Z*Magazine: 20-Apr-87 #48From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 20-Apr-87 #48 Date: Fri Jul 9 11:30:01 1993 _____________________________________ ZMAGAZINE APRIL HOT ATARI NEWS AND REVIEWS ISSUE 48 _____________________________________ April 20, 1987 Happy Easter/Passover _____________________________________ Zmag Staff: Publisher/Editor in Chief: Ron Kovacs Managing Editor: Alan Kloza Special Correspondent: Steve Godun Columnist: Eric Plent Publisher: Syndicate Services Asst Publisher: Ken Kirchner _____________________________________ This week in Zmagazine New Jersey <*> Atari vs. Commodore Lawsuit is Settled <*> ST Express--New Publication For ST Users <*> Electronic Arts Buys Out Batteries Included <*> DataTrieve Review <*> New CoinOps From Atari In The Arcades <*> Plent's Page ---------------------------------- Xx ZMAG ATARI NEWSWIRE Atari and Commodore Settle Lawsuit ---------------------------------- Atari, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. and Commodore International Ltd., West Chester, PA, announced that they had settled all pending litigation between Atari and Commodore's subsidaries, Commodore-Amiga Corp. and Commodore Business Machines Inc. The companies would not comment beyond a joint statement that said that the suits had been "settled and discontinued on terms satisfactory to both sides." A Commodore spokesperson said "Commodore is giving out no information whatsovever" about the lawsuit. Both firms said that a condition of the settlement agreement was that they not disclose or discuss details. Observers said they expected the settlement of the suit to relieve pressure on Commodore, which has been financially troubled during the last three quarters and has recently introduced new versions of the Amiga and a new MS-DOS based PC "clone". The companies would not discuss whether Atari would receive payments from Commodore, but informed sources hinted this to be the case. The Amiga was at the center of the litigation between Commodore and Atari. Jack Tramiel, chairman and CEO of Atari and former President of Commodore, sued Commodore shortly after he purchased Atari from Warner Communications in 1984. That suit charged Amiga Inc. with breach of contract. Atari had negotiated a technology license agreement with Amiga, Inc. which developed the support and graphics chips for the Amiga Computer. Commodore, which acquired Amiga in late 1984, was later included in the lawsuit. Atari later sued Commodore, again alleging that the Amiga infringed on Atari patents. ------------------------ AUTODUEL INCOMPATIBILITY ------------------------ If you've got an ICD doubler installed in your 1050 or are using an INDUS drive, you'll want to be very cautious before purchasing ORIGIN SYSTEMS new AUTODUEL game. Basically all you get is an endless repeat of the title screen! Previous ORIGIN Systems products ran fine on these drives. They have apparently switched to a new copy-protection scheme. Unfortunately, the scheme has the effect of zapping a lot of honest users of the software. If you use an ICD Doubler or an INDUS, don't purchase AUTODUEL--at least not until they come out with a version to work on those drives. --------------------------------- NEW ST PUBLICATION--ST EXPRESS --------------------------------- Even if you're an ST owner you may not have heard of ST X-PRESS. Why? Because it's a fairly new magazine for the ST's. It's been in publication for only four months, but has already undergone some drastic transformations-- going from a dull black and white cover with spiral binding into glossy full color magnificence. Currently there are five language columns (Assembly, C, Forth, GFA Basic, and Pascal). There also is a MIDI column by Stefan Dastrom (a programmer at Hybrid Arts), review columns, an extensive ST BBS list, and a vast public domain library. ST Express is also available in disk version with all the source code and ready-to-run programs from the magazine. The disk version includes a few bonuses each month (last month - digitized photos of the Mega ST's and the Atari PC). If that's not enough there's also a compilation of all the ST related material from Zmagazine! Ask your local Atari dealer for ST-Express. If he doesn't carry it, he can call the publisher for a complimentary issue and stocking information. If you're interested in a mail subscription, you can call or write: Rich Decowski Editor of ST X-PRESS P.O. Box 2383 La Habra, CA 90632 (213) 691-8000 ST X-PRESS BBS (217) 877-9740 ------------------------------------ Xx ZMAG COMPUTER NEWSWIRE ....EA Acquires BI.................. ------------------------------------ San Mateo, CA, April 13, 1987--Electronic Arts announced today its acquisition of the assets of well- known software brand Batteries Included, a Canada-based publisher of