May 1990

The World in May 1990
In the UK the new version of the Rover Metro came out. It was a shitbox.

In almost-as-bad news, inflation hit an insane 9.4%, compared to the more typical 2% of the last decade. Bobby Robson announced the coming World Cup would be his last. It would be glorious and he would go from a figure of tabloid hate to a national hero. France, always the pricks, banned British beef due to BSE fears, while John Gummer (agriculture minister) fed a hamburger to his 5-year-old daughter for a photo opportunity.

In US news the US and the Soviet Union agreed to end production of chemical weapons. More importantly, Microsoft released Windows 3.0.

Elsewhere in the world Latvia declared independence from the USSR, the WHO removed homosexuality from its list of diseases, and Burma elected Aung San Suu Kyi in a landslide but the result was nullified. The world would bang on about the injustice and then hand her the Nobel Peace Prize before she turned to the dark side as the recipients so often do.

On TV we had the debut of Vic Reeves Big Night Out and err… that’s about it.

The film charts are mixed. The Hunt For Red October is at #1, followed by Nuns On The Run with Eric Idle in drag, oh I’ll say it, it’s a shit chart.

The album chart still has the Carpenters at #1, with Phil Collins still at #2. UB40 were shit. It’s a really shit chart.

The singles chart is a relief, with the wonderful Killer by Adamski (later credited to Seal) at #1. I quite like Kylie’s Better The Devil You Know at #2 – it’s good old fashioned cheery pop music and insanely catchy – Kylie was an absolute goddess. Dirty Cash by The Adventures of Stevie V at #3 is a brilliant song. Opposites Attract with Paula Abdul and the cartoon cat is better than it should be, while Beats International round out the top 10. The singles charts saved us from terminal shitness.


We Cover The Following Magazines Released This Month (Click Cover For More)

ST Format Issue 11

Reviews This Month

Review: Player Manager

Player Manager ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62 – I’m not on my usual PC and for some reason the version of Steem on this one won’t let me have a maximised window without going full screen, so screenshot sizes may vary. I’ve…More

Review: Resolution 101

Resolution 101 ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62 – I’m not on my usual PC and for some reason the version of Steem on this one won’t let me have a maximised window without going full screen, so screenshot sizes may vary. On…More

Review: Theme Park Mystery

Theme Park Mystery ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62 – I’m not on my usual PC and for some reason the version of Steem on this one won’t let me have a maximised window without going full screen, so screenshot sizes may vary.…More


April 1990

The World in April 1990
In the UK we had the Strangeways Prison riot, and an earthquake (unusual for Britain). It was only 5.1 so not much to write home about but quite exciting for Britain. Aldi opened in the UK – they didn’t make much impact at the time but these days they’re quite popular. Customs seized parts of an Iraqi supergun. Labour were 23 points ahead of the Tories, piling pressure on the government. Steven Hendry at 21 became the youngest ever world snooker champion. He would go on to bore us all to death for many years. Liverpool won the league. They’d have quite a long wait to do it again, but they wouldn’t go on and on and on and on and on and on about it.

The Poll Tax came into effect, prompting further rioting. It was deeply unpopular.

In US news the Hubble Space Telescope was launched. It was awesome. Two hostages were released in the Lebabon hostage crisis.

Elsewhere in the world Yugoslavia got their first non-communist government. Meanwhile East and West Germany agreed to merge currencies and economies on July 1st – an extraordinary endeavour given how uneven they were with the Eastern economy in a dreadful state.

On TV Round The Twist made its debut on BBC1, a wonderfully quirky Australian kids show. ITV launched the less wonderful You’ve Been Framed. It’s still going, even though with Youtube now a thing it no longer needs to exist. They still pay £250 for videos of people falling over. Jeeves and Wooster started its 4 year run. British Satellite Broadcasting launched its satellite TV service. It would later merge with Sky.

