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Atari Connexion Report

        I heard about the AC some years ago at the E-JagFest. Then I met 
        Arethius, one of last years organizers at the JagFest UK, and I 
        had the chance to see all the photos from the previous parties, 
        when the event was still called Jaguar Connexion. In the past 
        nobody wanted to join me to travel to France, but this year 
        there were more than enough people, so it was about time to 
        travel to the land of baguette, cheese and vine. I haven't been 
        there since the JEM 98, so I guess it was really overdue.

        I am not sure why nobody from the non-French Atari scene seemed
        interested in the Jaguar Connexion parties. Perhaps because it
        was mainly known as a gaming event, maybe the French ATARI
        sceners should have advertised it a bit more. In the end Lotek
        Style and twh teamed up with me, and due to some funny
        discussions at dhs Cooper / Paradize decided to join us too.

Wiesbaden, Germany
Friday, 21th of April 2006

        At 17'30 o'clock I managed to leave my home. This time packing
        was extremely easy, since everything was still boxed from my
        travel to noise, 4 days ago.

Karlsruhe, Germany
Friday, 21th of April 2006

        This time, no traffic, just relaxed driving, and in the end I
        had to wait 40 minutes until twh arrived at the main station in
        Karlsruhe. I want a traffic jam again!!!

Bellheim, Germany
Friday, 21th of April 2006

        Half an hour later, we arrived at Lotek Style's place in
        Bellheim. After watching a funny movie about some local
        musicians we went to Germersheim, the next bigger city, to have
        some food at a McD. On the way back Cooper gave us a call, so
        everything was prepared. Ok we had no French socket adapter, but
        no risk no fun.

Bellheim, Germany
Saturday, 22th of April 2006

        We woke up at 5 AM and Lotek wasn't really happy about that, but
        we wanted to arrive around noon at the Party, and we still had
        lots of km to kill. Nothing special happened, because we are
        trained party professionals, so finally we left for France.

Near of Strassbourg, France
Saturday, 22th of April 2006

        We had our first impression of French highway rip off, erm toll.
        The first three Euros were gone. At least the the highway was in
        much better condition than the free one to Strasbourg.

Toul, France
Saturday, 22th of April 2006

        When we made our travel plans, Cooper told us, it will be very
        easy to find the McD in Toul, where we arranged to pick him up.
        What can I say? It was everything but easy. We had already left
        the town, when we turned and found the McD by accident.  As you
        can guess we picked up Cooper thanks to his help, we easily
        found our way to the Party.

        The trip went from one toll station to the next. When we finally
        arrived in Congis sur Therouanne we had wasted 21 Euro.

        During the ride, we found out, that the motto of the party will
        be "I disagree". Lotek, twh and me argued a lot on various
        topics without finding any conclusions. Cooper must have got the
        feeling, that we are married to each other for an eternity :-)

Congis s. T., France
Saturday, 22th of April 2006

        At about 2 PM we finally arrived at the party. The location was
        nice and so was the weather. After paying the entrance fee of 30
        EUR, the organizers marked our names, gave us a batch, and
        nestled inside a box, which was hidden under the table. Much to
        our surprise we were each given a brand new Jaguar CD game, what
        a cool start :). I'm sure you could sell the game for more than
        30 Euros on EBay if you wanted to! The game was called Atomix
        and is a conversion of the old ST classic Atomix.  The graphics
        are taken from the Linux port from what I heard. I think it's
        pretty cool, to release a new game this way instead of selling
        it for lots of money, which means only hardcore collectors would
        buy it.

        Atari Connexion seemed to be an "all inclusive event". The next
        surprise was the delicious food which was offered to us for
        free. Baguettes, salad and cold sausages were served. All this
        made a very good first impression and provided high spirits

        After checking the buffet I installed my equipment, and found
        out, that I had forgotten to organise something to drink. Twh
        came around with Arthur (Bitman) a guy from Poland who lives in
        France and we decided to go shopping into the village. On our
        way to a local shop we found out that English talking, strange
        looking people were really fascinating for the youth of the
        village. However it turned out that the shop was closed, so we
        entered the car and drove to the next village, to visit a
        supermarket. Twh and Bitman bought some beer, which twh put in
        the fridge for later.

