"Stryker: It must be a case of mistaken identity.
Oz: Or perhaps they think you're somebody else."
ST SOFTWARE NEWS
by Richard Karsmakers
Normally I am not one to complain about a bad summer. I like
temperatures around 25 degrees Centigrade, a nice bit of sun, a
cool breeze blowing, a low humidity factor, and a fresh bit of
rain each night to keep the marigolds on the balcony alive.
Usually, a really good summer includes higher temperatures, a
scorchingly hot sun, total absence of air movement, a much higher
humidity and no rainfall for weeks.
I hate really good summers. At least meteorologically speaking.
I suppose the past summer may enter history as one of the very
worst summers ever, at least as far as Europe is concerned.
Temperatures constantly seemed to hover between 18 and 22
degrees, there was little sun, a reasonable humidity factor, and
quite a bit of rain. For someone like me, intent on finishing
some new utilities in the summer (and let's not start about my
virus killer and the full reprogramming I took it through), the
summer was perfect.
Well, of course there could have been a little less rain.
The above introduction was an effort to get more English
readers. Not that we have a lack of them, but I have the feeling
that it seems that most of the ST NEWS target audience is
located in England and, to a lesser extent, the United States
(but I'll be damned if I stoop towards general American
I will not lower myself any further.
This column is usually not filled with weather reports, not even
of the musical variety. Therefore I will no longer refuse to
beat the bush and get on with what you'd expect here.
A nice little game to come across my computer recently is
"Kaboom". A very simple game about which nothing much can be
said. It's small, the graphics are average but good enough,
gameplay is OK, and it's shareware (so bug your PD library for it
if you want it, or try a BBS).
The principle: Some dude throws down bombs that you have to
catch, or at least make sure they don't hit the ground. To
prevent them from doing so you have at your disposal a small
three-layer thing on which you have to catch them. It starts off
really easy, but speed increases gradually and before you know it
you spend most of your time whizzing across the screen. Each time
a bomb hits the ground one of the layers disappears from the
thing, making it somewhat more difficult. When three bombs have
hit the ground it's game over for you.
A nice little game, about which not a lot can (or needs to) be
said, really. Why not check it out yourself some day, and do send
some shareware donation to the guy who did it. Rating: 6.5 out of
Sigh...one of the very first games I ever got on the Commodore
64, together with the likes of "Choplifter" and "Jumpman Junior",
was Sierra-on-Line's nice little game "Frogger". No matter how
brilliant the games of today are, the early and mid eighties saw
the rise of the home computer market and with it came some of the
very best games ever to be released on any format. Games that
didn't have oodles of graphics and that has a whole lot less
bells'n'whistler that you couldn't even shake a stick at. But one
thing they had, these games of old: Playability. Loads of it.
"Frogger", though not one of my favourites back then, can surely
be regarded as one of those ancient classics. Therefore I was
exceedingly glad to discover that someone had gone through the
trouble to do a very decent ST version of it.
The idea is very simple: You have a road and a river, and you
have to guide a frog across to the other side without getting
flattened by cars or eaten by crocodiles. If at all possible you
should try not to drown too. Once on the river there are logs
that you have to jump on in order to get to the other side. But
beware that a log doesn't take you to the edge of the screen, for
it'll be curtains then.
The graphics aren't excellent, but highly functional. This
game doesn't need them much better. Like "Kaboom" (of the same
author), this game is shareware and should be available on most
BB Systems and PD Libraries. It is certainly worth getting.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
Der Wurm (The Worm)
A German guy by the name of Michael Haar recently did a nice
little Public Domain game that I'd like to mention just shortly.
It's called "The Worm" and is a simple but nice game that works
on monochrome as well as colour (though the colour version isn't
perfect). The principle involved is that you are a worm that has
to collect apples. As you eat apples it gets longer, and of
course it is not allowed that is crashes into itself. The more
apples, the longer, the more difficult to maneuvre.
There are dozens of levels, starting off easy and increasing in
difficulty quickly. There's a multi-player mode which I haven't
tested but which I just know will be excellent. Up to four people
can play then. Just imagine the fun you'll have getting longer
and longer, trying to block the other players' way!
