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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Atari Falcon 030 | Nostalgia Nerd

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This is the Atari Falcon.

One of the greatest computers ever made.

But, so few people have heard of it, t's almost like Atari were trying to keep it a secret.

Why happened? and why is that?

[intro sequence]

[industrial electronic music plays]

It's 1989, the Atari ST range has been in production since 1985, but it's traction into

homes has been limited... until now.

With new tempting game bundles appearing in shops, the STFM became an appealing, and cost

effective choice for bringing a true computer into the home, with enough entertainment to

last for months.

The 16 Bit ST was far more powerful than the Spectrums and Commodore 64s found in most

households of the time, and bundled with 20 games, the sub £400 price tag was a tantalising

temptation.

However, its hardware capabilities still lagged behind that of the Amiga 500, and Atari knew

they'd need to do something to keep up.

The first attempt to balance the scales came in the form of the Atari STE, an Enhanced

ST, which had been in development since at least 1987.

Original specifications had detailed a 640x240 resolution with 256 on screen colours - a

significant improvement over the ST.

However, on launch, although the STE had an expanded colour palette from 512 to 4,096,

it was still restricted to a meagre 16 on screen without programming tricks.

"Really the point has been missed.

It's all very well having extra colours, but what's the use if you can't display more on

screen?"

On the plus side, additional Genlock support for video editing was added, along with a

blitter co-processor, which put the machine more on par with the Amiga's graphical capabilities.

A new PCM audio chip was also added to play back 8 bit samples and somewhat make up for

the limited AY sound chip found in earlier models.

Although the STE was a moderate improvement over existing hardware, its high compatibility

with the original system was - if anything, its downfall.

Given the ST was far more abundant, software developers stuck to making games for the original

hardware, rather than releasing titles for the few STE owners.

Some games had enhancements for the STE, but most of these were half hearted and couldn't

tempt Amiga owners and future Amiga owners away from their enhanced chipset capabilities.

As the 90s began, people were starting to focus their energy and indeed, money, on either

the Amiga or a Japanese console for gaming.

But, in typical Atari fashion, alongside the STE, they had also been developing a number

of other machines, including the TT and a machine known as the Atari Transputer.

The Trannsputer was a high end workstation released in 1989 with minimal sales.

It ran on HeliosOS and was incompatible with the ST range, whilst the TT - although intended

as a Unix workstation - would end up really, as just a beefier ST, with TT standing for

Thirty Two, Thirty Two; rather than the Sixteen Thirty Two of the ST.

This is because the TT also has a 32 bit data bus, paired with a Motorola 68030 CPU, offering

significant performance improvements over previous machines.

Both of these machines weren't bad at all, but they were expensive, and pretty unsuccessful,

failing to find a suitable market.

Mostly, they just weren't taken seriously as professional machines, and the TT was too

expensive to be viewed as a suitable ST upgrade.

Luckily, Atari were also sticking true to their brands origins and a number of game

systems were in the pipeline.

The Atari Lynx had already launched in September 1989, and sales were thankfully ahead of their

new desktop machines at least.

The Lynx was also a generation ahead of rival handhelds of the time in terms of technical

specifications.

Atari had also been developing the Panther and with a nudge from ex-Sinclair Research

employees, Martin Brennan and John Mathieson, a more 3D capable console called the Jaguar.

The Panther was due for release first in 1991 and lined up to challenge consoles like the

Sega Mega Drive.

In the mean time, it was down to the ST and Lynx to carry the brand.

BUT, times were changing and if Atari weren't careful, they'd lose the home computer market

entirely.

----

In early 1991, the Atari Lynx II was launched to better compete and try and boost sales,

whilst the Panther console was dropped, so Atari could focus on the Jaguar.

The Jaguar's development was moving faster than anticipated, but clearly not a company

to have too few pies on the table, another 2 projects began, known as Sparrow and Falcon.

Unphased by the lack of success of previous machines, Jack Tramiel - the CEO of Atari

Corporation - knew that a new machine was required to compete with the Amiga and more

importantly to Jack, the rising dominance of the IBM PC Compatible.

