Monday, November 28, 2011

Atari User Issue 14 is now out


We lead this issue with a special feature on the Atari Lynx - Atari's killer handheld. We look at the hardware and the games that made the Lynx so special and years ahead of the game.

UK publisher Rainbird were a prolific supporter of the Atari ST. We look at the high quality titles they released for both the Atari ST & the Atari 8-bit, plus Grotweed is out of his cave to review The Pawn & Jinxter by Magnetic Scrolls. In this issues' ST Coin-Op Conversions we cover SNK and their arcade games ported to the ST. Our popular Game Over! series comes to an end as we review the last batch of unreleased titles for the Atari 2600 & 5200. Our In-Dev column looks at the latest homebrew releases for the Atari scene.

Also this issue, we report from the recent Retro Gaming Revolution event, have a look at the different Atari 8-bit disk drives, feature Atari's Super Sprint and have a shed load of reviews for you including titles for the Atari 2600, 7800, Jaguar, Jaguar CD, Atari ST, Atari 8-bit & the Atari Lynx.

The latest issue is available in digital PDF from www.atariuser.com , plus two print editions that can be ordered from lulu.com or magcloud.com .
ssue.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Here at Atari User Towers we're getting ready to hit the town dressed as zombies, witches and evil nurses.

We haven't forgotten our dear readers though which is why you'll find in the latest issue of Atari User (spookily issue 13) a Halloween special feature dedicated to the scariest and evilest games you can play on your Atari - from the Atari 2600 to the Atari Jaguar.

Trick or treat anyone?




Thursday, October 27, 2011

Atari Apologise over atari2600.org debacle


Andrew Davie, owner of atari2600.org, has confirmed that Atari have apologised for demanding that he hand over his domain name to them.

Davie & Atari have been in regular contact in recent weeks to reach an amicable solution to the issue. As far as Davie is concerned the matter is now closed and resolved.

Atari's recent cease & desist crusade resulted in a backlash from Atari enthusiasts, the retro community and the gaming press. Atari are now making efforts to build bridges with their retro fans and ensure future efforts to protect their intellectual properties are more tightly screened and focused on genuine infringement , rather than seemingly blindingly targeting anyone using the name "Atari" on their website.

Here at Atari User we believe this is a very positive development and hopefully a sign that Atari are indeed going to be making an effort to re-engage with the retro community.

Monday, October 24, 2011

SillyVenture 2K11





SillyVenture is back again this year, and will be held from the 10th to the 13th of November in Gdansk, Poland. Aiming to be even bigger and better than before, this year's SillyVenture looks like it is going to be amazing.

Check out the SillyVenture website (in English & Polish) for full details of what could be the Atari party of the year! Full location details as well as information on local accommodation and pricing is on the site.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Atari User Issue 13 Out Now!






In Issue 13 we look at the scariest & most evil games you can play on your Atari - just in time for Halloween. We feature UK software label Firebird, and the games they released for the Atari XL/XE and we look inside Atari UK once more, this time focusing on the games they released for the Atari ST.

We have an exclusive report from the recent Sunrise Demo Party, take a look at the Jaleco coin-op games converted to the Atari ST, check out the latest developments on the Atari homebrew scene and our popular Game Over! series looks at yet more unreleased titles for the Atari 2600 & Atari 5200.

Also this issue, we check out the different Star Wars games released for the various Atari platforms, our series on BASIC programming for the Atari 8-bit continues, plus we have lots of reviews for the Atari Jaguar, Lynx, 2600 & 7800. Finally, we check out Atari's latest facebook game - Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter.

This issue is available in PDF, or in print from lulu or magcloud (magcloud are running a 25% discount offer through October 31st). Check out the Atari User website for details.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs Has Died

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died. The company issued a brief statement today, he was 56.

Jobs had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, and had recently stood down as chief-executive.

"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve," said Apple.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Game for the Atari Jaguar

There has been a lot of talk about a new and secretive game for the Atari Jaguar that was to have been demoed in exclusive at the Retro Revolution & Atari User Live! event this weekend in Chelmsford.

We can now show you a screenshot of the new game. Some of you may have got to see a sneak peak at Retro Revolution but, as already mentioned here on the AU blog,  some gremlins meant that the demo wasn't 100% ready.

So, here is a screenshot of the game, courtesy of Stormworks Interactive, so you can see it is in the works. We'll be posting more details as the project rolls along.






Retro Revolution a major success!