"The Worm" is a bit too big to be put on the ST NEWS disk. You
can get the latest version by sending a disk and 2 International
Reply Coupons (3 if you live outside Europe) to Michael Haar,
Am Schützenholz 29, 29643 Neuenkirchen, Germany.
A very nice game. The rating would be 7 out of 10.
Premium Mah Jongg
This game is already quite old, written somewhere in the spring
or summer of last year by two German Informatics students caleld
Jens Schulz and Thomas Grube. I discovered it only this summer
because Frank Lemmen (ex-co-conspirator and now branch manager at
Elektronikaland in Eindhoven) gave it to me. He and his
girlfriend reckoned it was a load of fun and certainly very
Well, addictive it is for sure. It has the sure sign: You find
yourself waking up in the middle of the night, small rectangles
with figures on them printed mysteriously on your pillow. And,
much worse, my own girlfriend spends hours behind my computer,
effectively barring me from doing anything productive. After a
couple of games I get almost physically ill and I flee to the
couch where I read (this is one of the reasons why I read so many
books this summer - see elsewhere in ST NEWS). Miranda spends
more hours, throwing away days.
Anyway, what's "Premium Mah Jongg" all about actually?
Some of you may know the commercial Activision game "Shanghai".
Well, it's virtually the same but Public Domain instead - even
though it's a weird sort of Public Domain where all rights for
spreading of the English and German versions lie with the IDL PD
Pool in Germany (that's the reason why you won't find it on this
or a future ST NEWS disk). For those of you who didn't know what
"Shanghai" was all about...
There's a game board on which are piled 144 stones. They can
form one of several patterns, with stones being piled one high
near the edges and progressively higher towards the middle. The
trick is to find two identical stones and click on them. They
will disappear. When all stones have disappeared you've won. You
get a score awarded. The game terminates prematurely if there are
no visible identical stones anymore - this happens when you
neglect to remove the stones in the middle first, which are piled
higher and which hide other stones beneath them that you may need
sooner than you think.
There are more differences between "Shanghai" and "Premium Mah
Jongg", however. For starters "Shanghai" has a simultaneous two-
player mode which I played for hours with Frank back in the olden
days. This is sadly lacking in "Premium Mah Jongg". Also, "Mah
Jongg" only handles one pattern in which the tiles are put on the
game board, whereas I seem to recall "Shanghai" having about a
However, the scoring system (including the fact that they are
saved to disk!) adds a lot to "Mah Jongg". The game times and
date and time of the game having been played are also saved to
disk, and the total hiscore table contains 50 entries for you to
Although extremely addictive, I think "Mah Jongg" should have
contained at least the simultaneous two-player mode that made
"Shanghai" such a success. Further there is nothing bad to say
about this rather excellent PD game. It works on monochrome and
low resolution, and I guess it works on just about any TOS.
If you're interested in obtaining this game (or other titles in
the IDL PD Pool) you are advised to send some IRCs and a note of
inquiry to IDL Software, Lagerstr. 11, D-6100 Darmstadt 13, West
I'd give this game a rating of 8 out of 10.
The Black and White Demo
Only the other day (at least at the time of my writing this) I
received some rather interesting disks from Mr. Wrobel, ex-member
of the Polish Team From The East (TFTE) and now member of the
Acid Team (where he does graphics and music, with Acid Maker
doing all coding). On one of them I found the "Black and White
Demo", a rather small but certainly quite OK demo made by the two
Most striking is the soundtracking music. The Polish have no
actual sound programmers at their disposal which means that they
have to use ready sound tools to do their music. They make
digisound modules and, excuse my French, they're pretty flippin'
good at them. I think Mr. Wrobel is one of the best sound tracker
module composers, in my humble opinion of course. I think his
style is reminiscent of Jean Michel Jarre - though not
"Chronologie" of course. A bit like "Zoolook" perhaps, with some
more beat but not quite acid.
The demo itself is, let's face it, quite average. Mr. Wrobel
told me they can do far better now, and I have seen a preview of
a demo that will probably never be released (The "Dragonells
Demo") but that certainly seems to validate his optimism.
If it weren't for the music I'd give this demo a miss. It has a
scroll somewhere, and some 3D shapes made of 1056 dots, that sort
of thing. Nothing staggering, but a decent effort for a group
that is yet growing. I think their first megademo, when and if
released, might raise some serious eyebrows.