The film charts are a bit better – Look Who’s Talking at #1 is no classic but it’s fun, but at #2 is Uncle Buck, a film I truly adore. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure at #3? Yes please (just don’t watch the 2020 sequel).

The album chart has three greatest hits albums in the top 4. Ok #2 is Bowie so I can forgive that but otherwise it’s a poor effort.

The singles chart is better, with Madonna’s Vogue at #1 (admittedly not as good as her earlier work), the wonderful Snap with The Power at #2 and Alannah Myles at #3 with Black Velvet (absolute banger). The Happy Mondays and the B-52 are there too, and the magnificent They Might Be Giants with Birdhouse In Your Soul at #10.


Magazines Covered This Month (Click Cover For More)

ST Format Issue 10

This Month’s Reviews

Review: Dragon’s Breath

Dragon’s Breath ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62 – I’m not on my usual PC and for some reason the version of Steem on this one won’t let me have a maximised window without going full screen, so screenshot sizes may vary. On…More

Review: Castle Master

Castle Master ST Format Feature (previous issue) 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 Automation 247. This is another very simple intro – a nice digitised image, scrolly text and some actually quite decent music. On to the game.…More

Review-ish: Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe 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 Automation 429. The intro is quite low-key, just a simple static image and a basic scroller. The game introduces with a super-smoothly animated sword flying in over a well-drawn facial close-up…More

March 1990

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.


We Cover The Following Magazine Issues Released This Month (Click Images For More)

ST Format Issue 9

Reviews This Month

Review: Midwinter 1

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…More

Review: Rainbow Islands

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,…More

Review: Pipe Mania / Pipe Dream

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,…More

Review: Conqueror

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,…More

February 1990

The World in February 1990
In the UK Ayotollah Khomeini renewed his fatwa on Salman Rushdie, a move which turned out to be the tip of a large iceberg we’re facing today. A bomb exploded in Leicester. Other than that, not much.

In US news there was a pay dispute in MLB and Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson. Voyager 1 sent back the famous Pale Blue Dot photo. US flights stopped allowing smoking on flights under 6 hours long.

Elsewhere in the world in the USSR the communist party voted to end its monopoly of power, opening the way for elections. Nelson Mandela was released. German reunification was agreed. Big news, all happening at once. I miss the days when news was so good.

On TV Sky Movies was encrypted and became Sky’s first pay channel. Quantum Leap made its debut on BBC2. The Mitchell brothers arrived in Eastenders.

The film charts have Honey I Shrunk The Kids at #1, a good, honest fun while I know less about Sea Of Love and Internal Affairs. Overall though it seems a fairly weak chart.

The album chart sees Phil Collins remain at number one, but the rest of the chart isn’t great. Tanita Tikaram is in at #3 off the back of World In Union for the rugby, Cat Stevens is at #6, I suppose we do at least have Technotronic at #8 with Pump Up The Jam so it’s not all shit.

The singles chart has some absolute ABSOLUTE MEGA-BANGERS. Sinead with Nothing Compares 2 U (written by Prince) is an all-time classic, while I’ll always enjoy a bit of Technotronic and can do the whole rap to Get Up at #2, Dub Be Good To me at #3 is fantastic, what a top 3!


We Cover The Following Magazine Issues This Month (Click Images For More)

ST Format Issue 8

Reviews This Month

Review: Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. There are a couple of scene releases, one from Fuzion and one from Automation, I’ve gone with Fuzion here as I’ve not featured them before. This one has a really good bit of chip…More

Review: Wild Streets

Wild Streets ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. There doesn’t seem to be a warez release for this but thankfully Atarimania had my back. We start with a nicely drawn loading/logo screen, as we patiently wait for the disk to chug. Sampled sounds…More

Review: Black Tiger

Black Tiger ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. This is Automation disk 240. The intro has some ok music, some wibbly text with a palette-shifting text giving the impression of scrolling, bouncy balls, etc. The user of overscan here is pretty clever stuff.…More