creativity and productivity products for leading home computer systems. Under the terms of the agreement Electronic Arts will acquire most of the company's fixed assets, inventory, artist contracts and key trademarks and brand names. Trip Hawkins, president of Electronic Arts, indicated that as of May 4, 1987 all operations of Batteries Included will be consolidated into the San Mateo offices of Electronic Arts. "In December of 1986 Electronic Arts was divided into separate publishing and distribution groups. This division has allowed us to focus our attention on building new channels of distribution and maximizing our development of products in specific categories, including creativity and productivity," explained Hawkins. "The acquisition of Batteries Included will significantly strengthen our product line in these categories. We're especially excited about the award winning PaperClip word processessing series, Degas, a design and entertainment graphic arts system, and Thunder, a spell checker and abbreviation expander." Batteries Included has been highly recognized by critics in the computer software industry and has received several awards of excellence. PaperClip received the award for Best Buy of the Year from Computer Shopper and 1986 Best of the Year award from Commodore Magazine. Degas received the Critic's Choice Award from Family Computing Magazine and Thunder was selected as Editor's Choice/Best Buy of the Year from MacUser Magazine. "Batteries Included has always had an excellent reputation," Hawkins explained. "We knew that their home productivity and Atari ST compatible software would be complementary to our own products, and that our sales force could increase their presence and sales results in the retail channel." Hawkins noted that the acquisition evolved after the founders of Batteries Included indicated a preference to sell the company. The Batteries Included name will exist as a separate line of products within the creativity/productivity division of Electronic Arts. "Based on demand, we will take a number of existing quality products to market immediately," said Hawkins. "And we are currently conducting work sessions with the artists from Batteries Included to complete products already under development. These products, supplemented with our own and those planned for the future, will establish a comprehensive line of high quality products for all leading home computers." The transition of the Batteries Included operations to Electronic Arts will begin immediately. Hawkins explained that the Electronic Arts customer service department is already preparing itself to fulfill all requests for upgrades, warranty replacements and promotional offers from Batteries Included customers. "By May 4 our customer service department will be able to assist these consumers with all product related inquiries," said Hawkins. "Electronic Arts is committed to supporting its customers, and we expect to afford Batteries Included customers better service than ever before." Beginnning May 4, all inquiries regarding Batteries Included products may be directed to the Electronic Arts customer service department at (415) 578-0316. ------------------------------------ 29% OF HOME COMPUTERISTS HAVE MODEMS ------------------------------------ It's not the most cheerful assessment we've ever heard, but... Computer + Software News, a prestigious trade newspaper that covers the software industry, recently surveyed home computer users about what peripherals they have on their systems and found that only 29 percent have modems. Furthermore, only 11 percent of them said they plan to buy a modem in the near future. Dan Janal, a New York correspondent for CompuServe's Online Today electronic edition, says at least part of the problem for the depressed (and depressing) sales may be a lack of consumer understanding of modems. Carl Gritzmaker, president of modem-maker Migent, says, "It's a question of educating consumers and a question of the variety of sources of information available to consumers over the phone lines. The modem will become essential as consumers do more banking and paying bills by phone with new vertical market software programs. "One of the reasons there's a lack of penetration of modems is the disproportionate price between a modem and the PC system." Maybe so. Certainly gives us something to reflect upon... ---------------- BUSINESS BRIEFS: ---------------- -- US Sprint Communications Co. will move control of its planned 2,000-mile transcontinental fiber optic network to the Kansas City area from Atlanta. It will set up a telemarketing operation in Lenexa, Kan., creating 260 jobs this year. -- GTE Communications Systems Corp. and Fujitsu America Inc. will work together to develop voice and data business communications systems through a