The first Retro Revolution event hosted this weekend in Chelmsford was a major success, with a vast selection of retro hardware on display to check out and play, and loads of visitors who ended up stumbling home in the wee hours!

Atari User Live! was there, and Kieren kindly did a quick video to give those of you who couldn't attend a look at what you missed. A big thanks to Steve and Rinoa for putting together a brilliant event and hopefully more will follow.

We'll be posting some pics here on the AU blog over the next few days, plus look out for an event report in issue 14 of Atari User Magazine.

As for rumors of an exclusive demo of a new game for the Atari Jaguar, sadly some gremlins (maybe sponsored by Sony?!) meant that the demo wasn't ready on time. That is about as much as we can say on the subject at the moment as we've all been sworn to secrecy - under pain of death.

We'll bring you more news on what this elusive and highly secretive game is as we get it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Game Group Losses More Than Double



UK video game retailing giant Game Group (owners of Game and Game Station stores) have reported a pre-tax loss of £51.5 million (around $85 million USD) for the six month period to July 2011, a sharp rise from previous losses of £21.5 million last year. The company also reported sales were down by more than 10%.

Game Group blames the squeeze on consumer spending and a lack of new hardware coming to market. Many retailers and software developers have stated the lack of new console models is hurting sales but both Microsoft and Sony are in no hurry to replace their current generation machines.

Game has hundreds of stores across the UK, Ireland, Europe and Australia, and is pinning its hopes of a recovery in sales on the release of big budget titles in the run up to the crucial Christmas trading period.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Atari User In Print via Magcloud

Atari User Issue 12
60 pages, published 22 SEP 2011
Atari User is a monthly magazine dedicated to all the classic Atari consoles, and home computers. Packed with reviews, historical features, news, exclusive interviews and more every month.
Yes folks, Atari User is now available on Magcloud either as a digital PDF download or buy the mag in print, full color with FREE digital download!.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Atari's Heroes Of Neverwinter now in OPEN BETA!

Yes folks, it is here and it actually looks good and plays rather well. OK, it is in beta, and is a bit rough around the edges but what you basically have here is a great RPG game for the facebook generation.

Don't expect this game to have you ditching your Xbox 360 or PS3 any time soon, it is a facebook game after all, but it is an Atari game featuring the Dungeons & Dragons franchise - and, unlike Atari's last D&D venture, this one doesn't suck.

You can choose from one of several classes as well as customize your character and allocate skill points to various character traits before you set off. The tutorial is similar to EA's Dragon Age facebook RPG, but once you get going the game comes into its own and begins to shine.

In the town of Neverwinter you can recruit characters to join you in your quests as well as select from a list of different adventure quests to follow. You can select a different difficulty level for each quest too which is a good option for more experienced players. Recruiting party members is done via the tavern, and characters beyond Level 2 cost gold or crystals (the in-game currency). Level 1 characters, though, can be added to your party for free.

What we have then is a great looking turn-based RPG that does seem to be worthy of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise. In order to defeat the nasty creatures you'll inevitably come across, you'll need to choose the makeup of your party carefully as well as use some strategic thinking when it comes to making your moves. Do you go in for melee combat or do you use ranged attacks to wear down the enemy first?

We're impressed with what we've seen so far, and looks like Atari are on to a winner with this one.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Atari User Issue 12 is out!


Atari User Issue 12 is here!

Yes, we're celebrating our first anniversary with this monster issue that includes a feature on arcade smash hit Xeonophobe, an interview with 8-bit games developer Stephen Goss, plus an in-depth look at Nolan Bushnell after he left Atari. A great read if you want to find out about Catalyst Technologies, Androbot, Axlon, Pizza Time Theatre and Etrak.

We look at the best and worst football games for the Atari ST, examine the Atari Cosmos 3D handheld, look at Namco arcade titles converted to the Atari ST plus have loads of reviews for the 2600, 7800, Lynx, Jaguar, ST and Atari 8-bit.

For more details, check out the Atari User Website .


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Atari User Issue 12 Preview



A quick preview of Atari User Issue 12, the cover has just been finished and we're polishing off the mag to get it ready for publication.

