John-Michael Battaglia worked as a copywriter at Atari for about a year from 1981 through 1982, writing manuals and box copy for Atari 2600 and 5200 video games. He wrote the manuals for Atari 5200 Football, Space Dungeon, WaterWorld, Phoenix, and Adventure. He later worked at Catalyst, Nolan Bushnell’s incubator for technology startups.
This interview took place March 2, 2015.
“Debacle, yes. Debacle is quite the right word. That was probably my proudest moment.”
“I think of my first day I probably sent e-mails to my friends saying: you’ll never believe where I am now. I’m playing video games and getting paid for it.”
“It was another one of those instances where a writer could actually have input into the game design, provided the game designer was open to that kind of feedback.”