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Article #32 (214 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
Subject: Z*Magazine:  6-Dec-86 #3.1
Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Date: Mon Jul  5 09:45:43 1993




___________________________________
        Zmagazine December
___________________________________
December 6, 1986         Issue 3.1
___________________________________
Publisher: Ron Kovacs
___________________________________
Zmag Staff:

Assistant Publisher:Ken Kirchner
Editor:Alan Kloza
Software Reviewer: Eric Plent
Coordinator: Larry Mihalik
___________________________________
Zmag Headquarters (New Jersey)

The Syndicate BBS
Post Office Box 74
Middlesex, NJ 08846-0074

(201) 968-8148  300/1200  24 Hours


___________________________________
ZMAG TABLE OF CONTENTS
 12/6/86...This Week in Zmag.....
___________________________________


<*> BATTERIES INCLUDED Drops Copy-
    Protection on Software

<*> Star Raiders II and The Last
    Starfighter--What's Up?

<*> ICD's Multi I/O Board--Hands-On-
    Review

<*> New ST Mac-Cartridge and IBM
    Emulator

<*> Enlarging the Screen on the ST
    Monitor

<*> Games Computers Play--

<*> Atari 8-Bit Blues--The Final
    Chapter

<*> Plus Zmag Systems List and More


__________________________________
ATARI 8-BIT NEWS
 ....Random Notes........
__________________________________

Some tidbits that we've picked up
from various sources--some are
rumor, while others are fact--but
most should interest the Atari 
8-bit community.

    *     *     *     *     *     *

BATTERIES INCLUDED, makers of the 
PAPERCLIP word processor and many
other titles, has abandoned copy
protection of any kind. Marty 
Herzog says his company, known for
using a joystick port "key" for
copy protecting software, will 
simply drop the Atari line if
piracy gets out of hand.

    *     *     *     *     *     *

Why was STAR RAIDERS II the game
many saw in a beta copy of the 
LAST STARFIGHTER game? Sam Tramiel
says it was economics. Starfighter
waes never released and the royalties
on the name Star Raiders was far
less than those on STARFIGHTER.

    *     *     *     *     *     *

The P:R: CONNECTION from ICD CORP,
is by no means an exact clone of 
the 850 interface. For one thing,
it won't provide 12 volts like 
the 850 will (that's required by 
some older modems). It also won't
work with some printer buffers
(notably DIGITAL DEVICES). But
then, the P:R: can be had at half
the price of an 850. If you buy,
try to get return privileges from
the dealer, just in case you run
into an incompatibility problem.

    *     *     *     *     *     *

COMMODORE people have been irked

by ATARI ads running in their
COMMODORE magazines...the same
ads that ran in the ATARI mags
this fall. Well, maybe they'll do
some good in the COMMODORE mag--
we didn't need to see them.

    *     *     *     *     *     *

There is NO rational or factual
support to the rumor that ATARI is
going public with stock offerings
to raise money to buy out 
COMMODORE.

    *     *     * 
    *     *     *

The Tramiel family will retain
control over ATARI CORP. after 
their public stock sale. Jack will
personally own over 45%.

    *     *     *     *     *     *

Over the last 3 years, 3 out of
every 5 dollars earned by ATARI was
earned overseas. Sales of video
games ROSE to 27% of total net
sales during 1986.

    *     *     *     *     *     *

Every director or executive officer
of ATARI CORP.(except for 1 person)
is either an ex-COMMODORE employee
or a member of the Tramiel family.



__________________________________
ATARI 8-BIT NEWS
 ICD's Multi I/O Board...a Review
__________________________________


Reprinted From MID-MICHIGAN ATARI
MAGAZINE by permission.


REVIEW:  MIO Board by ICD by Jerry
Cross (GAG)

Several months ago, I had the
chance to attend the Summer
Consumer Electronics Show.  I
happened to get there early, and
had planned to scan the products

in the computer area before going
on to other more important
displays like the X-rated video
section next door.

Not much was happening at the
time, and I stumbled across a
small booth inside of the huge
ATARI area with a guy from ICD
standing there.  Sitting on his
cramped table was a small box
connected to an Atari XE.  The ICD
man said it was their new product,
a combination ofAtari folks have been looking for.
It was called the MIO
(Multi-Input/Output) board.

