"It's hard to take a stand
But it's harder to take a fall
Open the lid of your own casket..."
Entombed, "Rotten Soil"
DISK MAGAZINES CHECKED OUT
(Including one paper 'zine)
by Richard Karsmakers
I don't think there have ever been this many disk magazine
reviews in ST NEWS, and the reason behind that is quite simple.
You see, I have completely overhauled this issue's occurrence of
the "Disk Magazine Roundup" by writing to around fifty addresses
belonging to disk magazines (as well as on-line efforts) of which
the status was in some way doubtful. Quite a few of them have
reacted by sending back an issue of their production (although I
didn't have time to review them all). When you add those to the
regular magazines that I always get (basically that means
"Maggie" and "DBA") we've got ahead of us one rather long column.
DBA Magazine 13
I have to say I was quite disappointed when I got this issue.
The reason? It's a compilation of the best stuff published in
"DBA Magazine" issues 9 through 12, so there is not an ounce of
new material in it. I had been looking forward to new stuff quite
a lot, especially because Chris "Maggie" Holland had told me he'd
sent DBA the real-time article of their 5th anniversary weekend
last summer and that it would be published, probably, in this
"DBA" issue. Well, it wasn't.
If you ignore the fact that it's all old stuff, however, you
will see that DBA have again upgraded the user interface. I
somehow find it more intuitive and easier to use even than their
previous one (which was already pretty darned good). On the two
high density disks you get 197 articles, some of which are really
interesting and some of which are less so. I personally found
fault only with the "real time" article menu, because it was very
chaotic and never clear as to when and where the real-timed
events had taken place. Also, the feeling of "real time for the
sake of real time" becrept me.
On top of the enormous amount of articles you'll find almost one
megabyte worth of 3 over-four-voice .DTM modules. Quite good
ones, I think, although the best one (the default one) had a
rather noisy kind of feel sample-wise. There are also fifteen
pictures on the disk, half of which are not impressive at all and
the other half of which are by Jovis (who should be knighted and
given the Graphics Nobel Prize!).
If you have somehow missed more than half of the recent four
issues, I suggest you get your hands on this compilation issue.
Otherwise I think you'd better let it rest.
Good thing, by the way, is that "DBA Magazine" now has a
homepage and that its editor, Slimer, now has none other than an
email address. They are http://www.pi.net/~slimer/home.html and
DBA Magazine 14
Yes, a truly new issue of the one and only "DBA Magazine"...and
the good thing was that it was released a mere few weeks before
this issue of ST NEWS so once more I was inspired by what I found
in it to make this ST NEWS issue as good as possible. You see,
"DBA Magazine" is ever more rapidly becoming one of the few very,
very best disk magazines in the world. "Maggie" and "DBA
Magazine" are the top if you ask me, and with the change in the
"Maggie" interface I think we have just about a tie, virtually.
"DBA Magazine" issue 14 uses almost the same use interface than
the previous issue, though now the graphics have changed and show
themselves as "MicroBox Windows 0.95", which looks really slick
and is an excellent piss-take of both "Windows '95" and the Atari
MicroBox (which, let's be honest, will probably never happen).
But hey, let me not forget the intro. DBA have gotten the one
and only Laser - the coding group that won the 96 Kb demo compo
at the latest Fried Bits convention - to code it! To say that it
is impressive would be an impressive understatement. However, it
works on RGB only, which is a slight bummer for VGA people like
me who then have to resort to connecting the Falcon to a TV.
"DBA Magazine" issue 14, as usual, offers that unique blend of
articles and interests that make it one of the most popular
(perhaps the most popular) disk magazine in today's demo scene.