Before I let this be, I'd like to say that it has a very simple
but nice reset screen: A large sad face. The reset-screen to this
"Dragonells Demo" was rather excellent, by the way. I've never
seen anything like it before. But I'm sure you'll see it one day.
For those of you who need someone who's good at doing tracker
modules, you're welcome to contact Mr. Wrobel at the ST NEWS
official foreign distributor address mentioned in the Colophon.
Bedlam Demo by Chaos
A one-disk demo that does not work on my TOS 1.00 is what Chaos
have released recently. It's called "Bedlam", has some really
neat starting-up screens including 2-plane zoom/shrink effects,
digi music and the lot.
It's not a mega demo. After the loading sequence has passed,
you get an endless sequence of colour interference patterns on
the screen, some of which are above average and some of which are
quite excellent. Unfortunately that's all the demo has to offer,
with colour cycling added for additional effect. Had this been a
demo screen within a larger mega demo, it would have been veyr
nice and, as far as I can judge, technically at a par with some
rather great programmers.
Unfortunately it isn't, so it's a bit too repetitive. Nice but a
bit disappointing in total.
Colorz Demo by Hemoroids
Yep, another French demo by the Hemoroids crew, called "Colorz
Demo" (but something tells me you already knew that). It's
French, which means that you're in for some good graphics,
capable programming, appalling English with loads of "fuck" and
"fucking" and, in this case, some kind of interlace technique
which gives loads of colours but which flashes irritable whenever
the in-between text screens offer less than half a dozen colours.
It's not a true megademo, but does offer some different
sequences behind each other. The offered goodies include some
colour plasma stuff, 3D transforming shapes (both solid as well
as light-shaded and transparent, and sometimes in the form of so-
called "rubber vectors" that look really neat), multiple balls
conmsisting of dots bouncing to and fro, a bitmap cube that
starts to rotate and distorts pretty much, and some bits in
between that I've neglected to note down.
On the whole this is a pretty good demo, and especially the
graffitti-style graphics looked slick. Especially the 3D shape
transformation were pretty stunning.
Never & Forever Demo by STEW
When I had finished watching this demo I had a problem. The
problem was that I thought it deserved an article all on its own
but that I would probably not be able to write enough about it if
I did. I don't like 2 Kb articles and that sort of thing - I
leave that up to some other disk magazines that would rather
dazzle their readers with hundreds of articles instead of ones
with decent lengths.
Anyway, down to this demo.
I have seen preciously few demos written totaly in "GfA Basic",
so I don't know it this demo holds up against any of the others.
However, a gut feeling tells me it does.
STEW, which is basically a one-man UK crew consisting of a "GfA
Basic" afficionado, has released this "I started three years ago
but didn't get around to released it 'till now" demo in May of
this year. It's kindof a megademo with a rotating cylinder menu
selector, proper loading screens, 'please wait while decruncing
screens' and oodles of music (the music and the decrunch routs
are the only bits written in machine code).
The entire is demo, so the guy claims, is written in 100% "GfA
Basic" 3.5. I find this extremely difficult to believe, but I
guess my lack of faith is a big compliment for this guy. One
thing: If this is really only "GfA Basic", he's a f*@king
excellent coder (excuse my French).
The demo works only on 50 Hz systems (unless you want it screwed
by timing problems), but if you have such a system you're getting
about a dozen well-programmed screens (including, would you
believe, a 100% "GfA Basic" reset screen picture), good graphics
with lots of nice colours, 200-pixel height 2-plane horizontal
scrollers, lower borders busted open (with 170-line scrollers
bouncing up and down in them), plenty of original ideas, large
bouncing sprites, a lot of disting stuff, a pretty bad (but thus
intended) guest screen, quite a bit of humour, and a lot of jaw
This demo is, to use its creator's modest comments, pretty nifty
indeed. Even if it had been a machine code demo I would have
considered it quite excellent, but what seems to be possible in
"GfA Basic" is totally baffling.
This demo is much worth getting.
ST Zip 2.3
Recently, a new version has appeared of the highly effective
(and best of...) archive utilities, "ST Zip". This is no review
or even a preview, it's just a summary of the stuff that changed
after version 2.2
O A listing option in GEM was added for those unlucky few who
can't ever use the command line.
O Keyboard shortcuts have been added to the main dialog.