This issue includes a look at Nolan Bushnell's rise and fall after Atari and his involvement in companies such as Androbot, Axlon and Sente Technologies. We also have a great interview with Stephen Goss, formerly of Harlequin - some fantastic big franchise games almost made it to the Atari 8-bit.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Deep Impact Event as Atari C&D frenzy continues

Atari Inc's cease and desist email onslaught shows no signs of abating. The company has recently targeted website asteroids.co.uk for using an Atari trademark, in its entirety, in the domain name. Just like in the case of atari2600.org, Atari want the domain name - or else. At time of writing asteroids.co.uk shows locations and trajectories of various asteroids that could be a risk to the planet Earth. The site has been used, however, in the past as a tribute to the Atari arcade hit Asteroids and featured a playable clone of the Asteroids game. Atari's email to the site operator makes no mention of this - they just want the domain name.

Atari are also turning up the heat on emulators. This time Atari are targeting various Atari related emulators for, wait for it, the Sega Dreamcast.

There has still been no news from Atari regarding atari2600.org - a story Atari User broke to the world last week. At time of writing, Atari have ignored requests from Atari User Magazine for a statement.


http://asteroids.co.uk/atari

http://www.dcemulation.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=101370

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Retro Revolution & Atari User Live!








Retro Revolution is a new retro gaming event, taking place October 1st 2011 at the Red Lion Pub (147 New London Road), in Chelmsford Essex. Planned systems include the Megadrive (Genesis), Master System, PCEngine, Dreamcast, NES, Saturn, Xbox, C64, Amiga, BBC Micro and more.


Plus, Atari User will be there. Yes, Atari User Live! finally comes out of beta and Atari User staff will be at the event with a whole load of different Atari hardware and we'll be covering the event (naturally) for Atari User magazine.


For more information on Retro Revolution, venue details and how to get there, visit the official event website . For Atari enthusiasts there will be a massive Atari Lynx and Atari Jaguar collection on show plus competitions and more.

Doom loses "adult only" ban in Germany

Germany has lifted an "adult only" ban on Doom, some 17 years after the game went on sale. Buying the game alongside other decidedly more adult titles was always a bit off-putting to the average German gamer but now the graphics in Doom are looking a bit old hat to say the least.

Video gaming has moved on and so Bethesda Softworks have been able to appeal against the ban. The American version of Doom II remains banned due to the use of Nazi symbols in parts of the game.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Atari, moving forward


There has been quite a bit of interesting commentary recently from industry experts concerning Atari, its future direction and its problems. Atari, in its current incarnation, has gone through so many changes and employees that you might find it hard to remember them all. "Revolving door", the "Grand Central station" of employment - both are phrases used recently by industry experts.

Nicholas Lovell has written an interesting piece on Activision (see gamasutra), which bears some similarities with the situation Atari currently finds itself in. Atari seems to be moving away from AAA titles to smaller projects including social and mobile gaming releases where development costs are lower and where the risk is reduced. Now Nicholas warns that Activision is running down its old IP , and in many ways Atari are doing the same although the vast majority of their IP is much older. In order to succeed surely there has to be a combined strategy of new key AAA titles whilst using the social and gaming markets for titles that wouldn't necessarily make it in conventional retail. Of course there is plenty of scope also for using these rapidly expanding markets as a crossover point for the big AAA titles. EA are doing it, you can play Dragon Age on your Xbox 360 then play a Dragon Age branded game on Facebook. Of course it doesn't compare to the real thing but it serves to generate additional revenue and , perhaps more importantly, bring the Dragon Age franchise to a huge market at relatively low cost and hopefully inspire people to go out and buy the full priced game for the console or PC - plus buy all that value added DLC.

Breathing new life to a classic Atari title is always going to be risky. Many people have very fond memories of their time growing up with their Atari 2600 or Atari 8-bit. The Atari consoles and computers had a huge catalog of killer titles and many would rather stick with their memories rather than see a game they were (and still are) very fond of be resurrected for the Xbox 360 or PS3 - only to see the whole thing be handled very badly.

Star Raiders is a classic example of a massive franchise opportunity handled very badly. When Atari broke the news that it was to be re-released the vast majority of Atari enthusiasts were excited and couldn't wait. Sadly, the end result was a game that didn't look too bad but when it came to playing it most found themselves turning off their Xbox 360 and digging out the old Atari 800 from the attic.

The recent Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale was another opportunity to use a decent franchise and drive revenue. Leaving the whole fiasco with Hasbro to one side (both sides seem to have kissed and made up), many gamers have complained that the game is buggy, customer support has been lacking and at least one reviewer has branded the title an "unmitigated disaster". The developer responsible (Bedlam Games) appear to have effectively closed with most staff on the street under "temporary layoffs" and without severance pay. Most of those affected appear to have already moved on.

