Issue 24

Nov/Dec 86

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The Birmingham User Group claim a first for a British Atari BBS by going Transatlantic! Messages may be sent to or received from Canada at no extra cost to the user.

Outgoing messages are stored as received and once a week are transferred to a bulletin board in Canada called TASK FORCE. Messages from TASK FORCE BBS are also transferred to CBABBS and the transfer takes place every Saturday morning. There are a number of messages in the Canadian message base from computer fans in Canada, and they would like to get in touch with users in the U.K. Anyone who logs on to CBABBS may reply to these messages, once they have been registered as a user. The telephone number of CBABBS is 021 430 3761.


Software producers Epyx have launched into the peripherals market with the new revolutionary style joystick pictured here. They claim that the stick will increase any gamesters high score and have launched a world wide search amongst users groups to find out how well the stick performs. It is certainly very positive and outperforms any other joystick tried at PAGE 6. Main drawback for some is that it is for right handed players only. Unfortunately we don't know the UK availability or price, but pester your retailer and he should be able to find out.


If you recall our review of Paperclip in issue 22 you may remember a comment that the review copy did not have the 'special' files on the disk. It seems that it was not the only copy!

Ariolasoft have admitted that the 'Special Version' including various printer was never actually on the disk. James Poole, Technical Consultant for Ariolasoft explains "Due to an error at the duplication stage of this program, the special version was omitted. We apologise for this and ask anyone who has purchased this version to return it to us for immediate replacement."

If you have recently purchased PaperClip and find that programs mentioned in the manual are not on the disk, return it to Ariolasoft, 68, Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2 9JH and they will do the decent thing!


Looking hard and long, Les Ellingham really did find Atari software at the PCW Show


It has to be said that the PCW Show 1986 was a great disappointment for 8-bit owners. The Atari 'village' was dominated by the ST and Atari themselves showed little interest in the 8-bit models, devoting more space in fact to the 2600 VCS games machine! Still they did have the long promised 80 column card/printer interface on show and very good it looked too. No price or availability though. That really was the highlight as far as Atari themselves were concerned.


A round up of the Atari village is easy. Only Red Rat Software and 2 Bit Systems were predominantly supporting the 8-bit machines. Red Rat in particular deserve your praise and support for coming into and trying to expand a market that the likes of English Software have deserted. On show were Technicolour Dream, Panic Express, Screaming Wings, A Day At The Races, Freaky Factory, Rocket Repairman and War Copter many of which are in the arcade vein. Prices start at 2.99 on cassette and 4.99 on disk. Their forthcoming schedule of releases include Astro Droid a space arcade game, a frantic car racing game called Demolition Derby, Escape from Planet X which is three arcade games in one, a multi screen arcade adventure called Treasure Island and two more arcade games, Dragon's Breath and Domain of the Undead. Clearly Red Rat are now the most predominant Atari 8-bit software house in the U.K.

2 Bit Systems had Replay and Digidrum on show which were reviewed last issue together with Midi Master for any 48k Atari. Featuring an 8 track sequencer and Music Player for AMS files it retails at just 27.50. Also shown was Percussion Master a digital drum machine featuring actual digitised sounds to enable you to create your own songs. This retails at 29.95.


It was not all gloom and despair outside the Atari village though. In fact there was more 8-bit support outside the Atari area than in, although you had to look hard to find it.

Several companies with established 8-bit products were present such as Activision, Ariolasoft and Llamasoft but amongst the myriad stands were one or two that will be supporting Atari for the first time.

Bubble Bus Software, a long established company for other micros will shortly produce their first Atari title with Starquake an arcade adventure on disk or cassette at 12.95 and 7.95 respectively.

Gremlin Graphics had an excellent looking Marble Madness type game entitled Trailblazer which should be out soon together with Footballer of The Year in which you play an up and coming professional footballer fighting your way to the top. Both are 9.95.

Mastertronic have a couple of new 1.99 titles under their Entertainment USA banner called Bump, Set, Spike and Vegas Poker whilst Firebird had another budget title called War Hawk which one avid arcade freak told me had the best music he had ever heard!

Rainbird are now bringing adventure lovers something they have been crying out for for years, Level 9 adventures on disk! Already available is Jewels of Darkness and coming along is Silicon Dreams both of which are three adventure compilations of existing Level 9 adventures. Also expect soon the 8-bit version of the much acclaimed ST adventure, The Pawn.

Anco Software are marketing Voice Master in this country. A speech synthesiser, voice recognition and voice harp hardware add-on that sells for 59.95. Reviews on other machines have been excellent, let's hope that the Atari version lives up.

Tynesoft have now acquired the rights to some of the Scott Adams adventures and will be re-releasing these soon. Savage Island I & II are already available. They are also one of the few converting established Commodore titles to the Atari with Jet Set Willy I & II already available. Camelot is a multi-level arcade game and Drawmaster is another 'ultimate Artist package' for budding Atari artists to look out for. More Atari titles are promised.

From Infocom look out for Moonmist an interactive fiction adventure and Leather Goddesses of Phobos, the first in a new Comedy adventure line. Only one new title is due from Ariolasoft which is Touchdown Football and Mirrorsoft are due to release a new flight simulator, Spitfire 40. Blue Ribbon Software are to expand their range of budget titles with Astro Plumber, Diamond Mine II, Bar Billiards, Condition Red, Joey and M-Droid.

Budget software is all the range and Prism Leisure Corporation seem to specialise in buying out old or deleted titles for budget release. Their trade catalogue features no less than 67 Atari titles!! Some is pretty obscure but many are up to date. If your dealer tells you there is no 8-bit software around, don't believe him.

Finally I picked up an Ocean/Imagine autumn/winter release schedule - not an Atari title in sight!

There will be a decent amount of software around in the coming months but I suspect that your retailer will need pestering. Pester him!