The BLOCK (cartridge)
Granada Hills, CA 91344
The BLOCK is a cartridge copying device that will transfer most cartridge-based programs to disk. It works with the ATARI 800 only, and requires 48K RAM memory plus a disk drive. The BLOCK is itself an ATARI-style cartridge. The company identifies the need to protect one's cartridges from damage or wear-and-tear as the reason for copying cartridges. Back-up disks made with the help of The BLOCK will perform in all respects as the original cartridge, however, some cartridges may be designed so that they cannot be copied by The BLOCK. Protronics says that up to ten cartridges can be copied on one disk.
FASTCHIP (ROM replacement)
3340 Nottingham Ln.
Plano, TX 75074
This chip is a replacement for the standard ROM chip that comes inside the ATARI 10K ROM board. The purpose of this replacement is to speed up number handling. The company claims FASTCHIP triples execution speed of "floating point" routines. Other ROM functions are identical to the original ROM. FASTCHIP has a 90-day warranty.
820 Coventry Rd.
Kensington, CA 94707
The Plexarian Invincibles threaten all life on Earth. These invaders hover in the sky and drop layer after layer of SLIME into the Sargasso Sea. Their intention is to raise the level of the oceans until all human life is drowned. lf that happens, the SLIME-breathing Invincibles will colonize the Earth. You must stop them with meager defenses, or mankind perishes.
This new game from Synapse requires 16K RAM and a joystick, and comes on cassette or diskette. Other Synapse games are "Protector," "Chicken," and "Dodge Racer."
P.O. Box 25625
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Price: $29.95 cassette or diskette
Real-time hockey action for two, three or four players is the purpose of this game. Joysticks move men on the ice rink who can shoot, pass, catch and block the puck. If the score is tied at the end of the five-minute "regulation" game, there is a sudden death playoff. Needs 16K RAM and a joystick for each human.
PERCOM-RFD (double-density disk drives)
PERCOM Data Company, Inc.
11220 Pagemill Rd.
Dallas, TX 75243
$799.00 (40-track, single-head master)
$399.00 (40-track, single-head slave)
PERCOM has developed several disk drives for the ATARI computers, and these substantially increase the storage capacity of diskettes. The drives are called "double-density" but some of them can more than double standard disk capacity. Compare: The ATARI 810 Disk Drive records approximately 90 thousand bytes per diskette. The PERCOM 40-track, single-head drive doubles this by recording 256 bytes per sector rather than 128 bytes. The PERCOM 40-track, double-head drive then doubles this, to 360 thousand bytes, by recording on both sides of the disk. The 80-track, single-head drive achieves the same amount by doubling the tracks on one side of the disk, and finally, the 80-track, double-head drive records an incredible 720 thousand bytes on one diskette.
Any one of these drives comes as a "master" drive, with controller circuitry designed for the ATARI, or as a "slave" without controller. A master drive can run as many as three slaves chained behind it, each slave having capabilities equal to the master. A fully configured PERCOM chain of 80-track, doublehead drives can store nearly three million bytes of on-line data.
PERCOM drives are fully compatible with the ATARI 810 Disk Drive, and can be chained behind the 810, if desired, but a chain of four drives is the maximum. Slaves require at least one master of the same type.
FULL-VIEW 80 (display card)
Bit3 Computer Corp.
8120 Penn Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55431
FULLVIEW is a "card" of chip-based circuitry that plugs into a RAM memory slot of the ATARI 800 to produce a screen display of 80 characters per line. This card requires a monochromatic monitor screen and will not work with a television set or color monitor. It will work with BASIC or machine language, and is now compatible with the "Letter Perfect" word processor program. The company is preparing adaptations for other ATARI programs and languages.
FULL-VIEW 80 requires 16K RAM memory, but is more useful with 48K, for which Bit3 recommends its "Memory Plus" 32K expansion board ($179.00). The "Memory Plus" board plugs into the ATARI 800, or may be installed in the ATARI 400 by a repair facility. The 400 cannot use the FULLVIEW 80.
Don't Ask Computer Software
2265 Westwood Blvd.--B-150
Los Angeles, CA 90064
WORDRACE is a vocabulary game for 1-4 players, compatible with the ATARI 400/800 if equipped with 32K RAM and a disk drive. The game is a timed-quiz on vocabulary at three levels: Beginner (children 9-14), Regular, and Challenge. Each player is presented with a word and six possible definitions, while a timer counts down from 600 points. A correct answer scores the remaining number of points. A wrong answer subtracts the remaining number of points from the player's score, and the timer continues to count down until a correct answer is made.
There are 2,000 words in the game's vocabulary, and the company is preparing companion disks of additional words, or that will allow owners to add their own set of words. The game is fast, competitive, and should be educational.
FAST-CHIP (disk drive upgrade)
3237 Woodward Ave.
Berkley, MI 48072
ATARI 810 Disk Drives can now be speeded up by installation of FAST-CHIP from BiNARY Corp. FAST-CHIP offers 30% faster formatting than the original 810, and 10% faster than the recently upgraded version of the drive. Installation requires only one solder connection to the drive's main electronic board. For $15 handling fee, BiNARY will install FAST-CHIP in your drive and ship it back to you.
SIX NEW GAMES
Avalon Hill Game Co.
4517 Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214
Six new games for ATARI computers are scheduled for release by June, 1982. These are: "Shootout at the OK Galaxy," "Computer Draw Poker," "Bomber Attack," "Roadracer/Bowling," "Knockout," and "Tank Arcade." These will be available on cassette or diskette and require varying amounts of memory. The company calls these "beer and pretzel" games with "an arcade feel." Avalon Hill specializes in war and adventure games, the most prominent of which, "Empire of the Overmind," was named Adventure Game of 1981 by Electronic Games Magazine.
ARCADE PRO FOOTBALL (game)
3916 State Street, Suite 1C
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
"Pro Football" features animated, 3-D players on a full color, scrolling playing field. It can be played solitaire or head-to-head The offense and defense each may choose among 25 plays during the 60 minute contest. Game action includes passing and catching, running, kicking, penalties, fumbles, interceptions, and a cheering crowd. Minimum 16K RAM required.
APPLE PANIC (game)
1938 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Price: $29.95 in diskette
This arcade-style game has been a favorite among Apple users, and is now available for ATARI 400 or 800s equipped with 32K RAM and a disk drive. The player escapes from pursuing Apples, and digs holes to trap them.