1991's attempt was to repackage the STE in a desktop case, cram in some TT features and

sell it as a business machine, known the Mega STE - following suit with the Mega ST and

Mega ST 2 which came some years previous.

It was cheaper than the TT, less capable than the TT and somewhat of a backward step in

this area of the market.

But, like the TT, it was still somewhat unsuccessful.

Atari either needed something better or to change tact.

The original Falcon specification was therefore intended to blow other computers clear out

of the water.

Like the TT, a Motorola 68040 CPU would be at its core - a CPU which could easily compete

with the abundant Intel 386 processor.

The TT's FastRAM was also a consideration, along with fast expansion BUS and extensive

upgrade paths.

Developed by Atari in Texas, led by John Horton, this was a computer designed to enter the

PC market.

Alongside this, Sparrow was more of an upgrade card for the ST, using an as yet undecided

Motorola processor and lacking the faster bus and expansion options of the Falcon.

This was being developed by Atari's Israel operation, led by Mosche Segal and Eran Dariel.

Outside of Atari's walls, knowledge of a upcoming Jaguar console was already public, but there

was also speculation of a Jaguar based COMPUTER floating about.

Sources from Atari also suggest there were plans to make the Falcon and Jaguar semi compatible,

or develop a Jaguar card for the Falcon at least, but Jack Tramiel was against the notion

and pushed for them to be unique systems.

In late 1991, with the Jaguar Computer rumours quashed, Atari seemed to reluctantly confirm

they were working on a Super TT machine called the Falcon.

Incorporating a Motorola 68040 CPU and a possible built in CD-ROM, this was a machine of the

average Atari user's dreams.

But this was a short lived dream, as only a few months after their admission, THIS Falcon

was pushed aside, and instead the Sparrow project was stepped up to take its place under

the development name of FX-1.

One could speculate that this decision was down to the dwindling finances of Atari Corporation;

the Sparrow used many existing components - making it cheap and quick, whilst the Super

TT Falcon needed further investment and resources - tricky, especially with the Jaguar's development

well underway.

It's clear from the Sparrow's December 1991 Revision 10 Design specifications, that this

was the machine destined to be the Falcon we would soon all know and love.

All the specifications are present, as is the intention to be "a compatible, high-performance

extension of the Atari STe architecture.".

But at this point, it was still very much known as Sparrow, and the Falcon name was

fizzling away.

Aside from the ST Book which would arrive in the UK early in 1992, the new year had

a seemingly cleaner plan for Atari; to launch the Sparrow as their next computer, and the

Jaguar as a brand new, advanced console.

It was around this point that companies such as Imagitec who were working on Raiden, Dino

Dudes and Road Riot for the now cancelled Atari Panther console, were asked to instead

begin porting code to the Sparrow.

Richard Miller was currently Atari's President of Research & Development and was responsible

for leading the new projects and was apparently keen to make the Sparrow into a system "his

mother could use", stating "You can never underestimate the consumer... so the computer

should be just as good as the consumer's CD player, or television".

The specifications were then hammered out to make it affordable, but capable, with;

- CPU: Motorola 68030 (16 MHz) central processor unit

- GPU: Blitter graphics co-processor (16 MHz): 64 million pixel per second

- DMA: DMA engine: fast memory access to/from SCSI, audio, peripherals, etc.

- DSP: Motorola 56001 (32 MHz/16 MIPS) Digital Signal Processor unit

With an optional - FPU: Motorola 68881/2 Floating Point mathematic co-processor unit.

Of course, we can't forget the Videl video controller offering 262,144 colours, chunky

16 bit truecolour and various bitplane modes.

Now this all sounds reasonable enough, pretty awesome in fact, but there is a small caveat....although

the video bus is 32 bits wide, the main processor bus is only 16 bits, somewhat limiting the

Falcon's performance, but from Atari's perspective, saving money at the same time.

