"My niece isn't computer literate. I asked her 'What do you
think of the VIC 20'?
'I think they're innocent' she replied."
THE ULTIMATE "ST NEWS" REFERENCE GUIDE
Part 1 - "1st Word Plus" to "Drinknuts"
This encyclopedic reference guide reveals to you a lot of small
- ofttimes unimportant - things about various things that have,
in some way or other, to do with the history of ST NEWS, as well
as the personal lives of its main two editorial staff members,
during the last 10 years. It is hoped that you'll like finding
out about some of the things that may have caused you to be
entertained during that time.
The below overview of ST NEWS related terms consists of a total
of 259 entries.
1st Word Plus. Not all that excellent but wonderfully sufficient
for the needs of ST NEWS, that's GST's word processor, "1st Word
Plus". In 1994 the program name got bought by Compo, which
subsequently released a program called "1st Word Plus 4" which
was nothing at all like the original and, probably, totally
unrelated coding-wise. The original started off at the end of
1985 as "1st Word", a freeby word processor for the new Atari
platform. In 1987 it got released commercially as "1st Word
Plus". The latest version was 3.20TT (1990). No matter how fancy
and doubtlessly superior "Le Redacteur" and (oh yes!) "Protext"
were, the ST NEWS editorial staff could never quite leave this
trusty old program. Besides, the ST NEWS page viewer only exactly
'understands' the "1st Word Plus" format.
42. A really significant number that nobody will insult you by
elaborating upon here.
666. 1. Another fairly significant number, known mostly from
quotes like "666, 999...the quotation marks of the beast" and
"668...the neighbour of the beast".
'No, we're no closet satanists. You shouldn't believe everything
you see and hear. Nor, I might add, the things you don't!'
2. The computer scene nickname of Mark van den >Boer.
92 million light years. The distance between >Earth and
>Sucatraps. Coincidentally (not quite), this is the same distance
as that from Earth to the planet that Kim Basinger was supposed
to come from in the not-quite-a-hit film "My Stephmother is an
Alien". It was sometimes - wrongly - mentioned to be "22 million
Abrahamsen, Gard Eggesbø. (b. 19 Aug. 1973) The life cycle of the
Minute Microbe, from tiny hacker to married man living in
Toronto. First came into contact with the ST NEWS editorial staff
during their visit to Norway, the >Norway Quest. Stayed into
contact fervently through means of >Crazy Letters ever since, and
wrote various articles for ST NEWS that inevitably seemed to have
to do with girls or loneliness. In 1995 he joined Stefan at >Gray
Matter. Married 30 Mar. 1996 to Bethani Ann Snakenberg. He has in
the mean time (shock horror!) shaved off his moustache and
allegedly even cut his hair!
ACN. Acronym for "Atari Computerclub Nederland", the people who
publish the biggest (and, so it seems now, only) Atari magazine
in the Netherlands, "Atari Nieuws" ("Atari News"). It's published
in tabloid format. Richard worked there for two months in 1991 -
April and May - after leaving >Thalion. In October 1993 he bought
his Falcon 030 through them, and in January 1996 a P60 PC. He has
had 42 (!) articles published in "Atari Nieuws" since its start
in December 1987, most of them software reviews and virus-related
Adams, Douglas. (b. 11 Mar. 1952) Writer of the amazingly funny
and increasingly bitter five-part "Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy" 'trilogy'. He's been a major influence on the writings of
many of the people who ever wrote for ST NEWS, especially its
editorial staff. ST NEWS Volume 3 Issue 6 (November 1988) was
dedicated to him.
Aenigmatica. A Dutch coding crew that ST NEWS has luckily managed
to steer relatively clear from (although, arguably, no Dutch
Atari user actually can). They have a really interesting and
highly complex infrastructure, which can't possibly be elaborated
upon here. They are known primarily through their "Genysis" demo
and the "Genysis 81 track remix". Their last demo, before they
turned, well, virtual, was "Genysis III", arguably thee biggest
megademo ever released on any computer system (and, one might
add, fittingly distributed on an 8" floppy disk).
'I have always hated their guts. Every single crew in the
Netherlands has at least a member in Aenigmatica, or an ex-
member, or whatnot. They infiltrate everything. And the worst
thing is that they always got greeted in demo scroll texts before
me, damn it!' (Ri...er...Anonymous)
Aiwa. Make of portable radiocassette recorder (type HS-J202)
purchased by both members of the editorial staff on 31 Dec. 1988.
Even before they got used frequently (to produce >Crazy Audio
Tapes, create verbal accounts to be processed into >Real-time
Articles, and interview people) they had already obtained the
lovingly devised nickname of >'Headache Obliteration Device',
because of their property of being able to annihilate headaches
simply by being used.
