Atari historian Curt Vendel died at the age of 53

This kind of news is always something we don’t ever want to give. Curt Vendel, Atari collector and historian has passed away unexpectedly and too soon, at the age of 53.

Very well-known by the Atari community, Curt was an avid collector and historian, having written the book Atari Inc.: Business is Fun with Marty Goldberg.

Reading his biography, we learned that Vendel started collecting, in the early 80s, Atari products, engineering logs, schematics, drawings, and technical materials from former Atari employees – even making trips to Atari’s buildings in California to salvage Atari’s valuable history from its dumpsters.

Curt and his passion: Talking about Atari

In 1988, he founded the Atari History Museum which archives contain over 15,000 files, folders and documents, two archival rooms of schematics, mechanical drawings, artwork and PC board films.

Vendel, through his company, Legacy Engineering Group, was also responsible to bring to market the Atari Flashback 1 and 2, which brought to the new generations the Atari 2600 games in a well-designed and accurate package.

Living in 2020, it is easy for us to see how the history of Atari is so relevant for the computer and gaming industry, but only a person like Curt could realize that way before all of us and start the preservation effort when Atari was still “the” Atari.

The retro computing community is mourning…

“He was unfailingly generous with his knowledge, and a kind person. I will miss him.” (Kay Savetz)

An unquestioned giant in computer history has died. Curt Vendel was a lifelong Atari Fan, and as a teenager would harass Atari to get prototypes, insider information and then turn them into reports and facts. His decades of effort gave us an incredible amount of wise insight. (Jason Scott – Internet Archive)

The passion he exuded while talking about Atari was contagious. (Bill Lange)

Link: Obituary

Author: Paulo Garcia

8 thoughts on “Atari historian Curt Vendel died at the age of 53

  1. Whilst I personally have never heard of him, it seems like he was quite a decent sort of chap… and 53 years old is WAY to early to go. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. :(

  2. Utterly gutted, for a start 53 is far too young to pass on. Secondly he was so passionate about Atari it was wonderful to see and he really did the world a service for cataloging and keeping the history of Atari. People like him should live forever. RIP and thank you Curt, thank you so much for everything. I will be playing on my Atari 800XL tonight and remembering you.

  3. In addition to his love of all things Atari, he was a real gentleman and generous with his time as he stepped in as a mentor and helped my son complete his robotics project for high school. But what I will remember and miss about him most is seeing him onstage with the rest of us dance dads ‘dancing’, making our daughters smile and cringe while raising money for charity. A really good guy with a great smile who will be missed.

  4. Holy cow I just read about this! Sincere condolences to the Family. Back in probably 1998, I found a yard sale in NJ. The guy had a pile about 50′ long, 4′ high. All Atari. He was selling his collection to keep his wife. $100 for the entire lot. I believe I found Curt on IRC. Curt came out same day and helped me cull the hoard. He took some good stuff and I took the rest. I got 3 or 4 ATR8000… 3 Subaru Outback loads so full I couldn’t see out the back.

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