        A bit later we wondered about the popularity of the brand of
        beer which twh had chosen. It seemed everybody was drinking the
        same stuff, until we learned that it was a public fridge. All
        visitors were invited to grab their drinks from it for free.
        This was a bit sad for twh, since he bought the beer but none
        was left for him, when he fetched the last one for me :-) To
        ease his pain a bit I shared it with him :).

        A bit later the Organisers started a quiz game, but
        unfortunately my French wasn't good enough to understand the
        questions. Cooper translated them for me, but the questions
        about ATARI history were really hard. Well, at least I knew that
        Steve Bak programmed "Return to Genesis".

        After the Atari quiz a Warlords contest on the VCS started, but
        we arrived too late, so we missed the qualification. Damned,
        perhaps next Time!

        The next event was a presentation of the Jaguar Compact Flash
        Cartridge by SCPCD. He showed a movie which was stored on the CF
        and played by the Jaguar. It was very interesting, but I didn't
        understand anything, since it was in French :-)

        In the meanwhile we heard that the current owner of the ATARI
        brand had sent a letter to the organizers, which explicitly
        forbid them to use the name Atari Connexion. This meant all
        advertisement posters had to be changed by blackening the word
        ATARI. In my opinion it's a real shame for ATARI. Of course the
        name is protected, but it would have been much more intelligent
        for ATARI to come around, build up a stand and participate on
        the Party. Maybe next time, I don't give up in believing in
        human intelligence :-)

        Because twh was travelling by train in Germany, he didn't carry
        his equipment. I brought a monitor and Lotek his 800 XL for him.
        At the party, we found out, that the keyboard of the 800 XL was
        broken, so twh had something to repair. Drinking beer and
        repairing Computers is a good combination. While twh was
        repairing the XL, Lotek was speaking with DMA-SC, Frost, Cooper,
        GT Turbo and other sceners.

        In the meantime I installed the equipment to play
        "Grenzueberschreitung" (two team taps and eight JagPads) and I
        also managed to attract eight players. In the end about 15
        people played the game, and I hope they enjoyed it. I got some
        good enhancement requests (colour chooser, border) but first I
        have to fix the damned bug in the collision routine.

        Rodolphe Czuba, who was also present at the party was quite busy
        with talking and since he brought his complete (?) equipment, he
        also repaired a lot of computers. Unfortunately he had to leave
        early because of his long journey back to the south of France.

        While playing and talking there were also some competitions
        going on. You could compete in Warlords on the VCS 2600.
        Unfortunately the competition started before we arrived, so we
        couldn't participate anymore, but we were under the impression,
        that it was enjoyed by the people.

        Later there were some demos on the beamer and GT Turbo announced
        Lotek singing "Beams" live on stage ;) In the end Lotek refused
        but both made great fun out of it.

Congis s. T., France
Sunday, 23th of April 2006

        After I woke up, I found out, that something terrible had
        happened during the night. The monitor which I had borrowed to
        twh had broken down. Damn! It was such a nice Philips Monitor
        suitable for all 8 Bit computers. R.I.P.

        Anyway, no time for tears :) because when everybody was finally
        awake, we had to leave already. So, au revoir Congis! It had
        been a very nice party, and I am hoping for a follow up.

        As you can guess the way back to Germany was as expensive as the
        way to Congis. To get rid of Cooper we stopped at the McD in
        Toul again, ordered something to eat while we waited for his
        sister to pick him up. Strangely each of us had to pay other
        prices. It seemed the pricelist was invalid or something :-)
        Anyway Cooper got picked up by his sister, and we continued our
        travel back to Germany.

                                             kRadD for Alive, 2006-04-23

Alive 13