Steve Jobs' 1974 memo to Atari to be auctioned

Handwritten note describing changes the game maker could make to arcade game expected to fetch $10,000 to $15,000.

A memo Steve Jobs wrote in 1974 while working for Atari. Sotheby's

Before he co-founded Apple, Steve Jobs worked briefly at Atari, helping the game maker improve design.

Sotheby's is auctioning a handwritten memo penned in 1974 by then-19-year-old Jobs that describes changes Atari could make to its World Cup Soccer arcade game to add fun and functionality.

The present report, written for his supervisor Stephen Bristow, was meant to improve the functionality and fun of World Cup, a coin arcade-game with four simple buttons and an evolution from Atari's Pong game. Job's report is stamped "All-One Farm Design," a name appropriated from the commune he frequented at the time, and the address of the Jobs family in Los Altos. At the bottom of the stamp is the Buddhist mantra, gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl.

Sotheby's estimates the memo will fetch $10,000 to $15,000.

Jobs worked nights at Atari for a brief time in 1974, employing Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to help whittle down the hardware required for a prototype of a single-player version of Pong, the game that would go on to become Breakout. Jobs would leave Atari that summer to travel through India, only to return to California to live in a commune.

Sotheby's is also auctioning a working Apple I motherboard, complete with cassette interface, operating manuals, and a BASIC Users Manual. Fewer than 50 Apple I computers are thought to have survived, with only six known to be in working condition, Sotheby's said. The lot is expected to fetch $120,000 to $150,000. The auction is scheduled for June 15.

 

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