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Atari XL PC bridge


Singin' in the rain


MAME of the Game





Best Rev. 10 catalogue





Best Rev. 10 catalogue

Shiuming Lai recommends shopping therapy


A shade over a decade ago the home computing market was hotly contested by 16-bit. In the UK that meant ST and Amiga at the fore, with the PC playing me-too, trying to shed its staid business world image.

Photo of 16-bit posterWe had a series of public exhibitions to celebrate this exciting era, aptly named, The 16-bit Computer Show. At the fifth such event, held at Wembley Conference Centre in North London, Atari really got its act together. I was very much oblivious as I waded through stall upon similar stall, until near the back of the hall the towering burst of colour that was the Atari stand made its presence known (I've since lost my photographs, regretfully, so if anyone reading went to this show and took pictures please share them with us!).

Atari's effort was star of the show by any measure, Atari fan or not: lots of staff on-hand, from Atari UK as well as supporting third party vendors nearby showing highlights of their wares on the rows of STEs, Mega STEs (the machine I aspired to and eventually got) and TTs... There was also an ST Book, groups of the new Lynx II machines set up for free play, an abundance of product literature and most importantly, swarms of eager punters.

Swollen with brotherly pride at this magnificent statement, I took a break to explore some of the other Atari stands. Among these was a small one-man band I'd never seen before, offering a bewildering array of items from original equipment spares to Fuji-emblazoned pyjamas (at least that's what they looked like to me) and other merchandise, lending an air of souvenir shop eccentricity.

Photo Atari PinIn the present day, of course, we all know this company by the omni-present face of Brad Koda, the driving force of Best Electronics, USA. Brad has made countless more appearances at Atari shows worldwide and I've had the pleasure to meet him at a few of those.

Around 1997 something big was in the pipeline at Best. I registered my interest at one UK show (where in time-honoured tradition I didn't walk away from Best empty-handed, this time clutching a Tempest 2000 game soundtrack CD, one of over 12,000 rescued from Atari). During the following months, I received a mailshot from Best, informing me of the progress. Some time later, at the April 1999 Neuss Messe in Germany, I laid down my cash for an advance order, as well as picking up yet more Atari goodies, including a limited edition mug and some outrageously cool badges for the Falcon prototypes (Sparrow).

Photo of Atari Mug

Photo of FX badge 1

Photo of FX badge 2

Back home, more waiting followed. Then it happened, my copy of the Best Electronics Rev. 10 catalogue came in the post. Opening it for the first time immediately showed with no uncertainty why the project took so long. Suddenly it was like looking at a fantasy world, over 200 painstakingly detailed pages of every Atari product and spare part you could imagine and plenty more obscure ones you'd not dream of. Excitement soon elevates to ecstasy as you come to terms with all this stuff being available to buy! There's something special for every Atari user from VCS to TT.

Liberally scattered in the rich mix of clearly laid out product information are lots of money-saving technical tips and tricks, plus rare photographs and trivia. One of my favourites is the 1040STE+ R&D evaluation model, a standard STE with a built-in 286 processor for running PC software. The caption states it's an Intel 286 though to my eyes it appears to be sporting the AMD logo.

Leaflet frontLeaflet back

An accompanying leaflet explains the long and fascinating story of how the catalogue came into being. Now the hard work of checking and documenting the bulk of the stock has been done, addenda are posted on the internet. Many items are in very limited supply and there's also the regular occurrence of Best unearthing or developing more new weird and wonderful products, so those need to be listed somewhere.

Big and impressive as it all is, there's more to it than merely a huge listing. Only by reading does one realise the amount of energy and resources needed to acquire, organise and safeguard otherwise lost treasures. Spares and accessories for classic cars don't come at mainstream prices because of the extra work involved, the same is true for oldie-but-goldie computers.

Part of page from catalogue

I find myself reading the catalogue like a good book. Its value as a historical record is a great bonus, so all things considered it's an absolute steal. Got Atari fever? Get this catalogue!



Best Electronics Rev. 10 catalogue


US$11.85 (includes free US-mainland shipping)



  • A monumental achievement and handy reference,
    clean design and sharp print quality, nothing like it.


  • Extreme temptation!



MyAtari magazine - Review #1, November 2001

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Copyright 2001 MyAtari magazine