• Tag Archives Atari 8-bit
  • The KoalaPad

    Source: Family Computing – Issue Number 9 – May 1984

    Back in the 8-bit days there seemed to be a neverending supply of peripheral attachments you could get for your computer. After a disk and/or tape drive, joysticks, a printer, and perhaps a modem, the Koalapad was one of the more popular choices, at least among Commodore 64 owners. It was also available for 8-bit Atari computers, the Apple II and of course the DOS based PCs of the day.

    The KoalaPad was a touchpad of sorts that could serve two basic functions. The most popular function was perhaps as an art tool. Along with the pen/stylus that came along with it, you could use it to draw with the included KoalaWare graphics program. However, the more interesting functionality, at least for the time, was as a touchpad interface. Just like a touchpad on a modern laptop, it could be used to move a cursor around, select menu items, drag things around, etc. Sure, that’s nothing special today but at the time it was pretty novel.

    There were a number of other programs that ultimately supported the KoalaPad but I think the more popular were art programs, especially KoalaWare itself. There just weren’t too many GUI programs on 8-bit computers until things like GEOS came along a few years later. The KoalaPad was introduced in 1983 and was pretty well supported through 1984. However, by that time, the Macintosh had come along and popularized the mouse which would become the dominant interface device. But maybe if the Commodore 64 had stuck around a few more years we would all be using a KoalaPad 2.0 supporting gestures…

    The ad above is from the May 1984 issue of Family Computing.

  • ANALOG Computing (April 1987)


    Source: ANALOG Computing – Issue number 53 – April 1987

    ANALOG Computing was probably the most successful magazine dedicated to Atari 8-bit computers. If you watch closely, you can see at least one issue lying around in Ready Player One which I just watched the other day. By 1987 the last generation of Atari 8-bits (the XE series) had already been around a couple years and ANALOG was also giving some coverage to the Atari ST. The April 1987 issue of ANALOG Computing includes:


    • Music during the Musical Blank Interrupt – Part 3 in our series details what’s involved in accomplishing music during the VBI.
    • Background Printer -= A device handler which lets your printer do its thing while you are doing yours.
    • Floyd the Droid Goes Blastin’ – Wipe out the mutants just for kicks in this new machine-language game.
    • HardCopy and CheckWriter – Adding these two programs to MicroCheck (from issue 27) lets you prepare multiple copies and print checks.
    • Multicopy – A versatile utility for copying files, made even easier by keyboard or joystick use.
    • Bits & Pieces – The BSR home controller is just an article away from your Atari.
    • Modems and the Atari 8-bit – An introduction to the universe of telecommunications BBSs and networks.
    • The Baud Warrior – Advice for the experienced modem user.


    • Lightspeed C – A detailed look at this structured language.
    • Soundwave 1 and Soundwave 8 – Two sequencers for the ST – do they live up to their claims?
    • The Learning Phone – Check out the Atari Plato cartridge.
    • Screens – Tricky screen formats are yours with this inexpensive, useful utility.
    • The New Technology Coloring Book – Hi-tech coloring for children.
    • Nite Lite – A close examination of one of the popular BBSs for the 8-bit and the Atari ST, too.
    • The Atari ST User’s Guide – How worthy is the new ST Logo guide?
    • Blazing Paddles – Is this recently introduced art program an 8-bit DEGAS?
    • Carina BBS – Our BBS expert checks out this feature-packed program.
    • Panak strikes! – Flight Simulator II Scenery Disks, Mail Order Monsters, Moonmist, and Rommel Battles for Tobruk are examined.
    • Video Vegas – Slots, Keno, Blackjack and Draw Poker in one package…how do they stack up?


    • Editorial
    • Reader comment
    • M/L Editor
    • Scheduled Atari Fairs
    • ST notes
    • Atari Users’ Groups
    • The End User
    • Database Delphi
    • Index to Advertisers

    …and more!