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© Dirk 'Nod of Level 16' Pelz

THE AWARDS OF THE EIGHTIES - A DECADE GONE BY
by Richard Karsmakers

You may wonder why this article is present in an issue of ST
NEWS
so far off the eighties already. Well, the answer is simple
and sounds like something along the lines of "we didn't get the
idea earlier".
That should suffice for an excuse, so let's get kicking.

The eighties saw an increasing growth of home computer
popularity. Whereas at start only selected individuals could
afford the odd Apple or Commodore PET machine, machines likes the
Atari XL, Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum, Schneider CPC and the
first 16-bit machines increased home computer sales. Technology
got better, prices got lower - a new market was born.
The eighties saw lots of monumental contributions to the world
of software and hardware. This article seeks to bring a tribute
to those who have earned our utmost respect; those who
influenced the computer world to what it is today - those without
whom this world would not have been the same now.
I should add that this article has not been preluded by an
extensive reader's survey. It is actually a mere reflection of
personal views, lead into the right channels by some input of the
odd individual. I am as bold as to think that my views are more
or less those of the average human and therefore I think (hope)
that you'll agree on many of these 'awards'.

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Adventure solver/freak of the Eighties:
Math Claessens
Never tired. Always playing. Completely crazy about adventures
and Sierra-on-Line RPGs. Loves bicycling, and his wife makes
great cakes. He has solved all adventures on the market by now
(be it on ST, PC, Amiga, or Commodore 64). Hail thee, Math!
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Biggest Computer Game letdown of the Eighties:
Afterburner
Programmed 'for the money' by Jez San's Argonaut. Really bad.
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Biggest Hardware Fuck-up of the Eighties:
The AMY soundchip
Destined to be present in the ST, but it never got ready. This
was a pity, as it wopuld have had 64 voices and specs that would
make any sound freak drool.
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Computer of the Eighties:
Commodore 64
Probably the most successful computer, now a living legend. With
fair graphics capabilities and excellent sound, it brought
happiness to many people.
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Computer Designer of the Eighties:
Shiraz Shivji
He designed the Commodore 64 and the Atari ST, both on some
rather amateuristic test prints on his kitchen table (the legend
has us know).
A special mention should go to Sir Clive Sinclair, designer of
ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Z88 and Sinclair QL. Though too many of
his ideas flopped, he surely didn't deserve that. Hail thee!
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Computer magazine of the Eighties:
ZERO
Though it arrived barely in time not to become the computer
magazine of the nineties, it's great. There's humour, nice stuff,
good reviews...everything. The only magazine worth getting a
subscription to.
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Computer Programmer of the Eighties (8-bit):
Anthony Crowther
On 8-bit machines, he did almost all old Gremlin games. What
about "Suicide Express", "Loco", "Potty Pigeon", "William
Wobbler" and lots more? All cult game stuff...
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Computer Programmer of the Eighties (16-bit):
Whoever is the main programmer of the Assembly Line
Unfortunately massively unknown, but actually the person behind
"Xenon II" and "Interphase".
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Cover Graphics Artist of the Eighties:
Roger Dean
Who does most cover artwork and all logos for Psygnosis, the
people with the best packaging.
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CPU of the Eighties:
Motorola MC68000
A fast chip with lotsa registers and addressing modes. The dream
of anyone who became fed-up with the 6502/6510.
Runner up is the 6502/6510 (of course), the chip that made many
people learn mnemonics in the first place.
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Demo of the Eighties:
Union Demo
Though everybody keeps on talking about "Cuddly Demos" and even
"Mind Bomb", the "Union Demo" was simply better thought out - and
I just happen to like it more. It also works on all systems!
A special mention needs to be made of the "B.I.G. Demo". That
was really brilliant, too, and the music is the best on the ST
even to today's standard.
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Demo coders of the Eighties:
The Exceptions
They were the ones that started everything: Good sound, many
rasters, border rout refinement... Some of their demos include
"TEX Demo I-III", "SNDS", "B.I.G. Demo" and "Amiga Demo". They
are now all in the software business.
Runners up are, without doubt, The Lost Boys (TLB).
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Demo screen of the Eighties:
The sino-wobble-3D-and-a-whole-lotta-more-screen
Written by Nic of the Carebears (TCB) and put in the "Union
Demo". Don't ask me why. I just like the idea.
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Disk magazine of the Eighties:
ST Klubben
Definitely the best disk magazine anywhere now. Unfortunately, it
is written in Norwegian.
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Fastest computer programmer of the Eighties:
Marc Rosocha
Ex-Thalion, now Eclipse design. I've seen him do it. It ain't a
pretty sight. But he's fast. Believe me.
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Film license of the Eighties:
Robocop
Competently programmed. Sold a lot. Wasn't even too bad.
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Girl of the Eighties (and, hopefully, lots a more decades):
Miranda
Words fail (and indeed, do not exist even in the most impressive
synonym dictionary) to describe her, and the feelings I have for
her. She has been it. She is it. She will be it.
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Graphics artist of the Eighties:
Mark Coleman
Who did the graphics for "Xenon II", and I think he did
"Cadaver", too (I am not sure). He's extremely good, for he's a
Bitmap Brother.
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Hacker of the Eighties:
Torbjørn Ose (Lord HackBear)
If you read the real-time article about the Norway Quest (ST NEWS
Volume 5 Issue 1 or the Final Compendium), you'll know why.
