How to emulate an Atari ST





Need a virtual Atari ST?

I've spent recent years emulating an Atari ST and using the wonderful program called Hatari. Since I started AtariCrypt, I have been asked lots of questions about emulation concerning TOS, RAM, etc. So I thought it might be a good idea for this basic help page. I'm keeping this quite simple for a general outline of what you need to know. This should get you started with the awesome range of Atari ST games on your Mac (PC/Linux should be the same but I cannot confirm)

Firstly, there are two basic models of the Atari ST computer. The original model is the Atari ST and the newer is the enhanced Atari STE (Blitter, more colours, DMA audio, analogue controls, hardware scrolling, a newer version of TOS)

1) If you want to play commercial games, you should emulate the original Atari ST.
2) Beyond commercial games, you may prefer to emulate the more powerful Atari STe.



What about ST/e specs?

For the most part, these settings will work well. I personally tend to stick with a basic setup of Atari STe with 2MB RAM and TOS 1.62 to play floppy disk games. (possibly 4MB for some hard disk-based games).

1) For the ST, I would recommend you choose 1 or 2MB RAM and run with TOS 1.04 (sometimes TOS 1.02)
2) For the STe, I would recommend you choose 1 or 2MB RAM but run with TOS 1.62 (rarely does this alter)



What should you download?

1) Go and grab the emulator itself - Hatari or NoSTalgia (major update due soon)
2) Download a copy of The Operating System (TOS) all are listed on ATARIWorld.
3) Many websites have lots of ST games to download but the best is Atarilegend. Plus Old Games Finder links to many other archives. Hard disk games are available from 8BitChip and D-Bug (use Gemdos as seen in the first pic below)



Screenshots of my Hatari settings!

Here are several screenshots of my Hatari preferences. There is nothing mind-blowing here, I simply hoped this might be useful for newcomers. Any questions? Then feel free to comment below and ask. Enjoy using your virtual Atari ST :-)



Use the Drive A image option to load up MSA/ST disk images.


TOS 1.62 is the best and most compatible OS when emulating the Atari STe.


Basic stuff here... choose the monitor/TV and whether to show the borders.


Frame skip can be best when set to "1" and I always disable the StatusBar display.


Sound options - I've not changed so these are the defaults that can be left.


All ST/STe computers use a 68000 processor running at 8MHZ. 1/2MB RAM is best.


ST's use joystick port 1 for one-player games. And you can use a USB device too!

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