Back in reality, Atari might have been soldiering on oblivious to the nightmare they were facing,

but owners of STs were becoming rightly concerned about the dwindling supply of games for their

beloved systems.

The lack of content aimed at their machine on TV and the media and even the shrinking

size of their favourite magazines.

Companies like Special Reserve were reporting that ST game sales now only accounted for

13% of their orders, 20% down on the previous year, and Amiga games were outselling ST iterations

by 5:1 in shops like WH Smith.

In fact, Commodore 64 game sales were actually faring better, thanks in part to the Terminator

2 bundle!

But reassurance was provided in the form of this new, almighty machine just around the

corner.

Throughout '92, news on this new machine was few and far between.

The odd mention, tantalising glimpses of hope and numerous mentions of the multimedia future,

provided sustenance for existing ST owners.

At the height of summer, the details were more forthcoming.

In late July the first images of the new machine leaked through to us courtesy of ST User Magazine.

The Sparrow proto-type had now taken on the full Falcon persona - or at least adopted

it's name as the Falcon030, and was about to receive judgement.

It wasn't yet in the new colours, frankensteined with a white keyboard and Sparrow coloured

case, with the production colouring still undecided - in fact the internals were still

different at this point, sporting only TOS 2.07 and an array of incomplete components,

but had the cost saving measures of Atari produced a machine good enough to satisfy

the hungry desires of ST owners.

Was this the machine we needed to carry the Atari brand into the late 90s?

With phrases like "better sound capability than compact discs", "true colour 16 bit mode"

and "multitasking TOS operating system" being thrown about.

The signs seemed promising...

In other magazines there was talk of a HIGH DENSITY floppy drive and Digital Signal Processor

made the average Atari fan moist to the touch.

Game developers even started to air their views;

Peter Molyneux (Bullfrog) - "I'll be very interested in developing stuff for it...

I've prayed for this kind of move for a long time...

The only qualm I have is the price of PCs is falling all the time"

Danielle Woodyat (US Gold) - "US Gold would love to produce software for such a sophisticated

machine.

However, we're going to wait and see what kind of price the machine is released at and

which other houses support it"

Richard Eddy (Codemasters) - "It really does sound like a user's dream, but Atari have

to be very clever to gain substantial support"

Mark Pearson (Protar) - "The Falcon could be a monster if marketed correctly.

It must be pushed by Atari as a serious machine...

Atari must not promote it as a games platform - that would be the kiss of death for the

machine"

This mixed, but excited bag of feelings was shared throughout Atari itself.

A war had been raging between Atari UK and Atari Germany over who would control development

of the machine.

Atari Germany wanted the Falcon to be viewed as a serious computer - feelings shared by

Jack and Sam Tramiel.

However Atari UK wanted the Falcon to be poised for gaming as well, following the ST in it's

most successful domain, and providing an upgrade path for gamers jumping ship to the Amiga.

Initially, Commodore was concerned by this new machine.

David Pleasance, head of Commodore UK has actually said that "When we first heard about

the Falcon, we were really worried as it was more powerful than [Amiga's up and coming

machine] the A1200, but hearing they were trying to go head to head with the PC, we

knew we had already won".

In the October issue of Atari ST User Sam Tramiel even confirms that the Falcon030 has

no interest in going up against the Amiga.

An interesting choice, and one which seems hard to understand with hindsight.

In any case, Atari Germany had won the battle.

Fears that the Falcon might detract from the Jaguar had helped seal the deal, and so this

was where we'd witness the initial launch; at the sixth Dusseldorf Atari fair on the

21st August 1992.

As well as a spinning Falcon display, there was a lengthy presentation, demonstrating

the graphics, new Multi-TOS operating system and the various features.

Enough to make Atari aficionados drool from here to Kingdom come.

The machine's exterior was itself, very modest, looking mostly like a discoloured ST sporting

a multi-coloured Falcon badge.

It seems Atari were planning a completely new case for the following year, but wanted

to test the wind before committing.