Review: Rings Of Medusa

Rings Of Medusa ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.04. This is Pompey Pirates #37, quite a simple menu with a cool picture of a knight, some sscrolly text and a graphic equaliser in the border, along with a decent chip tune. It comes…More

January 1990

The World in January 1990
In the UK Labour had amassed a 12-point lead over the Tories which put mounting pressure on Thatcher’s government. In many ways Labour blew their wad a bit too early as the Tories would retain power for a further 7 years, but I’ll save the spoilers – suffice to say the year would get quite interesting politically in the UK. We also had a hurricane, not quite on the level of the great storm of 1987. Overall January was a quiet month in the UK though, with not much happening.

In US news, Manuel Noriega surrendered to US forces, Time Inc and Warner Communication merged to form Time Warner, and Douglas Wilder became America’s first black governor in Richmond, Virginia. The skipper of the Exxon Valdez (of the famous oil spill) went on trial for negligence. Meanwhile George Bush made his first State Of The Union address, proposing the US and USSR make deep cuts to their militaries. McDonalds opened in Moscow.

Elsewhere in the world Poland withdrew from the Warsaw Pact and began abolishing state socialism. Bulgaria’s national assembly voted to end single-party rule by its communist party. Similar happened in Yugoslavia. The pace of this change was, in retrospect, astounding. It does show that once a collapse starts, it can move very very rapidly, and that is something we in the west should be aware of.

The first internet access companies for commercial users started selling access in the US and Holland – the internet was still several years away from becoming mainstream – I wouldn’t get to use it for another 6 years (and that was on the single connected machine at school).

On TV Mr Bean made his debut on ITV, sadly he would never be funny. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles made its debut on BBC1, and Baywatch made its debut on ITV. Tissue sales soared.

The film charts saw Parenthood with Steve Martin at #1, and Turner & Hooch at #2, as Back To The Future 2 remained a huge hit at #3. Kylie Minogue’s The Delinquents featured at #4 but I’ve never heard of it, and the other new entries are something of a mystery.

The album chart sees Phil Collins at #1, followed by Kylie, Jive Bunny, Tina Turner and Jason Donovan. A very 80s chart to open the 90s.

The singles chart saw New Kids On The Block at #1 with Hangin Tough while Kylie had a new entry at #2 but there was some hope with the 49ers at #3 with Touch Me and Mantronix at #4 with Got To Have Your Love showing the ongoing rise of dance music, with D-Mob at 7 also putting in an appearance, along with the fantastic Got To Get by Rob N Raz ft Leila K.


We Cover The Following Magazine Issues Released This Month (Click Image For More)

ST Format Issue 7

Reviews This Month

Review: Untouchables

Untouchables ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. This game got a release on an Automation disk – menu #223. We get treated to some tits. Thanks guys, I’d say that makes this the best menu yet. The music is shit but who cares, we…More

Review: Ghostbusters 2

Ghostbusters 2 ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. This game got a release on an Automation disk – menu #442. That seems quite late vs the other games in this issue so the question is was it delayed because they couldn’t be bothered because…More

Review: Warp

Warp ST Format ReviewSee previous post My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. This game got a release on an Automation disk – menu #285. This menu features lots of wibbly text, and it takes some doing to figure out the buttons to get each game, but I…More

Review Fail: Star Wrek

Star WrekNo box available ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62 instead of my usual 1.04 (which only works on STs). This didn’t have a scene release but thankfully exists at http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-star-wrek-the-voyage-of-ussless_11381.html. Star Wrek got 15% which is the lowest score I can remember seeing in…More

Review: Chase HQ

Chase HQ Before we go any further can we all just agree that this is one of the best bits of box art ever? It made me want the damn game. ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM (tried an STE but it did not go…More

Review: Skate Tribe

Skate TribeNo Box Image ST Format ReviewNo ST Format Review My Review So this one’s a little bit different. This is a game that came free with ST Format issue 7, made in STOS. It doesn’t seem to have had a commercial release, having come 2nd in a competition. Let’s see if it’s any good.…More


December 1989

The World in December 1989
The biggest news would have to be on the 3rd of December, when Margaret Thatcher, George Bush (Sr) and Mikhail Gorbachev declared the Cold War over. This was back when Britain was still relevant, in large part due to sheer force of will from Maggie. 2 days later she would defeat Anthony Meyer (who?) in a leadership challenge.

