Dan Kramer

Dan Kramer

With an early involvement in troubleshooting all types of analog and digital circuitry, then five years in high reliability defense electronics, Dan Kramer delved into the newly burgeoning world of home video gaming with Atari. From 1980 to 1984, he was in the middle of the consumer engineering group responsible for developing both the home computer and home video game products. The coin-op games division was also virtually at arm's reach.

Within a year of his start with Atari, Dan championed the creation of the Trak-ball Controller for the home gamer: the models for both the 800 computer/2600 Video Computer System and the 5200 Super System were brought to market as a result of his diligence. He also received a U.S. patent for designing a digital to analog interface for the 5200 trak-ball. After the collapse of Atari Inc. in 1984 and its subsequent purchase and name change to Atari Corp. he escaped to follow other pursuits for the ensuing ten years.

Dan has been operating since 1994 as an independent service entity covering classic video games, pinball machines, juke boxes and arcade games. He has recently joined Nuby, a leading maker of controllers and accessories for major video game systems.

I met Dan in a roundabout way. It was back in the fall of 1984. I was managing a TV/Electronics store which was a part of a regional chain. We dealt in sales and installation of TV's, A/V gear, satellite dishes, and car stereo products. At one point in time we took on the Atari line of home computers. I was setting up a demo system for the store and needed some information concerning the install so I called Atari. One by one, each representative was eliminated for lack of an adequate answer. Finally, I wound up being routed the the senior tech. And that was how I met Dan. We became long distance friends and had several common hobbies, including a passion for classic oldies and pinball.

After he left Atari, Dan did a stint with the Harris Corporation, and designed the Harris 640 Time Base Corrector, a landmark video processing tool for broadcast television and video production. That model became industry standard for many years in television broadcast. I still have and use his workbench unit containing all his personal circuit ID marks and modifications. But then I'm a pack rat when it comes to gear. I also have the original Atari 800 and Kramer-designed TrakBall too! After all, what's the sense in playing "Missle Command" without a track ball!??

Dan flew here to the Ozarks in the summer of 1985 under the guise of interviewing Wayne Neyens, a pinball pioneer who happened to be retired here in the area, and spent Independence Day here at my house. My mom fixed a traditional southern style July 4th dinner (fried chicken, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, baked beans, etc.) and we had a family sit down outside in the back yard. Being a Silicon City Boy, Dan had never seen fireflies ("lightnin' bugs") or or been around fireworks. I'll never forget my mother mock scolding him for getting too near the "grown up's" with the bottle rockets and firecrackers.

Dan returned with wife BJ and daughter Ivy in 1987 and we all went down the White River on a float fishing trip. In 1993 I went to California in search of Gold (in the form of a record contract) and also visited Dan and family while out there. That trip is now being referred to as the "FRUITLESS PROMO MISSION". It was a week of disappointment in L.A. and a week of rejuvenation in San Francisco at Dan's house.

I can't wait for the next visit!

Dan and BJ at home in 1993

Visit Dan's home page HERE.

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