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Atari ST Conclusion (So Far)

Atari 5200 Guy


I have tried many games.  Some with great success, some with not so great results.  Overall I have come to a conclusion on how I see the ST computers.  Close to the end of the ST production run I was heavy into the 386 computer scene.  Good old' MS-DOS commercial and shareware games kept my time occupied.  I never knew nor heard about Atari making ST computers at all.  Atari simply didn't exist.

In hindsight that was a good thing.  I managed to learn the IBM PC side of computing.  Games I had and would read about were very much hit and miss.  A ton of weird games that made you wonder why you even wasted time on them when you had better games.  Countless nights figuring out the latest SSI release or finding those hidden areas in Wolfenstein 3-D. Breaking into buildings and tapping phones in Covert Action or building the biggest railroad empire in Railroad Tycoon.  Those PC games gave me knowledge I needed when I finally approached the ST. 

That might sound weird to some but the whole reason why I asked for a 386 in the first place was to learn how to program games.  I had QuickBASIC for that.  So to warm up to the ST I wanted to explore what games it got.  I was surprised to see many of those old IBM games I played on the ST.  My research started with five games: Space Station Oblivion, which I have yet to really get into, Super Cycle (beat this one one week after I got it), SimCity, Buggy Boy, and Test Drive.  The first two I bought, the last three are disk images.  The time between playing those until I pulled the ST back out a few days ago is about two years.  I was serious this time.  I was either going to find games I liked or were at least interesting or the ST was simply going to be a collection item.  I don't see the point of owning a system if I'm not going to enjoy it.

I've found at least 30 games I enjoy on the ST, only a few I remember from the 386 days.  I wake up in the mornings and I want to play the ST.  I don't want to go to bed because I have to turn off the ST.  The ST has grown on me fast.  Games like Vroom, Goldrunner, Nitro, Spellbound...all make the ST worth having around.  But just like those old 386 games the ST was also plagued with weird games.  But also like the 386 the early games felt like learning tools with most of them not that great.  It's to be expected since it can take a while to learn a new system and to pull all the tricks out of it.

The ST is a fine system but, unfortunately, was not as well received here in the U.S. as it was in the U.K. and other countries.  I first had to resort to STart magazines to see what all the American ST got.  I ended up resorting to ST Action, a UK-based magazine that reported ST games in great detail.  Once I read a few of those I had a list of games to go find. I quickly became an ST sleuth hunting down what works and what doesn't.

At the end of the day I have a strong connection to my STe now. I also know know what games I want to keep an eye out for in the wild should I ever get that lucky.  The ST turned out to be a nice machine.  Maybe not as well received as the XL/XE line but still a great staple. I love my ST.


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