Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 1, NO. 1 / APRIL 1982

Looking at Books

COMPUTE!'s First Book of ATARI
Published by COMPUTE! Books
Small System Services, Inc.
184 pages--$12.95

by Dewitt Robbeloth

This book is a collection of articles from COMPUTE! Magazine. All of the material is about the ATARI computer and its uses. That's very handy material if you are an ATARI owner. The biggest problem with the book is that the topics are scattershot, reflecting the interests of the many writers rather than the needs of the reader. Still, it is likely that sooner or later an ATARI owner will have an interest in most of the information in this book, and once you have the book, there it will be. I bought it for this promise alone.

Many of the articles are directly and immediately useful, for the beginner as well as the experienced user. Since these articles did appear in COMPUTE! at some time during the past few years, it is fair to assume that they met a relevance challenge from the magazine's editors when published, and the fact that they made it through another editorial screening is a good recommendation for their quality.

There are 33 articles by 24 different authors several of them well known in the micro world. Their work has been organized generally around several key interests: the BASIC language; graphics; programming techniques; and peripherals. The book is not a primer in any of these areas, nor is it a substitute for diligent study of the ATARI manuals. Each article stands alone, and if it is too advanced, the next one may well be easier. Almost all of the articles need to be studied to yield any real benefit. Many include program listings for user copying or saving. Most of the listings are photocopied from printouts, so you can assume they are accurate.

This book clearly tells you a lot about the ATARI that you couldn't find out from authorized sources and could only discover by chance on your own. In that respect, these articles are like war stories, swapped behind the lines during R&R. One guy says that creating 3-D effects with color graphics is a snap. (Oh, yeah!) Another describes the structure of BASIC inch by inch, as if it were an impregnable fort. Someone else demystifies a scary function. (I guess POKE ain't so hard.)

The best recommendation I can give for this book is that I bought it. COMPUTE! has a good reputation for supporting ATARI owners, and getting this book is surely cheaper and easier than buying up all of COMPUTE!'s back issues. I expect to have my nose in this book soon and often. Now let's see, what's this here about XIO?

Just Introduced
De Re ATARI (All About ATARI)
A Guide to 400/800 Home Computer

Order from:
Atari Program Exchange
P.O. Box 427
155 Moffett Park Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
$19.95+$2.50 shipping
CA residents add 6.5% tax
or phone 800-672-1430 in CA
800-538-1862 outside CA