Review: Atari User issue 1

Sep 242010

Atari User have just launched their inaugural issue 1 (vol 1). No, not that Atari User, this Atari User, a brand new, completely different edition with the same name. However, just like the Atari User of old, this new ezine covers all things Atari, from the classic gaming consoles to the home computers, with the likes of news, features and reviews.

Issue 1 of the “world’s only monthly magazine” dedicated to the Atari range contains a nice balance of content with news, features and reviews. Even though we’ve already read about these developments in gaming history, the first big feature in Atari User, ‘The Birth of the Atari ST’, is a well written piece of journalism.

The notorious Atari 2600 game, Custer’s Revenge – which featured in Retroaction issue 3‘s ‘How to Cause A Complete Controversy’ – is up next in the ‘What Was All the Scandal About?’ feature. Again, despite being well written, the article doesn’t really give anything new on the subject, admittedly because of having read Retroaction‘s fine piece that was written by Ack.

However, the content does pick up with the likes of ‘Going Floppy, Atari as it should be….’, which is a fantastic look at the various media formats used to hold Atari games through the years. It’s also nice to see some historical reading concerning the UK.

Continuing the run of fine written articles is a feature on Mastertronic, who were responsible for releasing many budget games releases during the 8-bit computer heyday of the 1980s, a feature on the Atari 2600’s short lived successor known as “SuperSystem”, an Atari emulator feature, and an ST music feature and an article on playing ST music on PCs breaks up the games content nicely.

Atari User is created in your standard A4 style format and published in PDF, although a “more conventional” print format will be considered if the need is there. Strangely, there are no bylines in the articles or even a credit mast, giving the ezine a rather distanced cold feel about it, in much the same way as Edge. However, the articles are very well written and this bodes well for the future.

The design, although restrained – possibly for printing reasons – is very clean and stylish, but there could have been a little more images throughout to break up the mass of text. The use of PDF functions such as bookmarks and anchors could also have helped with navigating around the issue. Adding to the visual nostalgia in between the articles are a handful of classic Atari advertisements.

How do I get this fine publication, you may well ask. Well for a fee of $3.95 (or £2.60) you will receive an email within 24 hours. Here, you are given the download link, with username and password (which expires after 24 hours, so use it promptly).

At only 32 pages, it’s questionable whether Atari User is worth the asking price, but first issues are usually not the best indication of a magazine’s ongoing standard, either in quality or quantity, and I’m sure that the ezine will improve with each subsequent issue.


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