ST Format Issue 16 – Download
The World in October 1990
The World in October 1990
In UK news the pound joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, the precursor to the Euro. This would prove to be a mistake. Women finally got to serve on warships. There was wide acceptance that we would have a recession, though predictions were that it would be short. Tim Berners-Lee began working on creating the World Wide Web – this would prove to be a dreadful mistake.
The US news David Souter joined hte Supreme Court. The Ulysses probe was sent to study the sun. President Bush vetoed a civil rights bill that would have enhanced protection against job discrimination, arguing that it would lead to race and gender quotas – as the Netherlands steps closer to enforcing quotas we see that he was right. Evander Holyfield beat Buster Douglas.
Elsewhere in the world Rwanda entered civil war. East and West Germany officially reunified into a single country, and Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, two events which signalled the end of the dark days of the cold war. In South Africa segregation was eased with transport and public facilities opened to all races.
On TV we saw the debut of the Mary Whitehouse Experience. It was very 90s. Twin Peaks also made its UK TV debut, as did Keeping Up Appearances.
The film charts saw Ghost at #1 for the adults and The Little Mermaid at #2 for the kids, back when gingers were allowed in Disney films. Robocop 2 is a classic at #3.
The album chart sees the Charlatans debut at #1 though it was in the mid-90s during the Britpop movement that they truly shined. Still, The Only One I Know was an awesome song. The rest of the chart.. Status Quo, Michael Bolton and The Shadows. Old people were buying too many fucking albums.
The singles chart saw Maria McKee at #1 with Show Me Heaven which we can blame on Ghost. Status Quo were at #2 with the Anniversary Walktz, oh for fuck’s sake. Bobby Vinton at #3 with Blue Velvet for some reason – I have no idea. More positively at #4 we have The Beautiful South with A Little Time, at #5 we have LondonBeat with I’ve Been Thinking About You and at #6 there’s the Technotronic Megamix. The Pet Shop Boys at #9 with So Hard are also awesome.
Issue 16 came out in October 1990, and is proclaimed as the fattest issue ever, and it’s pretty damn chunky at 180 pages – that said, while this is the ST at the peak of its powers, the same issue of Amiga Format is 244 pages, a sign perhaps that the Amiga was already pulling ahead. The cover isn’t one of their more inspiring ones, focusing on ST productivity. The coverdisk carried a demo of Atomic Robokid, and more interestingly a demo of TCB Tracker (a music program using samples).
The news carried yet another example of Atari’s incompetence – the DMA chip in the new fancy STEs had a fault which could cause the data on a connected hard drive to be wiped. Atari as usual insisted only a small batch of STEs were affected and that it was only third party drives but this blase approach was just typical Atari with the likes of Gasteiner saying it was closer to half of all STEs and affected even Atari drives. The STE was far from an attractive proposition offering a miniscule upgrade over the STFM, incompatibility with many games, and another nail in the coffin, hard drives going kaput. In typical Atari fashion they didn’t provide specification sheets for the DMA interface.
Rumours began to surface of the Atari Panther, a machine with a Motorola 68000 CPU running at 12MHz, a 4096 colour screen from a 16 million palette, with 8-bit 4 channel stereo sound. This may sound interesting in theory, as vapourware as it was, but in reality a faster 68000 CPU would do little to compete with the likes of the Mega Drive, even with more colours, because Atari at no point in their post-ST history managed to come up with a decent chipset to go with the motorola CPU. There’s also a rumour about a machine between the ST and TT codenamed Jaguar – this looks like someone mixing up internal projects – it looks like maybe the Falcon leaked but they ended up getting the Jaguar name which would of course be the console that came out.
We had features on how to run a bulletin board and a shareware library, though some previous issues news reports suggested that perhaps we shouldn’t be letting kids run these kinds of businesses. There’s also a guide to DTP for anyone who wants to write their own newsletter or fanzine. There’s a little guide on how to become a programmer, though I can tell you it’s very very basic and includes no specifics on how to learn any language. We also get a feature on how the ST is used at the BBC in creation of Have I Got News For You.
In software reviews we have the Carebear’s TCB Tracker which gets a 93% Format Gold.
The preview section has a few mysteries for me – I know very little about Voodoo Nightmare, Mud Sports and Vietnam. Lost Patrol continued to be very exciting for those watching previews due to its digitised stills, promising my young and stupid brain something far beyond what the ST was actually capable of. Dragon Breed looked a dark and brooding shooter (so dark the screenshot was barely visible, while Spiderman looked like another shit film-license platformer. Outlands looks like an isometric adventure but I’d struggle to offer more than that as I know little about it. There’s some French fun with the quirky and insanely pretty adventure BAT and the similarly quirky Ranx from Ubisoft (from when their games weren’t just chasing icons in an open world) while Millennium were offering the brilliant platformer James Pond. We get a big detailed preview for Strider 2, which looks deeply uninteresting.
