THE ST WILL DIE WITHIN A YEAR
by Richard Karsmakers
You may be startled to read the above, but I am willing to bet
my life on it that this will happen. Sooner than you may expect.
If there ain't going to be some major changes in the ST user's
mentality, that is.
That is why I want you to read this article carefully. There is
yet a good chance for the ST; it may not yet be too late for its
The main keyword to the ST's death is SOFTWARE PIRACY.
It is a known fact that this particular phenomenon is thriving
on the ST, and this has to be put to a screeching halt or pretty
soon no company in its right mind will be producing ST software
These are no idle threats. Some German distributors have stopped
doing ST products, and in Holland the ST market is dead for years
already. Some of the software manufacturers are now also thinking
about switching to the Amiga and PC only (Thalion, I have to say
with a voice trembling with emotion, is one of these).
ST games simply don't sell enough to pay for themselves. Mostly,
not even the well-above-average ones.
Games like "Populous" and "Xenon II" sell OK, but they should
sell a hell of a lot better if you ask me. I personally don't
care if you copy games - I have done so myself, too, and I still
But if a game is good, you should buy it and refuse to give
copies to your friends. I know games are too expensive, but the
odd really good game can easily be bought. I also buy games, and
I can say for me, personally, that it is a gratifying feeling to
have a piece of original software that I have supported the
Each year, a total of about a dozen games is launched that is
really GOOD. And one never has to buy all of them, for they
belong to entirely different categories which nobody is likely to
like all. I already mentioned "Populous" and "Xenon II", but
there are more really good games. Games that offer the player
long lasting fun, and possibly even sheer amazement. A couple
more are "Gods", "Wings of Death", "Power Monger" and "Larry
III". I am sure you can mention even more, but I am not even
going to try to mention them all (also because my meaning may not
be identical to yours).
People like the Bullfrog guys, the Bitmap Brothers, Jeff Minter,
Steve Bak, and most other programmers, are generally also very
nice people - and you wouldn't want to rip them off, would you? I
know this argument sounds like a bag of shit, but it's simply the
way I feel. I would not dream of giving "Gridrunner" away to
someone just because he is too much of an asshole to spend 10
quid on it. It would break my heart to see Jeff having to sell
Molly and Flossy (his sheep) - or, even worse, eat them. It would
be equally heart-breaking to know that Steve Bak can't send his
kids to school any more, that Peter Johnson will have to sell his
guitar, or that Thalion will quit producing ST software. There
are many more examples of this, but I do not want to exaggerate
this as I am trying to be very serious here.
Of course, this all also applies to utilities. Luckily enough,
many of these are shareware and that principle seems to work
fine. But programs like "Neodesk", "UIS III", "1st Word Plus",
"Atari ST Virus Killer" (I would also mention this program if I
had not written it myself, so I do not consider this to be
immodest. Tough tittie if you think so) and "Superbase" are worth
buying, too. These programs simply will not be supported further
if they keep on being copied.
The distributor margin
I know that about 40-50% of the price of any product goes to the
retailer - e.g. the company that happens to sell the product to
you. Give the software industry a hand: If you want to buy
software, try to buy it directly with them - not in a shop or
something. You won't pay less, but the company will get more
money which can be used to develop more (and better) games. It
may even get the price down eventually.
I really don't know how to wrap up an article like this. I know
there wasn't much of a schedule behind this piece of writing. I
just spilled it directly on the keys as it were, directly from
the guts, because it's a topic that lies very close to my heart
(as, indeed, do my guts).
I would hate to see the ST die a premature death. It is not
entirely unthinkable that eventually only PC's and consoles will
exist, since no other computers are worth while developing
I know all this has been written before. And not only by me. But
I would hate to hear everybody say "You know, you were right" in
a year's time. Once it's too late. I would really hate that, as
it would very likely also mean the end of ST NEWS as such (we
can't review games if there aren't any, and we hate to review bad
That's it, I guess. I hope this article set you thinking, even
if it is only a little bit. I am not talking bullshit here. I
really wish I was.
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.