'We were feeling rich and decided to go out and buy the best
that walkman technology had to offer. We walked to this shop and
entered. What we said was something along the lines of, "we'd
like to buy the most expensive walkman you have." The man didn't
take us seriously at all, so we eventually took our business
elsewhere. There we decided on this amazing stereo-record Dolby B
noise reduction auto-reverse beastie with radio and rechargable
battery built in. And it may sound like a coincidence, but the
shop - Sony Center - went broke within six months after that. We
believe there's a deep significance.' (Richard)
Alcoholica. A demo crew consisting of various members of even
more famous coding crews. Members seem to have been Toxik Fetus
Eater (Spaz of >TLB), Genital Grinder (Sprog of >TLB) and
Coprophagic Necrocannibal Eviscerator (Tanis of >TCB). It is
unclear whether they ever produced anything, but they reared
their ugly head in particular at the >STNICCC in 1990, when they
abducted Furyo of Legacy, The Person With The Most Smelly Feet In
The Universe, in exchange for a ransom of D-cups.
'That was a really bloody event, a dark and, thankfully,
censored stain on the history of ST NEWS.' (Richard)
Alfa Romeo. The make and type of the vehicle (black like the
night, an Alfa 33) driven by Stefan during the years in which the
ST demo scene thrived. It has transported many famous ST demo
scene personalities and saw many, many hours of highways on trips
to places like Düsseldorf (Atari Messe), Stuttgart, Stockholm,
Trier and London. It was later replaced by a Lancia Delta, after
four years of trouble-free service.
Alida. A cute girl living in the 'dorm' that Richard lived on
from July 1988 to September 1989. Stefan developed a major crush
on her on New Year's Eve 1988-1989, and was romantically involved
with her until May 1989. She turned out to be less than cute
after a while, but is prominently present in several issues of ST
NEWS. Volume 4 Issue 1 (February 1989) was dedicated to her. She
was the 'creatress' of the >Divine Dessert, Chocolate Mousse.
'Considering the fact that her surname was 'Moene' (an archaic
Dutch name for the devil) and that 'Alida' is also the name of a
Norwegian rubbish dump site, he might have known before.'
Amazing Cracking Conspiracy (ACC). Originally a highly dubious
group of computer freaks on the Commodore 64, founded 13 June
1985, founding members Antiware, Cronos and Cyborg (yes, A, C and
C, it's not a coincidence). On the Commodore 64, their efforts
primarily centred around 'ripping' music tunes from games.
Originally an independent outfit, around the switch of two of its
members to Atari ST it quickly joined the >Flash Cracking Group,
and after that the >Desaster Area. Independent once again after
some time, well, it had shed whatever illegalities had once
shrouded it, and concentrated on making a variety of stuff for
Atari systems. Aliases got dropped, with Antiware leaving
entirely to concentrate on a career in computer sales. Prime
products of the now one-member outfit were ST NEWS and the
"Ultimate Virus Killer". In the beginning of 1991 it joined the
>Quartermass Xperiment. July 1996, the ACC folded in upon itself
with the release of the final issue of ST NEWS. There are plans
for a new outfit on the PC platform, though not of the same name.
Ambulor Eight. A fictional planet in the Cronos >Warchild
universe on which there is the >Hospital for the Very Very
Amiga. A collection of electronic parts and pieces of plastic
that was referred to as 'computer' by some of the more misguided
people who did not see the glory of the ST. Subject of much
ridicule by ST owners, yet it provided a breeding ground for many
talented coders. It wasn't that bad a system, really, but most of
its users were, well, let's be frank, utter and total twats.
Amiga Demo. A demo coded by the legendary >TEX, to show that the
ST was no worse than the >Amiga. The scrolling text in the no-
right-border-for-a-bit screen, incidentally, was written by
Anagram. A simple version of an anagram (i.e. the reversal of the
letters) is a thing that is often done with names of friends to
come up with names for characters in stories. Most particularly
the "Populous" review (written in 1989) has quite a few Norwegian
friends' names in them, anagrammised, as well as that of
"Populous: The Promised Lands".
Ants. Small, incredibly workaholic six-legged arthropods which
don't like aardvarks.
'Somehow, there seems to be a really strange obsession with ants
and >honey in quite a few of the stories featuring Cronos
>Warchild. If you're a psychologist you might know why and how,
but fact is that it's there and that I haven't got a clue where
it came from.' (Richard)
Appledoor, Klarine. Fictional girl encountered by Cronos Warchild
for a mere figment of a nanosecond in the story "Oh Yeah II",
when they flew past each other, both at close to light speed. He
instantly fell in love with her.
'The name was based on "Klarine", which was the name of a girl
that our friend Gard >Abrahamsen had at the time fallen in love
with, and "Applegate", surname of blonde sex-icon Christina. The
story, "Oh Yeah II", was inspired entirely by a >Crazy Letter
received by Gard in which he explained that he had once again
fallen in love with some girl. Crikey, he was worse than I'd ever
been, and that was quite a feat!' (Richard)
ArtiST, The. One of the highlights of Stefan's early 'career' was
the winning of a Dutch national computer-kid competition
organized by the Dutch government to promote interest in
computers. He won one of the top-ten prizes with his group of
tools he used to create games on the C-64. One of these tools was
a drawing program with all sorts of funky options like 'fill',
'ellipse' and 'line'. Remember, this was over 10 years ago when
"Deluxe Paint" still had to be invented. So when he got his ST,
one of the first programs he started writing was a drawing
program. This never really got anywhere until he got >"GfA
Basic", and then things started happening. "The ArtiST" was born
and released in the Public Domain by the 'Elektronikaland'
computer club in >Den Bosch. It turned out to be quite a hit and
Stefan carried on working on it. People actually sent him
suggestions and comments, and eventually "The ArtiST+" came out.
