Readers Write


Issue 16

Jul/Aug 1985

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Dear Les,

You kindly published a letter of mine at the beginning of the year asking for software for the new computer in the childrens ward of the hospital where I work.

The response has been splendid and we have received many useful items from all parts of the country and even from Italy! I have personally replied to all those who included their address but several items were sent anonymously and I wondered if you would publish a small note of thanks on behalf of the children of ward C2 to all those who have been so generous.

Best wishes and many thanks.

Paul Boggust
Beckenham, Kent



Dear Sir,

I notice that BOUNTY BOB STRIKES BACK is currently available on a 40k ROM costing 49.95. This is absolutely ridiculous as the game is available on cassette for the Commodore 64 at only 9.95.

Why is it that Atari owners are always being asked to pay these ridiculous prices? There is no reason why this game should not be available on cassette as anybody who is willing to pay 50 for a game has surely upgraded their machine to 48k? The new Ataris look set to take off in a big way but will only do so if they have a solid range of cheap cassette software to equal the Commodore and Spectrum. What is the point of buying a reasonably priced computer if the software is too expensive? Granted much Atari software is coming down in price but there is still a tendency for many games to be on disk only. The average Commodore and Spectrum owner runs a cassette based system and, if the XE range is to lure these potential customers away from their existing systems then the software companies must stop this disk only bias. Why on earth should games like Ghostbusters, Mr Robot, Flak and Loderunner etc. be available on cassette for the Commodore but not the Atari? And why do games such as Boulderdash, Bristles and Flip 'N' Flop cost twice as much for the Atari than the Commodore?

I sincerely hope that BOUNTY BOB does not sell. If any owner buys it he must have more money than sense as you can buy a new 800XL for barely twice the price of this cartridge.

Steve Craig

* Most people tend to blame the retailers for such high prices but the blame really lies with those companies such as U. S. Gold who have licensing agreements with the U.S. software companies. In the case of BOUNTY BOB those retailers who sold the ROM (imported from the U.S.) did so partly as a service to those who had waited a long time for its release when there was no indication of an Atari release from U. S. Gold. Granted they make more profit from a 50 item but most retailers would prefer to sell lower priced software in volume than take chances on stocking high priced items.

So who is to blame? The answer is complex but the only companies that can change the situation are those who negotiate the U.K. licensing rights to U.S. software. Unfortunately their argument for higher prices for Atari, or non-availability, is that the products do not sell in enough quantity to justify the expense in producing and promoting them. Part of this is history but the blame also lies with owners and Atari themselves. Any owner who has a pirated copy of a program, for whatever reason, is to blame. Atari is to blame for still failing to advertise their products or re-think their marketing.

How about a radical step? What about Atari setting up or backing a company to negotiate the U.K. rights to software that the other companies are not interested in? Sell them on cassette to retailers at good margins and get them in the shops alongside their computers. It would probably cost no more than a major hardware advertising campaign and would certainly lure other computer owners away from their systems. Probably easier said than done but worth investigating?

Probably the only thing you and I can do is to write to U.S. GOLD and BEYOND Software and other companies every time they advertise software and ask them for the Atari version. If enough people write then they will be released and at the right price. But will enough people write? Most will feel that they shouldn't have to and maybe they are right.



Dear Les,

As FIRST STEPS is currently running the A-Z of BASIC I wondered if I could use the letters page to thank all those who voted for the column in the last Readers Poll. Your support is much appreciated. I will reply to all readers who write with queries provided they enclose a stamped addressed envelope but I now have several letters from people who did not enclose one. If anyone has not had a reply from me could I ask them to please write again ensuring that they enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

Mark Hutchinson
BAUG Software
P.O.BOX 123

* Mark has spent a great deal of his own time in helping readers with their problems. If you write to anyone for advice and expect a personal reply you should enclose a stamped addressed envelope. Is it really fair to ask someone to spend an hour of their time giving free advice if you can't be bothered to spend 17p on the return postage?