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Heavy Metal Band of the Eighties:
Metallica
For reasons that do not need to be elaborated about.
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Invention of the eighties:
The Compact Disk
I'm sure it has been invented before the eighties, but the last
decade, the wonderful CD surely became popular. No wonder.
Whenever I play a record (even when it is played on my wonderful
computer-controlled fully automatic and programmable Kenwood
linear turntable) I can hear it immediately. Static, rumble,
scratches etc. The CD gives you perfect sound. When it is a good
recording (and a DDD CD) and you have a good stereo, it simply
can't be better. I have about 150 of them now and I can't get
enough of them. Hail the CD!!!
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Master Editor of the Eighties:
Stefan Posthuma
A truly great guy. Not only can he fry eggs damn well, he is also
a talented writer and coder, and a good friend. I did not write
this in here on his request, not did he add it after I submitted
this article.
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Most mentionable disk magazine reader of the Eighties:
Ken Butler (The Ancient STatarian)
Though not (yet) in his Eighties, he's the oldest known ST NEWS
reader - and a very enthusiastic one for that matter! From times
old to times new he had been with us through thick and thin. He
wrote great poems, terrific love-stories, and is married to the
most Divine Kitchen Princess of the Western Hemisphere (hail!).
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Most original game concept of the Eighties (simple):
Tetris
Accidentally discovered when someone played it on a University
Computer in Russia. Brilliantly simple, and simply brilliant.
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Most original game concept of the Eighties (not so simple):
Populous
A cult hit by the massively original and capable guys of the
Bullfrog Team. Truly great.
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Most Outdated Computer System of the Eighties:
MS-DOS
Only because it's the f.cking industry standard, it sickens the
market of decent home computers with a standard that is not only
highly outdated but also extremely backward and un-userfriendly.
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Most underestimated individual of the Eighties:
Frøystein Hustadnes
Considered to be a tiny kid sucking thumbs and playing with
plastic toys, turned out to be a highly talented human that's
zany, intelligent, and bigger than anyone would have expected.
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Movie director of the Eighties:
James Cameron
Who is responsible for "Alien", "Aliens", and the film that I
consider to be the best of 1989: "Abyss".
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Music programmer of the Eighties:
Rob Hubbard
He is the best, and the rest can come close but that's it. The
best tunes ever made on a home computer stem from him. He mainly
did music on the Commodore 64, and did some on the XL, ST and
Amiga as well. He is now believed to be located in a sound
dungeon at Electronic Arts in California, where he programs
soundcards for PC's. Alas! (Woe!)
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Nerd of the Eighties:
Leisure Suit Larry
A lovely nerd that everbody can (and wants to) identify with.
Created by Al Lowe of Sierra-on-Line, and so far featured in
three great interactive graphics adventures.
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Nicest computer programmer of the Eighties:
Steve Bak
A man with a big heart, a nice family and an unmistakable
Derbyshire accent. A terrific guy and great programmer, really.
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Nicest message to see on someone else's computer of the Eighties:
Guru Meditation
Something that seems to happen a lot on the Amiga. I can never
get enough of it.
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Platform game of the Eighties:
Bubble Bobble
A brilliant game by Firebird, that simple had everything a
platform game should have...and more!
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Racing game of the Eighties (8-bit):
Pitstop II
Still one of the very best multi-player racing games around, in
spite of its bad graphics. Done by Epyx in the good ol' days.
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Racing game of the Eighties (16-bit):
Super Sprint
Brilliant! Brilliant! And also slightly brilliant! Great gameplay
for up to three people.
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Reviewer of the eighties:
Richard Karsmakers
Richard has written some of the funniest and most absurd review
stories I have ever read! He is the Douglas Adams of the reviews
if you ask me. This guy should write a book. It'll be great.
(Addition by the Editor)
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Shoot'em Up of the Eighties (8-bit):
Delta
A very nice game by Stavros Sta...whatever, made for Thalamus on
the Commodore 64. Brilliant.
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Shoot'em Up of the Eighties (16-bit):
Xenon II
What's there to say?
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Software House of the Eighties:
Microprose
By know, they should own about half of all labels worldwide? They
built themselves early Eighties, and bring out quality software.
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Soundchip of the Eighties:
Sound Interface Device (SID)
The soundchip of the Commodore 64. The XL's had four voices but
wasn't as good. The ST is total crap. The Amiga's may be fancy
but sounds like shit. The SID was it.
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Tiniest Computer Programmer of the Eighties:
Gard Eggesbø Abrahamsen
Alias 'The Tiny One' or 'The Minute Microbe' - for obvious
reasons.
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Totally non-commercial Programmer of the Eighties:
Jeff Minter
Seeking ways to bring his ideas and talents to multiple
computers, he founded Llamasoft of which he is the sole
programmer. He likes what he does and money it secondary.
Therefore, his games are technically well above average, bring
some excellent gameplay, and are very cheap.
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Writer of absurd humour of the Eighties:
Douglas Adams
Here, no explanation is needed. Everybody should worship every
word he writes. It's all superbly absurd and funny.
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Disclaimer
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.