Then an outfit called ">Low Price Software" ran by Hubert Van
>Mil, the president of the '>ST Club Eindhoven' wanted to sell
"The ArtiST" at ST conventions and shows in The Netherlands. By
this time the program had become sufficiently sophisticated to be
called "The Professional ArtiST". It sold quite a few copies and
made Stefan some modest money. It sold the most at the "HCC
Avalanche Magazine. Short-lived pseudo-underground heavy metal
magazine, published in the Netherlands but written in English,
that Richard worked with from June 1994 to March 1995.
'It offered some great opportunities to meet all kinds of
musicians, and got me some real breaks, like visiting the
Wâldrock festival to interview Gwar and Obituary. In the end I
got chucked out because I, rather arrogantly, criticised some
fellow writers' English and journalistic capabilities and firmly
disagreed on the editor not wanting to publish my Dream Theater
interview because, and I quote, "Dream Theater is just a hair
band who mimic Fates Warning, and Fates Warning are much better
anyway, and Dream Theater is too soft for our target audience."
His own Fates Warning interview did get in. The magazine, sadly,
folded around the summer of 1995.'
Back door. A word which has, despite what some of you may think,
no kinky connotations whatsoever. Rather, it is a way to enable
all ST NEWS >hidden articles in one issue in one fell swoop. Of
course, individual hidden articles could be enabled by more or
less intricate procedures, but an option was always built in to
enable all of them simultaneously (as of Volume 6 Issue 2 only,
unfortunately). The back doors always consisted of bits of text
that had to be entered while into main menu mode. To make sure
that it wouldn't collide with regular hidden article quest
thingies, the user would have to keep both [SHIFT] keys pressed
while loading, until the "About ST NEWS" alert box appeared. Then
the back door text could be entered, without [CAPSLOCK] or
[SHIFT] pressed, and not forgetting any of the spaces.
Table: ST NEWS backdoor codes
Issue: back door text string:
Volume 6 Issue 2 the unforgiven
Volume 7 Issue 1 i am satan's pleasure slave
Volume 7 Issue 2 fear of god
Volume 7 Issue 3 my bong is bigger than yours
Volume 8 Issue 1 symphonaire infernus et spera empyrium
Volume 8 Issue 2 pure bollocks is pure bollocks
Volume 9 Issue 1 rectum-faced smeg-for-brains
Volume 9 Issue 2 d.b.a. magazine was here
Volume 9 Issue 3 i love karin kessels very much
Volume 10 Issue 1 congratulations to maggie's first five years!
Volume 10 Issue 2 (had no hidden articles!)
Volume 11 Issue 1 wouldn't you like to know?
Bak, Steve. (b. 4 Apr. 1952) One of the legends of the ST, a nice
guy and host and guide to Stefan and Richard during part of the
famous >LateST NEWS Quest. Together with Pete Lyon, forming the
>"Dream Team", he did some of the best games on the ST. He has a
wife who thinks cinnamon shouldn't be put on bread, and two
lovely daughter whose beds we could crash in during several
nights of the Quest. Some of the games Steve did were
"Goldrunner", "Dogs of War" and "Jupiter Probe".
'Needless to say, the daughters were located elsewhere in the
house. They were aged around 10 or so, anyway.' (Richard)
Becker, Jason. (b. 22 July 1969) Guitar prodigy who recorded two
solo albums ("Perpetual Burn", 1988; "Perspective", 1995) and
two albums with Marty Friedman in Cacophony, as well as a David
Lee Roth album ("A Little Ain't Enough"). His music really
strikes chords in your soul. In 1991 he got diagnosed with ALS,
or Lou Gehrig's Disease, a nerve disorder that eventually
atrophies the muscles. It's lethal, usually within years, though
scientist Stephen >Hawking has had it since somewhere in the
sixties and he's still very much alive. Jason Becker impressed
both members of the editorial staff very much. ST NEWS Volume 7
Issue 1 (January 1992) was dedicated to him.
'Around the end of 1991 I read that Jason Becker had contracted
that horrible disease. I was really stricken by it, to the point
of nausea. I immediately sat down to write him a long letter and
asked if the next issue of ST NEWS could be dedicated to him. He
sent back an autographed picture and said it seemed to him "a
cool idea". He has since remained one of my most favourite guitar
players. His second solo album, "Perspective", released in
December 1995, is a momentous piece of work that nobody should be
without, not if you like guitar music and neoclassical stuff in
general. Jason is on my mind a lot of the time. His ordeal
caused me to hate fate, or god, or whatever you call want to call
it, whatever caused him, of all people, to get this disease.'
