Issue 24

Nov/Dec 86

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Early September was quite a depressing time for owners of Atari 8-bit computers for the Personal Computer World Show turned out to be the place at which the grave illness of this particular patient became apparent. Many seemed to feel that the illness was terminal. The cause was easily established - neglect. Everyone has known for years that the major U.K. software houses have neglected the Atari but now that malaise has spread to Atari themselves and, worst of all, to the public. If the Atari 8-bit line is to die then it will be a strange irony that the major contributors to its death will be the people who need it most, you and all those other owners who don't support those companies that are continuing to support the Atari.

As reported elsewhere, the representation of the Atari 8-bit products in the 'Atari village' at PCW was dismal but three companies (including ourselves) did show support for the 8-bit Ataris and needed support from the public. Did they get it? I can't speak directly for the others but I know that we fared much worse on the 8-bit side this year than at last year's PCW despite being in a special Atari only area this time. If we did not have ST products available we would have lost heavily and would have decided there and then not to do another exhibition. I suspect that others supporting only the 8-bit computers probably felt the same. If you came along and bought something fine, but if not you must take your share of the blame if some of the exhibitors decide not to bother next time.

The thing I don't understand is that there are at least ten times more 8-bit Ataris in this country than ST's yet the ST commands ten times the interest at the present time. The reason is fairly obvious when you think about it, the 8-bit Ataris are no longer 'new'. They may still be the most powerful, affordable home computers `for the masses' but they are no longer new and our society clamours after the new. There is of course room for the established alongside the innovative, if the established is good enough which in the case of Atari it is, provided that companies supporting the established line can make a living. A lot of companies who have supported Atari in the past have done so with their hearts leading their heads but at some stage the line has to be drawn. Only you and your hundreds of thousands of Atari owning friends can determine whether this happens.

Enough. You must have the message. If you want companies to keep supporting you, you must support them. There is another Atari Show coming up at the end of November. Make sure that you go along (and take as many non-PAGE 6 reading Atari owners as you can find) and show your support. If you find it disappointing, ask the organisers why they didn't get more 8-bit exhibitors and write to those you know who didn't exhibit and ask them to come along next time. It's a two way process, if Atari owners don't support us, as exhibitors, we just cannot, by the laws of economics continue to support them.

New ST Coverage


This issue sees the start of a separate section for the ST which you will find in the centre of the magazine. The reasons are complex and varied but in the end I feel that we can best support both types of Atari owner by going in this direction. We do not intend to neglect either and look forward to receiving as much reader support for STage as we have done, and still do, for PAGE 6 as a whole.

One piece of advice for ST owners, who may want to turn to STage - read the rest of the magazine as well. Many of the software reviews, such as those for Infocom adventures, will be relevant to the ST and you might miss out. 8-bit owners should not neglect STage either (and certainly not, as one correspondent suggested, throw it away!) for you may well decide that an ST would be a welcome present after all. I know for a fact that many of the long term Atari owners own, and use, both machines and rightly so. They will, hopefully, find something of interest from cover to cover.