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Despite the high price in comparison to the 8-bit computers that dominated the European home computer market, the power of the ST allowed for some impressive looking games to be created. And, as every snotty-nosed schoolboy knows, good games means sales.

With the only real competition being the hugely expensive Amiga A1000, the ST had the run of the 16-bit market. All this began to change in 1987 when Commodore announced the low-cost Amiga A500 – an aggressive move on Commodore’s part which began to erode the ST’s market share.

The Games

Although the ST was the dominant 16bit machine for a relatively short period of time, a number of classic games were released for the format, including high profile games from Core Design, Bullfrog, the Bitmap Brothers and Llamasoft.

Star Raiders
Doug Neubauer’s classic space combat game originated on the Atari 400/800, with later conversions to a variety of Atari consoles and computers.

People

Jeff Minter/Llamasoft

Jeff Minter released a number of top-notch Atari ST titles, including Super Gridrunner, Defender ][ and Colourspace.

The Bitmap Brothers

The Bitmap Brothers released a number of huge hits for the Atari ST.

Major events

1985
UK release of the 520ST, £750
1990
UK 1040ST bundle released for £499, including free applications and creativity software

Emulators

Mac OS X

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iOS

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OUYA/Android

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Features

520 ST/1040 ST

8MHz Motorola 68000 processor
512KB RAM in the 520 ST, 1MB in the 1040 ST
Graphics: 512 colour palette, maximum 16 colours in 320×200 mode, 4 colours in 640×200, mono in 640×400
Sound: Yamaha YM2149 3-voice soundchip
Built-in single-sided 3.5″ floppy disk drive (STs branded as STF and STFM features a double-sided drive)
520/1040 STM and 520/1040 STFM featured a built-in modulator that allowed the ST to be used with a regular TV instead of a monitor
520 STE featured a double-sided drive, built-in modulator and improved graphics and sound

Mega ST

8MHz Motorola 68000 processor
1MB RAM (2MB in the MEGA2, 4MB in the MEGA4)
Professional case with separate keyboard

STacy

Portable (but at over 7kg, it’ll stretch your arms)
8MHz Motorola 68000 processor
9″ 640×400 mono display

ST Book

Laptop
8MHz Motorola 68000 processor
640×400 mono display

Atari TT030/Falcon 030

Motorola 68030 processor