Dear Page 6,
As a reply to recent letters that enquire why
there are no Atari versions of certain games, I have some
information that many Atari owners might like to know. Late last
year I was asked by English Software to do a title page for COMMANDO
(Elite Systems gave English Software the job of writing it). I
completed the work and got paid for it but since I have heard
I have an idea what might have happened. Either of
the companies pulled out of the contract and then sold the game to
Mastertronic who released it under the name of Gun Law, with new
scenery and game play but keeping to the basic idea.
Maybe this happens to other games?
D. Clapson, Bournemouth
Dear Page 6,
I have a suggestion for you for an article/program
in Page 6. How about someone doing a business graphics program with
options to display statistics as horizontal/vertical bar charts,
line graphs and pie charts? It should have an ability to add text to
the screen and, of course, be compatible with the 1029 printer!
There may be a use for some statistical analysis too?
J.D. Collins, London
That should be reasonably easy to write. Who is
going to write it then?
A TALE OF WOE
Having owned an 8 bit system for over 5 years, I
decided to stay with Atari and buy an ST. I went along to the recent
Atari Show armed with my Access card and after checking the prices
on offer I bought a 1040ST and Philips 8833 monitor from a company
My delight lasted less than 24 hours at which
point the monitor decided to call it a day so I phoned the company
and was told that I could have a replacement as long as I paid the
carriage to return 11kg of monitor to them by courier! This I
refused and after nearly a week it was agreed that a replacement
would be sent. More phone calls and no monitor. I finally gave up
and contacted Access who will make Gultronics collect the goods at
their expense, which they had previously refused to do. I also
contacted Atari who said that Gultronics, who seem to be at every
Atari show, were not an Atari dealer so there was nothing they could
By the time you read this I hope to have a working
system and hope that the company I purchase it from have a slightly
better customer relations attitude. I would recommend that other
readers use a credit card when purchasing goods as, at least, you
get some backup if not satisfied.
N.J. Leonard, Bournemouth.
Would you like me to come to Gultronics'
defence? If you were discounting so heavily that you made only a few
pounds profit on each item, you couldn't afford to provide a good
after sales service either. The lesson is that you get what you pay
for and by shopping for the cheapest price you take risks. I am sure
that the established Atari retailers who charge recommended prices
and provide full after sales service will have little sympathy. Many
struggle to stay in business because of sales lost to the discount
merchants and often end up helping out users with problems on
equipment bought elsewhere. There are one or two good mail order
Atari dealers and many good Atari retailers. Support them. You may
pay a little more but you can then expect, and will probably get,
the after sales service that should be provided.
Dear Page 6,
I would like to congratulate you on the quality of
your magazine. The 8-bit section is particularly good but I have one
criticism. Some adventures reviewed by Garry Francis do not have any
real distribution in this country and, as a result, will be played
only by a small handful of readers. This seems a waste of Garry's
talents. I appreciate that Garry has to get many of his adventures
from the US but nevertheless feel that he should pay attention to
what is available over here.
The ST section is also good, although it seems to
rely heavily on reviews. The ownership of the ST seems to be split
between 'users' (the majority) and programmers. I am about to buy an
ST and will join the latter category. Programmers seem to get short
shrift from the magazines. If the magazine included more tutorial
type articles of an advanced nature (not just copied from reference
books) then the balance would be restored.
I hope your bear these comments in mind when
preparing future issues.
Malcolm Bremer, Dagenham
Thanks for the input. Constructive criticism is
always welcomed. I feel that one of the strengths of Garry Francis's
column is the fact that he does cover some of the more obscure
adventures, adventures which readers here might otherwise never know
about. NO other U.K. magazine has covered the harder to find
adventures and few, if any, cover any adventures in such depth. In
many cases Garry gives you details of a supplier in the U.S.A. and
there is no reason why you cannot order from them, it is just as
easy and safe as buying from many U.K. mail order companies,
particularly if you use a credit card.
I tend to agree with
your comments about the ST section, it is heavily dependent on
reviews but the problem is finding writers for the 'programming'
side of the ST and finding subjects that will be of interest to more
than a small minority. I hope that the series beginning this issue
on using GEM with C begins to redress the balance. As always we are
happy to consider any well written articles on programming for any
DATA STORAGE ON CASSETTE
Dear Page 6,
I have recently bought an Atari 800XL home
computer. I am totally in the dark about computers, programming etc.
I enjoy playing games but my friend says you can store information
on cassettes from history notes to how my favourite football team
did on Saturday. Is this possible? If so, how can I do it?
