Five years! It
seems almost unbelievable but this issue is our fifth birthday
issue. It's a shame that we don't have time for a birthday party but
the truth is that the world of Atari seems to be busier now than it
has ever been and that can't be too bad can it? By the time you read
this, the PCW Show with its Atari Village will have come and gone
but as I write it is only a few days away and I have to complete
most of this issue beforehand, spend a week at the show, and then
finish it in two days after we come back! After that there is The
Atari Christmas Show to look forward to at the end of November and
it looks as if that might be just as hectic to fit in too!
Considering that the very first Atari only show was
only last year, it seems amazing that we now seem to have two
regular Atari Shows a year plus the largest presence of any
manufacturer at the PCW Show. Things must be good in the world of
Atari, or are they? It is a pity that all this show activity is not
reflected elsewhere. Atari still doesn't have the same profile in
the shops as certain other computers despite the fact that the ST
seems to be the machine of the moment. It is still hard to find a
decent range of Atari software, especially 8-bit, unless you happen
to be lucky enough to live near a good established retailer who has
stuck with Atari all along. There are not enough of these to cover
the country though and the Atari 8-bit software market became almost
exclusively mail order long ago. Dozens of 'companies' got in on the
act in the early days but today only a few (the best or the honest)
survive and, if you have not got a local shop, they deserve your
support. What is worrying now is that these companies, and the shop
retailers, are being hit hard by all the 'bright boys' who are
jumping in to sell ST software at ridiculously discounted prices.
Have you seen how many there are? In the short run the ST public
might get a good deal, providing they get in quick enough before
these boys disappear but in the long run we all might end up losing.
Most of the 'cut price merchants' will disappear quickly because the
market is just not big enough to support them all but what is
worrying is that some of those who have supported Atari for a long
time may be forced to go first and that is not right. Get a good
price by all means but don't start complaining when (not if) one day
you send off your money and don't get a reply.
Five years is a long time and I have seen it all
happen before. If you don't believe me, make a list of all the
really cheap places and then make another in six months time. I bet
it won't be the same.
NEW EDITORIAL ASSISTANT!
Let's get on to more pleasant things. This issue we
have a new Editorial Assistant so perhaps you would welcome Phil
Cardwell. He claims he's a real wizzo on the good old Atari 8-bit
and we will hopefully see his influence in coming issues. We might
also get a bit more ahead in planning each issue and dealing with
your contributions as I have always been promising! We should also
have just a little more time to address particular topics in the
pages of PAGE 6 so if there is something you would like to see in
future issues drop Phil a line and we'll see what can be done.
THANKS TO SOFTWARE EXPRESS
Here's a little tale. About two months ago my Atari
Hard Disk drive died. I switched it on one morning and it didn't
come on! If you know anything about Hard Disks you will know that
they are delicate beasts and I did not want to send it through the
post (God forbid!) so I dropped it into Software Express in
Birmingham to see if they could repair it. It needed a new power
supply, so they asked a few favours from Atari (as did I) and a mere
two months later the part arrived! In the meantime I desperately
needed a Hard Disk on two occasions so Software Express kindly
loaned me one they had on loan on the first occasion and then
cleared everything off the one they use themselves in the shop so I
could borrow it to get the subscriptions out for the last issue and
I didn't even buy my drive from them in the first place!
Obviously they can't do the same for everybody but it
does illustrate a point I have often made before. Can you imagine
getting that sort of support from the local Dixons or Boots! Do you
see what I am getting at? I hope so.
Anyway, thanks to Software Express without whose help these long
nights would have been even longer!