Atari ST





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Atari Stacy 4 --  The Atari ST line of computers was my main gaming rig until 1992, when I bought my first Intel PC.  I bought my first Atari 520 ST in late 1985 (the year it was introduced) at one of the mom-and-pop computer stores that were popular before they were driven out of business by the  computer super-stores.  I was amazed by this machine, which was far ahead of its time.  It had 512K of RAM compared to my previous C-64's 64K.   Although it could only display 16 colors natively, software allowed it to display 512 colors simultaneously.  It used 720K 3.5" floppy disks, and had an amazing line of peripherals in later years including (now common) multi-sync monitors, hard drives, and laser printers.  It also had one feature that is unique to this day - - built in MIDI ports.  Since I was also an amateur musician, this was a huge bonus.   The ST was the first computer that I bought for gaming that was actually so fast and intuitive that I could use it for productivity purposes.  Word processing, music, and desktop publishing were its strong points.  The computer had a Graphical User Interface (GUI) originally loaded by disk but later built into ROM, called GEM (Graphical Environment Manger, originally developed for IBM-compatible PCs), but gaming was the computer's main use in my home.  Publishers counted on consumers like me and published thousands of titles for the ST internationally.  If I were to compare the ST line to its contemporaries, I would say it was a great compromise between the Macintosh and the Amiga.  It had much better game capabilities than the Macs of the time, and it had much better productivity (and professional music) support than the Amiga.  However, its gaming capabilities (native sound and graphics) were inferior to the Amiga, and its support in the niche markets wasn't as good as the MACs.  The ST was a good combination of the two.  It was also the least expensive of them all, including the then gaming-pathetic Intel-based PCs.

I later purchased many different varieties of the computer line:  1040 STFM, which had a built in floppy, RF modulator and double the memory of the 520 ST.  The 1040 ST sold complete for about $1000 when it first came out.  This was unheard of at the time -- buying a computer for only $1 per K of RAM.  Later I bought a Mega 2 ST, which again doubled the RAM, and an Atari STE, which added stereo output and analog joystick ports among other upgrades.  Finally, I purchased an Atari TT, which was based on the much faster Motorola 68030 chip and included higher graphical resolutions.  Today the only ST that GOTCHA has is the STacy 4 described below along with an Atari SC1224 color monitor.  GOTCHA also proudly displays a Spectre GCR which allows STs to run older Macintosh software.

The Stacy was yet another in the ST line of products that was way ahead of its time.  The STacy 4 was a 4MB laptop with built in monochrome LCD monitor, 3.5" floppy disk, 40MB hard drive and trackball.  It has all of the expansion ports of a normal ST so a printer, color monitor and MIDI devices could be easily plugged into it.  It runs ST games very well.  The GOTCHA Museum houses the original Stacy 4 I purchased in 1990.

Stacy 4:

CPU: Motorola MC 68000, 8 MHz
ROM: 192 KB
Text mode:40 x 25 / 80 x 25
Graphic mode: Native 640 x 400 / 640 x 200 / 320 x 200 (with external color monitor)
Colors: Native Monochrome (640 x 400),16 (320 x 200), 4 (640 x 200)among 512  (with external color monitor)
Sound: Three channels, 8 octaves
I/O Ports: Centronics, RS232c, RGB, Floppy Disk, Hard Disk, Midi In/Out, Joystick/Mouse (2), Cartridge
Storage devices: One 3.5" floppy disk unit (720 Kb)
Introduced: 1989 

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Last modified: August 24, 2002
Copyright 1998 - 2004 Hugh Falk International Interactive Enterprises Industries Incorporated Limited Etceteras.  All rights reserved.