In the UK, aside from Maggie’s leadership challenge, we had the privatised water companies going on the stock market, making some people a LOT of money. Labour began its path towards Blairite sanity by abandoning its policy on closed shops. The economy continued to slide, inflation hit 7.8% during the year while growth dipped to 1.7%, with house prices in London falling 10% to an average of £86000 (what I wouldn’t give for prices to be that sane now).

Britain experienced its worst flu epidemic since the 70s with a million infections recorded by December, with hospitals forced to cancel surgery. We did not shut the country down. The estimated death count was between 19000 and 29000.

Elsewhere in the world, the entire Socualist Unity Party in East Germany resigned en-masse, part of the growing movement toward ending Communism and the cold war. In Czechoslovakia, a new non-Communist cabinet was sworn in, and in Chile the first free election in 16 years was held, and Brazil had their first in 29 years. The Romanian revolution began, this revolution would eventually lead to the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu, an incredibly corrupt Communist dictator.

Honestly it’s so odd – the UK’s economy was fucked, but outside of that there was so much hope, so much expectation, the world was throwing off the shackles of Communism and the light of Freedom shone brightly, a beacon of hope to all. This was the end of history, the future would be forever bright and prosperous. And now, look at us. We fucked it.

On TV the big event was Clive James On The 80s, broadcast on New Year’s Eve. In less welcome news, Doctor Who finally ended after 26 years – it would be a long wait for it to return with a fairly shit movie somewhere in the middle.

It’s two hours, it’s from a VHS recording (quality improves dramatically a few minutes in), but it’s totally worth your time. I remember staying up late to watch it – I’m sure some of the jokes flew over my head but I watched it again recently and it was amazing. It puts you right there in the moment, the 80s viewed through an 80s lens.

Elsewhere, the Simpsons premiered on Fox, and would go on to be a huge part of what defines the 90s.

The film charts are fucking GLORIOUS! Ghostbusters 2 at #1, Back To The Future 2 at #2, When Harry Met Sally at #3, honestly three of my all-time favourites, with Field Of Dreams at #4. We’ll never see a chart that good again.

The album chart sees Phil Collins at #1, and I know it’s not fashionable to like Phil, but I do so tough titties. Anyone who doesn’t like Another Day In Paradise isn’t human. Meanwhile, someone was stretching a joke far too thin with Jive Bunny at #2. Kylie was doing her thing at #3 but more importantly, Tina Turner had an absolute banger of an album, Foreign Affair, at #4 with the likes of Steamy Windows, The Best and I Don’t Wanna Lose You, songs which really take me right back there.

The singles chart has Band Aid 2 at number 1. It’s not as good as the first one. Lambada was a bit of a sensation at #5 despite being painfully mediocre – no idea why it was in the charts in December when it was the kind of song you’d hear on holiday in Spain with all the other Brits. It’s a weak top 10, but then that’s how it usually was around Christmas.

The best songs were probably Tina Turner’s I Don’t Wanna Lose You and Madonna’s Dear Jessie.

