[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Family Atari 810 Receipt

July 25th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

Benj's Atari 810 Receipt from 1981Atari 810 Disk Drive Receipt

Thirty years ago this month, my father ordered an Atari 810 disk drive for our family’s Atari 800 from a place called “Omega Sales Co., Inc.” in Rhode Island. Thirty years ago yesterday, Omega filled out the invoice you see here and shipped the order to my dad.

From the invoice, you can see that my father also ordered a copy of Star Raiders for the 800 and a set of joysticks. Unfortunately, the joysticks were out of stock and had to be backordered.

I still have our family Atari 810, and I still love the unique sound it makes when reading disks. That device composed the soundtrack to my computing childhood.

Price Check

  • The Atari 810 sold for US $449 from this vendor, which is equivalent to $1,114.95 in 2011 dollars. To translate, the thing was expensive. The 810 could read 88 kilobytes of data per disk side (one side at a time), which makes for a whopping $12.66 per kilobyte in today’s dollars. Right now, you can buy a 2 terabyte (~2,000,000,000 kilobyte) hard disk for $80, which works out to $.00000004 dollars per kilobyte.
  • A Star Raiders cartridge sold for $32, which is equivalent to $79.46 in 2011 dollars.
  • A pair of joysticks (I assume official Atari brand) went for $15, which is equivalent to $37.25 today.

[ From Omega Sales Co., Inc. Invoice, July 1981 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the most memorable computer or video game item your parents have ever purchased for you?

13 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Family Atari 810 Receipt”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    When I was a kid I found a guy selling an Apple 2e through a message board on my friends computer. The whole deal was sketchy and I’m pretty sure the computer was hot. He sold me an Apple 2e, Imagewriter 2 color printer, 2 apple brand floppy drives, a 1200 baud apple modem, a mocking board (points if you know what that is) and an apple amber monitor for $400, in 1984 or 1985. I think the modem alone was selling for about $800 at the time. My parents paid for it because I spouted off all of the ways I could use it for school and how much better my grades would be if they bought if for me. I still have the entire computer and to this day and it still works.

  2. Lorfarius Says:

    My first every computer was a ZX Spectrum +2. I remember my parents being fooled into thinking it would be used for school work but all I ever did with it was play games! The games were basic and fun but the one thing that really sticks in my memory about it was playing Ghostbusters over and over and over again for a whole week straight. You could complete the game in half an hour but I was obsessed! Best preesent they ever bought me 🙂

  3. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    For my 10th birthday in 1992, my mom found me an IBM XT for about $250, because I had been bugging her to get me a computer of my own ever since our Tandy had crapped out and I had been hooked on computer gaming and programming via the Apple //e’s at school. It had one single 5.25″ floppy disk drive, a 80MB hard drive (if I remember correctly), and 3 disks: One to boot to MS-DOS, one that had an extremely early version of MS Word, and one that contained two games: Golf and Wheel Of Fortune.

    I eventually wore the thing out, but that took about 10 years of MY abuse, after it was already about 9 years old when I got it, and it happened when I tried to turn the thing on and the PSU decided to spark and burst into flame. I actually cried when that happened, and I’ve missed the thing since.

  4. F.F.R. Says:

    The Atari 7800.

    My first video game system. Born in 83, I was three years old when my parents picked one up in 86. A lot of people in my generation associate the words “playing nintendo” as synonymous with “playing videogames”, but for me it was originally “playing atari”. The only games I ever had for it were “Ms. Pacman” and “Pole Position II”.

    The following year, my parents sold it off to fund my next video game system. I’m not really sure why my parents chose the 7800 over the NES, but having owned one leaves me with a fond memory of Atari.

    I was given a choice of having a Sega Master System or an NES as my next video game console, and I went with the NES. So I never really felt as if I missed out.

  5. roflmao Says:

    In the early 80s I remember my Dad getting us a TI-99/4A. Even though I was only in 7th grade or so at the time, I remember buying issues of Byte magazine and typing in the program samples included in the articles.

    Of course I didn’t have a disk drive at the time, so when I turned off the computer, poof, everything was gone.

