8-Bit "Vs." ST?
It's clear that right now the issue of greatest concern to Antic readers is the relative coverage of ST and 8-bit Ataris in these pages --especially now that Antic Publishing has begun issuing STart: The ST Quarterly.
In our July, 1986 "Best Of Both Worlds" statement, Publisher James Capparell pledged to "devote a minimum of 60 to 70 percent of each issue's editorial space to material for 8-bit owners" while "the rest of the editorial pages will carry timely and useful ST material."
During the following eight months, we have been serious about living up to this pledge. We are pleased that the previous torrent of worried "8-bit vs. ST" letters has slowed down to a steady trickle. But this whole controversy is obviously still very much on the minds of many Antic readers and now seems to be a good time to clear the air again.
Naturally, any new editorial policy needs time for fine-tuning. But we think that the evidence of the past eight months shows conclusively that a mixed 8-bit and ST magazine is still the best way for Antic to serve the needs of the majority of our readers.
Presently STart offers in-depth material for serious ST programmers and power-users of commercial ST software four times yearly. The monthly Antic is, by definition, much more timely--and it has many more pages availahle over the course of a year. Because of its timeliness, the Antic ST Resource section features the most current reviews of significant ST products along with advance information about virtually all major upcoming ST products.
At the same time, Antic seeks to extend to the ST our successful five-year format of providing committed Atari hobbyists with useful and powerful type-in programs. From all our reader surveys and mail, we have learned that the first priority of Antic readers is to find out "how to do things better" with their computers--primarily in BASIC and secondarily in assembly language.
One way we now try to maximize the benefits of this format for all Atari owners is to consider whether programs we publish can be adapted to both 8-bit and ST computers. We've been able to do this at least once in every recent issue. This month, for example, San Francisco Fogger demonstrates how a dual 8-bit/ST program article uses costly editorial pages with top efficiency--enabling us to apply the conserved space for additional Atari coverage.
Also, Antic is now making sure to review all "universal" peripherals-- such as printers, modems, hard disks, etc.--simultaneously for the 8-bit and ST. This can often provide unique additional insights. For instance, our December, 1986 review of the two new Atari dot-matrix printers pointed out that 8-bit users who own an 850-type interface would actually get a better deal with the identically-priced, but faster and more full-featured, SMM804 ST version.
Antic Magazine published considerably more editorial pages during the past 12 months than we did during the previous year. In fact, the Antic you are holding is more than 40 pages bigger than the February 1985 issue. This increase is made possible because of advertising support from both 8-bit and ST suppliers.
The bottom line is that we believe an international monthly magazine like Antic today cannot do as good a job of supporting Atari 8-bit computer users or ST users, if it doesn't support both.