This Month We Cover The Following Magazine Issues (Click Images For More)

Reviews This Month

Review: Batman

Batman ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 224, in which we get a digitised image, some wibbly text and some scrolly text. The chiptune isn’t bad. So this is Issue 6’s big ticket item, with a million adverts everywhere for the game. Review…More

Review: Ghouls N Ghosts

Ghouls and Ghosts ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 199, another basic one with a simple image, scrolling text and chip tune. Not their most exciting work. So Ghouls and Ghosts is regarded as something of a classic overall, but what of the…More

Review: Snoopy

Snoopy ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 173, a fairly simple menu with a cool picture, some chip music and some scrolling text. The game kicks off with a simple animated intro with some reasonable chip music. That said, it fails to move…More

Review: Super Wonder Boy In Monster Land

Wonderboy In Monsterland ST Format Review My ReviewBefore starting my review, I must deal with the fact that I can’t hear Wonderboy without thinking of this song. For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 214, this one’s quite a simple one with the chip tune and scrolling text…More

Review: Stormlord

Stormlord ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 225, which gives me a nice bit of chip music and the usual array of scrolly text, in this case with wibbly bars highlighting the text for the application list. We get an interesting explainer from…More

Review: Super League Soccer (this time the right one)

Super League SoccerNo box-art available ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. After my previous fail I hunted high and low but in the end had to settle for http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-super-league-soccer_11454.html which had a dump that appears to be from a more standard (non-scene) release. So graphics are rudimenatary, and…More

Review: Power Drift

Power Drift ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was Automation 311. Not a bad cracktro – a possibly-digitised image of a young lady in her underwear as text flies around, plus the usual scrolly text at the bottom border and…More

Review: Hard Drivin’

Hard Drivin ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was Automation 188. The intro has a pretty decent chiptune accompanying a weird monster, and scrolly text with a graphic equaliser overlaid. It’s not a bad intro, perhaps not anything special…More

Review: Ninja Warriors

Ninja Warriors ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was going to be Automation 319 which comes on 3 disks. The intro was a suitably jolly chip tune with a real emphasis on wibbly scrolling text. I can’t fucking read most…More

Review: Jumping Jackson

Jumping Jackson ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was going to be Automation 239 but it decided not to work. In the end I went with SuperGAU 325 which has proven more helpful. It’s not got the most exciting intro…More

November 1989

The World in November 1989
The big event was the fall of the Berlin wall. It was such a huge moment, signalling what some thought was the end of history. Following on, Bulgaria ended its communist rule and Czechoslovakia saw massive protests which would end the rule of their Communist Party and usher in elections. It was one of the most momentous times in history but at 9 I didn’t really fully understand its significance. That is a source of some regret, as it now seems that I lived through the peak of Western civilisation without realising it.

In the UK we continued the loss of our own home-grown industries as Ford bought Jaguar. They have become increasingly generic. The House Of Commons was televised for the first time – given we see footage from the commons every day it seems strange now that we didn’t even have highlights. Of course now with social media so much of the commons is just posturing to create that Twitter zinger.

In America the football (soccer to you guys) team qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years.

Elsewhere in the world, the end of Apartheid was drawing closer as FW De Klerk scrapped the Separate Amenities Act

On TV Blackadder Goes Forth broadcast the legendary final episode, a tearjerker if ever there was one, while Byker Grove made its debut on Childrens BBC, alongside Maid Marian And Her Merry Men.

The film charts see the brilliant Shirley Valentine at number one, in which a bored Liverpudlian housewife goes to Mykonos to get away from her husband and ends up learning that fuck is fuck, boat is boat. The rest of the chart is distressingly poor.

The album chart sees Chris Rea at number 1 with The Road To Hell. Erasure briefly hit number one but had dropped back to 5 with Wild, an album which didn’t quite live up to some of their previous greats. The Beautiful South made their debut with a fantastic album, mixing caustic lyrics with uplifting melodies as Paul Heaton moved on from The Housemartins.

The singles chart has some absolute bangers with Lisa Stansfield at #1 and Phil Collins Another Day In Paradise at #2, Martika at 7 with I Feel The Earth Move, and The Mixmasters with Grand Piano at 9 for a dose of house. 808 State came in at 20 with Pacific State further showcasing the strength of dance music.