Berg, Lucas van den. Light and shining example of the members of
the editorial staff of ST NEWS, and Richard in particular. Lucas
wrote the Crimson Column "walkthrough" stories for ST NEWS,
starting with Volume 2 Issue 2 (April 1987) and ending in 1992
(although his peak lay within 1987 and 1988). He then lost touch
with the whole thing, it appeared. His uncanny mastery of the
English language (which he had studied at University) was
inspiring and a joy to read. A fervent RPG fan, his walkthrough
stories often revolved around these.
Big Alec. Real name Gunnar Gaubatz (b. 28 Nov. 1973), member of
>Delta Force and ST NEWS music programmer ever since Volume 7
Issue 2. For a complete list of the musical pieces he did for ST
NEWS, refer to the article on >Hippel, Jochen. Gunnar also wrote
the music for various commercial releases, such as >Thalion's
"Amberstar" and "No Second Prize". He is currently studying
electronic engineering, has a PC, and enjoys being on the #atari
channel on IRC.
B.I.G. Demo. Legendary demo released 24 Jan. 1988, conceived by
>TEX and centering around a whole batch of Rob >Hubbard musical
compositions capably transferred to the ST by TEX member >Mad
Max. Definitely one of the best demos ever created on the Atari
platform, featuring a then record-length (42 Kb) scrolling
message and approximately 5 hours of rather excellent music.
'This is the demo I missed most when I switched to the Falcon.
Try as I might, I never could get it to work.' (Richard)
Bitmap Kid, the. Spiritual child originating from the Bitmap
Brothers game, "Magic Pockets" (1991). In the introductory story
for that game's review, the Bitmap Kid was borrowed and occurred
as the one child of Cronos >Warchild and Penelope >Sunflower.
He's viciously cool, and that about sums it up entirely.
Boer, Mark van den. (b. 9 Mar. 1965) Author of ST NEWS' Volume 1
and Volume 2 "MC68000 Machine Language Course". In 1989 he went
to South America for a year, after which he came back to the
Netherlands for about six months. During those six months, he
bought Richard's classic old Atari 520 ST (with Cumana double
disk drive and 1 Mb of memory) and sold him his Commodore 128D
(which Richard still owns, and proud of it!). That way, Richard
could upgrade to a MEGA ST. However, not long afterwards, Mark
got struck by the travelling bug once more and disappeared to
Australia. He went around the country in an old American car for
a year, seeing the sights, and eventually settled in Sidney, to
work for MacDonald Detwiller, a company that writes satellite
guidance software and develops communication systems for that
purpose. In the summer of 1995 he moved to work for MacDonald
Detwiller's Canadian branch. There, 30 Sep. 1995, he married
Genevieve (née unknown).
'Mark is the person who, together with Stefan, was the biggest
influence on my life. Especially musically! Mark introduced me to
Rush, >Queensrÿche, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, David T. Chastain,
Yngwie >Malmsteen and >Dream Theater. I owe him, well, almost my
entire musical taste.' (Richard)
Bong. Device first entering the ST NEWS editorial staff's
consciousness back in Commodore 64 times, when Jeff >Minter wrote
the immortal words in his game "Sheep in Space", 'do you know
what a bong is?' This phrase, repeated in an ST NEWS scroll text
around the beginning of 1989, eventually lead to the >Extravagant
English entering the world of ST NEWS. A bong is, to cut a long
story short, a device used to smoke mind-expanding herbs without
the use of cigarettes. Both Stefan and Richard actually got sent
a bong as birthday presents from these Extravagant English.
Stefan's bong was bigger than Richard's, which lead to the ST
NEWS Volume 7 Issue 3 'back door' password text, "my bong is
bigger than yours", which enables all hidden articles in one go.
'These bongs were never actually used, but mine still serves as
artefacts in my room and raise the odd parental eyebrow.'
Boudier-Bakkerlaan, Ina. The place where Richard lived from July
1988 to September 1989, at number 15-III. It was a kind of
student 'dorm', housing 15 people (mostly, though not
exclusively, students) who shared one big kitchen, two bathrooms
and two toilets. It was fairly cramped, and the rooms a standard
3.5 by 3.5 metres. In summer it was too hot, and there was an
all-the-year-through presence of gnats. On this particular floor,
Stefan met >Alida and Richard met >Miranda.
'It was the first place where I ever lived, you know, on my own.
I really let rip there. I studied Biology at the time, my first
year, but never finished it due to general, well, demotivation. A
nice period of my life. Everybody should have had such a period,
but nobody would be proud of it. Incidentally, >Karin also lives
at the Ina Boudier-Bakkerlaan, though at a different address.'
Bubble Bobble. Truly addictive platform game released by the long
defunct British company Firebird early 1988, followed later on by
hopelessly inferior games the likes of "Rainbow Islands". Both
Stefan and Richard developed a keen sense of addiction for this
game, though none of them ever got as good at it as Eline
Hatlemark, Ronny >Hatlemark's kid sister. It has seen many a
playing session during late nights during which ST NEWS was
finished, together with >Super Sprint.
