Category Archives: Atari ST

A collection of all Atari ST-related posts on Break Into Chat.

Mother’s Day: “Mom and Me” for the Atari ST

As Mother’s Day approached, I suddenly remembered two very old programs for the Atari ST which I had fooled around with as a kid.

“Murray and Me” and “Mom and Me” were written by Yakov Kirschen, who called his creations “biotoons.”

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Hearing from my software heroes

Using the terminal program "ANSITerm" within the "Hatari" Atari ST emulator to write a message on a BBS.

Using the terminal program “ANSITerm” within the “Hatari” Atari ST emulator to write a message on a BBS.

I spent much of my teenage life inside the confines of the Atari ST terminal program “ANSITerm” by Timothy Miller of Two World Software.

I have mentioned the program before on the blog, and I even described it briefly when I was a guest on the Bobby Blackwolf Show podcast. But I’ve never really given it its due.

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Kevin MacFarland, creator of “Assassin”

From writing tic-tac-toe in BASIC as kid to creating the classic BBS door game Assassin, computer engineer Kevin MacFarland remembers his past life as the “C Monster.”

Assassin was of one my favorite role-playing games as a teen, so it was exciting to get in touch with MacFarland and discuss his game. This interview was conducted by email Mar. 2 through May 14, 2013.

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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.

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Kids drawing on computers, then and now

My daughter Ludi's drawing of me, created in Adobe Ideas on an iPad 2.

My daughter Ludi’s drawing of me, created in Adobe Ideas on an iPad 2.

Today was “Parents get to watch dance class” day. In the afternoon my daughter Ludi and I went to see my oldest daughter, Jadzia. The “public” part of the class came at the end, so Ludi and I were waiting for a bit. During the downtime we played a few games on the iPad, and then she drew a picture of me using Adobe Ideas.

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Emulation is time travel

Some say time travel is impossible. But they are wrong. You don’t need Doc Brown and a DeLorean; all you need is an emulator.

Lately I’ve been using DOSBox, an awesome cross-platform IBM PC emulator, to try some old BBS utilities from the 1990s.

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VT-52 demo: Beat Nick Part 2

Since I began telnetting into Atari ST BBSes again regularly, I’ve gotten interested in VT52, which was the Atari ST’s native terminal mode. The Atari supported 16 colors in low-resolution, and 4 colors in medium-resolution (80 cols).

If you know BBSes, you can think of it this way: VT-52 was to the Atari ST what ANSI was to the PC. Using VT52 codes in a text file, you could make colorful menus, animations, and sounds.

Anyway, a while back I came across this VT52 demo by Synergy from 1992.

I thought it would be fun to fire up the Hatari emulator and watch the demo. I captured the animation as a video so that you can see it, too:

Pretty impressive when you consider this is generated by just a text file.

Telnet to a BBS using a terminal program in the Hatari emulator

UPDATE (2020-09-03): In the years since I wrote this blog post, I have found some ways to improve this process. Please read my new tutorial on how to telnet to a BBS using a terminal inside the Hatari emulator.

When I was a kid calling BBSes, I used an Atari ST computer. But I seldom used the ST’s native terminal mode: VT-52.

The reason is simple. Atari’s VT-52 mode offered only 4 colors in medium resolution. PC clones, however had an 80×25 mode with 16 colors and special graphics characters. This was known as ANSI.

PC BBSes with their colorful ANSI graphics were dominant in the early to mid-1990s, while Atari BBSes were dying out. Since I was mostly calling PC boards in those days, I used a terminal program called “ANSIterm” which could display ANSI graphics on the Atari ST using special tricks.

I’ve been thinking about Space Empire Elite, one of the first BBS door games I ever played. SEE was written for Atari ST BBSes. It supported VT-52 as well as plain ASCII, but not ANSI. But I had never seen it in VT-52. How would it have looked? I was curious.

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