Top Five: RPGs on the Atari ST
Welcome to this episode of RPGGamer Top 5's, and as part of our series on the top RPG's on each system, today we're going to be doing the top five RPG's on the Atari ST.
The history of the Atari ST is an odd one, because although Atari had a long history in the computer and console market by the time of it's release, the ST came from a complete change in the company. The home computer and console division of Atari was losing against Commodore at this time, with the all conquering Commodore 64 ruling the home computer market, but the birth of the 16 bit era was fresh territory to be fought over. Atari had a secret weapon, a computer developed by an ex-Atari Team called the Amiga, but Commodore sniped the company from Atari leaving them without anything.
However, at the same time, Jack Trameil, the CEO of Commodore and a survivor of the Nazi Concentration Camps found himself ousted from the company he'd founded. With money in his pocket, and a desire to re-enter the computer market he purchased the computer and console division of Atari from Warner Brothers, who retained the Arcade division. With him he brought many of the developers from Commodore who remained loyal to the man who'd built the company from nothing, and they developed a computer with a 16 bit external bus, but 32 bit internal, named the Sixteen/Thirty Two, or ST for short, although it's similarity to the Apple Macintosh, led to it jokingly being referred to at the Jackintosh when it was first displayed.
The ST went from concept to production in less than a year, and was built around the same Motorola 68000 processor as the Amiga, the ST lacked many of the custom chips which made the Amiga so impressive, but the lower cost, and faster 8 mhz processor speed made it attractive to many, and it's MIDI capabilities led to it being a hit amongst music producers.
During the early days of the two systems, the similarity of their architecture led to many games being developed with the ST in mind, and the Amiga receiving direct ports not taking advantage of it's larger colour palette or music capabilities. So many early games debuted on the ST before being ported to other systems, and the ST received many conversions from the proliferation of different systems which were around at the time. So many of the games which were first developed for the ST, such as Dungeon Master should actually be on this list, but the arbitary rules we've drawn up for these lists mean that we've already covered them on other lists, because that is where I first played them, so can't include them here. So for this list, we've tried to choose the most interesting games we played on the ST.