Some felt it wasn't enough to stand out as a new machine, and this lack of commitment

in itself, felt a bit half hearted and concerning.

Frankly though, it didn't bother me; there was something about the original ST case,

bathed in these new alien colours which made me lust after this machine... and that lust

didn't diminish, so I was over the damn moon to receive one myself earlier this year.

*LOVE FOR FALCON*

*AHEM* ANYWAY....The machine was launched in France & the UK shortly after Germany at

the September European Computer Trade Show, with an entry price of £499 for the 1MB model,

up to £999 for the fully kitted.

Proving Atari Germany had won the battle and the Falcon was poised and ready to be pitched

as a serious computer, to rival the PC *sniggers*.

Now, that's not to say it couldn't, for the most part, it was well ahead of PC hardware

at the time.

But the PC market was so strong at this point, it was nearly impossible to take it on in

general terms.

Coupled with the Falcon's hefty price tag, there was a confusing mixture of raised eye-brows,

sunken stomachs and extreme excitement, for the Falcon030.

In a situation strange for us Europeans at the time, the USA launch actually followed

ours; with an unveiling at the Southern California Computer Faire on the 12th of September, and

even a fully kitten Falcon given away to lucky entrant Jason Spoor.

The American roll out was a somewhat more subdued affair, indicative of the less than

favourable success previous models had attained in their home country.

Regardless with news and previews spilling out left, right and centre, anticipation was

rife.

Even TV programs such as Bad Influence started talking about Atari again, including a live

demonstration of this miraculous machine.

*ANDY CRANE DEMONSTRATION*

Andy Crane may have given a rather brief demonstration, but thankfully, we can go one better.

Let's take a look....

Ahhhhh, look at this wondrous machine.

So many options, so much potential.

Let's have a look connectibility first.

The back looks familiar, but offers a number of new options over the ST.

Over here is the DSP port, allowing direct access to the DSP chip.

3.5mm stereo out there.

3.5mm microphone in.

A SCSI 2 port for CD, Hard drives and the like, Video port - allowing connection to

both standard and VGA monitors.

The RF TV output also remains.

25 Pin Parallel port.

An RS232 9-pin serial connection.

A Local Area Network port, Power socket and of course, the reset switch.

On the left side, we've got the usual MIDI ports, cartridge port and enhanced joystick

connections - the same you'll find on the Atari Jaguar.

Then on the right, we have a High Density disk drive as standard.

For all you sadists out there, don't worry, the standard 9 pin mouse and joystick ports

still remain tucked away underneath the case.

You'll note the fan cut-away next to it.

Something you won't see on an ST.

My particular Falcon also has a Screeneye card installed, allowing for video capture,

but of course, this isn't standard equipment.

SO...to start with, I'll be connecting up to an LCD VGA Monitor for the best picture

quality.

We get the usual Atari boot screen, and as this one has a pre-installed IDE hard drive,

we then load some drivers and boot straight into the new MULTITOS operating system.

The GEM Desktop has really taken an upgrade this time around, and you can choose to either

boot in TOS or Multi TOS mode.

Early machines didn't actually have MultiTOS built into ROM, so they needed to load it

from the hard drive, assuming you had a hard drive model.

You also really need a reasonable amount of RAM for multi-tasking.

Thankfully this machine has a whopping 14MB, which is actually it's factory limit.

Interestingly, the Multitasking features of the new OS are actually derived from an ST

operating system extension called MiNT, developed by Eric R Smith.

MiNT originally stood for Mint is NOT TOS, but Atari simply licensed the software, told

the world that it now stands for MINT is Now TOS, and provided it as an alternative Kernal

to work alongside the new desktop.

Like that their new OS was Multi-tasking ready.

Now, we could spend all day exploring, but let's just cover some essentials.

At the moment we're running in 80 column, 256 colour mode, which gives us a resolution

of 640x480.

But we can slip into a true colour 40 column mode, or even use standard ST resolutions

for compability.

The Falcon can cleverly drive all of these through the VGA monitor without issue.

