The Poultry That Changed Atari History Forever
The Atari 2600's hardware was designed with just a few games in mind - pong games, and combat type battles. Because the 2600 was only ever designed to support two moving objects on screen at a time, it took really clever programmers to expand the play abilities to the amazing point we've seen.
Rob Fulop was a 1981 Atari staffer who managed to shoehorn the game mechanic of Missile Command into the meager computing resources of the 2600. The game became a killer app, selling 2.5 million copies - shattering all previous sales records. Fulop hoped that his bosses would show their appreciation via a fat Christmas bonus envelope, or perhaps the keys to a new car. After all, his programming chops made Atari millions.
Fulop's Christmas bonus was the same as every other Atari employee received in that year of historic profits; a gift certificate for a free Armor Star turkey. After framing his turkey ticket (it hangs on his office wall to this day), he helped form Imagic; the second independent publisher of Atari games. Two of his games have become Atari classics; Cosmic Ark & Demon Attack. After a period of phenomenal growth, his company went down in the video game crash of the mid 80's and Activision picked up the rights to their 24 classic games.
Fulop went on to work on the notorious Night Trap, a 90's game featuring video clips of a scantilly clad Dana Plato that invited government scrutiny and helped "inspire" the games rating system. He's remained involved in interactive multimedia ever since. So let's thank Rob Fulop for his many industry milestones, but let's not forget the role that a Mister Tom Turkey played in all of this too.