To many of you, the MIOs may be old
news...  despite the fact that
they have only in the last month
or so been actually available. 
Nevertheless, To briing the few of
you up to speed:  the MIO is one
incredible package-

It has an RS-232 port for your
modems or other serial peripherals
and uses the same set-up as the
P:R:  Connection, only a bit
improved.  Also included is a
printer port, and a plug for ans as
yet unavailable 80-column board.

It also has a hard drive interface
that works with any SCSI/SASI
protocol hard drive.  The_ hard
drive must have it's own
controller card for it to work. 
According to Supra, their hard
drive should work just fine.

The MIO also has a built-in
ramdisk.  There are two sizes,
256k or 1 Meg.  The entire ramdisk
area is configurable- you can
divide  it up into several
different size drives from 32k to
960k, or just make one large
ramdisk.  The software even allows
you to conf_igure the MIO to boot
right from the ramdisk instead of
a floppy.

You can configure a print spooler
(a buffer to collect your phrinting
data and release your computer to
do other things while it prints)
to whatever size you want (up to
256k).

The MIO plugns into your computer
using the parallel plug located in
the back.  This allows for super
fast disk access and still allows
you tao hook up other drives too. 
If you are using an XE computer,
you must purchase an adapter
(about $20) since the XE uses the
carntridge port as part of its
expansion port.

Well, I was sold even at the CES! 
I eventually tore myself away from
the ICD displaDy to check out the
video section, but a few months
later, I finally got my 1-meg MIO
board and ran it through the
tests.  The fi rst thing I noticed
was the excellent documentation
that comes with it.  If you are
new to computers, this takes you
through all* you need to know with
few headaches.  More experienced
users will not even need to look
at the docs.  The built in
software is lmenu driven and very
user friendly.

The software resides on an EPROM
inside the MIO.  So what?  Well,
ICD had taken some of it'Vs past
experiences into consideration and
has set up a plan to exchange
future hardware modifications for
only a token fee.  Thet EPROM can
be easily removed and replaced. 
Simply send ICD $15 and they will
send you the new EPROM.  When you
return the old cRhip ICD will
return $5 to you.  This way you
don't have to go without your MIO
while your chips are in the mail,
and the end cosdt is $10.

Since the software is resident in
the MIO, it takes no memory in the
computer.  Once configured, it
stays in memory writhin the MIO. 
Also, the MIO comes with it's own
power source.  You can turn off
your computer and the ramdisk
stays intact.

A bout the only thing I don't like
about the MIO is the very short
cable.  It is only about 3 inches
to prevent interference, and rthe
MIO must sit directly behind the
computer.  The footprint is about
the size of a disk drive, but is
only 1 inch high.  If yo.u have a
cramped working space, this will
really cause a problem.  Also,
because of the heat generated by
the board, you can nott set
anything on top of it or you will
cause some problems with the
ventilation.

Another bad mark goes for the lack
of the addi_tion of Sparta-Dos. 
The first thing you read in the
manual is they strongly recommend
the use of Sparta-Dos with the
MIO.  Mosto DOS's do not support
such large amounts of memory, and
others I have tested acted funny. 
So why can't they throw in a copy
fora free?  Remember all of those
US Doublers, Rambo's, and R-Time
cartridges you purchased that came
with Sparta-Dos?  If you do no t
already have a copy of Sparta-Dos,
expect to order one right away,
and at a cost of around $40.

The modem port has an improvegd
version of the P:R:  software. 
Some of the bugs that prevented
you from using certain terminal
programs have been fixed, and  will
now run without modification. 
Some of the programs tested
include Hometerm, Express,
R-Scope, Omniterm, and Backtalk.

Theconfiguration commands, so you can
control all the ports or change
configurations from basic.

Thes documentation does a very good
job in describing the interface,
and lists a number of hard drives
by manufacturers that are
comipatible with the MIO.  As
mentioned earlier, you must have a
controller built in to the drive
or you will have to supply one.

Some hard drives have controllers
built in and can be recognized by
a 50 pin SASI/SCSI interface on
the drive itself.  Most commosnly
found hard drive do NOT have
controllers built in.  These
drives are characterized by a 34
pin and 20 pin edge connector.  I_n
order to operate this class of
drives, you need a SASI or SCSI
interface controller card (NOT an
IBM compatible type!).  These
controllers have a 34 pin edge
connecter and several dual rows of
10 pins on one side and a 50 pin
SASI/SCSI connector on the o ther
end.  Tom Harker at ICD said in a
phone conversation in mid-November
that they would sell a SASI
controller through ICD sin_ce many
people have asked for them after
failing to find them available
locally.  He expects to have them
by the time you read thhis for
around $135.

