"Love is a device invented by bank managers to make us
Rimmer, "Red Dwarf I"
VARIOUS DISK MAGAZINES OBSERVED SHORTLY
by Richard Karsmakers
(himself, granted, not entirely objective in such matters)
The Atari scene might not be as vividly alive as it was a couple
of years ago, but there are still various computer freaks
associated with it who strive hard to deliver ever more issues of
their own disk magazines. In this column, I'll have a brief look
at what's been happening in the disk magazine in the shape of
various spottings with accompanying short elaborations.
"Disk magazine supreme". What do you think of when I write that
down? Sure, of course, "Maggie". Editor Chris Holland has taken
the magazine from strength to strength ever since he took over
the job of producing it, of late with the help of the inestimably
hallowed Reservoir Gods who designed a Falcon-specific shell.
Ever since issue 18, "Maggie" has been released in two different
versions - one for the ST and one for the Falcon, with matching
user interface and software goodies on the disk. It is the Falcon
version that I'd like to examine briefly here (and, indeed,
For me, "Maggie" has two enormous points of appeal. For starters
they are thoroughly in touch with both the business scene and the
demo fraternity, on Falcon as well as ST. I always read bits
about new Falcon games that I've never heard of, and from what I
can deduct the Falcon demo scene is at least as active as the old
scene on the ST in the times of TCB, TEX and TLB. Second, Chris
Holland is a natural born writer. His pieces are fun to read, his
sense of humour unmistakable. Some people might claim "Maggie" is
too loose, not professional, whatever, which may or may not be
true, but it's the most fun magazine to read once you get immune
for Chris' tendency to use ".." a lot of the time (as a general
"." and "..." replacement).
"Maggie" 20, released early July 1996, is their sixth
anniversary edition. It's hard to realise that they've been
around for six years already; somehow it seems as if the four
years before that were a lot longer, that somehow "Maggie" was
only a fairly recent addition to the disk magazine front in the
life of my own efforts with ST NEWS.
As usual, "Maggie" features a wild and extensive collection of
more or less computer-related ramblings, this time almost 80
articles, some of which ("Symposium two-part report" and "Red
Dwarf FAQ") are pretty big. There's humour, reviews, previews and
nonsense. The "silly" menu is full of humour, for example, and
the "Dirk" article is also a sure kneeslapper. "UFO Saddoes" and
"Gus Spank" are two other uplifting readings. We have reviews of
"Backwards" (the book that Chris, what with him being a
professional man an all, was able to afford), 5 (!) Falcon games,
13 Falcon demos, ST games and ST demos. News on "Nemesis" (the
Apex Falcon speeder), the Atari+JTS thing and the Symposium and
Adrenaline parties, and poetry and a short history of "Falcon
year #3" to complement the whole thing. There are interviews with
Ripley (Reservoir Gods' graphics artist, female, 17), Chris Good
and Tony Greenwood (whom we all know, of course). Programming
tricks. More humour. And an interesting theory about the city of
Taunton, out of which' gravity suck I apparently only just
managed to pull free (and, gentlemen, it's Stephen King).
If Falcon owners have an RGB monitor connected, they'll get to
see an Avena demo intro, but for people such as I there's just
the rather lovely intro picture (involving dinosaurs and a bare-
chested girl, among other colourful things) and, of course, a
Still, and I write this with a certain trepidation, there is one
wish left: I wish all the polygon menu-on-and-off the screen bits
were faster, a lot faster. Reading many articles is needlessly
interrupted by waiting seconds. Call me impatient, but, well,
maybe I am.
"Maggie" 20: Another issue you should get your hands on.
Definitely the superior disk magazine in the Atari scene today,
both with regard to contents and frequency. It'll keep you up-to-
date, with plenty of laughs (or at least grins) to boot.
Skynet Times 7
Vogue, editor of "Skynet Times" (also known, rather more
ordinarily, as Jon or Jonathan Notts), hails from Portishead, UK.
Considering what has come from Portishead so far - i.e.
Portishead, the band - he has something to make up for. Does he
"Skynet Times" uses a no-nonsense, somewhat Spartan shell by
T.A. King. Although I love the "Maggie" and "DBA" shells, I have
to say that working with a more basic shell such as that of
"Skynet Times" does have its advantages (laziness is not the only
reason why our own ST NEWS shell hasn't changed in years <g>!).
It's intuitive and fast enough, which is something I can live
with, and be happy.
Although "Skynet Times" issue 7 (September 1st 1995) seems to
function primarily as a platform for Public Domain library
promotion, the rest of its contents vary quite a bit. Among the
32 articles (360 Kb uncompressed, "Pack Ice"-packed to 185 Kb on
the disk) we find only a few (relevant) Internet downloads
(unlike earlier issues, thanks to CiH, I gather), news, an
Independent Software Scene report, a report on the "Maggie" 5th
birthday party, an interview with Mr. Pink (of the Reservoir
Gods), reviews of magazines and disk magazines, PDL adverts,
Heiko Hartmann's huge Falcon compatibility list, a series of
small reviews and a classic old mega demo re-reviewed ("Ooh
Crikey Wot A Scorcher" in this case). When you compare it with
some of the other disk magazines on the market today, "Skynet
Times" offers less articles, but the quality is there as usual.
