You know you've been too long in the Atari scene when....
Do you get the feeling that we might have been hanging around for a very
long time in this particular corner of the scene? I'm sure that some of the
things on the lists below will strike a chord with you, and it's not just me
making this stuff up, help me out here please ;-)
You never really got the hang of hard disk sizes in gigabytes. It was
something that came along with bloatware on newer machines.
Or the fact that programs for fairly simple applications now take up several
megabytes on modern computers.
Things were better in the olden days, summers were long and hot, and your
monitor output was bright and cheery. You shout at people who disagree with
that firmly held view, and wave your walking stick about a bit.
You find GEM applications more and more appealing, the older and narrower
your brain's blood vessels get. (This is called creeping dadness syndrome!)
One of the first things you look for when getting a new more modern system,
is a good Atari ST emulator. And you make a serious effort to ignore its
quirks if it is still a work in progress and the only decent option
In unguarded moments, you get stupidly nostalgic about the ticking sound of
your floppy drive when it was loading files. In reality, you vastly prefer
the ease and convenience of loading .msa images off a CD-Rom file collection
into an emulator.
You have a detailed history of the Atari demo scene in your head, and you
subdivide it into periods distinguished by effect type, for example, 1993-5
the years of poly texture mapping with the first Boris Vallejo picture to
hand, or 1998-2000 being the era of endless texture tunnels in demos.
You have spent the last fifteen years of your life arguing that "The scene
is dying!" In reality, you would be a very very lonely bunny if that were
You have a personal favourite soundchip musician, and have passionate
debates with your fellow sceners about their different merits.
One of your fondest memories is the first time you heard a new soundchip
technique, in my case the Legacy Middle Earth tune by Jess was my first ST-
SID sound. On reflection, that may have been the famous Scavenger DBA 6
intro tune. The Middle Earth zik was more 'special' in my mind though, as my
first hearing of it was a communal experience at the Wellingborough computer
club, with a small band of the real fanatics appreciating the significance
of that moment.
You decry remixes of famous soundchip tunes that get over-elaborate and too
far away from the source material.
You still find it in yourself to get shirty with an Amiga dude who
disparages YM chipsound. This goes double for those who complain in a
twattish fashion on Nectarine.
You think that acres of mp3 files of pristine unaltered YM tunes are a
perfectly good usage of hard disk space.
You jump for joy when a new chiptracker is released, even knowing full well
you will have little or no time to actually use it.
You actually brought TCB tracker at full price back in 1990, and made
something on it. Listening back on it now, you are too embarrassed to share
the results with the rest of the world!
The 'iPod in your head' contains at least 50% soundchip music. You find it
comes in very handy to suppress any crappy boyband music that bleats onto
the radio without your consent! (At this moment of writing, Scavenger DBA 6
intro tune, thanks for asking!)
The iPod in your pocket contains at least 50% soundchip music. You find it
comes in very handy to suppress any crapness coming from the outside world,
tune out irate spouses, bosses etc.
On a cultural day out appreciating high art, you look at a famous picture or
painting, you seriously consider how it could be reduced to sixteen colours
and a 320 x 200 resolution.
The person you are with at that same art gallery is a fellow ST graphician,
and you both get thrown out for fiercely arguing the merits of applying a
512 colour ST palette against a 4096 colour STe one.
You look at an awesome real-life landscape on the holiday of a lifetime eg.
The Grand Canyon, and wonder how it would look in chunky pixels?
You have a favourite oldschool art package, and firmly held views as to why
it is the best.
You are motivated to code your own YM zik player on the Peecee, feeling that
all the others somehow still don't quite get it right.
You find yourself disparaging new releases which demand more than default
hardware saying "I could do that in 16mhz/4mb/1mb!" (delete as applicable.)
But strangely enough, you don't!
You disparage 'new school' Chunky to planar 3D and techniques running in
rather more than 1 vbl for ST, for this is killing the true spirit of the
scene, but admire these same techniques on the Atari XL.
You think that 128 byte-tro's are sloppy and elephantine coding. (Sorry, I
meant that one for the Vic 20 Scener FAQ!)
You are an oldschooler who hasn't actively coded on Atari for a decade, you
find yourself at a recent demo party, watch the current generation of kewl
prods onscreen, all done on a bleeding edge peecee. You then work out in
your head how it can be done on a standard STFM, but not a single line of
code will leave your fingers!
You try to read back on some of your early source code, and give up in
disgust on the unholy tangled and uncommented mess!
Following on from the previous item, you spend more time cleaning up old
source code, prior to releasing it to the public domain, than you ever did
coding the original project!
When you're dribbling, smelling of wee, and being measured up for a
residental care home, you make your choice on the number of available power
sockets in the rooms.
The hardest and most thought-provoking part of making your will, is in
deciding who to leave the Atari kit to!
You request that the B-B-Bittner rap fron 'Life's a Bitch' is played at your
Your other final request is "Bury me in a diskbox-shaped coffin!"
And your memorial stone has the legend "Not dead, merely rebooting" engraved
Ok, so that really is it!
CiH, for Alive! Mag, Sept '05