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.
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)