Atari Falcon030

Atari strikes back - the longawaited quantum leap in the Atari ST-series with the project name ┬┤Sparrow┬┤ has been shown on a famous press conference during the CeBit. Although Atari showed a working unit, they almost denied every question the press had.

The Falcon030 (the official name) was nearly as revolutionary as the Atari 520ST in the year 1985. It was improved in all parts and claimed to be the first multi-media computer. The Digital Signalprocessor (DSP) was for the first time integrated in a homecomputer. 65536 colours on screen and sound with DAT-quality made the Falcon one of the best computer available at that time. Like Commodore, Atari had to react because they have waited to long to let the 520ST follow a real successor. Although the TT was a real advance it was not a machine for the consumer market.

At first, the Falcon was only available in limited quantities. The machine enjoyed fairly good software support by MIDI companies but was ignored by most game companies.


The laserdisk players were back. 10 years after their short appearance in arcade halls a German company sold an LD adaptor for the C64, ST, Amiga and PC. The computer was only used to provide game logic and joysticks everything else was played from disk. Graphics and sound effects were fantastic but game play was pre-historic: you had to select the right movement at the right time. The games like "Dragon's Lair" and "Space Ace" were also published for non-LD systems and were known as "nice graphic demos with lousy game play".

The LD system failed.

Amiga 1200

Commodore reacted with a new generation of Amiga computers. After a few modified models of the Amiga 500, the Amiga 1200 introduced enhanced graphics mode (262144 colours at the same time) and a faster CPU (68EC020). The sound system remained the same although it couldn't compete anymore with the latest PC sound cards and the Atari Falcon.

The greatest advantage compared with the Falcon was the price: the Falcon used a lot of high-priced special chips and was therefore more expensive. Another advantage was the fact that Commodore introduced the computer very soon to the market after the presentation and it was available everywhere.

The Amiga 1200 did very well in the UK and enjoyed support by most UK software producers. US companies concentrated on the PC which was more and more considered as a game machine.

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(C) 2001-2014 by Matthias Jaap. Last update: 31/12/2014.