Atari ST – 39 Years Old (1985-2024)

Well this is the Atari ST, released in June 1985, 39 years ago, and I never actually ever owned one of these, although a friend of mine had one thanks to his wonderful parents (well maybe not heh)

The Atari ST was not a favourite machine of mine, I did, and still do think it is really just a rebadged ZX Spectrum, with tinny ZX Spectrum style Musicial Effects, as well as ZX Spectrum Style Graphics, alas not suffering from the ZX Spectrum Colour Bleed Problem of course

It came with between 512KB to 4MB of memory, which was pretty decent for its time, and it used an ugly Operating System called Atari TOS made by Digital Research, with its horrible BRIGHT GREEN background, with icons which were far too big, and should have been made smaller in my opinion, with a very basic drop-down menu system at the top of the screen

The CPU was a Motorola 68000 which ran around 8 MHz, and there were various graphical modes, a 16-color 320×200 mode, a 4-color 640×200, and a black and white monochrome mode of 600×400

Its sound chip was the Yamaha YM2149F variant of the General Instrument AY-3-8910, which was one of the reasons why many owned an Atari ST because of its MIDI capabilities, and amazingly some decent music was created using it, and even today some musicians or hobbyists use the ST to create musical pieces

The major problem with the ST was the lack of hardware scrolling, which meant most Games used the smaller screen modes, and combined with the poor sound hardware, made most Games released on the ST, look and play like the ZX Spectrum versions

Most later Game Titles, such as Lemmings, were coded on the Amiga first with its 32 colours, and later converted to run on the ST with its 16-color palette and tinny sound chip

The ST also used Floppy Disks like the Amiga, But while the Amiga had 880KB Floppy Disks, The ST had 360KB Floppy Disks (if formatted to the standard 9 sector, 80 track layout)

I am sure the quite dire version of Rolling Thunder for the Amiga, came from an ST Port, and it shows, since it is a very poor conversion, and should have been more like the Commodore 64 version

Pacmania on the Amiga used Full Screen, where the Atari ST version used a half-screen half-scoreboard affair, although there is now a modern version for the Atari STE which is almost the same as the Amiga version, but is still limited to a pathetic 16-colors

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