new company called Fujitsu GTE Business Systems Inc. Its product line in the beginning will include the Omni Series and the GTD-4600 digital PABXs and the SBCS and Starlog digital Hybrid KTS/PABX systems. -- Pacific Bell's "Project Victoria," the experiment in multiple voice and data transmissions on a single line, is ready for its second round of tests, as soon as the FCC gives its go-ahead. Michael Eastwood, director of PacBell's new network applications, says that this time the system will be tried out in the "residential market," including such things as meter reading, interactive TV, alarm services and electronic university and shopping services. ------------------------------------- ZMAG PRODUCT REVIEW BOARD ....DataRetrieve for the ST........ ------------------------------------- I just recently made what turned out to be a very wise purchase. Having wanted a filing system for research notes for some time, I finally invested in DataRetrieve by Abacus Software. My only experience with databases previous to this was on the Apple, and I must say, working with the ST and DataRetrieve is a far cry from that. For one thing, DataRetrieve's files can be quite large - up to 64k characters. For me that means I am able to set up files that will store long quotations. DataRetrieve saves these files on the disk dynamically, which I guess means that it does not save the empty spaces you do not use. The long and short of it is I can save the equivalent of over 250 3x5 note cards filled with information, publisher, author, quotes, page number, etc. on a single 350k disk. And the best thing is that DataRetrieve is compatible with a ram disk (which it comes with) so that searching and file manipulation takes seconds. Besides all this, DataRetrieve has lots of bells and whistles: You can create your own masks on the screen so you actually enter the data in a nicely designed form, with 6 different fonts. More importantly, you can set up printer forms that allow you to print out reports in almost any form, including form letters, multicolumned reports, 3x5 note cards, roledex cards, and so on. All of this involves some very sophisticated logic. Thus, another plus is that DataRetrieve is entirely Gem and mouse-driven-- to set up forms you just draw boxes (the commands are echoed on the keyboard). To flip through the files you simply click the mouse on the appropriate token. And it is all clearly and intuitively organized so that a novice (like me) can set up a filing system with little or no difficulty. But the best thing about DataRetrieve, the reason why I got it, is the price. It lists for $49, and you can get it mailorder for about $33. So if you are in the market for an inexpensive yet powerful database/filing system, check out Datatrieve! --Philip Pennie _____________________________________ Xx ZMAG PANORAMA ...What's New in Coin-Ops............ ------------------------------------- By Steve Godun Zmag Special Correspondent Let's go on an imaginary trip to the local video arcade. WHAT?? You haven't been to an arcade in HOW LONG?? Well, hold on to your hats; several new HOT video games are waiting to steal your quarters... Our first stop is at Atari's latest coin-op titled "Rolling Thunder". Just like previous Atari hits ("Gauntlet", "Paperboy", and "720", for example), this one uses the power of an Atari ST for its graphics and speed. Full color animation, smooth right-to-left scrolling, and fast action make this the next hit from Atari. In the guise of a super spy-type person, your mission is to move through several levels of dangers while avoiding all bad deeds. On your side is your cunning, speed, agility, and an occasional visit to a weapons or ammo storehouse. Working against you is strength (it's not that hard to become weaker), numerous baddies, and several sharpshooting villans. And did I mention the little things like traps and hiding thugs? This baby is sure to snatch up a few bucks... On our next stop is a not-so-new (but also not-so-widespread) game called "Outrun". In this game, you're driving a Ferrari (that's what it looks like) convertible in a race against time. Sound like a popular Atari racing game? It plays a lot like it. The graphics are quite stunning, especially the fast-moving scenery and the multiple car styles you pass (or pass you) such as the familiar Porsche and Volkswagen Beetle styles. You can even choose between three musical melodies played while you travel! But the real standout of "Outrun" is the reality element involved. Before I explain that, I should tell you that "Outrun" comes in two styles; the stand-up cabinet version (costing between .25 and .50 per game) and the sit-down full-car version (costing between .75 and $1 per game). When playing the stand-up version, you may occasionally be surprised to find