Whilst Atari has a vast and aging IP which they can tap into, it should be a case of quality not quantity when considering titles for a revamp. For fans of the brand there would probably be nothing better than to see new, AAA quality titles appearing for the current generation consoles under the Atari brand.

When I say "probably be nothing better", I refer to the fact that many brand loyalists would also like to see a new Atari branded next generation console - but we have to be realistic here folks, Atari is in no position to do that.

Some recent decisions have been made out of economic necessity - that is understandable, but Atari shouldn't lose sight of those new AAA titles. Star Raiders is just one example of a franchise that has been wasted, let's hope Atari get things right moving forward.

The Atari Portfolio

The Atari Portfolio was a British designed 16-bit handheld PC, that was announced in 1989 and which had begun to ship by January 1990. The Portfolio was a success for Atari, and came with built-in applications and an amazing (for 1989) battery life.

The Portfolio uses battery powered memory cards for storage - these were the forerunners to the PCMCIA standard and the machine was well supported by Atari with a range of add-on peripherals to link your Portfolio to a PC and expand its usefulness. Today, in the smartphone era, the Portfolio still has its uses and we took a detailed look at the handheld beast in Issue 10 of Atari User Magazine.

Hang on there Steve Jobs

It has been saddening to see pictures released of Steve Jobs following his resignation as CEO of Apple.  Jobs was one of Atari's first employees back in the early seventies and the rest, as they say, is history. Apple fan or not, you can't deny what Jobs has done for Apple, computing, and technology.

Jobs always wanted to blaze the trail, not follow in someone elses' wake. Here at Atari User we all wish him well.

Inside Atari UK

In Issue 11 of Atari User Magazine we take a look at Atari UK, the role they played in rolling out Atari dealer and service networks across Europe and the games they released for the Atari 8-bit. We'll be looking at the titles Atari UK produced for the Atari ST in a later issue.

Some great titles were released by Atari, albeit a little too late to really help the 8-bit format, and if you want the low down then Issue 11 will be right up your street.

We'll also be bringing you some background history on other 8-bit games, that didn't make it to release. You'll be surprised at what was planned and what could have been for the Atari XL/XE.

Has Atari said "sorry" to Starsoft Berlin?

It would appear that Atari have apologised to 8-bit enthusiast site Starsoft Berlin but no direct word from the site itself as yet.

It also looks like Atari sent the apology directly to an angry fan who'd emailed to complain and not the site operator himself - which might explain why PPS haven't yet confirmed if they have indeed had an apology.

As of yet there has been no official word from Atari regarding atari2600.org although Atari User has asked Atari for a statement.

Atari have become increasingly active in the C&D department, with the Droid800 emulator one of the latest casualties - the app is no longer available to download. Emulation is a bit of a grey area to say the least and Atari do have a right to protect their copyright and/or active patents if they are being breached.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boulder Dash for the Atari 2600 - how the retro community can work

Andrew Davie (the guy Atari are currently wanting to nab atari2600.org from) has been working for several years with fellow Atari Enthusiast Thomas Jentzsch on an Atari 2600 port of First Star Software's popular eighties classic - Boulder Dash.

The game was originally programmed by Peter Liepa and Chris Gray back in 1984 and released first for the Atari 8-bit. One of the most classic and original games of its generation, Boulder Dash went on to be released across various platforms including the NES and Commodore Amiga.

So far a working 2-cave demo has been released and it looks fantastic. Now what makes this unique is that Davie has been working closely with First Star Software who he describes as being very supportive and generous in allowing the demo to be released freely to the Atari Community.

Whilst the game is certainly a work in progress it looks amazing so far and there is hope that the finished product could get a full commercial release, endorsed by First Star Software, which will be a significant historical event in itself.

Sadly, since Atari waded in to move on Davie's atari2600.org domain name,  Boulder Dash might be the last Atari 2600 related project Davie works on.

First Star Software have shown that in 2011 they remain the same great company they were back in the eighties. This is a perfect example of how a rights holder can work constructively with the retro community - if only Atari could learn from them.






atari2600.org atari enthusiast posts brief statement

Some believed the story wasn't true, but now the atari2600.org website has been updated with a brief statement from the domain holder and long time Atari enthusiast Andrew Davie.