This Month We Cover The Following Magazine Issues (Click Image For More)

ST Format Issue 5

Reviews This Month

Not-Review: Pro Tennis Tour

So I gave up on Pro Tennis Tour aka Great Courts. I’m having considerable difficulty in returning shots and can’t find a manual to figure out if I’m missing anything in the controls in terms of aiming or anything like that… (a few hours later) So this was from a previous session… The same happened…More

Review: Double Dragon 2

Double Dragon 2 ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I used Automation disk 219, which also includes Alf: The First Adventure. Yep, a game around the TV show Alf. I might have to try it out for shits and giggles. It’s an ok intro – not…More

Review: Future Wars

Future Wars ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. Automation didn’t have this, nor did D-Bug, so I went with the Medway Boys for this crack. Sadly there’s no intro, much to my disappointment. All you get is this lousy text after running the executable from the…More

October 1989

The World in October 1989
In the UK we had our first World Wrestling Federation event. Rover launched the 200 series, and England qualified for Italia 90 by drawing with Poland. The stock market fell dramatically fuelling fears of a recession, while the party formed from the merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party renamed itself to the Liberal Democrats. They were irrelevant then, had a brief spell in coalition in the 2010s but then faded back to irrelevance. The Guildford Four, wrongly convicted of terrorist activity in 1975. Labour had a 10 point lead over the Tories, but with the previous election in 1987, they would have to wait until 1992 to have a crack at the Tories, and in reality they had peaked too soon. British rail announced YET ANOTHER delay to the Channel Tunnel.

In America the Dow Jones hit a record high of 2791.41 (at time of writing it’s currently 26501.60). The Galileo Probe was sent on its journey to Jupiter (I love shit like that), and the Flag Protection Act came into effect, sparking protests. It was eventually struck down.

Elsewhere, Communism was in decline, with East Germany having to close its border with Czechoslovakia to prevent emigration among other things, with Hungary declaring its Third Republic, marking the end of Communism.

On TV Jeremy Paxman made his first appearance as presenter of Newsnight where he would gain a reputation for a combative style. Michael Palin began his career in travel TV by debuting his Around The World In 80 Days. ITV added a third weekly episode of Coronation Street, contributing to the over-saturation of soaps on British TV. Birds Of A Feather first appeared on BBC1 – it was billed as comedy but it was never funny. It would last for 11 years, and then return in 2014 for fuck’s sake.

The film charts see Robin Williams being fucking brilliant in Dead Poets Society at #1. At #2 was the silly but kinda fun in a cheesy way K9, with Lethal Weapon 2 at #5, and The Fly 2 at #7 (I honestly didn’t know there was a sequel).

The album chart sees a new entry from Kylie Minogue, the difficult second album which saw a continuation of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman formula with some absolute bangers. Tracy Chapman’s Crossroads and Tina Turner’s Foreign Affair follow with Gloria Estefan next, in a female-dominated top 4.

The singles chart has Jive Bunny at #1 but there is at least some decent stuff below with Black Box, Technotronic, Sydney Youngblood and Rebel MC. The big stand-out is of course Billy Joel with We Didn’t Start The fire.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues This Month (Click Covers For More)

ST Format Issue 4

Review: Stunt Car Racer

Stunt Car Racer ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 117. The menu has a cool picture of Garfield, but more importantly some rather excellent chip music, along with the traditional scrolly message. I fired up the menu, enter my name…More

September 1989

The World in September 1989
In the UK our ambulance crews went on strike. Meanwhile, the IRA were bombing and murdering as was their way. Nigel Lawson resigned as chancellor, paving the way for John Major to replace him (and of course he would eventually become PM). The recession gathered pace in the meantime, it was expected to be the worst in a decade.

In America George Bush (Sr) proposed to spend $7.9bn on the War On Drugs in his first televised speech – later in the month 21 tons of cocaine and $12m in cash was seized in Los Angeles. Former president Reagan had fluid removed from his brain. Hurrican Hugo hit South Carolina.

