[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Lure of Game Graphics

October 21st, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Microdeal Leatherneck Tanglewood Atari ST 1040ST computer games - 1988Microdeal's Leatherneck and Tanglewood for the Atari ST

I've never played either of these Atari ST games by Microdeal, but they look like fun. "Look" being the operative word. That's because, as we all know, a screenshot alone is a poor judge of a game.

In fact, I recall being burned by screenshots many times back in the day. While browsing at Babbage's or Software Etc. (former software retail chains), my brother and I would flip over various game boxes and ogle amazing, colorful in-game shots that would make us want to buy everything on the shelf.

If we did buy a game, we'd rush home and load it up. Nine times out of ten, those glorious box screenshots turned out to be the only pretty graphical scenes (often static) in the game. Or — even worse — the screenshots were from the uber-colorful Amiga / VGA / etc. version when in fact we were buying the Apple II version of the game (or we only had an EGA graphics card). Doh.

[ From STart, Summer 1988, rear cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever buy a game based on graphics alone — then come to regret it later?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Atari 520ST

February 18th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Atari ST Atari 520ST Rip-Off Advertisement 1985"There's only one word for these prices: rip-off."

[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.9 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Which was the better machine: the IBM PC AT, Atari 520ST, Mac 512K, or Amiga 1000?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Atari ST Christmas Catalog

December 24th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

BRE Software's Atari ST Public Domain Software Christmas '88 Update - 1988BRE Software's Atari ST Public Domain Software Christmas '88 Update

I found this neat holiday-themed BRE Software Atari ST catalog in a pile of documents that I received from my wife's uncle when he gave me his Atari ST collection a few years ago. It features both public domain and commercial software for Atari's 16-bit computer series.

(I wish I could get my hands on the Christmas demo disks mentioned on this page. Only $4.00 each or $9.95 for all four.)

The entire document is four pages long, and I've scanned the whole thing so you can download it in PDF format, complete with searchable text.

Merry Christmas from VC&G.

[ From BRE Software's Atari ST Christmas '88 Update, 1988, p.1 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever given a vintage computer or video game-related present to someone for Christmas (not when it was new, but when it was vintage/retro)?

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[ Retro GIF of the Week ] Christmas Fireplace

December 17th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Christmas Fireplace Stockings Christmas Tree Presents Retro GIFClick to see other views of this image: [ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ] [ 3X Zoom ]

Among the few GIF files I saved in the early 1990s (outside of those uploaded to by BBS), this warm, inviting Christmas scene remains one of my favorites.

In the image, we see a living room with a roaring fireplace bedecked with four Christmas stockings, a richly ornamented Christmas tree presiding over a large pile of presents, and a holly wreath over the mantle. Two candles flickering above the fireplace add an extra detail that completes the picture of a perfect holiday scene.

As the years have passed, I have forgotten where I acquired this GIF file, labeled XMASTR.GIF. I revisit this image every now and then, and I always wonder about its origins. Now is as good a time as any to look into them.

[ Continue reading [ Retro GIF of the Week ] Christmas Fireplace » ]

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] An Analog Christmas

December 19th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

Analog Computing Atari ST Dungeonlords Stocking Christmas Magazine Cover - 1988Santa has little respect for floppy disks, shoving them in there without sleeves.

[ From ANALOG Computing, December 1988, front cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When's the last time you used an Atari ST series computer? What did you run on it?

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[ Snapshots ] Dinner with the Atari 1040STF

May 17th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

Dinner with the Atari 1040STF.California Games at the Kitchen Table (October 2010)

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] ICD Atari ST Hard Drive

January 10th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

ICD FA-ST FAST FA20ST Hard Drive for Atari ST 1040ST Ad - 1988"Refresh Your Memory. And Keep Your Cool."

I recently ran across this ad for the ICD FA-ST Atari ST hard drive system in a 1988 issue of STart magazine that my wife's uncle gave me. He was quite an ST fan himself back in the day, and I was the lucky recipient of his ST collection last year.

According to an ICD catalog I have, the 20 megabyte model of this HD system (the FA20ST, seen here) retailed for US $699.95 in 1988 ($1,294.60 in 2010 dollars). The highest end model( FA52ST), which included two 50 megabyte drives, sold for $1649.95 (or $3,051.68 in 2010 dollars).

Those steep prices (common for all hard disks at the time), along with the small market size of Atari 16-bit owners in the US, made drives such as these quite rare. I've never seen one in the wild.

[ From STart, Summer 1988, p.9 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you own hard drive systems for any of your vintage, non-IBM PC compatible computers? Tell us about them.

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Inside the Atari 1040STf (25th Anniversary)

March 18th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Inside the Atari 1040STf on PC World

Atari Corporation premiered the first member of its ST series, the Atari 520ST, at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show 25 years ago this January. After the 520ST shipped mid-1985, Atari released an upgraded model in 1986 called the Atari 1040STf — variations of which remained best sellers throughout the ST's run.

In honor of the Atari ST series' 25th anniversary, I've dissected the popular Atari 1040STf in my usual style for PC World, making this the ninth entry in my "workbench series" of tech autopsies. I think it turned out very well, and I hope you enjoy it.

Benj Plays Gauntlet on the Atari 1040STfI have fond memories of the 1040STf because my father bought one for the family back in 1986. Games like Phantasie, SunDog, Exodus, and Gauntlet always come to mind when I think of Atari's GUI-based wonder.

Is anybody else out there a fan of the Atari ST series? If so, tell us about it. What ST model(s) did/do you have? What are your favorite ST games? Bonus points to anyone who can provide a picture of themselves using an Atari ST before 1990!

Here are my previous workbench teardowns, if you're interested: Atari 800, Commodore 64, Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo Famicom, Apple IIc, IBM Model M Keyboard, TRS-80 Model 100, and Macintosh Portable.

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