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Discovering The Atari ST

Atari 5200 Guy


Long story short, I've had my Atari 1040 STe for a few years now but I've never had the urge to do anything with it. Over the last few days I've attempted to find something to spark my interest in it of which I have found a few things. Most of which are games but at least I found something.

As a music machine it simply can't be beat in my opinion.  The native MIDI feature of the Atari ST line is very solid and I use Sweet 16, a program I'm very familiar with from the Windows 98 days. This much has kept my interest in the machine. I only wish I had a more capable music keyboard to take full advantage of the ST and software.

Games?  I have found many but I own only two published games; Space Station Oblivion and Super Cycle.  The rest have been dependent on the images I found online.  Most of those don't play well on a NTSC system so I have had hit and miss results. Nevertheless I have found a small library of games I enjoy playing or have tried, liked, and plan to dig into deeper sometime.  A few I was already familiar with from the early MS-DOS days on a 386 system which helped.  Populous was a nice find but the ST gets bogged down a lot as the game progresses...something I can tolerate but also something I am not use to happening in that game.  Railroad Tycoon I spent countless hours on during my 386 days and while I have the images of that game for the ST I have yet to find one that wants to play.  SimCity is a classic and fun on anything that can handle it and the ST is no exception.  There is no difference between the PC and ST versions that I can find. Really well done.

New contenders I've found are Super Cycle a fun Hang-On style game, Buggy Boy has become a favorite, Nitro is a neat racing game, Spellbound is a beautifully done adventure game but it will make you pull your hair out, and I found a bunch of popular Sega arcade hits. Some good, some not as good as they could have been. And I've only started my journey.

Which brings me to a somewhat puzzled conclusion: I love my Atari STe.  But I've never ran into a computer that was all over the place before. That is when it came to game software.  I'm trying to figure out why the ST seemed to be a short fad in the US while it dominated in other countries.  If you viewed ads in ST magazines games were plentiful. But the games I downloaded are mostly for PAL systems even when the same title was ported over to American Atari ST owners.  Where are those images?  I browsed ads in lots of START magazine publications as a guide to find what games actually made it over here and 9 out of 10 times the game images I have found are for PAL systems.  It's been fun trying to find them but hectic to say the least.  And some images are in the STX format only which I have not found a way to put those images back on a disk.  It's not that I'm making these disks to sell them...I just want to play them in real hardware and this is the only way I have found most of the games made.for the ST computers.

It's been said that software publishers didn't trust Atari once Jack Tramiel took over because he would stop supporting a system without warning.  Whether that is true or not who knows.  I can understand that but in the computer world a publisher had full control over their product.  It would be like no one making software for the 386 because the 486 was a couple of years away from a public appearance

At the end of the day the ST has grown on me.  Some games were weird but then again those 386 days were no different. Hidden gems?  I'd have to put Spellbound on that list so far.  It's a side scrolling adventure puzzle solving game where you can play at your own pace but it is unforgiving.  You only have one life.  The only thing about my STe I've noticed is a lack of support for the features it had including the Jaguar controller ports.  I have yet to find any games that used those.  Otherwise my STe and I are getting to know one another.  My next adventure?  Finding a C development environment so I can make my own games on it.

If you have an Atari ST I'd like to hear what your favorite apps and games are on it.  Maybe discussing those games someone is stuck on can bring back those days when help was a school yard away.


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I'm kind of in the same boat as you as far as the ST.  I like it very much, but I think I've decided to sell mine.  I just don't use it that often. 

Given that, my favorite games are the remake of Star Raiders, Buggy Boy, and Lemmings.  I need to try more.  And maybe we can do that here....play some "new-to-us" games together before I sell mine.  Every time I play games on the ST, I find it to be very reminiscent of the Sega Genesis.  There must be some connection in the hardware.  The games just have that same look-and-feel of Genesis.  Maybe it's just me. 

My ST has a GoTek drive in it, meaning I'm completely dependent on images.  And I have a bunch.

I also have a small collection of commercial games on disk.  But since I don't have a working floppy drive anymore, they are useless to me.

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In all honesty I wouldn't sell the ST.  Those are getting hard to come by these days.  Hang on to it a while longer.  Maybe we can find a few games to try to play.  For me the ST is an open palette. Most of the games that were not on Nintendo, Sega, or PC might be interesting to try out.

Whether I find excuses to play my ST or not I will not part with it.  It is a part of my collection and I'd most likely miss it if it was no longer there.  I would be interested in knowing what ST games you have on disk.  

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I will get back to you once I get the ST out and working.  I did get the tub out as you see in the pic.  But first, I need to get the Dreamcast back in the original box, which I recently found while cleaning stuff up.  Finding that box is very exciting to me.  I'm so glad I kept it. 

As for selling or not, I will give it a chance first.  I also have an Amiga.  It makes no sense to keep both.  Too much stuff!  I'd rather have the space and peace of mind back.  In the last year, I've sold and Atari 800 and an Aquarius and do not miss them one bit. 

Anyway, more pictures to come once I get the time to get the ST out. 

ST and Dreamcast 003.JPG

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