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I resurrected "Murray" and "Mom" — and the surprising story behind them


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This weekend, I've been publishing the previously lost 1980s software of Yaakov Kirschen, which I rescued from various disks with the help of Kevin Ng and Keith Hacke.


After years of research, today I'm happy to share a condensed version of the fascinating story behind Murray and Me and Mom and Me — two of the earliest entertainment offerings for the Atari ST.


Despite being profiled by the New York Times, London Times, and other big newspapers in 1985, the programs didn't sell well, and went mostly unarchived (until today).


But "Murray" was never meant to be sold. In fact, he began life as the "artificial personality" interface to an Atari ST-based greeting card kiosk project that Kirschen proposed to Jack Tramiel in 1984.


Read more (and download the .ST disk images) at: https://breakintochat.com/blog/2022/11/28/unearthed-kirschens-atari-st-projects/



Edited by Kirkman
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35 minutes ago, zzip said:

I remember Antic Magazine made a big deal of Murray and Me when it came out (I think they were selling it in their catalog?).    I was never quite sure what it was (didn't have an ST yet to try it)

Yep! Antic learned of "Murray" as a result of the London computer show and worked out a deal with Kirschen to sell it through their catalog. "Murray" was the cover art for Antic's winter 1985 catalog, and they ran big color ads for Murray and Mom in later issues.




Also, you were not alone in not being quite sure what it was. Atari's Sig Hartmann told a reporter at the London show: "I don't know, I'm trying to figure out what I saw. It's cute, but what are you going to do with it?" (And Hartmann was the guy who helped Kirschen and Ariel set up their JFY company)


Regardless, now you can try both of them for yourself! Both programs work great in emulators, so long as you boot from floppy and not from a hard drive image.

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I am very happy because I had been looking for Murray for a long time.

Years ago I read your previous 2017 article.

In 1986 I saw the ad on Antic magazine and I tried to replicate it on my C128, based on screenshot and description...

Therefore I have fond memories of this game, even though I had never played it.

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1 hour ago, ggn said:

I remember one or two years ago you were trying to find some working disks of this - I'm glad that you finally managed this! Also thanks much for sharing this with us!

Yes ... "Mom" and "Murray" are what initially sucked me down the rabbit hole, which has lasted many years.


I know we're not all be Apple II or Amiga fans here, but still, I hope you all read the earlier parts of the story, which I shared this weekend (plus the final the one I add tomorrow):

I think it's such a fascinating story, this outsider with big ideas trying to make an impact on the software industry. Ultimately he didn't. But the story is worth telling!

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Interesting, if it wasn't released at the same time as LCP-House on a Disk I'd say there is an influence there. Just watched a short video on YT, very short. Looks like a fusion between the limited chats with your LCP (disk only version, not tape) expanded into a sort of Eliza based 'conversation' with a sort of Alf Garnet character in carpet slippers filling the screen.


I probably would have liked it back then, interesting take on the whole 'conversing with your computer' craze of the eighties. The Eliza based parser of the Pawn always fascinated me as much as the actual game it underpinned.


The magazine adverts do it zero favours, they are so bad at conveying what it is they look like begging letters for $34.99. If I was still interested in making any YT videos I'd probably end up sitting in front of my ST with a full battery charge for the camera pointed at the CRT and checking it out 'live' like I did with some other weird stuff (Adrian Mole games). 

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