Bus error / Illegal instruction / Illegal exception. Errors that
occurred approximately 34,098,439,534 times during the
development of ST NEWS, much to the howling frustration of
Camphausen, Rufus. Probably the oddest person, founder of Canopus
Esoteric research, ever to write for ST NEWS. He was director of
an Amsterdam meditation centre, and wrote a handful of articles
for ST NEWS during its first year of existence. A typical example
of one of his severely esoteric articles was the critically
acclaimed "Hebrew on the ST", whereas he also concerned himself
Canada. Second-largest country in the world, home of the Mounties
and lots of bears. Stefan, Gard >Abrahamsen and Mark van den
>Boer eventually went to live there. Chances are that Kai >Holst
Car dating. Unlike what you might believe, this has nothing to do
with social contacts with cars, merely those in cars. It's a
strange ritual in Norway, more elaborately explained in the
CD-I. The machine that >SPC started developing for in 1992.
Stefan recognised its game potential (it had a 68000 processor)
and together with Tim >Moss he wrote "Alien Gate", a simple
shoot-'em-up with sprite performance unprecedented for CD-I. A
demo of the game prompted Philips to issue a five-game contract
to SPC. Stefan got Niklas >Malmqvist involved to do the graphics
and SPC produced a few games. The group disbanded when CD-I
succumbed to the bigger games platforms. Tim went back to England
and joined Argonaut software. Stefan worked for SPC for a short
while longer and left for >Canada to work for >Gray Matter in
Centerfold. Girl threesome with musical ambitions in the middle
eighties of the Netherlands. Richard and Stefan met them briefly
during autumn of 1986 at a computer show in Utrecht, where they
were performing as part of the sales show of a computer brand
that had hired these girls as well as a couple of dozen other
pretty specimens of the 'weaker sex' to promote stuff. This
company went broke a few months later (actual fact!).
'I had a couple of printed-out ST NEWS issues with me and one of
them got signed by all three original members of Centerfold
(including the rather delectable Rowan Moore). A lipstick print
of Laura Fygi, one of the other members, was on that particular
issue as well.' (Richard)
Chadwick, Mel. The first (and only) ST NEWS reader that Stefan
got romantically involved with. One of the >Extravagant English,
her writings and those of her brother (Ashley) fascinated both
Stefan and Richard. After Stefan visited their home town Chorley
with Tim >Moss, a great friendship developed between her and
Stefan. In one of Stefan's stories, she was one of the few to get
Cronos Warchild on his knees. It was in this story that the Mega
Absorb Groin Protector (batteries not included) was introduced.
Chi-Chi. After >Natanga and >Nephilim had passed away, Stefan got
another hamster and called it Chi-Chi, after a small village in
>Guatemala. Silver-gray and of superior intelligence for a
hamster, Chi-Chi was much loved by Stefan and his friends. Chi-
Chi was known for her/his/its kind of 'bridal veil', a fluffy
thing attached to the bottom end.
Claessens, Math. The ST NEWS resident adventure solver. It
started way back in 1986, and he's still solving adventures at
the drop of a hat. It is believed that wizards or witches (or
both) were among his ancestors, for else there would be no way he
could solve all these adventure games (including Sierra-on-Line
stuff and some role-playing games). He switched to the PC around
1992, because that was the place where a lot more adventures
could be found. His accomplice was his son, Peter. Math is
believed to be the first person to have solved the graphically
stunning "The Pawn" (which, incidentally, also had a brilliant
Coliac. A mixture of Coke (Stefan prefers real Coca Cola, Richard
later preferred Pepsi Max) and >Plantiac. Known to soothe the
throat, lift spirits and generally please taste buds. The term
'Coliac' is believed to have been coined either by Martijn
Wiedijk (Lucifer, then of >SOD) or Alex Crouzen (The Nutty Snake
- TNS - of the >Quartermass Xperiment and >Aenigmatica).
'Brraarrgghh. Wonderful!' (Stefan)
'Aaargargl. Lurvely!' (Richard)
Colombier, Stefan. The first official German distributor of ST
NEWS. He actually took care of things neatly, even up to the
point of finding a replacement - Guide Stumpe - when he switched
to the PC platform. Stefan was into fractals and heavy rock or
something. He even contributed an article or two.
Commodore 64. The computer that started everything for Richard.
It has 64 Kb of RAM (38911 bytes free), BASIC built in (rather
crap Commodore basic) and the best sound chip in the world (the
SID). Around the beginning of 1986, it was boosted with
"SpeedDOS", several custom character sets and about 128 Kb of
EPROM cartridges. Around Easter 1986 it had to be sold to be able
to finance the Atari ST. In 1990, however, he bought back a
Commodore 128D, which also has a 'Commodore 64 mode'.
Commodore VIC 20. After being taken to a computer show with
Commodore VIC 20 machines showing off the latest games, Stefan
was hooked. He spent the next couple of months delivering
newspapers and frantically saving up money to buy a VIC 20 and
started programming in BASIC. But soon it became apparent to him
that most games he was playing were written in another language
altogether. He acquired a book on 6502 assembly language and a
memory monitor/assembler and started programming his first
machine code (technically speaking his first assembly programming
was on a Philips >Videopac, but that doesn't really count). The
original VIC 20 had 3.5K of memory (about 512 bytes of that were
used for the graphics, and you had something like 256 bytes in
the cassette buffer), a crude but wonderfully noisy soundchip and
about 22 characters across the screen could be displayed.
