Like it's predecessor, this machine gained some level of popularity in Europe during the early to mid nineteen eighties.
Despite being a decent machine, just like it's predecessor, it never really managed to fully compete against the likes of the ZX Spectrum, Commodore's Vic 20 and Commodore 64, the Amstrad CPC 464, or Acorn's Acorn Electron and education king-pin the BBC Micro.
So let's have a look at another lesser known 8-bit computer that just didn't quite manage to make it in the UK during the height of the 8-bit era...
The Oric Atmos
Chess on the Oric Atmos
Oric try again to muscle in...
It was blessed with a better keyboard than the Oric 1 (which also had a nice keyboard) and the pesky problems in the ROM which had niggled the previous Oric machine, had finally been ironed out.
This was a major plus point over the Oric 1.
It was by far less a cool looking unit though, and the black and orange combo keyboard just didn't look good at all. It looked a little cheap and tacky to be honest, and a more subtle colour scheme would have helped a lot.
The problems loading programs from cassette were still present though, which was a real down side to the machine.
The Atmos really should have had this little quirk nailed on the head, especially as it wanted to compete with other 8-bit machines of a similar stature.
There was nothing more annoying than not being able to load your favourite game until you tried it four times.
Zorgons Revenge on the Oric Atmos
Zorgons Revenge on the Oric Atmos
Oric Atmos Machine specifications
As was becoming the norm, the machine came in both a 16K and 48K version, although the 16k version was not upgradeable, which really was inforgiveable.
By 1984 16K was no longer considered enough memory for a home computer, and the fact that you could not expand it virtually made the 16K version of the machine instantly obsolete.
It goes without saying that not many of the 16K models were sold.
This small amount of memory could not support many computer games by 1984 and by this time your average punter demanded more memory. 16K? Pah!
If you fancied trying your hand at programming, a good version of BASIC was installed on the machine.
Tangerine basic was actually created by Microsoft and was an upgrade to the Basic used on the Oric 1.
For budding learners it was a decent version to get your teeth into. Not quite on a par with Acorn's BBC basic, but no other 8-bit machine was.
The peripherals that had been promised for it's predecessor (including a Modem, 3.5" floppy disk drive and printer) were also released for the Atmos late in 1984; but again this was a problem as other machines such as the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro and Commodore 64 were already blessed with a host of peripherals such as micro-drives, floppy drives, printers, joysticks, modems and light-pens.
A brochure advert for the Oric Atmos
A UK TV Advert For The Oric Atmos
Oric Atmos Gaming
Space 1999 - A new development for the Oric Atmos
The Mos Eisley Cantina Song on the Oric Atmos
Flash! Ah-AHHHH! Couldn't quite save the Oric....
How it ended for Oric - and how it began again
The machine, like it's predecessor, became popular over the channel in France.
The French models incorporated a scart power supply which tidied up the Oric cable problem that I am sure Oric users will remember (a cable for the machine, one for the cassette deck, one for the TV and one for any other peripherals that may be attached!). Phew.
The Oric Atmos was a fine machine that never really managed to take off in the UK.
By 1986 it had effectively vanished from the high street and the ZX Spectrum and C64 ruled the home computing roost (with the Amstrad lagging just a little behind).
As the whole retro gaming scene is booming, new titles are now being developed for the Oric Atmos, which is great news.
The AY Chip was always a pretty good piece of hardware too so the machine was capable of producing very nice sound effects and music.
Perphaps we can all finally see what the machine is capable of after all these years...
4K Cyclotron For The Oric Atmos
4K Kong On The Oric Atmos
Defence Force games for Oric machines
Defence Force are making modern games for both the Oric 1 and Oric Atmos.
They have even developed some 4KB (Yep that's a paltry 4KB of RAM folks!) games to really push the capabilities of the machines as well as the programmers!
A 'Light Cycles' game (made famous by the movie TRON) has been created called Cyclotron. Sparse on sound effects but high on gameplay - a superb piece of programming within the limits of only 4KB of RAM.