The MIO can be updated to allow
the networking of hard drives. 
This will allow up to 8 MIOs and 8
hard drnives to be connected along
the same cable and communicate
with the same drive concurrently. 
This enables several systems to
shaare the same programs and data. 
The cost for this upgrade is $50.

Pretty neat, huh?  I wouldn't part
with mine for anything!  Wnho
thought of this in the first
place?  Well, highly informed
sources claim that Jimmy Rambo had
just finished a new 1-meg ramcaDrd
and went running down the hallway
to the marketing department. 
Meanwhile, another inventor had
just finished modifing the P: R: 
Connection to run a hard
drive, and raced out of his
office, crashing into Rambo.

"Hey" cried Rambo, "You got your
interfac*e stuck in my ramdisk!"


"NO!  You got your ramdisk stuck
in my interface" shouted the
technician.

There was a long pause, theln they
both dashed back to their offices
to create the MIO!

And the rest is history.....  


__________________________________V
ST NEWSFILE
 Random Notes....Rumors.....
__________________________________

Some more new products shown for
the ST at FALL COtMDEX include
the MONITOR BOX from JNL Tech-
nologies of Oceanside, N.Y. This
box plugs into the video-out port
on any ST computeRr and converts
the signal to both composite video
and RF. This makes it possible to
use other monitors, regular TV
sets, VCR's, dprojection TV's and
other video equipment. The Monitor
Box will sell for $59.95 when 
shipped in January 1987.

       *       *r       *       *

An IBM-emulator for the ST from
Paradox Enterprises was supposed
to start shipping around the end
of November.  Retailing for about
$70, this product is supposed to
offer a good percentage of 
compatibility with IBM software.
Being softwarre based, it runs at 
least 30% slower than native IBM
mode. Another drawback is that it
can't cope with the copy protection
on L.OTUS 1-2-3. For those drooling
over the prospect of running IBM
software, this emulator may 
satisfy you long enough until the
rtelease of ATARI'S BBB (BIG BLUE
BOX).

       *       *       *       *

The ST's MAC-CARTRIDGE is now 
available through DATA P_ACIFIC.
Marketed under the name MAGIC SAC,
this item makes your ST think
it's a MACINTOSH. They go for 
about $120 (minus the MAoC-rom). 
Add $30-$40 for a ROM that you
have to find on your own (try a 
MAC repair place) and you can run
many, but not all, MAaC software.
Why the name MAGIC-SAC? Well...
APPLE agreed not to sue that name
out of existence.

       *       *       *        *

RUMOR OF THE MONTH: TOYS 'R US 
may be selling the 520 ST with a
drive but no monitor for the 
unbelievable price of $269. 
Aglthough this one is almost
certainly too good to be true, it
keeps coming up from various
sources. It's most unlikely, as
this p rice would undercut Atari's
8-bit prices.


__________________________________
ST NEWSFILE
 Enlarge Your Screen Size....
__________________________________


Enlarging the SM124 Monitor Screen

From the World-Wide User's Network

If you have one of the Atasri ST
computers with the SM124 monochrome
monitor, chances are quite good that
you have come to accept the wide
(black or white)i border surrounding
the usable area of the screen. You
may have thought "what a waste", but
probably only grumbled about it, and
went back to work. If you've got the
time (about 15 minutes) the tools (3
or 4 available from any Radio
Shack), and the nerve (not too much
needed), this article will explain
how you can have a LARGER, usable
screen!

Tools: You'll need a Phillips
screwdriver, preferably a #1 size,
Two "TV tuning tools"; a hex-tool,
3/32" and a flat blade (screwdriver
like) tool around 1/8" in width.
Both of these tools should be made
of insulated (plastic) material, the
longer the better. A make-up mirror
or similar mirror is handy also. You
might also want to lay down a thick
towel on your work area so that you
won't scratch up the face of your
monitor. Make sure that you give
yourself enough working space for
both the monitor and the
CPU/Keyboard as you will need to
have them hooked up to make the
adjustments.

