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


1984 – 1990. From digital underground wizards to magic game developers. The 80s computer youth were on their own while building a digital identity. This is the captivating story of a European swarm intelligence, which fought against a truly limited 16-bit machine to create an exceptional style of digital art.  


  • Hardback Edition, Offset printing, Thread sewn binding
  • 400 pages packed by Atari- and Demoscene history
  • 135g/m² matt coated paper
  • 230 x 170 mm Landscape format (Atari screen size)
  • Multi-page specials with 500 screens, over 40 demos exposed
  • 420 historical plates with adverts, photographs of developers, etc...
  • Double sided illustrations and compositings
  • 30 Features/Flashbacks deliver 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 about 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 around our digital era, speaks about the roots of “demoscenes”.      

 narrated journey through the Atari ST Demoscene – an important subcultural phenomenon in the era of home computers. First time the fast paced motion designs are captured on paper. A book in the format of a 12" Atari screen with film-like sequential tableaus presenting over 500 demo screens.


How to dislike limitations and break system specifications? What about making something possible, which a machine truly doesn’t allow? Which challenges shaped the minds of those 16-bit computer geeks? What did they learned? What are they doing today?


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


BREAKIN’ THE BORDERS goes back in time, when the Atari ST and Amiga were still revolutionary mouse-operating machines and the future of DTP and interactive design has begun to shape nowadays IT professions. The book exposes the foundation of the Atari Corporation, surpasses the marketing of Atari Computers and explores the origin of the Atari ST demo scene, whose creative people where on a rollercoaster ride to the blooming digital entertainment industry.


39,90 €

  • 1,3 kg
  • Ships within 5-10 days

400 pages of visual storytelling

The most impressive demos of the 80s printed into a book, like they are moving on paper. More than ten multi-page specials with hundreds of screens on exactly 400 pages. 

BREAKIN’ THE BORDERS goes behind the scenes of the greatest Atari ST Megademos ever created. Experience your fascination for fast-paced pixel art in an all new way. 

The making of digital tools

Underground, Business, Entertainment ...

A narrated journey through the blooming 16-bit industry of the 80s. The book exposes Atari’s worldwide marketing, the roots of the Atari ST demoscene and their way into profession. 

BREAKIN’ THE BORDERS contains the making of the most important Thalion games until 1990. Read about the daily 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 are looking back to their life inspiring times. Exclusive interviews reveal their thoughts on co-working and pioneering the 16-bit computers, and how they broke into the early games industry.  

Fresh thoughts on an unforgettable digital era 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 just a few.

More than meets the eye ...

About the project

The demoscene has grown up to an international computer subculture. How did the bedroom coders of the 80s overcome hardware limits? How was pixel art and microchip-music made? How was it like to be part of this digital avantgarde? 

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

Cologne Game Lab
Cologne Game Lab