Following a 'request' from Atari Legal's lawyer to hand them this domain, and to show my good faith and intentions with regard to their trademark and claims thereof... I have removed all content of this site. I'm a bit of a retro-gaming nut. Over the 11 years I've 'owned' this domain, the site was used as a personal/hobbyist site for my interest in '2600 homebrew programming. It's variously been used to promote my '2600 game Qb (2001-2003), my extensive tutorials on '2600 programming, as a domain for the '2600 programmers' [stella] mailing list (2004-2010) and more recently linking to some of my videos and demos for the platform. The '2600 platform has been near and dear to my heart for a long time.
:(

Reports also of Atari behind a take down notice issued against the Droid800 emulator project

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Going Football Crazy on the Atari ST


Last issue we looked at some of the best and worst football (soccer) games released for the Atari 8-bit. In issue 12 we'll be doing the same but this time focusing on the Atari ST, a platform for which there are more football games than you can shake a stick at.

In the meantime we'll be playing Sensible Soccer and seeing how many goals we can get past San Marino!

Atari Museum - the greatness that was

If you've ever wondered how great Atari was or what they accomplished, then you could do no better than visit the Atari Museum , an online site dedicated to preserving Atari history and the Atari legacy.

Operated by Curt Vendel, dedicated Atari enthusiast and historian, the Atari Museum has a wealth of information and images from Atari's glory days. Within a few minutes you can't fail to realize how innovative and years ahead of the competition Atari were.

Curt, and the rest of his team, have spent years working to preserve rare Atari hardware. From dumpster diving to painstaking research and tracking down former Atari employees, the Atari Museum is a website that any Atari enthusiast should be adding to their bookmarks.

Vendel is currently finalizing work on the XM Expansion Module for the Atari 7800, an impressive piece of hardware that opens up the classic 7800 to new frontiers. Several highly talented homebrew developers have already confirmed their commitment to writing new XM compatible games for the 7800.


Editorial

Let's set a couple of things straight:

There are some that would like to suggest that there is some sort of an anti-Atari agenda, and a minority that believe that we should say nothing when Atari go after sites such as atari2600.org.

Hello?, Atari User is a magazine run by Atari enthusiasts for enthusiasts. We love Atari and we are the first to acknowledge that seeing the Atari brand alive today is much better than the brand just fading into history. Keeping the Atari brand alive and relevant for a whole new generation is a positive thing.

Saying nothing, well that is the easy option and does it achieve anything? The answer is probably no it doesn't. Atari are perfectly entitled to protect their intellectual properties, entitled to make a profit and protect their interests. Atari should be able to use their brand and back-catalog of titles to move forward into new emerging markets such as social and mobile gaming. That makes commercial sense, that is their right and nobody here is disputing that.

When Atari gets it wrong, and in this case we believe they have, why shouldn't we speak out to try and protect the retro fanbase - which is after all made up of people who are the most passionate about Atari, its history and its brand - people that literally wear the Fuji symbol with pride.The very people that are most likely to support the company as it releases new titles and moves in new directions.

As fans, we may not always agree with the direction Atari is following or the content it is pumping out, but Atari is a modern company with employees, bills to pay and all the other costs associated with running a business. They may or may not get their commercial decisions right but we want them to succeed and make no bones about that.

It would be great if Atari would hold their hands up and say that, on this occasion, they got it wrong. It would be great if Atari could issue guidance to and engage with the retro community about what they believe is acceptable and what they think isn't. The retro community should be able to produce homebrew titles, demos and programs for Atari's consoles and home computer platforms. The retro community should be allowed to wear the Fuji symbol with pride.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Atari continues efforts to alienate and persecute retro fanbase


Further to earlier reports of Atari targeting parts of the retro Atari community, Atari have now turned their attention to atari2600.org, a website that has been registered by Andrew Davie, since 2000.

The site has been used by Davie over the years to showcase his non-commercial programming efforts for the ancient Atari 2600 console. The receipt of a letter from Atari's SVP & General Counsel, Kristen Keller, came as a surprise for the Atari enthusiast, who told Atari User he is "disappointed" at Atari's approach and is considering his position.

Atari are demanding Davie begin arrangements to handover atari2600.org to them as the domain name contains the Atari brand ("Atari"), in its entirety, in the domain name.

Atari have also recently gone after Starsoft Berlin, a hobbyist site dedicated to producing various demos for the Atari 8-bit computer platform - again a completely non commercial fan site.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Atari 1200XL

The Atari 1200XL first appeared at the Winter CES in January 1983. Representing a major leap forward from Atari's original 400 and 800 computer lines, the 1200XL was 64K and featured the new stylish XL series design that would be carried across Atari's XL range of computers and peripherals.

The 1200XL came with a revised OS (operating system) and several enhancements, however its closed box design (as opposed to the Atari 800) proved unpopular with existing Atari 8-bit owners however the machine did sell quite well considering the very short period it was on sale for.

