This blog post is due to the fact I was just reanimating my Atari 2080ST, which triggered lots of memories I urgently needed to write down… so here we go:
Yes, the 1st proper (i.e. not soldered) computer I owned was a C64… I loved it, really. I loved it for 3 years… and seriously dreamt about getting an C128D – until I’ve read the fist reports about that Atari 260ST.
I was hooked just by the specs on paper. For me it looked like a Macintosh but with a realistic chance to own one some fine day.
Actually there was a day in the beginning of 1985 when I sat with Heinrich-Hermann Huth, (one of the founders of later Application System Heidelberg, ASH for short) discussing what’s the best upcoming computer. He was 100% Commodore 128… until I started my Atari ST anthem.
Around June or July, he invited me to his parents house to “show me something exciting”. There it was, one of the first STs in Germany, serial number 6, directly picked-up at Frankfurt airport. TOS came on an awesome 3.5″ floppy, the included Basic was slow as hell and the the Digital Research SDK left me puzzled. C? Compiler? Linker?
It became clear that I have to learn a lot to be worthy for such a serious system.
Looking back I wonder if ASH would ever been founded without my evangelism 😉
So in early 1986 it was my turn: My Confirmation. This is a big deal over here and the most “profitable” observance. While the standard wish of kids in these days were big stereos, mine was clear.
Thanks to perfect timing, the 520ST just became 520ST+ and now had a whopping megabyte… it was heaven.
Just about that time, Application Systems Heidelberg was founded… in the child’s room of Heinrich-Herrmann, who somehow managed to get the exclusive distribution rights of Megamax C for Germany.
This proved to be a lucky pick, because the ST was taking the German market by storm and there was no good SDK available. So magazine ads were needed and I was the only one who had a design talent. This was my first design made with my brand new 520+:
Mind the small pencil in the lower left corner. In German, that’s a “Stift”, which is also slang for “apprentice” – which was me 😆
There’s even an article about this ad in the german ST-Computer magazine over here (pg. 7/8). Quote:
Doch selbst der SoftwareGigant aus Heidelberg fing klein an: Auf einer Viertelseite bewarb die Firma in der Ausgabe 0708/1986 das Megamax C Entwicklungssystem, gestaltet wurde die Anzeige mit der Systemschrift und den Füllmustern des STs.
Which translates into “Even the software giant from Heidelberg started out small: In issue 07-08/1986 the company advertised the Megamax-C SDK on a quarter-page, designed using system fonts and the fill-patterns of the ST“.
Yeah, that’s all true. And “The Stift” was payed for this and other ads by being allowed to keep the glorious Citizen MSP-20 9-needle printer.
In the following years I spend my time mostly in 3 places: In school because I had to, at home in front of my Atari ST or in the ASH office because it was just so cool. During these days I did many thing for them:
- Packed so many, many, many Megamax, Signum! and STAD boxes, labeled 100s of floppy-disks (was payed in M&M currency)
- Some levels for Oxyd, Bolo and Esprit.
- Some Signum! Fonts (forgot which ones, but they were in the 1st 251-Fonts book)
- Phoenix Ornitho Database (containing samples of each bird singing)
- The cartoon on the last page of their in-house magazine. Was quite a fancy oversized, glossy thing.
- Probably 10 other things I forgot…
Icons and Infobox for Script v1
Boy – this was definitely one of the top-5 times of my life. Thanks for this H3, Volker, Ojo (always in my heart), Karen (my heart ;)), Oili, Thomas and all the other great guys’n’gals from back then! Love y’all!
3 thoughts on “Atari, my love.”
I’ve been looking for the Atari ST Megamax C compiler for a very long time:
I have version 1.0 and 1.1 but I know I need another version (possible 1.2 or maybe a variant of 1.1, different but with the same version number).
Would you still have floppy disks of Megamax C? or know someone who may?
My dear Ex-Stift Axel,
some of your memories appear a little bit fuzzy to me. I can’t remember, that brought the ST into my life but I don’t want to destroy you romantic script.
Thank you for not forgetting these times and us! I sent you a friendship request on FB and would be happy to hear from you.
H3 (you find me by Google if you want)
Hey H3! Good to see you’re alive and kicking! (Looks like someone did some self-googling :-P)
Well the script might be romantic, maybe nostalgic, but not romanticized…
If I dig deep enough, I will find the DATA WELT issue which I used to talk you into looking at the ST while you were thinking about getting a C128. And the “Stift” was coined by you, that’s a fact 😉