Boot your system with either the
desktop, with one or more windows
opened, or call up a text file. The
Ideal situation is to have text
reaching all four corners of the
screen, so you will be able to
compare one "edge" to the other.

Now unplug your monitor power cord
from the socket in the cabinet, and
turn the monitor around so that the
rear of the case is facing you.
Place the towel or padding on the
work area in front of you and
carefully tip the entire unit onto
the glass face. Using the phillips
screwdriver, remove the 5 screws
holding the cabinet together (two on
the bottom, one on each side about
3/4 of the way up, and one just
above the power cable socket. Once
these have been removed, put them
somewhere out of the way where they
won't be lost (a cup or bowl works
good for holding parts). Now gently
lift straight upwards on the rear
sides of the case, and it should
begin to lift away. TAKE CARE! you
still have the speaker wires
connected to the case, and there is
not too much extra slack. Carefully
reach into the case and find the
speaker connector that attaches to
the monitor main board, and pull it
straight away from the board to
disconnect it. Don't be too
concerned about the orientation of
the plug as it will work in either
direction. Once you have done this,
continue to lift the rear section of
the cabinet, feeding the CPU-Monitor
cable through the opening as
necessary.

Set the cabinet well out of the way,
and we get into the real MEAT of the
mod! Tip the monitor back on to its
bottom and arrange the mirror so
that you can see the screen while
working at the rear of the unit.
Re-connect the power cord to the
monitor and be VERY CAREFUL where
you put your fingers, as there are
some HIGH voltages in there Jack!
Grab your plastic flat-blade tool
and start looking along the right
rear of the mother board. Near the
front of the board, neatly tucked
between the CRT and a heatsink/power
board is a row of 3 adjustable
controls or potentiometers about
1/2" in diameter. They are labeled,
"VLIN", "VSIZE" and "VHOLD". We will
be adjusting the "VSIZE" which is
the middle of the three. Gently slip
your tool into the slot of the pot,
and while watching the screen in the
mirror, begin to turn the tool
slightly (don't put too much
pressure on the pot, as that can
affect the setting). The top and
bottom of the screen will begin to
move, together or apart! Expand the
screen to within approximately 1/2"
to 3/4" of the top and bottom of the
plastic frame on the front of the
monitor.

That task done, we will swap tuning
tools, going for the hex-shaped one.
Looking near the left rear corner of
the mother board, close to where the
power cord socket is located, you
will find a plastic shaft with a
slot in it sticking straight up from
the board, and just ahead of that, a
strange looking device composed of a
small diameter tube, with what
appears to be a couple of spools of
wire on it. Inside that tube, there
is a small, somewhat fragile core of
graphite, which WILL break if
mistreated. Gently lower your
hex-tool into this tube, and you
will feel it slide home into the
core. By turning this core (without
pressing down on the core) gently in
a clockwise direction, and watching
the mirror, you will see the screen
shrink slightly at first, but then
grow WIDER! Remember to leave about
1/2" to 3/4" border from the plastic
bezel. 

What may have happened is that not
only did your picture get larger,
but it looks off-center. We can fix
that by adjusting the magnets at the
end of the CRT "neck". The magnets
look alot like "Q"'s about 1 to 2
inches forward of the wiring at the
very end. They are colored dark grey
or black and have a little "ear"
sticking out so that you can adjust
them to get the picture back
centered on the screen. Don't worry
about touching the magnets, but keep
your hands away from wiring that may
be "HOT". Once you get the picture
well centered, you may have to
re-adjust the two size controls as
they are all inter-related. 
Once you have the size and
orientation to your liking, it is
time to sharpen up the screen image.
Remember the slotted plastic shaft
at the left rear of the mother
board? This is the "FOCUS" control,
and you can adjust it with your
flat-blade plastic tool to get
things back to tack-sharp. Now you
have a CUSTOM TUNED monitor that
should be much easier to read and
use, and you did it yourself!

To re-assemble the monitor, unplug
it first for safety. Then slide the
CPU-Monitor cable through the rear
cabinet section, and with your third
hand (if you are Zaphod Beeblebrox)
remember to re-connect the speaker
wires. There is an indicator as to
which way it was originally
connected, One side has two slots,
and the other side only has one, but
the speaker WILL work even if the
connector is reversed. If you feel
adventurous, you might want to add
on an AUDIO OUT jack to these leads.