With Atari hemorrhaging money, then CEO James Morgan was on a mission to drive down costs. After being on sale for just a few months, the 1200XL was quietly dropped in favour of the new 16K Atari 600XL and the new 64K Atari 800XL.

Today the Atari 1200XL is considered one of the most collectable machines from the Atari 8-bit line, it was the last model to be produced before Atari began looking at cutting costs at every corner. In issue 9 of Atari User Magazine we took a detailed look at this stylish beauty - a fantastic machine that never got the chance to shine.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Atari offloads Cryptic Studios


Atari has completed its sale of Cryptic Studios to Chinese MMO developer Perfect World Entertainment, bringing in a reported €35 million. Atari had effectively put the California studio on hold after announcing it was looking to dispose of it last March.

Since then, Cryptic (developers of  Champions Online and Star-Trek Online) has been in a state of limbo with Atari continuing to provide minimal support to keep its popular online game environments online.

Atari will use the proceeds of the sale to write down debt and help fund its move further into mobile and social gaming markets and increase its drive to ramp up licensing revenue and protection of its historical brands and trademarks.

Players of the two affected online games will see their Atari tokens converted to Cryptic points as well as changes to terms and conditions.

Space War!


In issue 11 of Atari User we look at Space War!,  one of the earliest known digital computer games and how it influenced many games that followed including Computer Space and the various versions of the game that were released for the different Atari platforms including the Atari 2600 and the Atari Jaguar.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chris Hutt's Space Harrier Interview


Check out Chris Hutt's exclusive interview with Atari User in Issue 11. Chris sheds light on the Space Harrier project and the difficulties he faced in bringing the game to the Atari 8-bit. If you missed out on our review of Space Harrier then check out issue 10 for a look at what we believe to be one of the greatest Atari XL/XE games of all time.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Atari Flashback 3 cometh!

 
The Atari Flashback 3 is coming and the reason for it vanishing from online retailers' virtual shelves has become clear. Forget buying it for £19.95, the console has a UK RRP of £59.95 and an official release date scheduled for September 30th. The RRP is in line with the expected US retail price.

Retailers have already begun to list the Flashback 3 , with most saying it is currently out of stock. Zavvi continue to list the product but the price has now shot up to £34.95 and Argos expect to sell the console for around £40.

The Flashback 3 is coming with 60 games built-in, but without SD card support and will cost you a bit more this time around. At least this time it won't be vaporware.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Atari User Issue 11 Out Now!


The latest issue of Atari User is here!


In Issue 11 we have an exclusive interview with Chris Hutt, a.k.a Sheddy who brought Space Harrier to the Atari 8-bit, plus we take a look inside Atari UK and the games they made. We take a look at the Atari emulators available for the Wii & PC, plus our popular Game Over series looks at more unreleased gems for the Atari 2600, 5200 and 7800.

Kieren looks at Space War! and the games publishers that supported every Atari format plus we look at the best and worst football games for the Atari 8-bit. Steve reviews Ace Of Aces for the XL/XE and the 7800, plus our new series on BASIC programming for the Atari begins.

Lots of reviews this issue for the 2600, Lynx, Atari Jaguar, ST and Falcon, plus we look at yet more SEGA conversions for the Atari ST.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

1UP shows no love for Atari consoles

1UP.COM's recent "Top Ten Worst Consoles" puts three Atari offerings in its list of the worst ten consoles of all time. The Atari Jaguar, Atari Lynx and Atari 5200 are all singled out for some hate alongside some more, very obscure, models.

The article makes for some confusing reading. The Lynx heads the list but the article's author states the Lynx "was arguably superior to its competitors" and ends with "There really wasn't much wrong with the Lynx, but it ended up as a footnote anyway.". Interesting stuff, eh?


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Atari Turn On 8-Bit Community

You've been happily programming and producing demos for your beloved Atari 8-bit computer for years and then, out of the blue, comes a nasty email from the legal department of Atari Inc, alleging copyright infringement and saying you should not be mentioning terms such as "Atari 130XE".

This has just happened to Starsoft Berlin , a fan site dedicated to hosting classic Starsoft disk magazines from the nineties and putting together a "New Year's" demo for the 8-bit.

Today's Atari Inc has nothing to do with either the Atari Corp or Atari Inc of old. It has its roots in a French software label that was well known for bringing out some quite dodgy titles for the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga.

