It should be us thanking you my friend.
Atarimania has been an invaluable resource to so many of us.
Your hard work has not gone unappreciated.
Thanks Sorry for a bit long post but i've realised not everyone seems to have an understanding of what we software preservation people do with our lives, so here we go...
In many cases people don't realize that we are trying to be a bit more than a usual "gimme all the games...NOW!" website.
Atarimania ST's primary purpose is what the title says: to be a database which tries to give an accurate tour of Atari ST software history from 1985 to 2018 and beyond as long as the internet and the members of ST database are alive. Having something to download is just an extra. There are dozens of websites offering hacked ST game downloads already. It's no use to repeat that.
Thankfully we have an active premium ones like Atari Legend, Stonish.net and DemoZoo's ST / Falcon030 section who are doing a fantastic job in preserving and documenting the scene history from the end user's point. Without their hard work many rare releases would have been vanished already! I remember that every time i click a download link from one of these websites.
Then there are as important websites who has pushed the envelope by bringing the Atari ST / Falcon gaming to the current era. Like Peter Putnik's hard disk patched games website, which not only offers gaming solutions for SD card devices, but in many cases also enhances old games with STe support. Not to mention patching them to run on a faster hardware like Mega STe or Falcon030! And the fact he actually wrote his own hard disk driver to squeeze all the juice out of our modern hardware add-ons is just a piece of art!
Then there are older sites like Klapauzius' and DBUG's ones for HD solutions aswell. Plus dozens of others who celebrate the Atari ST gaming in a way or another by making videos (Gears of Games, Joy of STicks and Wasabim for example), writing blog entries (AtariCrypt), finding out old developers to talk about the lost games and clear the Atari gaming myths (Lost Dragon), people who write Atari gaming articles for the commercially published magazines. The people behind the magazine websites like ST Format, ST Review, Zogging Hell and Exxos who also develops new hardware add-ons. People who invent new storage solutions (Jookie, Lotharek, people behind HxC) And the people who still brings us new games, demos and utilities to play every year for not asking a single piece of money. They keep our computers alive.
Atarimania ST decided to look things focused on a commercial releases rather than a cracked software. From a view point they were presented in a computerstore shelfs decades ago. It's something no one has yet done on the ST. We are also only Atari ST website who has archived information of a commercial game compilations, budget re-releases, versions from different market areas, have preserved a very rare disk magazines and user club disks like a Finnish ST-Klubi issues and has the most detailed Atari Falcon030 games archive around. Sometimes one title becomes 5 or 6 titles, like in a case of language localized adventure games. Oh well, it just multiplied the time needed for a preservation and research of a one title. We are aiming for a research quality database the historians in the future can use for their work. There's still a lot of work to do even if it has been our beloved hobby for almost 10 years.
Archiving one commercial title to the full can take anything from half an hour to few hours. Even weeks or years in some cases as the pieces of puzzle comes together a bit by bit when the new source of research data is found.
Back in time it was not granted that you just read the author's credits from a title screen or from a manual and insert them to a database record. It needs a lot of stamina and dedication to gather data around the internet, searching for old developers from places like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, browsing through literally thousands of pages of ST and multiformat gaming magazine pages from the past to find old interviews, reviews, adverts. Scanning the game boxes, manuals, photographing goodies and so on. This hard work has allowed us to preserve many commercially abandoned titles in the past with a help from the real people who worked in the European game industry in the 80's and 90's.
And finally and maybe most importantly processing stuff for the awesome, awesome people who spend their free time to send us contributions. Without them we would need another few decades to be where we are now. Bad thing is that we are much slower documenting all this than they are to send us contributions as it really eats all your free time.
That's why in many cases there are only a screenshots and a research data instead of archived and preserved gamefile. And yes, there's some stuff sitting on our USB drives because doing this is slow, very very slow.
So dear fellow Atari user. Next time you click that download link, please remember that for the file you've just saved on your hard disk in a few seconds, someone did all the hard work for you without asking anything back.
Someone was buying a lot of disks or games with their own money. Someone was searching every one of them to find that missing demo, crack, intro or a game. Not to mention hours of research work which sometimes is like a puzzle where in most of time it's like doing a work of Sherlock Holmes in a 16-bit world.
It's an eternal sprint race against the time which a bit by bit eats our disks alive. People should really think about that next time they click the download button. Something you downloaded represents hours or months or years of work by the ST elders who has been there from the beginning and decided that our beloved computer history can't get forgotten by the sands of time.
It takes time to get things finished and there's not many of us who have accepted the challenge. Our ST games database at the time of writing includes 4596 game titles in 6339 release versions and 253 compilations. Plus a research data for 1830 demos and 1106 utilities. Every one of them had to be inserted and researched by hand. One by one. There's nothing you can do to automate that process. I'm working a few hours every day to edit and make the data as accurate as possible. Other ST-members work for it when their time allows too.
I still have 2140 games in my work directory to be added and researched. Step 1 is then finished.