However, if we load up a program which dynamically switches to a resolution outside of your monitor's

range, then you might get an issue.

However, if I plug in a standard TV through RF, things may be a tad more fuzzy, but switching

resolutions are no longer an issue.

The TV isn't a great pairing with the Falcon, and a decent Multi-Sync monitor would be far

superior, but it suffices for this example at least.

You also can't run a monitor at the same time as TV mode, as it runs slightly different

resolutions to compensate.

BUT it is worth noting that we now have Overscan, meaning the entire picture can fit the screen,

doing away with the huge borders of the ST.

The Falcon also has a built in speaker, so you can hear sound when hooked up to a VGA

monitor, even without external speakers.

Using the ST compatible resolutions or 320x200 with 16 colours, 640x200 with 4 colours and

640x400 with 2 colours, you can see most ST software will work absolutely fine on this

beast.

We can use the original Music Maker, or even an array of games found with the ST Power

Pack.

BUT, this feels like a massive waste of Falcon POWER.

So, instead let's try using some features of the DSP.

That Bad Influence episode we were just watching featured this clip of Andy recording and distorting

his voice using

the Falcon.

I remember it clear as day.

So, I thought I'd try my own version, using exactly the same software.

It's even in German.

Which is understandable, given this is a German machine.

So first I'll need to record the line.

That seems fine.

Then I'll apply some distortions.

There we go, that's one lifelong dream fulfilled.

Of course, the Falcon is capable of even more amazing feats.

Check out how fast it can run Frontier: Elite II for example.

Compared to it running on an ST, you can see, THIS is how the game was always meant to be

played.

Some talented folk, have also make some highly impressive demos for the hardware.

ANYWAY, let's get back to the Falcon story.

Impressively, despite reeling back on their original design, both technically and aesthetically,

Atari had created something of magnitude, offering audio, video and digital processing

capabilities which knocked most competition for 6.

The areas the Falcon excelled in were also the kind of niches where we saw ears really

prick up.

With eager anticipation, units starting appearing on shelves in late 1992, alongside the predicted

price-tag, starting from £499, all the way up to £1299 for a fully kitted out hard drive

model.

However due to what Atari called "insurmountable quality control issues", it wouldn't be until

early 1993 that Falcon's would ship in reasonable numbers, and with reasonable reliability.

In the US, models were on sale for under $1,000, but dealers had to be signed up with a new

agreement, meaning that availability was painfully restricted.

But even as these machines appeared, Atari were yet again talking about the launch of

our old friend...

A Falcon040.

The left over threads from the original Falcon project still seemed to be crawling along,

complete with a shiny new case.

Called the Mictobox, it was very likely a refinement of the case they had hoped the

first machine would have.

It looks incredibly like a Playstation 2, and indeed is a source of Sony's inspiration,

even being mentioned in Sony's patent application.

There was still even talk of a CD-ROM kitted version making an appearance.

An idea which had been floating around for some years.

Atari had been trying to get in on the multimedia CD-ROM experience since the late 80s, with

the doomed Atari CDAR-504 system designed to plug into the ST...

Atari could have led the pack in this area, but like many of their projects, they seemed

to be best at just talking about them, whilst pouring the money down a well.

In essence, this was much like they were doing by announcing a new Falcon, immediately after

their current model went on sale!

I'm sure they expected it to be encouraging for Atari owners, but in reality, it just

discouraged even the few people who could afford the Falcon from shelling out in the

first place.

Instead choosing to hold off a few months for an even better machine.

By this point, the Amiga 1200 had also landed, and was kicking up a much bigger fuss, especially

with it's established Amiga gaming base, eager for those shiny AGA graphics.

Of course, if pushed, the Falcon was a more capable machine than the 1200, even for gaming,

despite the squabbles;

"Errr, the 1200 can display 256,000 on screen colours from a palette of 16.7 million"

"Yeah, maybe, but that's in static HAM mode.

The Falcon uses 8 bits to store data for each pixel, giving 65,536 animated on screen colours"

"Errr, yeah, so?