South Africa held the last election before leaving apartheid, confirming FW De Klerk’s leadership. In Asia Nintendo celebrated their 100th anniversary, and Vietnam pulled its last troops from Cambodia.

On TV Peter Sissons took over as presenter of Question Time, and there were a number of really important shows that made their debuts that month. We had Challenge Anneka which would run for 6 years and become something of an institution in the UK, while Bodger and Badger would become a kids TV classic, and finally, one of the greatest comedy series in the world would have its fourth series – Blackadder Goess Forth. It finished with something you wouldn’t expect of a comedy show, a proper tear-jerker, as characters we’ve come to know, love and despise, go over the top of the trenches to certain death.

The film charts see Lethal Weapon 2 on top, and a few decent films from the previous month remain in the charts, but there’s not much fresh quality there.

The album chart features Eurythmics at #1 with their last album for 10 years. While it did get to number one, the singles didn’t perform brilliantly suggesting perhaps it wasn’t a classic. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith made up the rest of the top 3 while the rest of the charts offered little. Max fucking Bygraves at 12 – that tells you something about the British public’s taste.

The singles chart were led by Black Box with Ride On Time at #1, but we also had Richard Marx with the classic power ballad Right Here Waiting and Tears For Fears with the brilliant Sowing The Seeds Of Love. We also had Starlight with Numero Uno which was very much of it’s time but I guarantee it would fill a dance floor now (if we were allowed to go near them anymore). House Music could also be found at #11 with The Beatmasters and Betty Boo. There are some good songs coming up through the charts with the wonderful Pump Up The Jam from Technotronic, Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode, If Only I Could by Sydney Youngblood and Cherish from Madonna (back when she was awesome), while Aerosmith were steadily climbing with Love In An Elevator (songs took a bit longer to work their way up the charts back then).

The Magazine
Issue 3’s theme is violence. At the time the press was in a bit of a moral panic about violent video games, so ST format gave it a bit of coverage. The disk featured Xenon 2 in which you blew up a bunch of aliens so it’s likely they didn’t give any actual fucks about violence.

The news section discusses the new STs appearing at the PC show, with the STE featuring an upgraded 4096 colour palette (vs the STFM’s 512 – though still only 16 on screen at once), a stereo 8-bit DMA sound chip to improve on the STFM’s horrible chip warbles, horizontal and vertical hardware scrolling, a blitter chip and additional game controller ports (which would be on the side of the machine rather than under it – the underside placement meant that one had a hard time getting the plugs into and out of the ports while the idiotic decision to solder them directly to the motherboard meant they were prone to just not working after a while).

More exciting in some ways was the TT, which featured the super-powerful 68030 chip, clocked at 16MHz and packing 2MB of RAM and a 30MB hard drive. The TT had better graphics modes, able to display 256 colours at 320×480 vs the ST’s 16 colours at 320×200, or 640×480 at 16 colours, plus a 1280×960 monochrome option. The STE was intended to be the Amiga-buster while the TT was aimed at business users, but the STE didn’t really have fancy enough graphics modes to threaten the Amiga. The Lynx was expected to hit shops for Christmas.

Microtext offered ST users a gadget to store teletext pages on their Atari STs – surely the most retro thing I’ve said in this entire thread.

We have a review for GFA Raytrace – the ST had raytracing before it was fashionable, though I remember having to leave my machine on overnight to process a single 320×200 image (I recall using something that came with I think issue 8 as a freebie). We also have a review for the Hypercache accelerator board, allowing you to clock your ST to 16MHz by replacing your old 8MHz 68000 with a new fancy 16MHz one. This involves soldering. To be fair, £150 for that probably isn’t bad.

