WELL WORTH THE WAIT!by JACK POWELL, Antic Technical Editor
Yup. Looks like the dry spell for Atari software has finally ended. At last, the big guns are coming out: EPYX is marketing the fabulous Lucasfilm games, Paper-Clip is on the way, and Alternate Realities will finally become a reality-courtesy of Datasoft.
Then just the other day a bright yellow box came in from Broderbund. The Atari edition of Print Shop had finally arrived!
Print Shop is a graphics printing program that Apple owners have been enjoying for quite awhile. It's currently Broderbund's hottest selling item, and the reason why is easy to see. From the bright yellow packaging to the foolproof programming, Print Shop is so darn friendly you feel like Bambi has just toddled into your Atari.
When the package arrived, we tore off the wrapping and booted the disk. The very first page of the reference manual said to ignore the documentation, start up the program and just follow the prompts. Within minutes, the Antic offices were littered with gaily decorated printer paper.
If you've always dreamed of being an art director, Print Shop is exactly what you've been waiting for. You'll be cranking out flashy greeting cards, stationery, banners and signs, featuring clever graphics and a variety of different type-styles. You can decorate with ready-made graphics icons that are supplied, or design your own. (My own "Opus The Penguin" has been very well received.) The results are remarkably professional.
The program is entirely menu-driven and leads the user easily through the options. In the tradition of all Broderbund's Apple-oriented programs, there is an almost complete lack of sound, but this is essentially a utility so it's not too bothersome.
Before you rush out and buy Print Shop, make sure you have a dot-matrix printer capable of graphics. No matter how nice the program, it won't work on your letter-quality Atari 1027 printer. Print Shop handles most graphics printers. They're all listed on the box. If in doubt, call Broderbund.
As fun as it is, Print Shop has its limitations. You've eight type-fonts to choose from and there's no way to design your own. The disk comes with 60 icons or graphic designs. And you may also design your own using the Print Shop graphics editor, but as usual with multiple utility packages, the graphics editor is a crude joystick/Koala Pad pixel editor which does not allow for patterned fills or other desirable sophistications.
It would certainly be nice if we could use one of the many versions of Micro Illustrator to design our icons, but this is not the case. And, since the disk files have been hidden, a programming hobbyist would have a difficult time writing a conversion program.
One frustrating omission is Print Shop's inability to make labels. What about all my home-made peach preserves and canned prunes?
Nevertheless, Print Shop is the kind of program that should appeal to a huge audience. I can't think of a better computer gift for children-if the adults will let them get their hands on it. We really should all thank Broderbund for converting this hit software to the Atari. Now if they would only buckle down and get to work on an Atari conversion of Championship Lode Runner...
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