Complete games could be written in the 3.5K; Stefan wrote his
first action game in assembler called "Cylon Zap" ("Battlestar
Galactica" must have been airing then). The father of one of his
friends saw marketing potential and founded a company called
"Ultimate Challenge Software", but it never really happened.
Later Stefan wrote "Alien Gate", a "Gridrunner"-like shoot-them
up. When the memory expansions started coming out (first 8K,
later a whopping 16K), Stefan wrote a few adventures and a true
game in 16K called "Moon Caverns".
Connie. Concetta by birth, a girl that Stefan met in Canada. Many
superlatives have been heaped on various women throughout the
years of ST NEWS, but let's just say that Concetta is the One for
Crazy Audio Tapes (CAT). After >Crazy Letters no longer seemed to
suffice in the forever ongoing waves of communication between the
ST NEWS editorial staff and the >Nutty Norwegians, the >Aiwa
walkmen were used to create Crazy Audio Tapes. These were,
generally, verbal versions of >Real-time articles, with
miscellaneous noises (eggs frying, doors closing, the editorial
staff singing a Metallica song) added. Approximately four or five
of these tapes were made. All except one (which was sent to Bryan
'The Android' Kennerley from Wales, U.K.) were sent to Ronny
>Hatlemark, pivotal point and centre of Norwegian nuttydom.
Crazy Letters (CL). Writings, often of epic proportions,
containing anything from assembly code to deeply disturbing and
chemically induced visions. Possibly the most perverted and also
brilliant things ever produced with "1st Word Plus" (among them
fake real-time articles of Norwegian visits including Cronos
>Warchild, a male Gro Harlem Brundtland and the Mørderøus
Gnærhelm; a lot of Z88/MFP/68000 sanity interrupts; reli-nuts
extolling Coke Cans, Empty Trash Cans and, indeed, >Empty
Trashcans with Something in it; "K-Rhyme" poetry; fiction;
Norwegian poetry; long stories involved girls, or a lack of
them). The table below contains a list of all preserved Crazy
Letters ever written by members of the ST NEWS editorial staff.
Recorded cases of the Norwegian replies are scarse, but their
record-length effort needs to be mentioned: Gard >Abrahamsen,
with the aid of his brother Jardar (who is just as insane) wrote
an 846,830 byte Crazy Letter from May 5th to December 31st 1990.
Table: The Dutch Crazy Letters
Author(s): Target: Size: Started: Ended:
Stefan and Richard Frøystein 61,224 2 days in April 1989
Stefan and Richard Ronny 137,199 15-05-1989 17-05-1989
Stefan and Richard Norwegians 479,887 12-06-1989 26-11-1989
Richard Gard 128,000 15-08-1991 04-09-1991
Richard Gard 89,907 10-02-1992 10-02-1992
Richard Kai 42,000 20-05-1992 24-06-1992
CRL Plc. An English software company, known for the release of
several mediocre games and the distribution, from May 1989 to May
1991, of the "Atari ST Virus Killer" ("AVK", which is now
>"Ultimate Virus Killer"). I got the deal through Niall
>McKiernon, and things went really great until they went into
receivership at the beginning of 1991. Eventually, they
disappeared from the business side of my life, owing me £1,800
that I never saw. CRL claimed to have sold over 20,000 copies of
the virus killer, primarily version 4.1 and 4.2.
Cronos. 1. Hamster owned by Richard, from approximately late 1992
up to his breaking up with >Miranda, when she could keep the
little animal. A short-tailed dwarf hamster (Podopus
rhoborovski), it developed a weird brain disorder at the
approximate age of 1 which caused it to run around in ever
decreasing circles, bumping into things. The vet refused to put
it to sleep because it was 'so cute' and 'it doesn't suffer any
pain'. It died a natural death in November 1994.
2. Cronos >Warchild (spiritual child).
3. Richard's nickname in the computer scene once he'd bought the
Atari ST (some time before that, trivial fact, he called himself
"Whizzkid of Apollo Software", quite pathetic). Although it might
be really confusing, what with his spiritual child being called
Cronos as well, the characters really have nothing in common, nor
are they wishful alter egos of one another.
4. Name of the bassist/vocalist of >Venom, whose real name is
Conrad Lant (b. 15 Jan. 1963).
DBA Magazine. Competing disk magazine, of Dutch origin, first
conceived around October 1991 and still going strong, apparently.
Editor is Sietse "Slimer" Postma. The magazine enjoys great
popularity in the scene, and has a more coder-oriented user
interface rather than the plain GEM-style one of ST NEWS.
Death. 1. One of the more interesting characters from the
"DiscWorld" novels by Terry >Pratchett. As with most ST NEWS
stories, inspiration derived from great novels was used to create
our own instances of the character Death in some of the ST NEWS
stories, most notably such efforts as "Obviously Influenced by
the Devil" (part one). Death inevitable talks in CAPS.
