Atari Says Its First Words
First, I’ll let Bill Lange description speak for itself:
“This exhibit features a sample of the speech synthesizer products available for the Atari 8-bit home computers, including both hardware and software-based solutions, such as the Voice Box by The Alien Group and S.A.M (the Software Automatic Mouth) by Don’t Ask Software, that began appearing around 1982. While the output would never have been mistaken for human voice and the verbal quality is understandable at best, these speech synthesizer products were an interesting addition to anyone’s home computer setup as shown in the 1983 movie Wargames. Come. Come hear Atari speak!”
Bill and I talked speech synth for awhile, since I’ve got a bit of experience with the Hero robot series and it’s on-board speech capabilities. When is Atari 800 spoke, I knew I recognized a familiar voice, and asked him what chip was behind it all. Bill offered to let me open it up and see for myself, which I did. Sure enough there was an SC-01A, same as the Heathkit Hero 1, Hero Jr, and the Gorf arcade cabinet!
Oh, and that modern laptop? That’s emulating a disk drive for the 800XL to use.