The "FREEBIES" folder contains a collecting of interesting
"Degas" format digitised pictures of various ST folk who were
around at the "Maggie" 5th birthday party (CiH, Mike Noyce, Rich
"FOG" Davey, Vogue himself, and three members of Reservoir Gods,
among others), two MODs and a game called "Asteroids" that I
couldn't get to work on the Falcon.
It is with sadness that I have to say that issue 7 proved to be
their final one. It was, as far as I understand, a monthly
effort, and a good one for that. Still, if any of you think Vogue
should attempt once more to instill life in his, er, child, you
should write letters to:
78 Combe Road
Avon BS20 9JT
And, Jon, in answer to how I get those 'famous' interviews done:
I don't call the bands or something. Rather, every time a band
tours the Netherlands (or when they play on a festival here) I
call their record company (or, in the case of Venom, their
management). I then start talking about "multi media magazine"
and that kind of thing, and that usually does it. The trick is to
make them feel stupid for not having an Atari so it is no use for
me to send them an issue to prove that it exists. Review copies
of CDs work just like that. Sending them an occasional print-out
of a review will do nicely. It's just bluffing, really. Doesn't
work with really big bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica and
Queensrÿche, though - something weird happens to record companies
as soon as the bands you want to meet have had a fair amount of
ST+ Issue 6
Sometimes I go asleep at night with the sound knowledge that I
am in the know when it comes to disk magazines. I've been at it
for a while, and for the last couple of years I've also done this
disk magazine roundup thing on a kind of annual basis. Surely,
that would mean no disk magazine in existence would slip through
the fine-mazed net of disk magazine scrutiny?
It's nice to wake up in the morning, cycle to the post office
and find an issue of a hitherto unknown disk magazine in your
P.O. box, happily proving you were wrong. I cannot but support
the disk magazine scene on the Atari platform, and I applaude the
addition of new magazines. Er...new? Issue 6, to be more precise,
so given the fact that Chris "Maggie" Holland called me and said
it was monthly, that means it must have slipped through the net
for at least half a year.
"ST+" is an ST disk magazine, which runs on the Falcon with the
use of "Backward" (best compatibility, but memory size can be 2
Mb or something like that). You have to rename a couple of intros
in the AUTO folder, though. The menu is keyboard- and mouse-
controlled and looks fairly intuitive. A nice menu picture, too,
which is something you can't really say for the other pictures
that can be selected in the art gallery. The arrow keys scroll up
and down a list of selectable articles (61 articles in this
specific issue, taking up about 256 Kb uncompressed); [SPACE]
Loading times are OK, and the pageviewer supports the mouse
left/right buttons for up/down scrolling as well as the arrow
keys (left and right go up and down one whole page; up and down
go up and down one line). It supports graphics amidst the text
and different text colours.
Article-wise, "ST+" covers the wide ground between STOS and
Jaguar, Lynx and Machine code, games reviews and music/MIDI, demo
reviews and humour bits. An interesting blend, though never with
too much depth either.
If you want to check out the latest issue, I suggest you send a
disk and sufficient IRCs to the below address.~
Dave "The Ed" Hollis
43 Spenfield Court
Northampton NN3 8LZ
Well...I guess it's the usual story for this mag when it arrives
at my place. Let me recount it briefly.
Me: "Hey, that's nice, Keefy has sent another issue of 'Warp'.
Will it work on the Falcon now?"
What follows is a lot of fiddling. Low res. High res. "Backward"
maximum compatibility. No results, only bombs.
Me: "Bugger, blast, darn, damnation and the fires of hell."
"Warp" issue Four didn't work, again, so there is no way I can
judge the user interface. I have to guess it's pretty OK, from
what I heard other people say and what I read elsewhere. Luckily,
the articles are not compressed and can be double-clicked on from
the desktop, then viewed. As usual - and as may be expected -
"Warp" is dedicated solely to "Star Trek" and associated things.
It's probably the definite disk magazine for Atari ST owners who
are into that particular TV series. I like "ST:TNG", too, but not
enough to want to dive into the various backgrounds. Still, Keefy
is doing a great job for part of the ST world. For info, contact:
57 Hearsall Lane
Coventry CV5 6HF
If you want to latest issue (which, by now, is issue 5 I think),
send a DS disk and sufficient International Reply Coupons or
(Sorry, Kev, I would have loved to do a decent review but my
Falcon is just a bit of a bastard when it comes to what I expect
is a "STOS" program)
Although I had expected another issue of "DBA" to write about in
this final issue of ST NEWS, unfortunately it seems Sietse has
not been able to produce another issue before, well, it was too
I'd like to use this bit to wish all editors and writers of all
disk magazines still at large in the Atari world all the best. If
you'd like to indulge me by sending an issue now and again,
please do. For now, farewell, and good luck.
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.