This past Sunday, Jack Tramiel died at the age of 83.

I’m sure most of the younger generation would have no clue who Jack Tramiel is, he’s had a rather significant impact on the computer and to some degree the video game scene, in good ways and some bad ways too. Tramiel was the founder of Commadore Computers, the makers of the VIC-40, Commadore 64 and 128 and later the Amiga line of computers. I have many fond memories of the Commadore 128 computer. My grandfather was rather old fashion but he was computer savy for his age. He had a Commadore 128 which he used for his Geneology projects, but he always had several 5 1/4 floppy disks loaded with games for when me and my older brother would come up to visit for the summer. I loved that computer and Jack Tramiel was the man behind the company that created that wonderful piece of technology.

However… he was also responsible in many ways for the rapid decline of Atari. When he bought the company from Time Warner in 1984 after resigning from Commadore, he decided to use the Atari name to further his computer empire with the production of the Atari ST, the 16-bit successor to Atari’s 8-bit XE and XL computers. Much of the focus from then on was for the computer aspect of the company which didn’t do well for the companies game console projects which for the most part were put on the back burner. However we did see the development of the Atari 7800, Atari Lynx and the black sheep and misunderstood of the family… the Atari Jaguar during the tenure of the Tramiels (Jack’s son Sam was in charge of Atari’s game devision from the 90s up until the companies collapse in 1996). Mismanagement and being more knowledgeable of the computer market instead of the console market pretty much sealed the companies doom.

Regardless of what some perceived as his part in the downward spiral of Atari, Jack Tramiel did much for making affordable home computers in the 80s and he should be remembered for that.