A 4KB version of the classic arcade game Kong was created for the minigames competition and is also available from the Defence Force website.
These games are a marvel in technical achievement and prove just what can be accomplished on a retro computer via the use of good old assembler.
More games are being created all the time so keep looking around for new games for your Oric machine.
Elite Style Game For The Oric Atmos
Useful Retro Gaming and Computing Links
- 8-bit to 16-bit
- 80s theme tunes
Name that tune in one!
- 3D Sky Attack
Tomy 3D Sky Attack
- Acorn Atom
The Acorn Atom was the ancestor to the BBC series of computers manufactured by Acorn
- Acorn Electron
The Electron was an 8-bit Micro manufactured by Acorn
- Amiga 1200
The A1200 was Commodore International's third-generation Amiga computer aimed at the home market
- Amiga CD 32
- Amiga Games
Games, Vids, Quizzes...
Asteroids (along with the seminal Space Invaders) must be one of the most famous arcade games of all time
- Astro Blaster
A table-top scramble clone
- Astro Wars
A legendary table top arcade game
- Atari 600 XL
Sweet 8-bits from Atari
- Atari 2600
One of the most famous home gaming systems ever
- Atari 5200
Home video games
- Atari Falcon
The Falcon was Atari's final home computer product
- Atari ST
The Atari ST was a 16-bit home computer
- Awesome Graphics
Some truly stunning graphics
- AY Sound
- BBC Micro
The Beeb was a fantastic machine
- Best PC Games
Best PC Games - for the PC.
- Centipede Arcade Game
Classic trackball action
- Commodore 16
The Commodore 16 was an 8-bit micro
- Commodore 64
The C64 was the flagship of Commodores 8-bit fleet
- Commodore 65
A prototype machine from CBM
- Commodore 128
The last of Commodore's 8-bit machines
- Commodore Amiga
We love the Commodore Amiga!!
- Computer History
A nice collection of old school technology
- Crash Magazine
- Dark Star
Design Design were great at including Easter Eggs
- Dragon 32
The Dragon 32 was launched back in August of 1982 at an initial cost of 199
Frogger is an arcade game that is much loved
- Funny Games
Game to make you laugh a little
- Games Online
Games online are both modern and classic
- Ground Zero
Quality text only adventure
- Karate Champ Arcade Game
The first proper beat em up game from Data East
- Miniclip Games
Browser based gaming delight
- Missile Command Games
Missle Command - a world famous arcade game
- Ocean Software
- Operation Wolf Arcade Game
That force-feedback uzi was something else
- Oric 1
The Oric 1 was a British computer
- Oric Atmos
The Oric Atmos was a British computer
- Pacman Game
For those retro gaming fans among us, who can forget the year of 1980 when Pac-man first appeared in the amusement arcades?
- Rolling Thunder Arcade Game
A real classic side scroller
- SAM Coupe
MGT's machine was a year too late
- Scramble games
Arcade classic Scramble
- Sinclair Interface 2
The ZX Interface 2 was a hardware peripheral by the manufacturers of one of our favourite retro computers
- Sinclair ZX Spectrum
We love the ZX Spectrum!
- Space Harrier
Welcome to the fantasy zone!
- Space Invaders
Space Invaders, an all time classic
- Spectrum emulator
Want to play those classic Spectrum games? Please read on
- Spectrum Game Characters
Fond memories of many characters...
- Spectrum Games
Games, Vids, Quizzes and interviews with programming legends
- Star Wars Computer Games
The logo that everyone knows
Dr Spin had a hit from this game
A brief and lighthearted look at an earlier release for the ZX Spectrum by New Generation Software
- TV Theme Songs
Welcome to some of the best
Home video game system
- VIC 20
Is Vic there?
The Sinclair ZX81
The Sinclair ZX80
- ZZap 64
ZZap 64 magazine