Breakin’ the Borders – The Atari ST and the Creative People vol. 1

1984–1990: From digital underground magicians to magical game developers. The computer youth of the 1980s was on its own when it built up a digital identity. This is the captivating story of a European swarm intelligence that fought against a truly limited 16-bit machine, creating extraordinary digital art. 


  • Hardback Edition, Offset printing, Sewn binding
  • 400 pages Atari- and Demoscene history
  • 135g/m² matt coated paper
  • 230 x 170 mm Landscape format: 12" Atari screen size
  • Multi-page specials with 500 screens, more than 40 demos exposed
  • 420 historical plates of adverts, photographs of developers, etc...
  • Double sided illustrations and compositings
  • 30 Features/Flashbacks with sidekicks and behind-the-scene facts
  • Tools of the makers and the programming story
  • Popculture integrated: influencial music, movies and inspiring artists 
  • 6 Thalion Game-classics with international press analysis
  • 40-pages Interview appendix with the makers
  • Sync scrolling & Fullscreen special by guest author Troed Sångberg
  • Explanations on techniques like Bit-blit, Antialiasing, Dithering, etc....  



With a foreword by Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth, co-founder of the Cologne Game Lab. In BREAKIN' THE BORDERS, the author of numerous publications about our digital age talks about the roots of “demoscenes”.      


A narrated journey through the Atari ST demoscene – an important subcultural phenomenon in the era of home computers. For the first time, the fast movement designs are recorded on paper. A book in the format of a 12" Atari screen with film-like sequential tableaus presenting over 500 demo screens.


How do you combat limits and system requirements? How about making something possible that a machine really doesn’t allow? What challenges did these 16-bit computer freaks face? What did they learn? What are they doing today?


Memories of the makers of groups like The Exceptions, The Carebears, The Lost Boys, Overlanders, Gigabyte Crew, TNT-Crew, The Respectables and ST NEWS.


BREAKIN’ THE BORDERS goes back to the time when Atari ST and Amiga were still revolutionary mouse control devices and DTP and interactive design still meant the future. The book unveils the founding of Atari Corporation, touches on the marketing of Atari Computers and explores the origins of the Atari ST demoscene, whose creative people were on a rollercoaster ride into the thriving digital entertainment industry.



39,90 €

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400 pages visual storytelling

The most impressive demos of the 80s printed in a book as if they were moving on paper. More than ten multi-page specials with hundreds of demo screens on 400 pages. 

BREAKIN’ THE BORDERS looks behind the scenes and follows the creative path of the young people. Experience the fascination for rapid screen movements in a new way. 

The making of digital tools

Underground, Business, Entertainment ...

A journey through the thriving 16-bit industry of the 1980s: the book shows Atari’s worldwide marketing, the roots of the Atari ST demoscene and its way into business. 

BREAKIN’ THE BORDERS contains the development of the most important Thalion games until 1990. Read about the everyday life of a software company founded by the digital underground. 

History of the Atari ST computer series

40 pages of interviews

Scene members and Thalion game designers look back on their time of life. Exclusive interviews reveal their thoughts on pioneering 16-bit computers and how they broke into the early game industry.  

New thoughts on an unforgettable digital age of creative computing, by Jochen Hippel, Michael Raasch, Marc Rosocha, Erik Simon, Niklas Malmqvist, Tim Moss, David Moss, Richard Karsmakers and Holger Flöttmann - to name but a few.

More than meets the eye ...

About the project

The demoscene has developed into an international computer subculture. How did the bedroom coders of the 80s overcome hardware boundaries? How were pixel art and microchip music made? What was it like to be part of this digital avant-garde? 

The Atari ST and the Creative People is a narrative series of books about Atari’s 16-bit era and its digital underground scene. This project was made possible by the commitment of many old scene members and the Cologne Game Lab.

Cologne Game Lab
Cologne Game Lab