This article was written some time ago, and was intended to be published in the Alive diskmag.
STOT – SEASON 1 REVIEW AND PROSPECTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
In this review article the author will examine the patterns displayed during the first season of the somewhat popular ST Offline Tournament gaming contest and will attempt to predict the future behaviour of the system while providing ideas and thoughts on future improvements.
The ST Offline Tournament  is based on similar contests that are being held on and for other systems such as the ATARI 2600  and the ATARI 8-bit computer systems . It is a contest in tournament form, where Atari ST(e) gamers can compete with others on their favourite game and thus get a measure of who is better at a particular game. One could say that it was born during a discussion in the Atari ST channel, #atariscne on IRCnet when the two STOT organisers discussed the concept and agreed that those contests can provide a lot of fun. The STOT organisers, namely ChrisTOS and ThorN, have since then laid out the terms of the contest, the point awarding system and the game selection scheme. The contest was decided to be held in the site http://www.atari-forum.com  due to the large number of Atari ST gamers that are present in this forum. During the contest, sh3-rg created a logo that has been first unveiled in STOTRO by ChrisTOS .
2. The ST Offline Tournament process.
As described in the rules, the ST Offline Tournament is generally held in the following manner:
- The contest is bi-weekly. The selected game is being played for two weeks.
- In the second week of the contest, a game for the next round is selected
- The points are awarded after the contest is closed in the following scheme: 8 points for the player with the highest score, 6 for the second and 4, 3, 2, 1 for the players that score less.
- Newly released games take precedent in the tournament. From the above it should be clear that only games that provide a scoring system can be selected for the tournament.
3. To be discussed
There can be made little connection between the games played and the amount of players, with the exceptions of very bad games (f.e. Enchanted land) and games not suited for STOT (f.e. Sudokuniverse) that all displayed a negative impact. No positive relationship could be found.
Another factor that might have contributed to the falling participants trend may be the constant high level performance of Xerus. However the hete dans actie known to have been performed by at least one of the three people who managed to defeat Xerus may be a factor that should be taken into account when examining the aforementioned suggestion. Examining the trends found in other offline tournaments [2,3] one can see similar patterns.
Another observation that can be made is that the polls attracted much more attention than the amount of players in the contests. This could be attributed to Atari community’ s desire for the right to expression without actually deciding to exercise that right by acting upon it, or to sheer boredom.
4. Conclusions and Prospects
The Atari ST game database consists of more than 4000 games. It is reasonable to assume that at least 2500 of them are suitable for the needs of STOT. With 24 rounds per season a simple calculation shows that there are enough games for at least 100y. Therefore the only two reasons that the author can see for an end to STOT – excluding major catastrophies or death- are the lack of interest by the organisers or by the players. The death of the Atari ST and the slow decline of the community are the key elements in the lack of interest, together with an equally negative to STOT thing called “real life”. However, as demonstrated by this paper, STOT has become a known name in the Atari world and the ST gaming experience is still strong in many atarians. With people working on new games and with authors finding nice the fact that people play the games, the future of STOT seems NOT gloomy, though one would have a hard time to call it bright. Still website is up .