The 1200 has REAL Multitasking..."

"So does the Falcon, MultiTOS is a fully pre-emptive operating system with adaptive prioritisation

and inter process communication...."

but all we need to do is look back at the STE and see the issue.

Demand.

If there's no demand, no games will come, and aside from Atari's miserable marketing

tactics, failing to ignite the imaginations of gamers and their core audience, another

reason for the lack of demand, was that price.

People didn't want to, and indeed couldn't fork Neo Geo comparable dosh for such a high

investment risk.

The Amiga 1200 on the other hand, was £100 cheaper and already had a much wider game

library.

That's not to say games didn't come.

I remember opening up ST Format and seeing Robinson's Requiem for the first time and

being staggered.

Here was an open world simulation game, with a first person view, running on an Atari....

it wasn't an Atari I could afford, but of course, I could dream.

Wind on 25 years, and that dream is reality.

Here in fact, is a brand new copy of Robinson's Requiem, that I'm going to open, right now

and play.

Oh, it's on CD.

I've only got a disk drive, and there we have yet another expense, which was just unobtainable

for the typical gamer of the early 90s.

But let's not forget, Atari, Germany especially, weren't even pushing this machine for the

gaming market.

This was a serious computer, and although it was already carving out a niche.

It wasn't a very large one, and much of it was still occupied by it's older sister, the

ST.

In the UK, both Atari and it's supporters were doing their best.

Atari UK's marketing manager Darryl Still had managed to encourage GamesMaster to feature

the Falcon, and there was a possibility of it being the Games World phone in computer

for the new Sky ONE series.

In fact, Atari UK seemed keen on still trying to push the Falcon for its gaming merits,

with news popping up such as a new gaming control pad especially for the machine, similar

to the Lynx in layout, but with 16 additional programmable buttons.

Of course, we all know what came to be of that, but it's interesting to note that accessories

- for now at least - were being designed with both the Falcon and upcoming Jaguar in mind.

As 1993 pressed on, Falcon news started to die off, and for most publications, it was

business as usual.

The ST models were still on sale at the time, and by April the STFM had been slashed from

£249 to £159, really as a last ditch attempt to keep the format alive.

The STE following shortly after, despite price slashing denials.

Atari had hoped ST models would sell some 150,000 units by the end of the year.

When quizzed about it, Commodore's UK Manager, Kelly Sumner didn't show concern and interpreted

the move as "Liquidising stock with a view to dropping the thing altogether".

It wouldn't be long before Sumner was proved right.

The Falcon continued on, sadly no 040 model came, no new case arrived.

In fact, very little really happened, by the end of 1993, magazines were still trying to

sell us the virtues of this wondrous computer, with more advertising actually coming from

3rd party producers than Atari itself.

Replacement cases were popping up, along with CD-Drives and other accessories trying to

help the system limp on.

It was clear that many of these companies either depended on Atari's survival or were

just die hard fans themselves.

By the end of the year, Bob Gleadow, general manager of Atari Europe claimed some 14,000

Falcon's had been sold with around 4,000 still in stock.

This slow rate of sale did nothing to change prices however, and base Falcon models were

still priced at £499, appearing somewhat defiant alongside their price slashed elders.

But that new kid was on the block and starting to make some serious noise - Atari themselves

were expecting the Jaguar to make some serious waves, pouring all their time, effort and

indeed money into the 64-bit wonder console.

Optimism was so high that Sam Tramiel, who had taken over the Atari reigns from his father

Jack confirmed they were planning a "Jaguar Computer".. proving yet again that just when

Atari Corporation were looking focused, they were still pouring ideas and cash out quicker

than a shell suit on a slide.

One promising aspect were that Atari had now jumped on the marketing bandwagon.

Having neglected this crucial element of business for years, even during the Falcon's launch,

the Jaguar was now witnessing big launch events and an even bigger marketing campaign... but

marketing costs money, and unless it came flooding back quick, the business was in serious

trouble.

