However, things were moving rapidly. In 1985, the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga were launched, kicking off not only a new generation of computers, but also possibly the fiercest rivalry between game players in the history of computers, dubbed "The ST-Amiga War". The industry was changing too: the power of these new machines opened up all kinds of doors, and games became big business with arcade conversions, movie licences, full page magazine adverts and more - with price rises to match. The move invariably favoured the highly graphical, real time action - after all who would want to tell Arnie or Sly to "go north", "get crossbow", "shoot soldier"...?

Ben: It didn't take us long to realise we wanted to do more than text adventures - Paul had an ST from about the time I met him and I was blown away by the games - the gap between 8 and 16 bit was massive. So I started messing about with some graphical stuff - the CPC let you customise the character set, so I used this to make graphics, and there was a way of superimposing them to get colour... but it was slow. Then Paul showed me SEUCK (the shoot-em-up construction kit) and I just thought "I just gotta get me an ST..."

Paul: Christmas of 1988, my family bought an Atari 520ST. It came with 2 packages: NeoChrome (an art package), and ST BASIC which I spent about a year writing adventure games in, but it didn't really have the power to do what I wanted, and couldn't compile anything into stand-alone applications - it was frustrating, especially when I saw what Ben was doing with graphics on an 8-bit! Then ST Format reviewed the shoot-em-up construction kit, which kind of sold Ben the ST deal and we both ended up getting it. This allowed us to play about with creating vertical scrolling games - all we had to do was draw the graphics and create the levels. Which was fine, except that graphics had never been my strong point...

Ben: So I'm 14 years old and Atari have just launched the "Discovery Pack" - £300 for a 520ST with four games (one of which I had played on Paul's ST and was hooked on), and some productivity packages. So it was scrimp and save - and also badger Dad again! - and eventually I managed to get the money together and buy this pack...

This particular package of the Atari ST proved to be instrumental in the birth of Leda Entertainment...

Snapshot: 1989

Platforms:

  • Amstrad CPC
  • Atari ST

Technologies:

  • Locomotive Basic
  • ST Basic
  • The Shoot 'em up Construction Kit