Is this a case of a naive legal representative at Atari Inc in New York, or is it a sign of what is to come? - a company that doesn't care about Atari enthusiasts and the Atari of old,  and just sees the Fuji symbol as a way to cash in on past brand awareness? Only time will tell.

It isn't looking good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

UK Riots

Just a quick message to all our UK readers to stay safe, keep on top of local news broadcasts and avoid city centres in the evenings. Hopefully things will start to quiet down soon but in the meantime don't take any chances as copycat violence can flare up anywhere.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Issue 11 is coming soon!

You'll be pleased to know Atari User issue 11 is being finished off and will be published shortly. We're excited and hope you are too. We're so dedicated to our jobs at Atari User Towers that we've decided to go without holidays this year and stop playing useless games on Facebook!

Most of the content for issue 11 is still under wraps but as soon as it is out you'll be able to get the latest issue from the Atari User Website and we'll be posting an announcement here on the Atari User Blog.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Atari Community Mourns The Loss Of Raster

 
Radek Sterba, a.k.a Raster, has died. Full details are still a bit sketchy but it is believed he died yesterday in an accident. Apart from being an extremely talented Atari enthusiast he was also a keen cyclist.

Radek was part of the C.P.U team that brought us the SDRIVE, and stereo hardware upgrade. Radek developed the MULTIJOY interface as well as a suite of applications for both the Atari 8-bit and PC.

He'll be sorely missed by the Atari community and our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family at this difficult time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Atari 800 Unwittingly Sparks More Forum Frenzy

The Atari 800, launched 1979, considered a major leap forward in its time for home computing. As a sign that either Atari enthusiasts are just getting on in years or maybe we've all got too much spare time on our hands, one popular Atari forum has gone crazy as one individual insisted on calling the Atari 800 the "Jay Miner 800" claiming that to call the machine an Atari 800 would confuse it with the Atari800 emulator. Oh the drama.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ace Of Aces

video

ACE OF ACES is to be featured in our next issue with an in-depth review of both Atari XL/XE and Atari 7800 versions. Issue 11 will be out soon!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sheddy Visits Atari User Towers

Sheddy, the author of the amazing Atari 8-bit port of Space Harrier, has visited Atari User Towers to speak about the game and the challenges of bringing it to the Atari XL/XE.

His interview will be appearing in issue 11 of Atari User Magazine.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

XM Expansion Module Developer Loses Rag as 7800 Community Plunges Into Chaos

Originally slated for a late 2010 release, Curt Vendel's (Legacy Engineering) XM Expansion module project for the Atari 7800 is nearing completion after being hit by a series of issues including problems sourcing reliable suppliers and changes to the design and development team.

Customers, for the most part, have been patient and understanding but a few have been more than skeptical about progress and have been quite vocal in voicing their opinions. It all got a bit too much for Vendel who yesterday said he'd "had enough" and called on anyone who was unhappy to just cancel their order.

Vendel also stated that this would be his last none commercial project - "... you friggin crossed the line and I'm not going to be bothered with this crap anymore.". Strong words from a developer who has generally been held in high regard within the Atari community.

Here at Atari User we have every confidence in Legacy Engineering's XM Expansion module project and it is always a great shame when any developer or programmer feels that the wider Atari community isn't deserving of their efforts anymore.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ted Dabney Interview

Ted Dabney was one of the original founders of Atari, back in 1972, and we were honored to be able to interview him for Atari User magazine. You can read all about how Atari started and the contribution Ted made to getting the ball rolling in Atari User Issue 5 which details Atari's rapid rise and the events leading up to Nolan Bushnell's decision to sell the company to Warner Communications.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Atari 5200 "Super System"

 
The Atari 5200, what should have been the replacement for the aging Atari 2600. Built using the same technology as the Atari 400/800, the 5200 was designed to keep Atari ahead in the console war.  Sadly, the Atari 5200 was killed off and replaced by the 7800. Due to problems within Atari and the subsequent offloading by Warner Communications to Jack Tramiel, the 7800 took its time to hit the stores and Atari lost out on the console market - although they continued to sell the 2600 right up until the end.
The Atari 5200 has a great games library. Its analog controllers are either loved or hated by retro gamers but sure do make for a fantastic game of Star Raiders! You can check out our review of the Atari 5200 in Issue 1 of Atari User Magazine.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Atari Sues Over Fake Flashback 2 Consoles

 
We reported on the dodgy Flashback 2 consoles in Atari User Magazine. The consoles were being sold by major online retailers and store chains across the USA. Virtually identical to the original Atari sanctioned Flashback 2, the knock-offs were hard to spot but something didn't add up. They were on sale in large numbers long after Atari had sold out and stopped distribution of the originals.
Now, Atari has filed suit in a California court against US distributor Tommo seeking $30 million in damages. Atari themselves tracked down the source of the fake consoles. With licensing deals accounting for about 20% of Atari Interactive's total revenue, the company is keen to protect its branding and revenue streams.

