ST Format Issue 9 – Download
The World in March 1990
In the UK 37 people were arrested in Brixton rioting against the poll tax. In Trafalgar Square 113 people were injured and 340 arrested in further poll tax riots. The riots were because instead of being charged on the basis of the value of your property, you were charged a flat rate based on the number of people. This would lead to the absurd situation of a single person in a mansion paying 1/2 of what a couple living in a tiny flat would pay. It went against all notions of a progressive tax system and inevitably angered many.
In US news the SR-71 Blackbird, a truly beautiful plane if ever I saw one, made its final official flight. Driving Miss Daisy won best picture at the Oscars.
Elsewhere in the world Imelda Marcos went on trial for being insanely corrupt – she is most famous for her enormous shoe collection. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as the first executive president of the Soviet Union. Lithuania declared independence but Russia denied its validity.
On TV John Major delivered the first ever televised budget. The guilty-pleasure quiz show Turnabout debuted on BBC1 and would last 6 years, while Rude Dog and the Dweebs debuted on the Children’s Channel.
The film charts feature War Of The Roses at #1, Born On The 4th Of July at #2, Driving Miss Daisy at #7, not the most exciting line-up.
The album chart.. Phil Collins is still #1, and the rest of the chart is just dire. Notting Hillbillies for fuck’s sake. I suppose at least we have Iron Maiden with Run To The Hills and Chris Rea with Road To Hell. Nigel Kennedy enjoyed his brief spell as that famous bloke who plays violin. Fucking Michael fucking Bolton is at #8. What the cunt is wrong with British people?
The singles chart, oh thank fuck for it. Dub be good to me at #1. But fuck me the rest is bilge. The Brits 1990 at #2 (when the Brits was mega-naff, before it embraced Britpop – a medley of hits from the era) and fucking Michael fucking Bolton at #3. Jive cunting Bunny at #4. Kill me. I suppose at least we have the B-52s with Love Shack and Erasure with decent but not their best Blue Savannah.
Issue 9 came out in March 1990, and was the first issue I missed, because I was an idiot. It turned out I missed a belter. The cover wasn’t exactly an attention-grabber, focusing on the exciting world of scanning. There’s a decent cover disk with demos for Conqueror and Pipe Mania, plus a demo of the art package Canvas – there’s a tutorial and a review for the package.
Atari decided to phase out the much-loved (by me) Power Pack, the 520STFM would feature in the new Discovery Pack at £299 with a much-reduced line-up of software. Interestingly ST Format actually address the fact that 23 free games had rather impacted the bottom line of software houses. The 520STE would be £399 without a bundle, or £499 with some serious software. A peculiar strategy.
Atari priced the new Atari Lynx at £149. It would fail.
The scanning feature is predictably dull. I’ll mention it no further. More interesting is a section on how to program for the STE including important information like register addresses. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – we’ll never again have tech press where the journalists actually know their stuff like this. It’s a thing of the past.
There’s an interesting segment on the education sector which was still using the BBC machines – STF rather optimistically thought the ST might become the education machine of the 90s. It did not. The Acorn Archimedes was the main machine until PCs started to take over. The Acorn Archimedes was actually a really cool machine, a 32-bit RISC machine released in 1987 with 1MB RAM in most cases, and capable of displaying 256 colours at 640×512. The CPU is the ancestor of all the ARM chips powering our phones, tablets and now Apple Macs today.
We have previews for Wipe-Out (tron light-cycles/Nokia Snake in 3D) which I played a fair bit on the ST Format cover disk demo but never shelled out for. Toyottes is a super-cute platformer which always appealed to me but I never had the funds for. I don’t know much about East Vs West or Colorado, we’ll see if reviews come up for those later on. I remember Klax being something of a big deal but I never entirely got it, while Imperium is a grand strategy that rather passed me by. I’ve never played Impossamole in either its 8-bit variant or the ST version so I’d be curious to see how that came out. Virgin had World Cup Soccer 90 lined up for the coming world cup in Italy, there would be many more shameless cash-ins (to be fair I have no idea if this one was good). There’s a big preview of Castle Master. I look forward to finally giving that a go soon.
Games reviewed this month:
Pipe Mania (Puzzle – Empire – £19.99 – 76%) – a travesty that it didn’t get 90%+
E-Motion (Weird abstract 3D thing – Accolade – £19.99 – 76%)
Midwinter (3D FPS/driving/romancing/recruiting/threatening – Microprose – £29.99 – 96% Format Gold)
Anarchy (Defender clone – Psygnosis – £24.99 – 77%)
Risk (Board game – Leisure Genius – £19.99 – 68%)
Rainbow Islands (Platformer – Ocean – £19.99 – 93% Format Gold)
Space Harrier 2 (It’s Space Harrier ffs – Grandslam – £19.99 – 51%)
Operation Thunderbolt (Lightgun played with a mouse – Ocean – £19.99 – 73%)
Conqueror (Tanks in a Virus/Zarch-like landscape – Rainbow Arts – £24.95 – 91% Format Gold)
I’ll tell you straight up, I’m looking forward to playing Pipe-Mania and Rainbow Islands, and I’m curious about Conqueror, but Midwinter is the daddy. I cannot fucking wait to get my hands on that one. Midwinter 2 consumed hours of my life, it was honestly one of the greatest games ever to appear on a 16-bit system, so the chance to see where it all started is a pretty big deal.
For those playing along at home, I’ll be sourcing pirated releases from my TOSEC collection. Here’s a list of releases, likely you’ll also find decent releases at AtariMania.
– Conqueror – Automation 273, SuperGAU 799, Medway Boys 60, Pompey Pirates 25, Vectronix 773.
– Pipe Mania (aka Pipe Dream) – Automation 200, Fuzion 6, SuperGAU 388 or Medway Boys 50
– Rainbow Islands – Automation 231, SuperGAU 312/867, Pompey Pirates 26, Vectronix 294
– Midwinter – Automation 263, SuperGAU 198-9, Medway Boys 64, Pompey Pirates 28, Vectronix 361.
To me, this seems to be the moment when we enter the 2nd phase of ST games. There’s the 1st phase where the games are barely different to the 8-bitters barring more colours and better resolution, but you have a few wonderful bits of experimentation and creativity among the shitty arcade ports, then the 2nd phase which really is when the ST was at its peak with a new breed of more complex and better-presented game (albeit with less experimentation, and we’re still not yet at the point where the devs really grasp what the machine can do early in this phase – it’s still about a year away), and finally we have the decline, the 3rd phase as the Amiga took over. Welcome to phase 2.
Reviews This Month
Midwinter ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. On this occasion I’ve chosen Pompey Pirates 28. The intro features some well-drawn artwork, decent music and the usual scrolling text. The loading screen isn’t quite up to Midwinter 2 standards, it’s solid but those trees…
Rainbow Islands ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. On this occasion I’ve chosen Pompey Pirates 26. It’s a decent enough intro, and a very strong disc given it somes with Bubble Bobble. So, that loading screen. Holy fuck. So colourful, so beautifully drawn,…
Pipe Mania / Pipe Dream ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. On this occasion I’ve chosen Fuzion disk 6. The intro music is good enough, the scrolly text does what you’d expect, but it’s clear that they can’t draw people. It’s an abomination. So,…
Conqueror ST Format Review My Review[image 001]For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. With a few releases to choose from, I’ve gone with Medway Boys 60, but I could just as easily gone with Automation 273, SuperGAU 799, Pompey Pirates 25 or Vectronix 773. We get 2 intro screens,…