First news of the Atari 1200 seems to be good news for 800 owners.
The only reported improvements so far are that the 1200 has 64K and four
programmable function keys. On the other side of the coin, the 1200 has
only one cartridge slot and 2 controller ports. This obviously means
that Atari have abandoned any plans to bring out software for that
second slot, but then there are an awful lot of 800's about and maybe
some enterprising independent software house will bring out a cartridge
which will run on the 800 and not the 1200. Atari's argument for
reducing the number of game controllers seems to be that there is not
enough software around that needs to use 4 joysticks. One interesting
thought though is that several people are beginning to develop printer
interfaces that can be easily (and cheaply) connected to the existing 4
game ports. Could It be that these will not work with only 2 game ports
and you will therefore be forced to buy the 850 interface once again? At
something like £200 more for the 1200, one wonders why it is being
brought out, but then maybe there is more inside, just like there is
more in the 400's and 800's than the manuals would have you believe.
On the software front Atari have suddenly become very busy again.
After what seemed to be a long while without any new games, Atari are
now bringing out the arcade games in force. Galaxian has already been in
the shops for 2 weeks and Defender should be available by the time you
read this. Also in the pipeline in Qix although that may be a couple of
months. On the serious side there should be a Microsoft Basic in ROM
quite soon and also File Manager.
Choplifter, reviewed in the last issue should be available on ROM
quite soon, so no need to buy that disk drive after all!
In the rumours department... watch out for a 3 inch Micro Drive at
the end of the year and four-colour plotter-printer at only £150!
Atari have now come closer to sorting out the problems in repair
delays by setting up a network of service centres around the U.K. Your
local retailer should have a leaflet but if not, phone Atari on Slough
(0753) 24561 for your nearest centre.
There's quite a buzz on the home front now as far as software goes.
Apart from the new Adventure International mentioned last issue, watch
out for U.K. written software from Liverpool based MicroSpot who hope to
bring out a new game each month and a new series of Adventure games from
Channel 8 Software. These promise to be of interest to those of you who
have not upgraded, being 16K machine code adventures in the Scott Adams
style, but written specifically for the Atari and featuring Display List
Interrupts to add a bit more life to the text display. Expected to
retail at £14.95
The new MicroNet service, heavily advertised in the computer press is
expected to bring out an Atari compatible modem soon but no details yet
of what software support can be expected.