2. Death metal band from Florida, lead by Chuck Schuldiner.
Although rather plain at start, their last few albums
("Individual Thought Patterns" (1993) and "Symbolic" (1995)) were
technically brilliant masterpieces. Nonetheless, none of the
people involved with ST NEWS are particularly into them. This
band has been known to do a tour without Chuck (leader, singer
and lead guitarist) once (?!).
3. Name of a small (38 mm) statuette bearing a small crystal,
sent to Richard as a Christmas gift (1990) by the >Extravagant
English. It still has a spot on Richard's monitor, from where it
will probably never leave.
'May I take the liberty to bestow upon your beings enormous
amounts of humble thanks for giving me the ultimate Christmas
gift, i.e. Death.' (excerpt from Richard's letter to Ash and Mel,
dated February 1991)
4. State of no longer being alive (nor kickin').
Dedication. A great way to say you like someone or something.
Ever since Volume 2 Issue 3, roughly, every issue of ST NEWS has
been dedicated to someone. Sometimes they were girls, sometimes
musicians, sometimes writers. A complete overview of dedications
can be found in the table, below.
Table: ST NEWS dedications
Issue: Dedicated to: Reason:
2.3 Maryse Richard had a crush on her
2.5 Willeke Richard was in love with her
3.2 Jimi Hendrix Excellent guitarist
3.3 Evelien Stefan's girlfriend at the time
3.4 Corinne Russell Model (Page 3 girl), babe,
"Vixen" game cover girl, had a
competition in this issue
3.5 J.R.R. Tolkien Astonishing writer
3.6 Douglas Adams Great humorous writer
3.7 Agapi Both Stefan and Richard had a 12-
hour crush on her
4.1 Alida Creatress of the Divine Dessert,
which was kindof Stefan's girl-
friend at the time
4.2 Jean Michel Jarre Great musician
4.3 Nutty Norwegians Great friends
5.1 Ronny Hatlemark Because his family had been host
to the ST NEWS Norway Quest
F.C. Miranda Richard's girlfriend at the time
6.2 Jeff Minter Cult programmer
7.1 Jason Becker Guitar talent extraordinaire;
news had been read he was struck
down by Lou Gehrig's Disease
7.2 Metallica The Prime Metal Band
7.3 Whistler Courbois Whistler
Great Dutch guitar rock band,
also had an interview in this ish
8.1 Stefan Departing editor
8.2 Holst & Hatlemark families
Hosts to the Second Norway Quest
9.1 Douglas Adams Released on the day Adams had his
9.2 Steven Spielberg Directed "Schindler's List"
9.3 Terry Pratchett Excellent writer of fun stuff;
interview in this issue as well
10.1 Dream Theater New Prime Metal Band; interview
in this issue as well
10.2 Katja Kladnik 'Lucky Lady', sadly departed
11.1/2 Richard Krajicek First Dutch Wimbledon champ
Delta Force (DF). German coding crew that started off as
crackers, really, but later become legitimate. Original members
were New Mode, Chaos Inc. and some other dude whose name defies
recollection. By the end of 1990 they were joined by Questor, and
even later they were joined by Sammy Jo (ex->TLB), Big Alec,
Flix, Whizcat, Lord Hackbear and, reportedly, Oxygene (also
formerly of TLB). They are known to have been compared to an
ever-expanding, living freak show. To their credit, they have
done memorable megademos such as >"Syntax Terror" and "Punish
Den Bosch. The city where Stefan's parents moved in the late
70's. In a small teenage bedroom at the Negende Donk, Stefan's
first coding took place on a Philips >Videopac games machine. The
same teenage bedroom was the stage of many hours of coding,
including most of the ST NEWS programming.
Desaster Area. 1. Hacking group containing German and Dutch crew
members, one of the top crews in the early days of the Atari ST.
Quickly joined by the >Amazing Cracking Conspiracy in 1986, but
nothing useful materialised or happened otherwise. Desaster Area
is believed to have been mostly hot air, wrapped in arrogance.
2. Unbelievably loud rock band, featured in part 2 of Douglas
>Adams' increasingly inappropriately named "Hitchhiker's Guide to
the Galaxy" trilogy, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe".
Desintegrating Chair, the. The silent and always suffering
witness and support of the posteriors of the ST NEWS team during
many hours of ST NEWS issue-creating. Not built for such
hardship, it was always in a state of disintegration, hence the
name. This particular chair was bought as a set of two in the
summer of 1988, when Richard went to live on his own. Its final
desintegration was captured on film by the "ST NEWS Home Vid'" in
May 1989. Its counterpart managed to survive - although without a
back support for most of the autumn of its life - until
approximately early or mid 1994.
'My butt sorely misses that chair, occasionally.' (Richard)
Digital Insanity. Stefan's nickname in the Atari demo scene. It
existed before he became involved in the ST NEWS process. He
joined the Lost Boys (>TLB) around the summer of 1990, and wrote
screens for their "Mindbomb" demo. He also participated in the
game they did for >Thalion, "A Prehistoric Tale".
DISTURB (Digital Insanity's ST news Utility Rewritten Blatantly).
