Issue 30

Nov/Dec 87

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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.


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.


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!

Les Ellingham