Just in time for Father’s Day! Rare Steve Jobs Atari memo hits auction block

Steve Jobs Atari Document Auction

One of the reasons advertisers flock to Macenstein is that it is widely known that our typical reader is a 55 year-old white Apple obsessed multi-millionaire male, which is why we present you with the following information. Sotheby’s auction house is apparently holding an auction for the earliest know documentation produced by Steve Jobs, which predates the founding of Apple computer by almost two years. Sotheby’s sold another Steve Jobs document in December, 2011 for $1.6 million.

This memo describes changes that could be made to Atari’s World Cup Soccer arcade game. These changes were designed to add play variety to the game and to extend the ‘shelf life’ for arcade operators. While the memo is typed on Atari letterhead, it also features a stamp imprinted with the name of Steve Job’s company at the time “All-One Farm Design” and the address of the Jobs family garage( and the birthplace of Apple Computer). The memo features a circuit diagram and a hand written addendum.

The auction is set for June 15th (Just in time for Father’s Day!) In looking at the pictures of the monstrously grotesque video game in question (below) it’s obvious now why Steve valued Jonathan Ive’s design skills.

Information directly from the Sotheby’s auction description.

After leaving Reed College in the winter of 1974, Steve Jobs began working at Atari (as employee number 40) under the leadership of Nolan Bushnell and chief engineer Al Alcorn. He worked night shifts to improve the designs of existing Atari games, isolated from the colleagues who believed him to be arrogant and offensively Bohemian. He was as unimpressed by his colleagues as they were by him, referring to them regularly as “dumb shits.” However, he was profoundly influenced by 41-year-old Ron Wayne, who had previously started a company and inspired Jobs to do the same. Indeed, Wayne is listed on the original partnership agreement for Apple Computer Company as holding a 10% share, which he soon relinquished. By adding sounds or addressing the durability of hardware, Jobs contributed to the overall experience of the Atari user. Walter Isaacson points out that Jobs “intuitively appreciated the simplicity of Atari’s games. They came with no manual and needed to be uncomplicated enough that a stoned freshman could figure them out.” Jobs carried this lesson with him to Apple, creating technology easily accessible and appealing in its straightforwardness.
The present report written for his supervisor Stephen Bristow, was meant to improve the functionality and fun of World Cup, a coin arcade-game with four simple buttons and an evolution from Atari’s Pong game. Job’s report is stamped “All-One Farm Design,” a name appropriated from the commune he frequented at the time, and the address of the Jobs family in Los Altos. At the bottom of the stamp is the Buddhist mantra, gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl.

Steve Jobs Atari Document Auction

One Response to “Just in time for Father’s Day! Rare Steve Jobs Atari memo hits auction block”
  1. ArtOfWarfare says:

    I really appreciate that quote, “They came with no manual and needed to be uncomplicated enough that a stoned freshman could figure them out.” – It makes the task of figuring out when an interface is simple enough much easier. No longer is it an arbitrary goal, to be “simple”.

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