It's with this in mind that production of all machines, other than the Jaguar was massively

stepped down.

This wasn't only worrying for Atari computer owners, it was also a kick in the face for

those who forked out for a Falcon.

In early 1994 Sam's words were;

"We couldn't spend enough money to give the Falcon a significant market share compared

to the PC.

We're continuing to make computers and we will provide the nice markets that we're in.

It was a very important decision for us... to downsize the company, lower our risk in

the computer business and put ourselves behind the Jaguar"

By the middle of 1994, the news was in.

Atari's net sales for 1993 were $28.8 million, compared to $127.3 million for 1992, although

due to lower spending, their net loss was less at $48.9 million compared to $73.6 million

in 1992.

To help keep the company going, Time Warner increased their interest in the firm from

25% to 27%.

With Sam remarking;

"As a result of increased spending for marketing activities and until such times as shipments

of Jaguar products are made in substantial volume, we do not expect to achieve profitability."

Support for the Falcon had now been officially pulled, and EVERYTHING was on the Jaguar's

success.

Users of the Falcon were left teetering.

A new version of TOS had been in development, but hadn't made it to official release, however

TOS 4.04 had fixed numerous bugs in the audio system and improved running generally.

The problem was, if you hadn't upgraded to the new version already, Atari weren't going

to help you, meaning 3rd parties were again, picking up the pieces.

As the Falcon light began to dim, Surplus stock of systems would gradually fall in price,

suggesting the end of the road was near.

Then in early 1995 something happened... something promising... the music company C-LAB decided

to buy up the existing Falcon stock and start shipping models themselves.

An optimistic move which I clearly remember reading about at the time.

These designs came in a number of variations, starting with the Mk1; which was essentially

a standard Falcon, followed by the MkII, offering some improvements for audio professionals,

such as accepting line-in audio without the need of a pre-amp.

Finally the system ended with the Falcon Mk X, mounted in a U Rack case with plenty of

space for mounting and expansion options.

C Lab weren't the only German company getting in on existing Atari technology either.

GeSoft had snapped up the TT specifications to create an upgraded desktop called "The

Eagle", offering compatibility with existing machines but providing workstation quality

graphics and audio capabilities.

However, these machines were never going to be revive the brand and send them belting

into houses across the country.

Instead it offered a small glimmer of hope for Atari owners, selling a few more thousand.

Curiously at around the same time the Amiga 1200 was itself being revived by Amiga Technologies,

following Commodore's own problems.

One can only think that if Commodore and Atari had knitted together at the end, they might

still be here today.

Games and applications would still filter through to the Falcon, even tantalising glimpses

of a future that could have been, with games such as Substation - a Doom clone, finally

arriving for STE and Falcon machines.

But for most Atari fans the once heralded computer, was now a stranded ship, becoming

increasingly small, in a vast sea of other - more generic - machines embracing the multimedia

age.

That odd island of dedicated audio and video professionals carried on blissfully, more

than content with what their Falcons offered, and would do for some years.

But really 1995 marked the end of the line.

It also meant that Unique Developments never published their Falcon enhanced version of

the brilliant Obsession pinball game.

Just one of the many loses, in this story.

It's a sad fate for a machine which offered so much, and had so much potential.

But as with all these commercial failures, there were groups of people who realised how

good this machine was, and really began to put it through it's paces.

As usual, it would be up to the fans and hobbyists to pick up the slack.

And trust me, there's a video there in it's own right.

The Falcon may not share a big cat name, but it at least has the same number of lives,

if not more.

Thank you for watching my video on the glorious Atari Falcon, I hope you enjoyed it.

I wish to say thanks to my Patrons who contributed voice overs to this video.

You guys were absolutely fantastic.

I also wish to thank my other patrons, you guys for watching, the internet for being

such a fantastic resource, and of course, these guys on the left, for helping out in

other ways.

That's all I've got to say really.

Have a great evening.

[PUMPING MUSIC FADES OUT]

The Description of Atari Falcon 030 | Nostalgia Nerd