Trevor Carolan, Dublin
You can certainly use cassettes to
store any kind of data, the only restriction is that you cannot
access the data randomly as you can from disk. Unfortunately there
are not many commercial programs around that support cassette
storage for data and few 'user' programs. You will almost certainly
need to learn a little programming and write a simple routine
yourself. The book Your Atari Computer is one
of the few with a whole chapter devoted to the program recorder and
this gives full details on how to use the cassette for data storage
and gives a sample mailing list program. An expensive book but, and
I will keep saying it, one that every owner should invest in.
Perhaps we could do a small tutorial in First Steps or elsewhere on
using the cassette. Any interest?
DELIVERING THE GOODS?
Well, it is the day after the
pilgrimage to the Atari Show and I must say it was the best one yet.
I was very impressed with Atari's
presence and with them 'delivering the goods' with the Mega ST's and
laser printer and the two PC models. I enjoyed the Atari promo
videos and as the American patter enthused
about the reborn company I felt a strong sense of pride in being an
Atari owner and part of something that is gaining strength and
momentum around the world. I feel that the next few years will be as
exciting and innovative as the late 70's and early 80's if you
upgraded to 16k you were probably doubling your RAM as well as your
overdraft! Atari are now proving that leading edge technology does
not cost a fortune and 'power without the price' is a reality and
not a promise.
Paul Hanson, Brighton
Ah, but did you actually see that laser
working? I remember the PCW Show last year when the 2080ST and
4160ST were shown as well as the blitter and an 80 column card for
the 8 bit machines. Some mutate, some get left behind. Never did see
that CD ROM. Yes it will be exciting and innovative. Let's hope it
will also be productive!
Dear Page 6,
I am disappointed with PAGE 6's lack of
competitions. It seems the only competition I have ever seen was the
£100 programming competition and the Readers Poll. Could you not
possibly consider printing a few competitions each month, e.g.
Graphics Contest, Programming Contest, DLI Programming etc.?
Graham Stewart, Dublin
P.S. If you do not print this letter I will
definitely withdraw from buying PAGE 6.
I am disappointed in the lack of response when
we do have a competition. Six entries for the programming contest
you mentioned? It seems that there is no real interest in
competitions that require some effort. And where was your entry,
COME ON ATARI
Dear Page 6,
At the recent Atari Show I picked up a leaflet on
the Atari stand promoting what Atari describe as the 130XE GAMES
Come on Atari, what are you up to?
Don't get me wrong, I
don't think playing games on a
computer is any less of a valid use than any other. I
enjoy playing games, as I am sure most users do, it is however
certainly not the only way to use them. Some computers have the
image of being educational tools, witness the BBC (nice BASIC, shame
about the machine), overpriced and underpowered, but it sold because
people could kid themselves that it would help their children's
I am sure that most of us users of the Atari 8 bit
machines have had to endure comments along the lines of, 'Atari?
They are only for games aren't they? I have a Commodore .. Spectrum
.. Amstrad etc.'. We could disagree but somehow the myth endured. At
least we could be smug in the
knowledge that we knew that we had the best
machine available, a fact that even Atari didn't seem to realise.
Over the last few years, a great deal of first class 'serious'
software has become available and I had begun to think that the
Atari 8 bit line was being taken seriously at last.
Now along comes Atari promoting a GAMES computer.
I don't think it will help them sell machines to describe them in
this way. Are they downgrading the 8 bit line in favour of the ST
range? If they are, I think they are wrong. The ST is a superb machine,
but it is nowhere near as easy for the beginner to learn how to
program as the 8 bit range is and, more importantly, not everybody
can afford an ST. At around a hundred pounds, the 130XE has to be the
best value home computer today, so, come on Atari, advertise the
fact and tell people EVERYTHING it can do and about the enormous
range of ALL types of software available. Maybe then you will sell
as many machines as deserve to be sold.
Allan Knopp, Colchester
Quite right! With the myth of the 'games
machine' Atari managed to get the smallest share of the UK market of
any of the major manufacturers. Stories are legion of customers
walking into various stores and saying 'I want something for
education/ word processing/ business, what is the Atari like? It
looks good value' only to be told by the salesman 'That's just a
games machine, sir, take a look at this Commodore/ BBC/ Amstrad
etc.'. Is that what Atari want? I can't
believe it. Mind you, maybe it is so ingrained now that Atari
themselves believe Atari means 'games'. A recent press release
advising that the ST was to be sold in Smiths stated, and I quote,'
The high performance ICON driven games machine sells for £399'!!!
Meanwhile, downstairs at the Atari Show, an American TV commercial
is running showing a 130XE with products like Synfile +, Atariwriter
and the like! What can you do? Throw up your hands in despair, and
carry on doing Atari's PR for them I suppose.