However, I get the impression that part of the stuff they feature
among their articles and pictures is sheer politics. I mean, some
of the pictures are not good at all and it seems to me here that
they don't want to offend any of the people who submitted them by
not placing them. I know what it's like. In the previous issue I
had an article that I would never have placed if it hadn't been
for politics (you guess which it was; it's not difficult). But
sometimes you have to compromise, and DBA do it well. Quite a few
of the pictures are digitised graphics of various people within
Atari Corporation. Jeff Minter looked really weird with no bears
and moustache. I now really believe the fact that he's younger
And, yes, "Gigaman!" is back! It's not that the occurrence of
this comic cartoon character is brilliant or anything, but the
dry humour really gets to me and, well, no other disk magazine
has a comic cartoon. Good show, DBA! Speaking of graphics, they
are really learning to use their pictures-in-text and background
fill options very well. Some of the articles look really visually
Of course, this first new issue in quite a few months also
featured the "Maggie" Fifth Anniversary real-time article.
Although it's chaotic as hell, it's one interesting read and I
have to recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the real
flavour of what disk magazine production is like. It's a bit like
the real-time article Stefan and me made in early 1988, only much
more modern, of course, and with a shitload of people!
Further interesting items to be found in "DBA Magazine" Issue 14
are "UFO Files" (which were lifted off the Internet, I suppose)
and the complete Falcon Scene Encyclopedia. I love reference
articles myself and enjoy making them. I am glad DBA also seem to
enjoy making them. It's an excellent reference to the coding
crews on the Falcon and their current status. Be in it or be
I can't say anything other than that Issue 14 is yet another
class example of what a modern disk magazine should be like. They
are still growing and I truly admire them for the work they put
in and the amount of stuff they offer (both with regard to music,
hot extra items, >4 voice modules and artwork). But remember:
"DBA Magazine" only works on the Falcon. For those with an ST,
well...buy a Falcon! And...er...it comes on a rather massive two
How to Code III
Never heard of this magazine before, which is hard to
understand. Anyway, "How to Code" is a magazine that goes all-out
no-hold-barred to the technical side of things. We're talking
MPEG display tips and MOD format here, and a vast wealth of
things that are totally uninteresting for 99% of the Atari users
but all the more interesting to the creative coders in the 1%
that is left. I have only seen the third issue, which was
released around last summer. The remarks here are based on that
"How to Code" comes with two different shell programs. One of
them is Falcon specific: Nicely graphic, different MOD musics to
select, mouse-controlled colourful menu. The other is not Falcon
specific and can be used on any Atari. It uses GEM and windows.
Although it doesn't offer the fancy things the Falcon version has
(ultra-smooth scrolling and the like), it works. And that's what
"How to Code" is shareware. In order to get the registered
version (which offers source code and the like) you have to send
50 French Francs, US$ 20, 5 pound sterling or 20 German marks to
the editorial address (which is mentioned below).
Issue 3 of the magazine offers its articles both in French and
English, although the English is really quite bad. The articles
folder contains 78 files, i.e. 39 articles. For each language
there is roughly half a megabyte of documents present.
I think "How to Code" ought certainly to be checked out if you
think you belong to the coding elite, especially on the Falcon.
The address to write to (I suppose sending a disk and 3
International Reply Coupons will get you the latest evaluation
63, Rue des Cicognes
There is a network of official distributors, but they are too
many to be listed here.
Interbang Volume 1 Issue 1
This is not a disk magazine, actually, but a paper magazine with
its own web site (http://www.azc.com/client/bertye). It offers
fiction, poetry, articles and essays. It's really weird, and is
writing by convicts and people who claim to be several dissonant
minds into one being and stuff like that. If that's your thing
(it ain't mine, I can tell you), contact them at the URL
mentioned above, or at the editorial address:
300 San Juan
Venice, CA 90291
Subscriptions will set you back US$ 10 per year (6 issues) or
US$ 18 per two years. Individual issues, though mail, are US$ 2
Yes, congratulations are in order and all that jolly celebratory
stuff, for one of the top Atari disk magazines, none other than
"Maggie", celebrated its fifth anniversary this summer and with
that released the eighteenth of their issues.
