More VT-52 demos

Ever since I was made aware of the “Beat Nick Part 2” demo, I’ve been eager to find other Atari ST demos and animations that make use of the Atari’s VT52 text mode.

This week I found three more. I made some video captures of these demos as they appeared in the Atari ST emulator Hatari and I include them below for your enjoyment.

These demos are text files. They use special escape sequences to move the cursor around the screen and change colors. The technique is very similar to what ANSI artists did on IBM PC-compatibles to create ANSImations.

Also: if you know more about these demos or their authors, please add a comment!


This demo bills itself as “The First full length COLOR St Cartoon!!” It says it is a “Tim Production.”

The animation depicts an Atari user who snaps and goes on a rampage killing Amiga fans and employees.

This particular demo runs really fast. To get the best effect, I would encourage you to download it and watch it at a slower speed in QuickTime, VLC, etc.

Original file: COMMANDO.LZH

Bouncing Fuji

This animation shows a multicolored Fuji bouncing around the screen. According to the demo itself, the text file was generated using GFA Basic.

Original file: FUJI_BOIN.TXT

Good morning, Jacob!

This animation shows a black spinning cube or pyramid.

The demo credits “Mr. Coke” of Avena and “The Innovator” of NEWline as the main coders.

Original file: SCHNAH.ZIP

3 thoughts on “More VT-52 demos

  1. Pingback: Nossa, é muito ódio no coração. | Retrocomputaria Plus

  2. tahrey

    Not really “VT52 text mode” though, unless it uses some undocumented stuff I never heard of before. Just (4-colour) medium resolution graphics mode used to emulate a 16-colour 80-column text terminal 😉

    (Annoyingly with a little overscan (~13%, equal to 360px in low rez) and a very minor change to the silicon in the video shifter they could have implemented a 480-pixel, 8-colour mode that probably could have made a better stab at it with 6-pixel width characters, but the time for such things has passed. No-one would have wanted it in 1985, probably.)

    Though I daresay saving all the animations as strings of text-based terminal commands makes things a lot more compact than using actual graphics! And you could transmit it to anyone else with a VT52 or emulation capabilities and they could watch the same anim…

  3. tahrey

    *googles for further VT52 infos* … no, sorry, must have been thinking of something else (VT220?) … the 52 was just monochrome. So the colour commands must have been proprietary add-ons for the ST-based emulator alone…


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