the steering wheel SHAKING IN YOUR HANDS! This happens during a collision or running off the road. The designers of the game should be given extra points for that! The sit-down game is even better; The ENTIRE SEAT (mounted in a car body, of course) MOVES WITH YOUR STEERING! The whole thing is very realistic - all you need now is a fan blowing in your face. Collisions cause the car (with you in it) to shake violently. This is NOT a game for the weak-stomached. Our final stop (for today) is at "Contra", Konami's newest entry in the coin-op world. Set as a freedom fighter-type person, you (and/or you and a friend - this can be played with two players at once) jump, flip, shoot, swim, and duck your way through a right-to-left scrolling screen while torching or blasting automated defense stations, weapon-bearing bad guys, and various traps and bombs. Hence, all hope is not lost! Along the way, you'll find helpful goodies (more powerful weapons) to increase your chance for survival. Among the better ones are a laser beam weapon, a flame thrower, and what I like to call the "scatter-shot cannon". The first two are your standard variations of the common rifle, but the last one is really great. Fire it, and your shot(s) spin in a spiral pattern devastating everything in its path. More fun than a hand grenade without the safety pin... -Steve Godun PS: If you ever see the initials "TRS" or "KID" on an arcade hi-score screen, that's me. ----------------------------------- Xx ZMAG COLUMNIST ....Plent's Page................... ----------------------------------- Eric Plent Zmag Columnist Mail order is probably the best way to get good prices on hardware and software. The down side to this is that there is sometimes a long wait. Not always, but sometimes. While I have not used mail order that often, I know that most mail order software companies pride themselves on quick service. This was not the case with Carina Software Systems. I placed an order for their BBS system around the middle of Feburary. Three weeks later I still didn't have the software in hand. I called the voice number printed in the ad, but could never get an answer no matter what time I called. I finally gave up on it. I found the number for the Carina BBS and gave it a call. Guess what the first thing I saw was? "Please do NOT use this BBS to ask questions about orders. Use the voice number for all ordering questions". Helpful, 'eh? I dropped them a Feedback letter asking where my order was. Two days later I had the software (which was postmarked the day I called the BBS). The whole point here is don't be afraid to call mail order places about orders. I know some people would have waited longer, but I am not the type that likes to wait for anything longer than I have to. I am not putting Carina Software Systems down. They seem to be a very good outfit, and I like their software very much, but I, as I said, hate to wait. Trenton Computer Festival 1987 ------------------------------- WOW!! My head is still spinning from this show! I know many of you have probably been there, and have had mixed feelings about it, but for me it was great! This was my first time there, and I really didn't know what to expect. I had heard stories about it from friends--stories about great deals on hardware and software for all types of computers. It's TRUE!! Ok...rather than let my emotions get the best of me, let me report on some of the things I saw at this year's show. Spread in buildings all over the Trenton State campus were workshops and demos of some the following: Computer User Group Displays Packet Radio Non-Commercial Exhibits Commercial Exhibits Hands-on workshops The GEnie Information Service The CompuServe Information Service BYTE Magazine's BIX Service And then there was the flea market. This is the place where all the REAL deals are. For example, at one table there were 30 Megabyte hard drives (complete w/controller and pwsupply) going for $389. I kicked myself for not having the money right there. Ah well..I didn't really want a hard drive anyway, did I? Going up and down the rows of tables I saw whole computer systems for $100. Keyboards for $10, CB radios (which I bought) for $10, chips everywhere (I could have bought a 68000 microprocessor for $1) and computer books on every subject imaginable. Most vendors in the fleamarket area were willing to deal and the best buys came late in the day as dealers dropped prices rather than take unsold merchandise home with them. Admission was $7. for adults, and $3 for students. I found it well worth the price and urge you to attend next year's festival. --Eric Plent ----------------------------------- Zmagazine #48 April 20, 1987 Please Contribute.................. -----------------------------------
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