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5 best Atari ST games and how to play them now

The Atari ST might be better known as the computer of choice for musicians in the late 80s, but it also had some great games. Here are our 5 favourites.

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It might come as a surprise to learn that, after owning a ZX Spectrum and then a Commodore 64, I actually progressed onto an Atari ST rather than Amiga – not least because I ended up being group editor of Your Amiga for a while. However, the Atari name still resonated in my household and there was something about it coming with a monitor that gave it the edge.

It might not have been the best choice as a games machine though, with the Amiga 500 being the better option in hindsight. Still, I loved it and there were plenty of games to enjoy on it nonetheless.

Here are five of the games we actually owned that really stood out. And, as with our other retro gaming round-ups, we’ve listed them chronologically.

Dungeon Master

  • Released: 1987

There have been some superb role-playing games over the years but few that had as much impact as Dungeon Master. Stuck in a 3D maze, you must complete puzzles and fight monsters with your party of four adventurers.

Apart from the visuals, the game holds up remarkably well still and even just writing about it now, the hairs on the back of our necks stand on end. So many hours were poured into this game, and for good reason.

Defender of the Crown

  • Released: 1987

Originally released on the Amiga a year before, Defender of the Crown was ported to the Atari ST and we were all the more grateful for it.

Like the Cinemaware games that followed, it was a strategy simulation that featured mini games (such as jousting) and, for the time, had very polished graphics. You had to fight for control of England in the Middle Ages and, we feel, set the stall for historical strategy games going forward.

Xenon 2: Megablast

  • Released: 1989

We’ve covered Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe in our best Amiga games round-up, and that could just as easily made this list too. However, we’ve opted for another Bitmap Brothers foray as it was the first great shoot’em-up we enjoyed that wasn’t an arcade conversion.

We were also fond of the Bomb the Bass hit Megablast, which was intrinsically tied to this game. Although, it must be said, the musical loop can get a little irritating during play.

The Secret of Monkey Island

  • Released: 1990

There are so many great LucasArts (Lucasfilm Games, at the time) point and click adventures that we might just do a round-up of those at some point. But, considering we still return to The Secret of Monkey Island often (having forgotten most of the puzzles) that it remains at the pinnacle.

The humour, the graphics (for the time) and the superb character development have been synonymous with Ron Gilbert’s and Double Fine’s Tim Schafer’s games ever since.

Championship Manager

  • Released: 1992

Before Sports Interactive had to change the name after a split from Eidos, the Championship Manager series ruled supreme as the best footy simulation game around. And, it started here.

The first Champ Man (as it was fondly called) was introduced to the world by the Collyer brothers and released by Domark. It had no graphics during matches – relying on text instead – but the depth was unsurpassed. That continues to this day with the annual Football Manager releases.

How to play Atari ST games today

It is possible to get hold of an old but working Atari ST and monitor, plus a stack of games on floppy disk, but there are easier ways to play old Atari ST games.

It’s legally grey to do so, but you can pretty much get hold of digital copies of most of the games released during the 80s and 90s online, and play them through an emulator.

A particular favourite Atari ST emulator is Hatari (available here from Emutopia as the official webpage is currently down). There are versions for Windows and macOS.

As for the ROMs, there’s no better place than Atarimania – which we also recommended for our 5 best Atari 2600 games. It has a vast library of Atari ST games to download, which will run using emulation.

Of course, you really should own an original copy of each game before you download it.

If you do, here are direct links to the Atari ST games that made our list:

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Rik Henderson
Rik Henderson
Rik is a professional journalist with more than 35 years experience across online, magazines and television broadcasting. As well as the creator of GamesLifer, he is the News Editor of, while his previous work includes stints as editor and group editor on several monthlies and weeklies covering video games and technology. He has also been a series producer on daily and weekly TV shows, and has presented and guested on multiple TV series too, including GamesMaster, Games World, Game Over, Virtual World of Sport, Live TV, Greatest Christmas TV Ads, and The Apprentice.