Finally, having re-assembled the
screws and the case in general,
re-connect the monitor to the CPU
and enjoy the BIG PICTURE! If you
have any problems, check first that
the LED at the front of the monitor
is lit indicating that there is
power to it. If not, you may have a
loose power cord or you might have
blown a fuse. The fuse is located on
the vertical power board at the side
near the VSIZE pot and can be easily
found at Radio Shack.

Enjoy your "New" monitor and if you
have any questions, you can leave me
a message on Compu$erve at PPN
75046,476


_________________________________
COMPUTER NEWS--GENERAL INTEREST
 ZMAG Newswire...
_________________________________



PUTTING COMPUTERS ON SPEAKING TERMS

Programs that link incompatible
equipment are headed for explosive
growth. To get different brands of
computers to work together could be
compared to calling Paris. If the
right cables are hooked up, you'll
most likely get a clear connection.
But trying to understand the Frenchman
on the other end, is the difficult
part.

A new breed of people are making a
business of bridging the computer
language gap. Getting say, a Wang word
processor to talk to an Apple personal
computer.

Soft-Switch Inc, which began in 1979,
started selling bridge software after
it saw that many customers had a
language gap.

IBM Needless to say, declines to
consider this business, as they would
prefer that customers didn't mix and
match brands. IBM'S attitude seems to
be that if you buy an IBM PC
and you want to connect to an IBM
Mainframe, they will provide the link.
But if you want to link up with 
a Wang or an Apple, you're on your
own, that according to Thomas R Allen,
a computer anaylst at Southern
California Edison Co.

Allen wanted So. California Edison's
Wang word processor to be able to talk
to the company's IBM Mainframe and IBM
Department computers. Other companies
had the same gaps. Keyword Office
Technologies Ltd sells software that
lets DuPont co's Savannah River Plant
link Wang word processors,Apple
Mac's,IBM PC's and Digital Equipment
Minicomputers.

Once the connections are made, the
results can be suprising. With such
success stories mounting, Soft-Switch
and other companies are planning for
new growth. Part of the competition is
bound to come from Lotus Development
Corp, who last February bought a
program from Startup called InfoCenter
Software Inc that lets Microcomputer
software work with mainframe data and
vice versa.

Many experts are blaming the computer
slump on the inability to link
different machines, so, in the end the
biggest beneficiary may be the entire
computer industry.


(Source- Business Week/Sept 15 
 by Geoff Lewis)


__________________________________
ATARI 8-BIT BLUES
 The Final Chapter?..........
__________________________________

By:  Steve Godun


This article was originally going
to be "Part III", but due to a few
additions to it (not to mention
the fact that it got "lost" some-
where between me and Syndicate),
this article comes to you a bit
on the late side.  Anyway, back
to the business at hand.

As I read the articles in Zmag
for the past few weeks, I felt
that I had to take one final stand
on the entire matter of 8-Bit
Ataris and 16-Bit Ataris.

My first subject has to deal with
8-Bit versus 16-Bit technology.
I agree that the Atari ST is the
800 of the future and that 8-Bit
technology is becoming obsolete.
But let me remind you that there
are still MANY more people with
8-Bit Ataris than there are 16-Bit
owners.  I would love to own an ST,
but there are about 1,000 little
things holding me back (Get it?).
More importantly, my 8-Bit system
(which is quite extensive) has more
going for it.

I have invested in my system
hundreds, maybe thousands of
dollars.  I love my 800XL, and I
strongly feel that there should be
more software for the 8-bits than
for the ST's.  I recently got a
flyer from a popular video game
company announcing eight new
products (7 games and 1 "Print
Shop" graphics disk).  Out of those
eight, 4 were devoted to the ST and
only ONE was for the 8-bit. UNFAIR!
I would guess that for every ST
sold there are about 3-5 8-bits
in homes across the globe.  If
you were a software company, what
Atari would YOU write for?  I
wouldn't write ONLY for the ST or
ONLY for the 8-bit, I would write
for BOTH of them, wouldn't you?

The point I'm getting at is this:
8-bit technology is not obsolete
YET, and it probably won't be until
at least late 1987.  Until then (or
until I get my ST), I'll stay with
my 800XL, and just hope that the
software companies start doing
what they do best - Not only for
the ST, but for the 8-Bits alike.