    Still, that was probably my earliest interactions with computers.

    P.S. – I lived near Cumberland, RI in 1981 and now I live near Raleigh, NC. Small world!

  6. Dave Says:

    Amazing coincidence! I just received the 810 drive (along with a 410 cassette drive, Atari 400, and a stack of cartridges) I snagged on eBay today. 🙂 Unfortunately the 810’s power supply doesn’t look to good so I’ll be holding off on plugging it in until I can find a replacement.

  7. anachostic Says:

    I recall the Christmas season I had my Atari 800 and 810 drive. I think I got the 810 that year. I was impressing everyone with this software called S.A.M. It was a speech synthesis program (I’m quite sure the M was for “mouth”, for some reason).

    The quality of the speech was actually really good, as good as the modern Microsoft Sam voice. The thing that I remember most about it, and lament about the current speech synthesis, is that you could write words and give very, very specific phonetic clues as to how to pronounce the word.

    I think at that time or shortly after, I got my 300 baud modem and nearly drove my parents into poverty calling local long-distance (remember that crazy concept?) to Compuserve. Something like $1200 worth over two months.

  8. Xyzzy Says:

    My family’s first (but not most memorable) computer was a TI 99/4a with the speech modulator; we still have it. I wasn’t even in preschool yet, but my parents knew computer usage would be a required skill and figured I should start early.

    The most memorable computer, though, was hands-down the Apple IIgs, which I got for my 13th birthday. It came with this great little WYSIWYG word processor called MultiScribe, and it was so much more pleasant to use than AppleWorks that I became addicted to creative writing. I have some fond memories of friends laughing their way through my educational satires, writing & having a friend edit my first novel about halfway through, and of playing my favorite games: Ultima V (which gave me my first story ideas), Kings Quest IV, Senseless Violence 1, Shadowgate…

    I just wish that MultiScribe files could be opened by OpenOffice without losing their formatting. I discovered recently that I still prefer using the old GS, and I’m planning to order a SmartPort USB key virtual hard drive (see ‘my’ website link) soon, so being able to swap between GS & netbook would’ve made it perfect.

  9. Merman Says:

    With some money from my grandparents, my parents got me and my brother a Commodore 64 in 1985. 25 years later I’m still an avid user of that machine, I’ve written a book about its games and I’ve got to meet many of my favourite programmers and games designers at retro gaming events here in the UK. I even travelled to Copenhagen and Stockholm to attend concerts where live bands were playing C64 music. The fact there are still new games and awesome hardware being developed for the machine seals the fact that it is brilliant and will always be part of my life…

  10. s1500 Says:

    TI-99/4A in 1982 .I was 6. Typed in the programs, saved on cassette. Got a disk drive system(the PEB) in ’86. I held on to that thing for too long. Went PC in 1990.

  11. Donn Says:

    Most memorable computer: the Atari 800 as well. Not actually purchased “for me” per se, it was my dad’s, but I used it an awful lot, and learned so many things on it. Star Raiders was a favorite, as well as tons of other games, and I leaned to program BASIC on it of course.

    Most memorable game: I sound like a broken record around here, but definitely Ultima V, still my favorite all time computer game. Never released for the Atari 800 of course (though a port was started), I played on an IBM AT clone. At my other website, http://ultimavforipad.tumblr.com, I write about the game, and post pics of artifacts from it like the disks or the books.

  12. Benj Edwards Says:

    Those were some great stories, everybody. Thanks for sharing them. I love reading this kind of stuff.

  13. Thomas Says:

    There’s not much to remember since we were… Well I can’t exactly call it ‘poor’ but we sure didn’t afford expensive things like that when I grew up. (Single mother without steady work and 4-5 kids to support).

    So the most memorable thing for me would be the christmas I got a Sega Master system. Not particularly eye popping for most people, but for me it was a dream come true and probably the single most memorable christmas moment so far. To this day I don’t know how she could afford it.

    Unfortunately my mother suffered a stroke a couple of years back which affected some parts of her long-term memory, so I will probably never know. But that just adds to the mystique of this magic christmas memory! 🙂

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