O A new resource file.
O The "check" function, that sometimes indicated corrupted
files when in fact they weren't, is now fixed.
O No more 200-file limits in the item selector.
O Self-Extracting archive now prompts before overwriting
O Subdirectories are now also deleted when MOVING files to the
O There was a problem when UPDATING ZIPs with subdirectories.
O There was a problem with extensions when using CREATEDIR or
FILE RENAME. Now fixed.
O Sort a ZIP file with size didn't work. Now it does.
O When deleting a folder on disk, the exact number of files is
now mentioned (instead of just the number of
O There was a bug with Metados. Now fixed.
O There was a bug in the -p option. Now fixed.
O Screen is now redrawn after dialog.
GEMDOS Link-Filer v2.0
Some time ago, a cooperation (or, if you will, an unholy union)
between Mark Sherdley-Davies (MSD) and Mike Mee (MUG UK) has led
to the release of a utility by the illustrious name of "GEMDOS
Link-Filer v2.0". They've sent me a preview version that wasn't
complete, so again this is no review but sortof a small
description of what it can do.
"GEMDOS Link-Filer" allows you to create clusters of files that
are put in one file and that can afterwards by loaded from that
file (like a compressed floppy disk on a floppy disk, as it
were). It can be compared with the ST NEWS article file, where
all articles are places behind each other and accessed
individually when the need arises.
"GEMDOS Link-Filer" is more sophisticated, insofar that you can
even put others program files within that large file, you can use
a host of packers to pack them, and you can have files in the big
file, out of the big file, it doesn't matter. Also, it can work
with existing programs that have many files.
The secret (sortof) is a GEMDOS patch of the Operating System
file open/load routine. Whenever a file needs to be loaded,
"GEMDOS Link-Filer" takes over for a while and checks to see if
perhaps the file is in the large file that you have somewhere. If
not, it will give control back to GEMDOS and everything will
proceed as usual.
Unlike many other programs done by the guys (most specifically
Mike, of course), "GEMDOS Link-Filer" is not Public Domain. It
also has a printed manual with it, pretty well-written and
(perhaps a bit too) humorous, though quite technical for laymen
If you're interested in this program, you may care to contact
Mike Mee, "Anncott", Hylas Lane, Rhuddlan, Clwyd LL18 5AG, Wales,
Stone Cold Sober
The Scottish Floppyshop is doing good things to the ST. Instead
of releasing games at 20 or even 30 quid they go for the magic 10
pound boundary with rather decent games - which is just about the
best thing except for Jeff Minter's shareware (which is even
cheaper and where playability is even better).
Some time ago, Floppyshop released a game called "Around the
World". It was a rather nice game, but not exactly stunning. At
just under 10 quid a was a more than reasonable alternative to
many of today's commercial games, though.
The same goes for "Stone Cold Sober", really, although it's
"Stone Cold Sober" is a graphics adventure with no pics in
monochrome (or, if you will, a text adventure with added graphics
in medium resolution). It works on any ST/Falcon as long as
you're using ST medium or high res. The user interface is
entirely graphics-oriented, mouse-controlled, and very smooth.
The pictures in medium res are nothing extraordinary, but amply
suffice for their purpose.
The story is the following: The formerly quiet great borough of
Brentford is to be rid of an evil Satanic cult. You, being Mark
Gibson, are the one to do it. The process requires thought and a
bit of luck as well.
Principally, almost no keyboard input is required. A list at the
right of the screen allows you to scroll through the various
commands (take, put, break, etc.) and select them. A very handy
command is 'take all'. The texts can be output in three styles
(e.g. brief and verbose, just like the Magnetic Scrolls
adventures), and it well-written and humorous indeed.
The adventure has some interesting add-ons such as a map drawer
(which will load a saved game and print the map of what you've
seen so far) and a help program (which gives some clues as to
how to proceed in certain situations).
I think this adventure is a very enjoyable one. I would have
completed it if only had more time on my hands (which
unfortunately I haven't). I shan't give a rating because I can't
really judge adventures all too well. By the time I got this game
Math had already sold his ST (see "Did You Know That...") so I
knew nobody to do this for me.
If anyone out there has a solution, please send it to ST NEWS
for inclusion in the next issue or the one after that.
Well, that's it for this time, so...this is getting to be
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.