After it had become apparent that Stefan no longer had the time
and energy to actively participate in the ST NEWS finishing
rituals, Richard needed some tools to do it himself. So Stefan
wrote "DISTURB" - a tool to collect, pack, prepare and otherwise
manage the countless documents and files involved in generating a
disk for a new issue of ST NEWS. Most of it was written in 1990
and 1991, though Richard adapted it to the Falcon early 1994. It
uses "Pack Ice" to compress the documents, and then creates a
huge file that includes all the articles as well as indices for
the ST NEWS file I/O interface to access the articles as quickly
Divine Dessert, The. A.k.a. 'chocolate mousse', a uniquely
delicious dessert made of molten chocolate and a whole load of
other ingredients, one of which is orange liqueur, "Cointreau".
It was introduced into the lives of the ST NEWS editorial staff
by a girl called >Alida, early 1989.
Donaldson, Stephen. (b. 13 May 1947) American author of such
momentous fantasy fiction trilogies as "The Chronicles of Thomas
Covenent the Unbeliever" and "The Second Chronicles of Thomas
Covenant the Unbeliever". Amazing idiom and a fantastic
imagination make this series of books - despite the rather
unsympathetic main character - an absolute must-read. He also
wrote a collection of shorter stories ("Daughter of Regals and
other Stories"), a twin-book epic "Mordant's Need" and a new
trilogy set in a science fiction environment ("The Gap into
Conflict" or something like that).
'Lucas van de >Berg introduced me to this, but Stefan eventually
beat me to reading them all. Stefan seemed to have a lot more
time on his hands. These are some of the best books I've ever
read in the fantasy genre, together with "Lord of the Rings" and
the two early Hickman-and-Weis trilogies.' (Richard)
Douglas Communications. English company of Stockport, Cheshire,
founded at the beginning of 1991 by Niall >McKiernon of >Excel
Software. Starting with version 5.0, they've distributed the
"Ultimate Virus Killer". The contract will expire at November
1996. Douglas Communications have also distributed "EdHak".
Drag, the Insanely Witty One. Fictional character based almost
entirely on Gard >Abrahamsen, formed by the reversal of his name.
It was used primarily for various introductory stories for ST
NEWS, especially those revolving around the Bullfrog games
"Populous" and its sequel. The prime characteristic of this
character is that he looks around in an insanely witty fashion
most of the time, not volunteering to speak.
Dragonflight. Epic flagship game of German software company
>Thalion, and actually the reason why the company got founded in
the first place, early 1989. The game, not released until at
least a whole year later, was designed and programmed by two
leading members of >TEX, and the game deserved far better sales
than, in the end, it got. Featuring beautiful graphics and
animation, it was a RPG set in a distant world where the dragons
used to be an intrinsic part of society but now no longer were.
The quest to be performed was simple: Find the dragons. But it
wasn't as simple as one would think. Although perhaps not quite
in the same league as Lord British' "Ultima" series, it
definitely came close.
'When Stefan and me visited Thalion, spring 1989, I got
commissioned to write the background novel for this fantastic
game. I was honoured beyond imagination. I've only written two
fairly long fantasy fiction stories, and this was the first. It
has an open ending, so I have this feeling that I might one day
finish it, and do some rewriting as well. The story so far is
almost 40 pages (over 15,000 words) long. Miranda always
reckoned it was the best story I've ever written.' (Richard)
Dream Team, The. Honorary name coined by the ST NEWS editorial
staff during the >"LateST NEWS Quest" to describe programmer
Steve >Bak and graphics artist Pete >Lyon. Somewhere during this
Quest, these were both invited to dinner by the ST NEWS staff,
all expenses paid, to pay humble homage to everything they'd done
for the Atari world.
Dream Theater. Fantastic band formed 1989 in New Jersey. Well,
no, they were formed earlier, but they released their debut
album, "When Dream and Day Unite", in that year. In 1992 they
released the fantastic "Images and Words", and 1994 saw "Awake".
Their new album is expected to be released in January 1997.
Especially members John Petrucci (guitar) and Mike Portnoy
(drums) are appreciated by Richard. Dream Theater is his
favourite band by far, having knocked Metallica off the throne
they'd been on from 1988 to 1992.
'It was a dream come true to be able to interview these guys in
February 1995. They really are my number one band, and my cheap
electric guitar is adorned by Petrucci's autograph, next to that
of >Malmsteen! I got introduced to them by a guy called Ruud van
de Kruisweg (occasional ST NEWS writer in the olden days) but
didn't like them at all. Their singer sucked rock. That was early
1989. But in 1992, Mark van den >Boer let me listen to "Images
and Words". They now had a new singer, the songs rocked, and the
production was a lot better. I was hooked instantly and bought
the album the next day. Been hooked ever since.' (Richard)
Drinknuts. One of the ST NEWSisms, words made up because there
either wasn't a word in existence to describe the thing, or
because both members of the editorial staff were blissfully
unaware of such a word's existence. A 'drinknut' is, of course, a
beernut. It has nothing to do with nuts who drink a lot, or
'crazitude' or 'nuttydom' in general. Needless to say, many a
drinknut was devoured during ST NEWS finishings.