Friday, January 9, 2015

30 Years Atari ST and NES

So right now all the tech sites and nerd blogs are drooling zombi-like over the current CES' massive output of soon-to-be-outdated hipster gadgets. But can you remember a time when CES was actually cool? A time when companies presented new technology there that even 30 years later would in some respects still be unrivalled by anything that came afterwards?

January 1985 must have been such a time. At that year Atari, under the recently assumed leadership of Jack Tramiel, presented it's first 16-bit computer, the ST (actually a 16/32-bit hybrid, hence the name Sixteen Thirty-two). Thanks to Tramiel's less-than-favourable reputation, and with Atari being close to bancrupcy at the time, reactions were sceptical at first. But consumers knew there were in for the real deal (except those who for some reason bought that other machine starting with A... you know which one I'm talking about, right? Yes, the Acorn Archimedes of course xD). In less than a year, the ST turned around the company's fate.

Fast forward 30 years. The ST userbase is still a significant force to be reckoned with, and a solid amount of new music, gfx, and demo productions are released every year. And to this day, the Atari ST remains the only computer that has 100% accurate MIDI timing. So, here's to another 30 years!

On a side note, Nintendo was also at CES that year. There was little reason to suspect that the unassuming lead gray contraption they were presenting was already a huge success in Japan and would eventually become one of the worlds best-selling home consoles of all time...

NES prototype, photo by gingerbeardman

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