Stacks o’ Boxes & Protos

I love pictures like this…. stacks o’ games.  What, pray tell, is this person up to?  Organizing a massive auction?  Puting together some door prizes?  I hate how all those loose Activision prototypes are mocking me.  The back, center “Tower of River Raid” is a nice touch.  I forgot who’s collection this was again, but cheers to you.  I count 17 prototypes in this picture.


Venetian Blinds Stunt

This “game” by Activision was not really a game, but a demo.  It lets you operate a pair of Venetian blinds using the joystick.  A practical joke that came out of a lawsuit when Atari sued Activision (in part for stealing a system programming concept/animation technique called “venetian blinds” (see below) created by Bob Whitehead, a former Atari employee who helped found Activision).  As the story goes (sources:, GameInformer), when Atari lawyers questioned Activision about the issue, they were shown the Venetian Blinds demo as a joke instead.

Venetian blinds: “… an algorithm that horizontally reused and vertically interlaced sprites several times while rendering each frame, to give the illusion that the system had more than the maximum number of sprites allowed by the hardware …” (source: wikipedia).