Issue 18 sports a new shell coded by none other than the near-
legendary Reservoir Gods. The slick-looking shell originally
coded by New Mode of Delta Force has been replaced by a slick-
looking shell coded by Mr. Pink of Reservoir Gods. The sub-menus
are now located the the top of the screen, represented by icons
that will display their title when the mouse moves over them. At
the bottom there is a nice scrolly display that somehow seems
out-of-focus. Hell, there's even a game thrown in for good (?)
accord: The Falcon 1:1 conversation of the Nintendo "Game &
Watch" "Donkey Kong" game! Yikes, I used to have that exact same
game, too, and it's fun to have it as an extra in this "Maggie"
issue. Got a score of 10, though, because somehow I seem to have
lost my touch rather blatantly.
The pageview mode has an option screen where a file can be saved
(though this steadfastly refused not to lock on me each time I
tried), fonts selected, music switched off (or turned down a
birt), words searched and all that good stuff. A nice colour
effect is in the background throughout the proceedings.
Of course it's not just the shell that counts: Anyone who's seen
the many demo-oriented disk magazines (especially those from
France that have in the mean time ceased to exist) will know
that. Luckily, "Maggie" has yet to disappoint me in that respect.
I think it's editor, Chris Holland, is quite a prodigy when it
comes to loose and humorous writing. And he's grown quite a bit,
as can be seen from "Chris' Birth", an article that features the
very first article that Chris ever wrote for the Lost Boys
"Maggie" in the summer of 1990. Did you also know he's actually
called Christopher Ian Holland? Amazing.
"Maggie" features the usual and very typical mixture of humour
and infotainment. Silly PC-related articles, reviews ("Super
STario Land", "Nethack" for the Falcon, "Stardust", "UVK Book"
:-), interviews and a whole lot more. When reading "Maggie" you
have the feeling that Chris is "one of the boys", someone who
writes interesting stuff, the kind of person you'd prefer to have
sitting next to you at a bar instead of the dude who actually
sits there and bores you stiff. There's even a Weird Al Jankovic
FAQ. Silly and useless, but typically "Maggie" nonetheless.
"Maggie", as of issue 18, comes in two different versions: ST
and Falcon. The ST version uses the old shell and comes on a
standard Double Density disk; the Falcon version comes on a High
Density disk. The only thing I don't like about the Falcon shell
version is that the sub-menu polygon that goes off the screen
when exiting it goes off too slowly. Maybe it should be allowed
to move the mouse outside it, so that another sub-menu can be
selected a lot quicker?
"Maggie" issue 18 is as essential as all the post-issue-10
issues, i.e. very.
Mark Nobes is one of the active people of the "STellar Atari
Club" of Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire, and editor of the
rather good disk magazine "STellar". With issue 16 (August /
September 1995) he has released another fine issue.
"STellar" uses the TOMS (The Observer Menu System) shell that is
written by Terry King, who is also a member of the club. The
magazine offers a variety of articles ranging from reviews
(including "Burnout" for the Jag as well as "Idealist",
"Imagecopy" and Topbyte software) and rants (such as one about
the National Lottery) to adverts for the club and remarks on new
CDs. It is definitely one of the finest club-oriented disk
magazines I've ever seen, similar in calibre and intent to
"Inside Info" (Australian) and "ST Klubben" (the deceased
Norwegian disk magazine).
"STellar" is bi-monthly, so there's probably a new issue
already. It works well on any system including the Falcon, which
is the way it ought to be.
The contact address is (why not send a disk and 3 IRCs for the
Gloucestershire GL55 6HR
When Keefy stopped doing "STOSSER" he started doing a "Star
Trek" kind of STOS-programmed shell disk magazine. Unfortunately
it, like "STOSSER", does not work on the Falcon (not even with
"Backward"). I got up to the main menu (where each article is
represented by the face of a "Star Trek" character) and then the
whole thing locked up on me when attempting to load the article.
If you have no Falcon you could contact Keefy for a copy:
57 Hearsall Lane
Coventry CV5 6HF
More to be seen in a forthcoming issue of ST NEWS, likely.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.