NEW ATARI HELPLINE
Atari have announced a new Midlands
and Northern HELPLINE to supplement the existing southern based
number. The new HELPLINE number is 021 327 2616 and it will be manned
by an experienced user of both 8-bit and 16-bit systems. If you
require any assistance, whether technical or otherwise, the HELPLINE
operative will be able to provide an answer or refer you to the
The existing Southern HELPLINE
will continue on 01 309 7770.
STAR RAIDERS II
It really is on its way! Although
based on a previously unreleased game called The Last Starfighter,
Atari have apparently changed that game considerably to make a sequel
to Star Raiders. Several improvements include a starfield that responds
to the joystick, new space stations and a tactical display. STAR
RAIDERS II is said to be available very soon but at a price.
There were rumours that Atari would
launch new peripherals for the 8-bit computers at CES in LAS VEGAS
but they failed to materialise. According to an Atari spokesman
though several products will be launched at the HANOVER FAIR in
Included are said to be an 80 column
interface, a 3½" disk drive and 'possibly' a new 8-bit computer.
The 3½" drive is expected to be a single sided 325K drive with
access time about twice as fast as the 1050. DOS 2 and 2.5 files
are said to be upwardly compatible to this drive. Let's wait and
MAJOR NEW SOFTWARE COMPANY
Just at a time when many of the
major American software companies are abandoning the 8-bit market
to seek new fortunes with the ST, comes an announcement from Software
Express Computer Systems Ltd of a major new software publishing
house that will have Atari 8-bit products at the forefront.
The new company, Software Express
Computer Systems Ltd, (S.E.C.S. for short), is a collaboration between
Software Express, already widely known and respected for their retail
and distribution of Atari products, and Jon Dean formerly of Atari
UK. Jon Dean has been a long time Atari enthusiast and believes
he can now do more to keep the Atari market alive and well with
the new company. He states "I realise the potential that exists
for Atari 8-bit products, let alone 16-bit, and I left Atari believing
I could do more for Atari from outside than from within". The company
intend to introduce a whole new range of Atari products but one
key point of their strategy is to ensure that the software is at
realistic prices. Many new owners were attracted to the 800XL because
of its price and in Jon Dean's words "have more of a bargain than
they realise". The key to realising the potential of the Atari for
all new owners is to ensure that good quality software is widely
available at all prices starting as low as £2.99.
Another area which the company
will concentrate on is PEX which stands for Program EXchange. Many
existing owners will recognise the similarity of name to APX which
was run by Atari in the States. The idea of PEX is to give ordinary
home users the opportunity to have their programs marketed worldwide
by a company capable of handling the production and distribution.
Many of these programs will be of a specialist nature that most
other software companies would not be interested in but Jon Dean
recognises that quite often the best new ideas and approaches often
come from home programmers. The company hope to evaluate all types
of software submitted from ordinary users and will work closely
with authors whose programs show potential to help bring them to
the market place.
As well as producing their own
titles, S.E.C.S. will agree licensing rights with both U.K. and
American companies. Smaller U.K. based companies will have the opportunity
to have their software distributed by a major company thus overcoming
many of the difficulties faced by small companies in a large market.
Several companies have already been signed up and the first products
will be launched at the forthcoming Atari Computer Show in London.
The company have already made an
impact in the United States with its first launch at the CES Show
in Las Vegas. Another of the company's directors, Jerry Howells,
who attended the show pronounced the company launch a "complete
success" with several licensing deals agreed and guaranteed U.S.
distribution for all S.E.C.S. software.
The company will produce software
for all computers but with the Directors' background rooted firmly
with Atari, Atari software will be at the forefront. In the meantime,
if you have a program that you feel has sales potential, Jon Dean
would like to hear from you. Programs, with supporting documentation,
should be submitted direct to Jon Dean, S.E.C.S., 6, Callow Croft,
Burbage, Wiltshire, SN8 3TB.
ANOTHER NEW COMPANY
Another company new to Atari products
is Gremlin Graphics. The company believe that ATARI will have a
big impact this year and have released two new titles, ZONE X and
KING OF THE RING. ZONE X has 3 levels and over 300 screens in which
the player has to 'make safe' plutonium waste whilst avoiding the
usual adversaries. KING OF THE RING is a boxing game in which you
can take your fighter to the world championship. Makes a change