II did some further searching and
managed to turn up a few more items that were lying around in my house and
here is the picture above. Those of you who have read the main Atari page
may remember that my first game on my Atari 800XL computer was F-15 Strike
Eagle. The proof is in the picture above. In the image above to
the top left hand corner, you can the actual manual for the game. Besides
giving you the instructions on how to use the program and some general strategy,
the manual acted as copy protection since it would require that the player
answer a question that was located in the book and give the proper response
before they could proceed.
Just below the F-15 Strike Eagle manual is another manual for a program called "Galactic Adventures". This program was originally released for the Apple II series of computers and later, another version was created for the Atari series of computers. The program was written by SSI (Strategic Simulations Inc). While not a true role-playing game, it did have some RPG type elements. Basically players created scenarios and depending on the success or failure of the scenario, the player's characters would be affected.
In the middle of the above photographs are 2 catalogs from Brad Rothgen Enterprises (BRE for short). This was a shareware / public domain catalog that was put out every few months. Since I never did own a modem for my Atari ST computer, I was only able to obtain shareware software from catalogs or by going to different stores or computer shows.
The last two items are a hint book for Infocom's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game was based upon the first book in the Hitchhiker's books series from Douglas Adams (I am saddened to hear that he passed away recently. He was a good writer). The hint book worked with a pen that would reveal answers to specific questions concerning the back. There were different levels of hints for each question from a little hint to the outright answer. Today of course people can just go on the Internet to get solutions to computer games but back then you either had to know someone who had finished the game that you were playing or you had to purchase a hint book like the one above.
The last item in the photo above is the manual for ST Xformer. This was a program written by Darek Mihocka which allowed someone owning an Atari ST series of computers to emulate an Atari 8-bit computer on their machine. It had an interesting story to the progress of the program. Originally, Mr. Mihocka was working on an Apple emulator but because of potential problems with Apple's legal department with creating an emulator to work like an Apple computer on a different brand of computer, Mr. Mihocka decided to write an Atari 8-Bit emulator to work with an Atari ST computer. He reasoned that this was going to be ok since he was getting an Atari computer to act like another Atari computer. Atari at the time was owned by Jack Tramiel and he did not like the idea and tried to stop the distribution of the program. Only after receiving a lot of angry mail from Atari consumers did Atari allow the distribution so long as Mr. Mihocka released the source code so that others could help with improving the speed of the program. While the Atari ST computers ran at 8 MHZ at the time and the Atari 8-Bit machines ran at just slightly under 2 MHZ, the emulator was only able to emulate an Atari 8-Bit at 50% of the speed.
If you are interested in obtaining an Atari 8-bit or Atari ST emulator for your PC compatible, Mr. Mihocka has some available on his web site. They have gone into the public domain so it should still be possible to obtain them. His web site is located at http://www.emulators.com.