ST Game Charts
F-19 Stealth Fighter was at #1, that game sold absolutely shitloads of copies, probably because it was fucking brilliant. It’s good to see Rainbow Islands doing so well, as well as Battle Of Britain and Midwinter. However, seeing the utterly wonderful Damocles at #40 in the chart stings.
Games reviewed this month:
Team Yankee (Shoot Things With A Tank – Empire – £29.99 – 84%)
BSS Jane Seymour (Dungeon Crawler In Space – Gremlin – £29.99 – 87%)
Fireball (Future sports in 3D – Microprose – £TBA – 70%)
Mean Streets (Detective Game – US Gold – £19.99 – 84%)
Captive (Dungeon Master Sci-Fi – Mindscape – £24.99 – 93%)
Plotting (Puzzle – Ocean – £19.99 – 72%)
Nightbreed – The Interactive Movie (Adventure – Ocean – £24.99 58%)
Loopz (Puzzle – Audiogenic – £19.99 – 58%)
International 3D Tennis (Tennis in 3D – Palace – £24.99 – 88%)
Loom (Adventure – Lucasfilm – £29.99 – 81%)
Ancient Battles (War game – Cases Computers Simulations – £24.95 – 54%)
Gold Of The Aztecs (Run and gun – US Gold – £19.99 – 71%)
Skate Wars (Future sports – Ubisoft – £24.99 – 63%)
Days Of Thunder (Full 3D Nascar Sim – Mindscape – £24.99 – 88%)
Space Rogue (Space Sim – Mindscape – £29.99 – 30%)
Future Basketball (Future Sports Again – Hewson – £24.99 – 81%)
Saint Dragon (Shooter – Sales Curve – £24.99 – 78%)
The Immortal (Isometric action adventure – EA – £24.99 – 87%)
Time Machine (Adventure – Activision – £24.99 – 83%)
Wings Of Death (Shooter – Thalion – £24.99 – 81%)
Hoyle’s Book Of Games (Card Games – Sierra – £34.99 – 73%)
Web Of Terror (Shit game – Impressions – £19.99 – 35%)
Mike Read’s Computer Pop Quiz (Golf Sim – £9.99 – Encore)
A Question Of Sport (Shoot-em-up – £9.99 – Encore)
There are some legitimate stinkers there but the games I can see myself looking at are Mean Streets, International 3D Tennis, Loom and Days Of Thunder. I remember hating the demo of Team Yankee back in the day, and the same goes for Captive, though I recognise that others see them more positively. It might be a review for me to hand over to someone else if there are any volunteers. I played International 3D Tennis on an Amiga 600 and enjoyed it – likely it’ll be faster on the ST. Mean Streets was the first Tex Murphy game and I always wanted to have a crack at it as the film noir thing appealed to me immensely and the art style shown in the review looked pretty cool. Loom is a game I know nothing about other than that a bloke in Monkey Island wants you to ask him about it, and Days Of Thunder (the game) was my first experience of oval racing, something which I’ve taken more of an interest in due to my time spent in iRacing.
For those playing along at home, I’ll be sourcing pirated releases from the TOSEC collection on archive.org. Here’s a list of releases, likely you’ll also find decent releases at AtariMania.
– Mean Streets – Automation 393A/B, SuperGAU 492/2, SuperGAU 810/1, Medway Boys 99A/B
– Loom – Automation 463A/B, SuperGAU 349/50, SuperGAU 821/2, Vecrtronix 738-740
– International 3D Tennis – no menu-disk release known – might be a challenge to get. There’s a version at http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-international-3d-tennis_10958.html but that requires pasti which is Steem-only.
– Days Of Thunder – Automation 344, Flame of Finland 36A, SuperGAU 858, Vectronix 813
Reviews This Month
ST Format Review My Review International 3D Tennis is an intensely ugly game. It is absurdly ugly. The players are literally stick figured with triangular bodies and triangles for heads. I shit you not. It’s also very slow, as many 3D polygon games were at that time. In general 3D games were fine for things…
ST Format Review My Review Days Of Thunder is a brilliant fun film, pure 80s (yeah I know it came out in 1990, but it’s 80s). It’s basically Top Gun with fast cars. What’s not to like? Sadly I never watched it growing up, but I got to watch it later in life and loved…