I got an ST from my parents for Christmas, but it was a long time ago and I've no real idea why I asked for that and not an Amiga. It's possible - actually, it's more than likely the case - that I chose the ST because it was an Atari-branded thing, and we'd owned an Atari 2600. Plus, I'd been a Spectrum owner through my teens, and I probably couldn't quite bring myself to own a Commodore computer.
I had nothing against Commodore, but it just wasn't who I was. I mean, it's stupid now to think that this might've been my reasoning, but such is the folly of youth.
Nonetheless, with hindsight... yeah, I wish I'd had an Amiga. Obviously, I can recognise that the only real benefit the ST had over the Amiga was its MIDI capabilities. Not that I ever made use of them, or knew what they were.
I wanted to do a list of great Atari ST exclusives today, but the truth is... most ST games also ended up on the Amiga. It is virtually impossible to think of games which "defined" the ST. Oddly, however, I've learned that a number of the bigger games that appeared on both formats were developed on the ST, before being ported over to the Amiga. When it was the other way around, Amiga games generally blew their ST counterparts out of the water.
Still... needs must. So, here's a list of the ST games I remember most vividly... bearing in mind that, yeah, we all know they appeared on the Amiga too.
Stop with the smug expressions, you bunch of social inadequates.
Certainly, as frustrating as it was to play, Another World has been hugely influential in proving that games can be something more than A Platformer or A Shooting Game or An Adventure. It was all of those things, and something more at the same time.
Though, let's be honest, it was an absolute pain in the cracksie to play, and the only reason anybody bought it was for those cut-scenes.
Very early on, there's a puzzle which - I later found out - required you to place a flag in a map. I mean, I had the flag, and there was a map on the wall, so I was pretty sure that's what you had to do. Unfortunately, despite moving my cursor around the screen I couldn't for the life of me place the flag. I ended up scouring magazine tips pages for the solution. It turns out that I'd been right... but hadn't banked on there being a single pixel-wide hole into which the flag had to be inserted.
I continued on from that point... but threw in the towel soon after, when I realised it was going to be full of similarly irritating puzzles that were rendered needlessly obscure by the lush visuals.
Apparently, everybody who came in the store that day had been there to buy Populous. My reaction was one of such surprise that I replied by saying "How do you know that?"
Only afterwards did I wish I'd punished his arrogant assumption by saying "No, actually... I'm here for a completely different reason - to do a cool street dance that mocks smugness".
Populous pretty much single-handedly invented the god sim, but I remember being slightly disappointed that it wasn't a smoother experience to play. Interestingly, The Daily Mail contacted Bullfrog to warn them that, because of the game's good vs evil nature, they could expect a similar fatwa to the one Salman Rushdie had been issued with.
That never happened, though it's interesting to consider how different Molyneux's career might've been if it had.
Yes, the visuals were squeezed into a tiny letterbox in the centre of the screen, but I was drawn in by the way the Ninjas would gradually lose their outer clothing as they took damage (oh, hell-oh!), to reveal that they were Terminator-style cyborgs. To be honest, that was probably the best thing about Ninja Warriors, but it was cool enough effect that it kept me playing beyond the point of enjoyment.
In particular, the bit where you had to steer it through a corkscrew loop was far more challenging than it needed to be, and thus Hard Drivin' became yet another game that was merely a good idea in theory alone.
See also: Powerdrome.
The first three games were a pure joy - telling the story of veteran officer Sonny Bonds. After Sonny's story wrapped up they enlisted the help of real-life police fellow Daryl F. Gates, and the series became more of a serious, mature, simulation of police work.
I missed the garish, VGA graphics, and slightly simplistic world view, and gradually lost interest. I followed them, for a while, onto the PC, but when the series evolved into the SWAT franchise I'd finally had enough.
Adding insult to injury, they even brought back Sonny Bonds as a minor character in one sequel.
I came to it late - I had no money to buy it upon release - but confess that I was hugely disappointed. I'd expected a first-person game with the sort of smooth movement we later got in first-person shooters, but it was essentially a series of flip-screens.
I appreciate that it was a very influential game, but I found it all a bit dull and slow, and not the video game version of Dungeons & Dragons that I'd expected.
But then, most of my D&D games with mates usually broke down at some point and instead we'd play hide and seek in my mate Phil's house with the lights off and one time I glued a loofah to his bath using some sort of industrial adhesive that I'd found and he got really cross with me because his parents were going to kill him when they got home.
They were funny and childish, and - as with all of Sierra's point-and-click franchises - I preferred the earlier, brightly-coloured, blockier graphics. Larry Laffer continued onto the PC where better graphics took away the innocence of the series' initial instalments, and suddenly exposed them as a bit grubby.
Also, in the current climate, a series of games wherein you play a white male attempting to have sex with a succession of voluptuous women, would rightly be viewed as the proverbial Wrong Thing.
Unfortunately, I think I spilled a drink on mine, and ruined it, so I never finished the story. It's one of the few times I've ever been forced to ditch a game against my own judgement.
It was one of the first times playing a game that I felt I was exploring an actual location. It comes back to my belief that the more primitive graphics are the more evocative they are for a player; modern visuals do all the work for you, so your imagination switches off.
Castle Master's flat polygons somehow worked in conjunction with my brain to create a place that was far more resonant and believable than has ever been offered by decades of graphical evolution.