|Publisher:||Mastertronic International Inc.|
Mastertronic was a pretty popular publisher of Commodore 64 games, back in the day. But, did you know that they published more than just games? They actually published a word processor for the system, too. It was called SkiWriter and it is actually a pretty good application.
It was written by Ken Skier and released by Mastertronic in 1985. I never knew about SkiWriter until just a couple of years ago. But, then again, I never thought that Mastertronic ever published anything but computer games.
Like most word processors for the C64, SkiWriter uses in-line codes to handle document formatting, which only becomes apparent when printed. The nice thing about SkiWriter is that you don't have to remember the formatting sytax, as you can use F3 and select the desired format commands from the Edit Menu. To save time, however, you can type in the codes directly, if you so wish.
SkiWriter allows you to set your page margins, line spacing, paragraph justification, as well as set a page header and in-document comments, which doesn't get printed. This is the first time I've seen a feature, like comments, included in any word processor for the C64. You can also do find and replace requests, and print out your documents in a few different ways. On top of all of this, SkiWriter also allows you to easily cut, copy and paste blocks of text.
Before printing, you can also preview your document, with formatting, on-screen. Of course, because the C64 can only show 40 characters per line of text, you will have to scroll left and right to see your entire page
One of the unique things I've discovered in SkiWriter is a sort of screen saver. By default, SkiWriter displays white text on a blue background. But, if you don't type anything after a brief time, the screen colours begin to cycle; I assume in an attempt to prevent screen burn-in. Good thinking!
For those Commodore 64 owners that don't have a floppy disk drive, SkiWriter also supports the datasette for document saving and retrieval.
Although SkiWriter is a very nice word processor, it didn't seem to get much attention (at least not in my neck of the woods). Perhaps it was better known in the UK and Europe, as Mastertronic had a much larger market in those parts of the world. In any case, SkiWriter was a very good effort and performs nicely on the C64. It's another good example of how versatile the C64 really was, not only being great for gaming, but also very useful in the home or small business office.