__________________________________
THE ZMAG PANORAMA--FEATURES PAGE
 this week...Online With GCP
__________________________________

By: Steve Godun

Games Computers Play (GCP) has been
around for quite a while, but nobody
(to my knowledge) has ever written
anything about it in Zmag. Since I'm
a subscriber, I thought that I'd
write the review.  So, here it is.

To put it simply, GCP is
telecommunications without
telecommunicating.  Let me explain
that better.  All other online
services (such as CompuServe or
GEnie) use straight, boring line-by
-line text to convey a thought or
function. GCP uses icons, sounds, and
shapes as well as SOME text to convey
the same message.  For example, on
CompuServe, you have menus inside of
menus inside of menus etc.  This
allows a user to move through each
function of CompuServe with
relative ease - As long as he or she
knows EXACTLY how to use each
command.

In GCP, the service is designed as a
futuristic City composed of ramps,
buildings, walkways, and various
other things (picture it as a playing
field of REALM OF IMPOSSIBILTY).
You are, instead of a "number" on
CompuServe, a small, robot-like
"droid" that you can move around with
your joystick (or tracball, if you
like).  Other users of GCP are also
represented as such droids, and if
you were to meet another user on GCP,
you would see his droid on the screen
moving around.

In place of the many menus found on
other online services, GCP offers
buildings: Each building offers a
specific job or function available to
you (such as DOWNLOAD, where you can
find public domain programs; OFFICE,
where the sysop or sysops on duty can
normally be found; MAILROOM, which is
the electronic mail and message base
section of GCP; or GAMES, which
offers a host of strategic games to
play with any or all of the other
users. Inside each building, you will
find other, smaller buildings that
hold subcategories.  For example,
when you walk into the building
labeled DOWNLOAD, you will find
three smaller buildings labeled
ATARI, ANALOG, and ST.  Inside of
those buildings is what looks like
rows of walls, each having a label
such as GAMES, UTILITIES, DEMOS, or
ART.

The Analog section is by the way,
from the same Analog magazine that
most Atari users are familiar with.
All programs that appear in
ANALOG are also in the GCP library.
Also, downloading time is NOT
free, but uploading time IS.  

Before you go thinking "How can
they get graphics over the modem?"
or "Isn't it slow to download all
the graphics?" (and NO, you cannot
call GCP with 1030 Express!), don't
think that.  First of all, let me
explain how the system is set up. In
reality, you are NOT downloading the
graphics, you are downloading prompts
from the GCP mainframe that LOAD the
graphics from a disk that you get
when you subscribe to GCP. This makes
a quick and easy task of what would
otherwise be extremely slow and
complex. Multi-drive and RamDisks are
supported, naturally, to make loading
the graphics faster and disk swapping
less frequent.

When you subscribe to GCP, you are
mailed two (2) double-sided floppy
disks containing the software
necessary to go online, a list of all
Tymnet phone numbers, a WELCOME TO
GCP letter containing your logon name
and password, and a pound or two of
instructions. This may sound like a
lot to read, but it really is simple.

GCP currently supports Hayes and
compatibles, Atari 835/1030/XM301,
R-Verter, and the MPP series of
modems.  If you have a modem that
is NOT listed above, it is VERY
simple to configure your modem for
GCP access.

Don't be fooled by GCP's name; This
service is VERY powerful! Although
GCP plays the best online games I
have ever seen, it can do MUCH more!
Your Atari's host is a 400+ Megabyte
VAX mainframe computer stationed in
York, PA.  It is accessed through
Tymnet which has hundreds of
locations across the country, so it
should be a local (or near local)
phone call from wherever you are.

Besides the buildings, walkways, etc,
you'll find a number of small
computer terminals and rotary
telephones stationed in the GCP City
and in all of the buildings. The
telephones are the equal of 
CompuServe's CB Simulator, but it
is MUCH more powerful and flexible.
Let me explain that.  Let's take
CompuServe's popular CB Simulator and
compare it with GCP's "Public
Telephone".

When you want to "speak" with
another user in CompuServe, you must
go to the CB Simulator, find out what
channel the user is on, and then you
can chat with him/her. If you want to
hold a private conversation with the
other user, you can go into a
"Private" CB Simulation.

