-XI-/Satantronic is no longer with us :(
Although Expi has already published the sad news, let me make this a personal goodbye to one of my dearest friends, not only in Atari world but real life as well. As he was mostly known locally, for Slovak, Czech and Polish Atari scene, let me tell you how great and impactful person he was.
I knew Xi since 1997 where we first met at Code Copy 1997 — he was already a well established figure on the Atari scene, I was the biggest lamer you can imagine. Actually the first real talk with him happened a year later because the first time I just asked him whether I can copy latest demos from the latest QuaST Party he’d brought from there. 🙂 And that was Xi — no matter how awfully unimportant and young you seemed, as long as you’d shown interest in Atari, technologies, science, programming or just basically was curious and open to discuss, he would start talking to you as if you were long time friends.
The real breakthrough came in 1999; we were swapping letters (yes, paper letters, because I didn’t have Internet connectivity even as late as 1999) for a while and he asked me whether I would be interested in accompanying him to now a legendary Error In Line because, well, nobody else had the will to drive with him across two countries. 😉 Back then, it was an awfully expensive trip, so splitting the bill for gas was really something. That of course meant spending maybe 12 hours in the car together and I think that was the moment where our friendship had been forged. The talk full of Atari, crazy ideas, laughs at the dumbest things you can imagine from two (near-)adult people, incredible adventures and stories, … yes, this is what it was spending time with Xi. It was like that with him every moment ever since. So you see, he’s been my friend for more than 20 years now.
Xi once told me that I’m his biggest achievement because from all the other people whom he tried to „convert“ into our Atari religion, I had turned out as the most promising. 😀 And boy how true that was. He not only taught me coding in both 6502 and m68k assembly for Atari but we were mutually teasing each other about everything Atari related — Falcon is the best! It can play MP3s! There’s this new thing, CT60! CTPCI!!! SuperVidel!!! We had to be part of everything, we wanted to use our Falcons for everything. As late as 2003 I still had only my Falcon as the main PC and it was the same for him. We were perhaps the last people in Slovakia with such status. 😀
From time to time, someone tells me something like „Mikro, you seem to be everywhere when it comes to Atari world!“ but for me, such person was Xi. He was everywhere, he knew the coolest people, he had contacts and access to the coolest FTP sites, he was always the star of every Atari party where we went. He was literally my personal and Atari hero — the smartest man I had ever known and an Atari fan! I even learned Polish (well, „Polish“ to be honest ;)) because he knew how to talk to our Polish friends natively.
Let me summarise how impactful Xi was to our (Atari) lives:
- he was one of the first game developers in Slovakia, he co-developed and published now legendary Jurrasic Park 2 game for Atari XE/XL
- he coded one of the first big mega demos for Atari XE/XL – Te.mod
- he was absolutely crucial in co-organizing and maintaining all the 20 years of the Forever party in Trencin
- he visited more Atari parties since 1995 than anyone in the known universe 😉 – Orneta/QuaST, Demobit, Intel Outside, Code Copy, Atariada, Error In Line, Silly Venture, Outline, LaST, Lato Ludzikow, … he wouldn’t miss a year unless something serious prevented him from attending. The last party where we went all together was Sommarhack 2019 all the way to Sweden and finally, Silly Venture 2019, the very last „offline“ Atari party before the COVID madness… If only we knew back then…
- he was writing and self-publishing Atarix, the first and only paper magazine about Atari in Slovak language
- he was the driving force behind atari.sk, he had been publishing news there since 2003!
- he was actually a pretty talented graphician, he stubbornly refused to use any modern tools and drew all his creations in his own software on real 8-bit Atari (that actually applies also to all his code, be it 8-bit Atari or Falcon, he would always use the real thing and not emulators/cross compilers)
- he was the spiritual father and author of all the beautiful skins and plugins of mxPlay, a player which would become quite popular way later after its release
- he was the brain behind the Noise 2006 party, however crazy idea it was, we did it only thanks to him
- he was absolutely brilliant at soldering; to this day I have never seen someone soldering with such precision as he could. He repaired/upgraded my Falcon on several occasions (until I was pissed enough to learn it by myself, again, thanks to him). Thanks to his patience and precision the CosmosEx 3.0 got released because there were numerous manufacturing soldering errors
- he co-developed several hardware addons here in Slovakia, most notably (one of) the first 1MB RAM expansion for Atari XE/XL
- he gave more advice to any fellow and wannabe coders than I will ever have, despite the fact that he himself had very little time for coding.
There is so much more to tell, so many stories, so many examples of his great personality. Since I met him when I was barely 16, he also formed many of my current views, music taste (god how people hated us for our love for Scooter and similar electronic music 😀 ), sense of humour, attitude towards people, and most importantly… how to stay young in mind. We were always joking at his expense about his age but now, being in „his“ age, I’m so grateful that he taught me to look at the world through his curious and enthusiastic eyes, to never say something like „I’m too old for this shit“ and always look for the brighter side of the life (and of course, to never give up Atari!)
Although it is not strictly Atari related, I have also always admired how deeply Xi cared about his family. He had a very rough start, had to work from an early age, had to drop from University (and he re-applied and passed it 10 years later, how many people can do that, alongside his daily job) and yet he always found a way to mix Atari, family, vacations and our crazy adventures together. I have incredibly fond memories of being in the car with Xi, his son and myself, driving to the next Atari party, laughing and telling jokes like we are all just bunch of friends, not like „a son who had to suffer in the car with his terrible dad and his weird friend“. I can even take a small credit in introducing him to his wife, with whom he has two wonderful daughters. So: never underestimate the power of Atari friendships because it was during that time when he used to sleep over at my parent’s flat, we would code on Atari like crazy and in the evening went out where we’d met my friend and his future wife.
Ironically, he not only „lured“ his wife from the capital (Bratislava) to Kosice but he is responsible for my move from Bratislava to Kosice as well a few years later.
Xi, man, I am going to miss you so much, due to the COVID situation we couldn’t see each other recently but you were always like a brother to me.