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Unboxing a 1984 Atari Touch Tablet

Even the picture smells new.

Benj Edwards recently set up a vintage Atari touch tablet and took it for a spin. He then wrote about it on Technologizer by sprinkling a few paragraphs across 14 ad-infested pages. Here are the best bits, allowing you to sidestep the honey trap:

"The next time you use your shiny new Wacom tablet and Adobe Photoshop CS4, think back to a time before time–a time before blends, morphs, heal brushes, and 10-megapixel images. A time like 1984, which, for computer graphics, was darker than the Dark Ages. It was a time when you could buy an $89.95 Atari CX77 Touch Tablet for your Atari 8-bit home computer. Luckily, I bought mine for considerably less last year, although it was still in new, unopened condition.

It’s incredibly satisfying to open up product packaging sealed some 25 years before. Like bubbles of atmospheric gas encased in Cretaceous amber, there’s authentic 1984 Atari factory air trapped inside every box. They say that if you twist your nose just right during a full moon, you can even smell a hint of Nolan Bushnell’s Old Spice.

Pulling the tablet from its plastic shroud, I couldn’t help but notice how completely mint and shiny it was — most of my Atari hardware is scrungy and well-used. We can see the stylus up close now, which attaches to the tablet via a thin cable. The cable allows use of the small red button on the stylus to select items on-screen. Also present is the AtariArtist software on cartridge, which we’ll be playing with in a moment.

Photoshop must be quaking in its boots...

Plugging in the cartridge, I was presented with the main menu of the AtariArtist illustration software. To make more room for the tablet, I pushed my 130XE to the side.  Luckily, it didn’t fall over until after I finished taking photos."

Atari’s 1984 Touch Tablet: How not to present a Retro-Unboxing [thanks, Silver Serpent!]

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