The violence article amusingly predicts the FPS, musing that Operation Wolf is the perfect violent game as “you can see your enemy as you blast him.. to make this type of game better, the display would have to simulate the view taken fromt he eyes of the hero. Then as the gun was drawn level to fire, you could get a full-screen view of the victim’s face. In a perfect world you’d see it crincle with pain and the eyes bulge with fear just before being treated to a liberal spurting of blood.” I’d say the author has some issues.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues (Click Covers To See Detailed Coverage)

ST Format Issue 3

Reviews This Month

Review: Xenon 2

Xenon 2 ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 133. The menu has some pretty decent music and a nice piece of art along with the traditional scrolly message. Damn this game makes an entrance. Absolute banger of a tune, not the…More

Review: The Games – Summer Edition

The Games – Summer Edition ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 148 which consists of two disks (A and B). The menu has some fancy music, and a typical scrolling text which is weirdly polite and helpful. The game itself is…More

Review: Castle Warrior

Castle Warrior ST Format Review My ReviewSo for this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 124, which also features issue 2’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Castle Warrior opens with a well-drawn loading screen making effective use of the limited ST palette, overlaid with a fairly…More

August 1989

The World in August 1989
In the UK the West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad was disbanded after years of fabricated confessions – the police were not defunded in general, just the rotten department disbanded and replaced with a less corrupt unit. Electronic tagging was introduced, allowing some offenders to be placed back in the community with minimal risk to the public.

In America, for the first time, a privately-owned rocket put a payload in space, a TV satellite. Elsewhere Gazprom (Russian energy production) became a state-run enterprise, and would many years later be used to hold Europe hostage by threatening to shut off gas supplies – a key tool in Putin’s international ambitions. In South Africa, president P W Botha was replaced by F W De Klerk, the man who would end apartheid. Voyager 2 approached Neptune and Triton.

The film charts look pretty damn good. Tum Burton’s Batman at #1 (the only decent one), the less brilliant Licence To Kill at #2, Katate Kid 3 at #3 and Indiana Jones at #4, though the less said about Police Academy 6 the better.

The album chart sees little movement from the previous month, with the only new entry of any significance being Gloria Estefan with Cuts Both Ways.

The singles chart were a tad bonkers. Jive Bunny at #1, which was a mash-up of swing tracks over a video featuring a cartoon rabbit, while at #2 we had Lil Louis’s French Kiss which consisted of a dance track with a woman having an orgasm, followed by more conventional fare from Kylie, Martika and Liza Minnelli (by far her best track), and the wonderful Shakespear’s Sister (You’re History). Outside the top 10 is the brilliant Ride On Time by Black Box and Pure by the Lightning Seeds (who would be bigger in the 90s), London Nights by London Boys was an absolute corker and Days by Kirsty MacColl was another brilliant song.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues This Month (Click Cover For More Details)

ST Format Issue 2

This Month’s Reviews

Review: Blood Money

Blood Money ST Format Review My ReviewSo, my final game for issue 2 – Blood Money. I couldn’t find an Automation menu for this one so had to use a Superior cracked version instead. This is all running on my trusty Steem 1MB STE. Two other versions didn’t work – it seems to be a…More

Review: Verminator

Verminator ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m using Automation’s Menu 181, on Steem with a 1MB STFM and TOS 1.0. After a lovely Automation intro screen (not strictly part of the game but who cares) we get to a start screen that weirdly requires you to move your pointer around with your joystick,…More

Review: Robocop

Robocop ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m using Automation’s Menu 96, on Steem with a 1MB STFM and TOS 1.0. So Robocop begins with a lovely loading screen with a sampled voice giving the prime directives. It’s worth remembering that at this point sampled sound was rare and quality artwork wasn’t always a…More

Review: Kick Off 1

Kick Off ST Format Review I’d love to know what on earth posessed ST Format to run the review with such a vibrant background, making the review basically unreadable. My ReviewKick Off is, for anyone who had an ST, a game that you already know. You either had it yourself or your mates had it,…More