ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM MAGAZINE ISSUE 4 — FEBRUARY/MARCH 1984 / PAGE 54


    As computers come down in price, more and more people are considering purchasing a home computer. With so many new models out this year, it is very hard to decide what type one should buy. In my opinion, if you are looking for your first computer you should first decide, "What do I want to use my computer for?" Many people are buying new computers and are having great trouble with them. This shouldn't be the case. There are a few things that have to be explained. You can't hurt a computer by just programming it. Nothing inside your computer is going to be damaged just by typing in a program.
    A lot of people are buying a computer just because they saw their friend with one, which is an unsatisfactory reason and as a result people are becoming frustrated. They expect it to do things that even the most sophisticated machine can barely handle and conclude that it is inadequate. Unfortunately the salespersons at many of these computer stores are of little assistance as they know little of its programming or operation. I found after owning my ATARI for about a month that I knew more than anyone in the computer store.
    One should not buy a computer without prior investigation. First, purchase price should be considered. Then their capabilities and what they do for the money. Also one should consider what type of software is available in case there is a specific function for your computer to perform(This was one thing I skipped when I bought my ATARI because there was absolutely nothing when I got mine). This last suggestion could be omitted because even if there were no software available, providing the computer has a good programming language, it is possible to create your own. And last, but not least, is to make sure that the computer you buy has lots of support from its manufacturers. You want to make sure this company you chose will around for years to come.
    Having the foregoing in mind I can enthusiastically endorse the ATARI computer. It has been on the market for over four years and its support has grown immensely in the last two years, even surpassing the APPLE(TM) with its range of software. Now, with the whole new line of XLs(600, 800, 1400, 1450) ATARI has really begun to grow. What other computer can you buy for just over $200 and have 64K with built in BASIC and four Joystick ports. Also, Atari's Basic is so easy to understand, even a child can learn it. The graphics are excellent, plus it has four different voices for sound, making it possible to have four-part harmony. But, best of all it has some very excellent games. This is why many people buy computers(at first), for games. Then gradually, as the "kid in you" wears off, you begin to see that the computer can be used for other things, such as education, home financing, word processing, and a lot more.
    The buyer then begins to learn how to program what was first considered to be a toy, is now an adventure. Learning a language on the computer can be about as much fun as playing a new space game. The more one programs, the more fun it becomes until it is hard to keep away from what began as an expensive game. In my opinion for one buying a first computer, ATARI would be my first choice. My reasons are: 1)There is alot of software support from both ATARI and many(and I mean many) third party software houses, 2)The Basic is friendly and easy to understand, making it simple for a beginner to start using its graphics, 3)The keyboard is very easy to use because of the four editing keys that go up, down, left, and right, 4)There is a wide range of lanuages from Pascal, FORTH, LOGO, Microsoft BASIC, PILOT, to many others, 5)I recommend it because it's reasonable price is so affordable
    Don't just take my opinion about the ATARI, ask other people who own an ATARI how they feel, and I think you'll hear the same opinion. I don't suggest that the ATARI is the only good computer on the market, but for its, price and features, it one of the top. In conclusion I would say that many people relate ATARI simply to games, but considering its great versatility it is of much greater value.