Welcome to the most kick-ass of all websites dedicated to the Atari ST.
The Atari ST was the first 16/32 computer available at a reasonable price.
It was built around a Motorola 68000 microprocessor and made of cheap,
sometimes outdated, off-the-shelf components like the WD1772 floppy disk
controller (no side control!), the HD6301 "intelligent keyboard" (IKBD),
that also handles joysticks and mouse, the YM-2149, or "PSG" sound chip,
the same that was in some 8bit computers, the infamous MC68901 MFP
(Multi-Function Peripheral), and some custom Atari chips, like the DMA
(direct memory access), the GLU (Generalized Logic Unit), the MMU
(Memory Manager Unit), the video shifter... all hastily patched together
and rushed to market, because Commodore had just stolen the Amiga from
Considering the way it was designed, it did fairly well against the Amiga.
The machine had many downsides, yet some fantastic programs (apps, games,
demos) were made for it.
The most was drawn from each of its chips, which became almost legendary:
the video shifter, the Yamaha sound chip, later the blitter... the Atari
The system was run by a stable and intuitive graphic user interface (GUI)
controlled by mouse, the GEM. This OS was rather sober, but if icons were not
as big and colourful as on other systems, at least getting the disk directory
was fast and straightforward.
Unlike most computers even today, the ST featured two useful keys: Help and
Anybody with some competency could code in C and other languages some serious
applications for the ST (most games were coded in assembly), that would be
more user-friendly (windows, menus, dialogs... like today) and powerful than
on the PC (stuck with poorer Intel microprocessor, text-mode display, keyboard
It also featured a very good flicker-free monochrome display, which for
professional use was more important than fancy eye-killing Amiga high
The Atari ST was the enthusiast's computer.
It wouldn't have taken so much to be a serious competitor to the Mac and
the PC. Maybe Atari didn't tackle the right market.
But then again, Apple didn't take Atari too seriously.
Anyway it's done, and now we have thousands of great games not to mention
the apps and demos, and the infamous "menu disks".
To run this all on your much faster PC, you need an emulator and files
containing images of the content (ROM, disks...).