by the movie and use the graphics from the game to fill in the spots already designated. Maybe tweak some of it to fit a bit better as fans of the movie have a feel for how it should read.

Edited by _The Doctor__
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All I can hope is that they don't do what they did to Tron, with Tron Legacy.. I just think they should have left it alone, part of why Tron was a fan hit was its look, no one had seen that style before and the fact they had people hand painting most of the films cells just made it great to look at and unlikely to ever have done it again. Now, we have 3D stuff on every thing, it's not new and funky.

 

Good luck to the LSF follow up, don't ruin it tho..

 

I hope the manual idea gains traction, I'd pay for one too..

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