Kids don’t know their history – Energy Czar and Atari

Michael Giberson

At Common Tragedies Daniel Hall links to my post on reading recommendations for the Car Czar which mentions the Atari simulation game “Energy Czar,” only he titles his post: “Maybe Carol Browner should dust off an old Atari 2600.”

C’mon now, you couldn’t get a serious game like “Energy Czar” for the Atari 2600. Energy Czar was for the Atari 400/800 models of home computers.

Check out this motherload of Atari history.

Here is a catalog entry for “Energy Czar”:

Become a national hero! The President has just appointed you Energy Czar and given you full power to guide the nation through the energy crisis. Promote or restrict supplies of energy resources, raise or lower taxes on them, regulate prices, and tighten or loosen environmental controls. But to stay in power, you must keep people happy and maintain sufficient energy supplies to meet demand. The results of your decisions show up in the growth rate, of the economy, the inflation rate and whether or not the public thinks you’re doing a good job. Full instruction guide included. Ages 12 to adult. Requires the ATARI 410 Program Recorder and the ATARI BASIC cartridge.

Minimum RAM requirement: 16K

Hmmm. You can “promote or restrict” resource supplies, you can “raise or lower” taxes, and you can “tighten or loosen” environmental restrictions, but when it comes to prices your only option is to “regulate.”

But wasn’t the most successful energy policy initiative to come out of the late 1970s — at least to the extent we were trying to ‘keep people happy and maintain sufficient energy supplies’ — the deregulation of oil and gas resource prices?


2 thoughts on “Kids don’t know their history – Energy Czar and Atari

  1. Presumably because prices start unregulated

    also, in my rss feed I get a bunch of gibberish:

    C’mon now, you couldn’t get a serious game like “Energy Czar” for the Atari 2600. Energy Czar was for the Atari 400/800 models of home computers.

    Check out this motherload of Atari history.

    Here is a catalog entry for “Energy Czar”:

    /* Style Definitions */
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    {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
    mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
    mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
    mso-style-noshow:yes;
    mso-style-priority:99;
    mso-style-qformat:yes;
    mso-style-parent:””;
    mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
    mso-para-margin-top:0in;
    mso-para-margin-right:0in;
    mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
    mso-para-margin-left:0in;
    line-height:115%;
    mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
    font-size:11.0pt;
    font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
    mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
    mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
    mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
    mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
    mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

    Become a national hero! The President has just appointed you Energy Czar and given you full power to guide the nation through the energy crisis. Promote or restrict supplies of energy resources, raise or lower taxes on them, regulate prices, and tighten or loosen environmental controls. But to stay in power, you must keep people happy and maintain sufficient energy supplies to meet demand. The results of your decisions show up in the growth rate, of the economy, the inflation rate and whether or not the public thinks you’re doing a good job. Full instruction guide included. Ages 12 to adult. Requires the ATARI 410 Program Recorder and the ATARI BASIC cartridge.

    Minimum RAM requirement: 16K

    Hmmm. You can “promote or restrict” resource supplies, you can “raise or lower” taxes, and you can “tighten or loosen” environmental restriction

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