Computers, and by extension video games, are a relatively new technology. This is why most of the people who helped pave the way for these new-ish technologies are still alive. The sad truth, however, is that many of these pioneers are getting on in age. It’s with this in mind that we report the loss of a true legend and pioneer today.
Jack Tramiel, as reported by Forbes, passed away Sunday at the age of 83. You may not know Tramiel by name, but you surely know his company and legacy. He was the founder of Commodore International, the company that created the famous Commodore 64. It’s because of this that his influence on computing and gaming can not be understated.
Tramiel’s rise to fame is even more impressive when you learn that he was a holocaust survivor. He was born to a Jewish family in Poland on December 13, 1928. In 1939, he was moved with his father to a labor camp where his father died. He was rescued from the camp in 1945 and moved to the U.S. in 1947.
It was his time in the U.S. that he began to enter the technology field. He started his first company, Commodore Portable Typewriter, in 1953 that repaired office machinery. After a less than successful venture into the adding machine business and calculators, Commodore finally entered into the home computer market with the Commodore PET.
While the PET was a success for the company, their first major break away success was the Commodore 64 in 1982. It went on to become the best-selling home computer of all time with 17 million units sold. After this success, Tramiel resigned from Commodore to form Tramel Technology in 1984. It was here that he bought a dead-in-the-water Atari Inc. from Warner Communications after the video game market crash of 1983. Tramel Technology was renamed Atari Corporation and the rest is history.
All of is to say that Jack Tramiel helped shape the future of computing and the industry it spawned. It was his mantra, “We need to build computers for the masses, not the classes,” that inspired the idea of the consumer computer. The Commodore 64 is a testament to that and the continued consumer support for personal computers, whether they be a desktop, laptop or tablet, continue the idea of “computers for the masses.”
The Twitter reaction has been heartfelt with fans of Commodore expressing their love of the company and the man who founded it:
RIP Jack Tramiel. This LOAD”*”,8,1 is for you.
RIP Jack Tramiel, the father of Commodore. Without him, no Speedball, no ProTracker mods, no SWOS, no Red Sector megademo. A sad day indeed.
Jack Tramiel C= Founder & Atari Corp owner (1984-96) has died.His “computing for the masses, not the classes” phlosophy changed the industry
Computer Legend and Gaming Industry Pioneer, Jack Tramiel Passes away at 83. He’s had quite the journey and should be an inspiration to all.
RIP Jack Tramiel – you invented my first computer and changed my whole life by doing this. Thanks.
RIP dear Jack Tramiel. Commodore-64, Commodore-128, and VIC-20 gave easy-to-use and frugal gateways to gaming and online groups.
Very, very sad to hear about the death of Jack Tramiel. Founder of Commodore and then chief of Atari. An Auschwitz survivor, too. Legend.
Jack Tramiel dies and gamers the world over say “Who?”. Utterly tragic. RIP, Jack. Games industry owes you a massive debt.
I think that the computer industry is at the age where the founders are old and starting to die, makes me sad and proud. RIP Jack Tramiel.
Goodbye Jack Tramiel, your VIC-20 and Commodore 64 shaped my future, helped me learn computers, and have a lot of fun playing games!
We here at WebProNews salute Jack Tramiel. His contributions to the computer and gaming industries make our jobs more interesting and life more fun for everybody.