We'll bring you more news as we get it.

Want to see what the Atari Lynx missed out on?

 
The Atari Lynx benefited from a great games library but, sadly, many great games never made it to the Lynx for whatever reason and some are still out there, possibly completed, just waiting for someone to uncover the prototype. Check out Kieren's excellent "Lost Atari Lynx Games" series, appearing from Issue 2 in Atari User, to read all about the games that never made it and what might be out there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Atari Flashback 3 Vanishes At Sea - All Feared Lost

 
Speculation over the new Atari Flashback 3 console shows no sign of going away after several UK online retail giants pulled both the Flashback 3 and a rumored Atari Arcade Nano (AT Games?) from sale after taking large amounts of orders.
It appears they were selling stock they just didn't have with customers being told attempts to source the Flashback 3 had failed. Fortunately, most customers would not have actually been billed until their order was fulfilled.
So, did the big slow boat from China sink?, or is there more to this story that will unfold over the coming weeks? Consider this though, why would UK retailers be offering the Flashback 3 console for £9.95 ($16 USD) when US distributors were wanting $59 ?

We know the Flashback 3 is coming from China, heck what doesn't these days, and we know it has been licensed by Atari. SD support has gone out of the window and the console should ship with 60 games built-in.

We'll keep trying to get our hands on one of these but don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL ATARI USER BLOG

If you haven't heard of Atari User and you're an Atari enthusiast then we have to ask - where have you been these past ten months?

Atari User is the world's only monthly Atari magazine dedicated to all the Atari consoles and computers, from the Atari 2600 right through to the Atari Falcon.

Every issue is packed with features, news, reviews, game guides and we've delivered some great exclusive interviews from Atari greats such as Ted Dabney, Doug Neubauer and Rob Fulop. Atari User is published every month in PDF format and each issue costs just $3.95. If you take out a subscription then you can save a massive 30% off the cover price. Check out atariuser.com for details.

We are always looking for volunteers to help with submitting articles and writing new material. If you are interested in advertising then we have very low rates.

In our latest issue we showcased over a dozen new releases for the Atari 8-bit and the Atari 7800 - that goes to show that Atari enthusiasts are dedicated to their classic systems and we're here every month to keep them informed on all the latest news from the Atari scene.

If you are interested in contributing articles or programs for the magazine then please contact the editor via the contact page at atariuser.com . Please note we can't pay for submitted works but contributors get a free issue of the magazine with regular contributors getting a free subscription.

This blog is the new and official blog for Atari User magazine. Here we'll be posting news and information about the magazine, give you an idea on what we're working on, as well as showcasing the best of the best for the Atari consoles and home computers.

We hope you enjoy the blog and we hope to welcome you soon as an Atari User magazine subscriber.

ATARI LYNX EATS BOY'S LUNCH

 
The Atari Lynx was a cutting edge colour handheld that couldn't be beaten when it came to its sheer power. Sadly it couldn't compete against the much cheaper and inferior Nintendo Game Boy and had another competitor in the guise of Sega's Game Gear.

In some countries the Game Gear failed to knock the Lynx into the number three sales position and in Atari User issues 9 & 10 we've been comparing the two colour handhelds and looking at how the most popular games of the time stack up on each console.

Rob Fulop talks to Atari User

We're proud and honored to have been able to interview Atari 2600 programming legend Rob Fulop in issue 10 of Atari User magazine.

Rob wrote several best selling Atari 2600 titles including Night Driver, Demon Attack, Cosmic Ark and Fathom. As well as talking about his time at Atari and then Imagic, Rob also sheds light on what he's been up to since.

A true game writing pioneer, we're extremely grateful to Rob for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us.

Space Harrier Is Here For The Atari XL/XE!


Space Harrier is here! Yes, after over ten years in the making Sheddy has finished and released his conversion of the Sega classic for the Atari 8-bit. This game really has rocked our world. It looks and sounds great and has all the pace and speed of the arcade original.

We think it is the best 8-bit port of Space Harrier ever, and you can read all about it in Issue 10 of Atari User Magazine.