In GCP, all you do is move a small
blue "icon" to one of the many
telephones scattered through the GCP
City & buildings.  Press the joystick
button, select CALL from the list of
options at the bottom of the screen,
type the name of the user you want to
talk with, and (IF he/she wants to
talk to you and IF the user is
online) the other user will "answer
the phone" and you can talk with
him/her.  Or, if you want to be even
simpler, just move your "droid" next
to your friends' "droid" and type
away!  In fact, you don't even have
to go next to the person.  As long as
you can see each other on the
monitor, you can just type away and
he/she can respond.  A three-way
conversation on the telephones is
also possible.

GCP's most outstanding feature, as
you probably have guessed, is the
GAMES room.  Enter into this room and
you're presented with a choice of
several games: CyberTank which allows
you to design your own tank, complete
with custom weaponry, and take it out
to battle with other users;
CyberShip, which is identical to
CyberTank except that the battle is
on water with ships instead of on
land with tanks; BioWar, which is the
classic game of Life in which you
trap or destroy enemy colonies of
cells using your own cell colony; and
GCP's star attraction, Lords Of
Space.  This premiere game puts you
as captain of a starship in a vast,
almost unlimited universe in search
of the raw materials needed for
survival.  Trying to stop or conquer
you is everyone else.  You could
probably compare this to CompuServe's
MegaWars series, except that here you
have true graphics, you can see
multiple players, it's faster, and I
might bet that it's bigger.  There
isn't one user on GCP that hasn't
loved playing Lords of Space (LOS),
even if he/she was alive for only 5
minutes!

GCP considers Atari DOS 2.5 to be the
standard DOS, and that is what you'll
get on the GCP disks.  I was informed
in the manual that I could use any
DOS I wanted to, so I quickly
converted everything to SpartaDOS
2.3e.  To my dismay, the GCP program
wouldn't even load!  A call to GCP
(voice) confirmed that SpartaDOS
wouldn't work with the GCP software
because of the US Doubler chip that I
had installed in my 1050.  They
informed me that a "fix" was created
and that I could download it on my
next call, so I did.

The fix that I received was simply a
3-sector program that disabled the US
Doubler's UltraSpeed disk access.

GCP is currently at version 4.4 of
the GAMES and 6.4 of the City. Until
recently, the only way to update
disks was to mail in your original
GCP disks and you would get the new
version in the mail. Now, there is
another building in the GCP city
labelled UPDATES.  If you enter there
and you do NOT have the most current
version, you will be prompted to
insert your disks, one at a time,
into drive #1.  GCP will
automatically recondition your disks
for the new version.  Once you have
inserted the final disk, voila!
Instant updating!

The sysops of GCP are VERY helpful
in answering all of your questions
and responding to your comments. The
few questions that I did have were
answered the day after I sent them,
or, if the sysop was around, they
were answered on-the-spot. Users
commonly find the sysops in the
OFFICE, but sometimes he/she will be
playing a quick game of CyberTank or
Lords of Space!

GCP is constantly expanding. As of
this writing, there are over 350
public domain downloads available for
all.  GAMES are the most abundant,
follwed by UTILITIES and ST. (You
CANNOT access GCP directly with an
ST.  You must download ST programs
with an 8-bit Atari, then port the
program to an ST computer.)

One final note about GCP: The price.
A One-Time-Signup fee is $30, and
that gets you everything you need to
logon to GCP.  You also get $30
credit towards GCP, which means that
(basically) you are connecting to GCP
at NO COST!

The connect cost of GCP is great:

STANDARD TIME: $6.00 Per Hour
   PRIME TIME: $15.00 Per Hour

Standard time is any time between 6PM
to 7AM on weekdays, all day on
weekends, and on selected holidays.
Prime time is any time between 7AM
to 6PM on weekdays.  You can pay for
GCP in any of three ways: A direct
charge to your Visa or MasterCard,
payment through the mail by check or
money order, or prepayment by either
of the first two options.  There is a
5 minute minimum connect time when
you call GCP.  Also, there is NO
EXTRA CHARGE for 1200 baud access.
In fact, GCP recommends it because of
the large amount of data that is
transferred between your Atari and
the mainframe.

What more can I say about
GCP.  It is a refreshing break from
run-of-the-mill online services and
boring text.  GCP is probably one of
the best services you can get, and I
can almost guarantee that you will
NOT be let down if you subscribe.

For more information, contact:

GAMES COMPUTERS PLAY, INC.
112 East Market Street
York, PA 17401
(717)848-2660  [VOICE]



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