Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
Poll: How bad was the Atari ST, really?
How bad was the Atari ST, really?
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    Thread: If you are really honest, how bad do you really think the Atari ST was?
    Harrison 12:46 13th July 2009
    That does sound familiar. Like screenshots and the atari logo flying into th drive?
    Fern 23:59 15th January 2010
    Out of curiosity, I have recently acquired for the ST a Supercharger PC emulator box, perfect condition. I don't want or need it - does anyone know if it might be worth anything to collectors on eBay or whatever?
    Harrison 00:02 16th January 2010
    I have no idea. Not keeping up with ST hardware at the time either I've never seen or heard of this device either. Is it a PC hardware emulator that connects to the ST cartridge port or something? And if so what type of PC does it emulate? XT, AT? 286?

    I've recently obtained some STs again (STFM and STE) and would love to try out such hardware, but not if it would cost a lot.
    Phantom 20:20 4th March 2010
    Tbh, I never had an Atari (apart from an Atari 2600 and Atari 130XE when I was really young).

    But I'll not buy an Atari ever.
    Harrison 22:02 21st June 2010
    Oh go on! You know you secretly want to own an ST and enjoy playing games and demos on it...
    krhtikos 15:46 31st July 2010
    Atari is basically more user friendly and intended not just for a gamer.
    Starting back at 86 it already had a very good graphical OS without the use of extra disks and waiting time to load it.
    As Amiga was build later on it had some extra chips as was expected to improve graphics , sound etc but when attention was turned to these features they lost a major factor. Speed and playability.

    Upgrade wise , you got a packet that almost had it all cheaper than the Amiga and without the need for expansions and addons to get it to work properly. Direct PC compatibility was very easy using the 720k formatted disks. Just straight read from Dos or Windows.

    Music composing abilities though the direct midi port and many musician and studio programs that are still used by some until today.
    Word proccesing and many programming languages made it easy to use the ST beyond gaming. Yes Shadow of the Beast has better Graphics in the Amiga version but who really ever played it? It was mainly used as an ability Demo display.
    Yes the Amiga has stereo sound (Ste models do too) but back then I had a B/W TV with mono sound anyway.
    My two pennies worth.

    Feel free to comment.
    Harrison 16:17 26th January 2011
    A few historical facts wrong there. The Amiga was designed long before the ST. Atari first tried to buy the Amiga to release as their own 16bit machine (the Amiga was designed by the same person behind the 8-bit Ataris), but Commodore managed to out bid them and purchase it. The Atari ST was then Atari's last minute rush to get their own 16bit machine to market to compete with the Amiga. The Amiga was designed from the ground up to be the best gaming and productivity computer of its age, and was over 10 years ahead of the competition. The ST was built using off the shelf components and its OS, GEM, was a PC OS purchased by Atari at the last minute to give the new machine a GUI.

    The ST's GEM is horrible in comparison to the Amiga. A lot of great programs were still released and it did do well thanks to its built in MIDI ports, and its high resolution screenmode for DTP. But its' hardware capacities were far weaker than the Amigas. Many early games released on both systems didn't look any different, and often Amiga versions could be worse. This was due to the games being written on the ST and badly ported to the Amiga. Once developers started writing directly for the Amiga the ST started to show its weaknesses. It could still hope its own and run games well, but with everything relying on the CPU it had to be coded to work around this, whereas the Amiga's custom chipset could take over most tasks and leave the CPU alone, giving developers a lot more power.

    There will always be fans of both systems and both hold a place in the history of computing and gaming. But the Amiga was the better hardware by far.
    morcar 06:38 18th May 2011
    Although we all know the Amiga was better at everything I always liked the ST although I had an STE but there wasn't much difference. I loved the AY chip sound and I loved some of the games and apps on it. It was easy to use just like the Amiga. I also liked how the OS was on a chip and you didnt have to mess about with disks.
    Harrison 09:31 18th May 2011
    I agree that having the OS fully on a chip so the system could boot without any disks was a very nice feature. However that did restrict it a bit because to upgrade anything OS related you needed to replace the chips. You could argue that to some extent that was also true for the Amiga because with each full OS upgrade a new kickstart rom was also needed, but Workbench was a lot more than GEM ever was. For me GEM always felt very restricted and limited in what you could do... and I even felt that right from the first time I used it as I had been used to the Acorn Archimedes RiscOS before getting an ST and that was miles ahead.
    Tiago 09:00 17th August 2011
    Today, the only advantage i see is that in the ST you can use a a lot of PC floppy without any modification.
    My STFM and STE use vulgar PC floppys without any problem.
    But like Morcar said, we know Amiga was/is better but still i do like the ST a lot
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