|Atari in Czech Republic|
I'll will try to describe Atari scene in Czech Republic. I can describe only what I've really seen/understood. Any changes/comments are welcome.
It was very hard to buy Atari here. There were two kinds of shops: in one you paid in Czech Crowns and in the other with special vouchers called Tuzex Bon. Bons were available for privileged people, but they were available on the black market. In normal shops were only common goods - basic foodstufs and czech goods for Czech Crowns. In Tuzex or Darex shops you could buy luxury goods for bons. Almost anything from the West was luxury - Barbie Dolls, Lego, electronics, Mars, Snickers, cosmetics, Matchbox toys, french mustard, Nutella, etc. Ataris were only available only in such shops or could be bought in the abroad, but only privileged (or lucky) ones were allowed to go abroad. Exchange rates were terrible, and nobody could freely exchange money. There was still possibility to exchange them on black market.
As far as I know, original software and documentation was not available.
Typical equipment I've seen in our user group was: Atari 800 (XL or XE) and XC12 tape deck. Only 'rich' people had 1050 or XF551 or printers. Later there were lots of different memory/OS upgrades made.
Most of new things made were half legal. There was no possibility to have company. Lots of UG were part of Svazarm (Army organization), SSM (Socialist Youth Organization) etc.
I'm not sure if was possible for individuals to make subscriptions of foreign magazines, but I don't know anybody who had such subscriptions. Libraries had few copies, but they were only in big cities. Copying was very hard. Communist feared dissemination of anti-communistic thoughts so that copiers (Xeroxes) were guarded very well. I remember there was some German magazine and my father was having big troubles when he tried to make copies.
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