Is Underground Computing!
by Ian Smith
I got into Atari
at the age of 17. I wanted a new computer to
relive my Spectrum 48K days. It was my birthday
Christmas Eve, so a few days before, my dad
took me to Dixons. It was a toss-up between
buying a Commodore Amiga or an Atari STE.
All my friends had Amigas, so I really wanted
one of those. But I had heard of Atari because
of its video games from the eighties. Now
I wasn't so sure what I wanted as I realized
here was an Atari computer.
At first sight
the Atari and Amiga looked pretty similar. The
same all in one case with a sloped keyboard
and disk drive at the side. They even both had
a fairly same looking operating system at first
glance with their disk icons. The Atari though
was slightly cheaper than the Amiga. Since my
dad was buying and I wanted a monitor with the
computer, well the fates decided - actually my
dad's wallet did. I ended up buying the slightly
cheaper STE and Phillips low/medium resolution monitor.
A fairly standard set-up for the day.
years later having bought two Falcons and two
STEs, various hardware add-ons and loads of
software, I'm glad I originally bought
the cheaper option. In many ways it was the
better long term investment and it's good it
sparked in me an interest in Atari. I actually
have two Amigas as well, bought second hand
out of curiosity about a year and a half ago.
I still haven't unpacked them, my space is devoted
to Atari machines.
now to be part of a computer scene which is
very much keeping the machines we love alive
today. I've always been part of fringe things,
either getting into them at their birth or when
they're old. At the age of 11 I was into
Hip Hop which was unusual considering that's
almost 20 years ago. I embraced rave and
dance music at its inception around 1988, much
of it made with Atari machines. So I suppose
it's only natural now that Atari computers being
old (not passť though) and more of a fringe
thing that I should be interested in them more than
think about it, if the modern "Atari" games company
turned around and said it was going to start
making STs and Falcons again, well, there wouldn't
be the same mystique about these machines, would
there? The way it is now with ST emulators written
for most modern machines and Atari bargains
on eBay and such, now is the exciting time.
Which is probably the reason why people collect
antiques. Modern things might do the same job,
or do it even better. But how much greater when
you know your Atari was doing that thing before
some modern day computer users were even born.
why I painted the picture for MyAtari and gave
it the slogan, "Underground Computing". Some people
might consider our scene dead and our machines
obsolete. And I attend the Cheshunt
Computer Club which I think is the last Atari-oriented computer club in Britain. But the scene
still lives on in many new and exciting ways,
all be it in the domains of the underground.