Jump to content

Photo

Best 80's computer


111 replies to this topic

#1 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

Manoau2002

    Stargunner

  • 1,072 posts
  • Location:Saskatchewan

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 9:42 AM

If i was to purchase a classic computing system what would you recommend? As a child i owned a vic 20 and i used the apple two at school. I would prefer something that uses disks or carts and not cassette tapes. I would like something that has or had a strong homebrew following as well. I would prefer something i could hook up to a tv or a modern computer monitor. Shipping is horrible in canada.

#2 Doug_M OFFLINE  

Doug_M

    Space Invader

  • 27 posts

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:01 AM

Sounds like you're describing the Atari 8-bit line to me! Lots of software available on disk or cart, can hook up to a tv or monitor and has what is probably the largest homebrew community of all the 8- bits out there. Not to mention they're still cheap on eBay and you can find them being sold by Canadians which will help with postage cost.

#3 krslam OFFLINE  

krslam

    Dragonstomper

  • 588 posts
  • Location:Seattle

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:06 AM

Atari 8 bit or Commodore 64/128. TI-99 isn't a bad choice either but the others have larger libraries and more active homebrew scenes.

#4 Keatah OFFLINE  

Keatah

    Missile Commander

  • 22,184 posts

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:11 AM

This is pretty much a no-brainer. It's gonna be the C-64 or Atari 400/800.

#5 Keatah OFFLINE  

Keatah

    Missile Commander

  • 22,184 posts

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:16 AM

As much as I'd like to have said the Apple II, I can't because it's a dead platform as far as homebrew software goes today. It also doesn't use cartridges.

Maybe you want to try before you buy with emulators? Check Altirra for Atari, and Vice for commodore. And seeing as how you had a Vic-20, maybe you want to explore the C-64?

#6 Ransom OFFLINE  

Ransom

    Quadrunner

  • 5,065 posts
  • Pre-Crash Gaming and Computing Enthusiast
  • Location:Just south of the Wisconsin border.

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:57 AM

Although I'm not a Commodore fan, I have to admit the C=64 has the edge in games. They got commercial support from third party publishers longer than the Atari 8-bits. So you'll see a lot more titles on the C=64 platform from the late 80s.

But, hey, you're posting this on Atari Age, so you might as well dive in with an 800XL and a 1050. :)

#7 BassGuitari ONLINE  

BassGuitari

    Glorified Toaster

  • 6,988 posts
  • Remember how bright the future used to look?
  • Location:Fiorina 161

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:59 AM

How about an Amiga? I don't actually have one myself, or know what its homebrew scene is like, but it's a pretty slick system.

Otherwise, I'll echo the other sentiments here and say Atari or Commodore 64. I think they were the best overall gaming computers of the early-mid '80s. If you want to go Atari, I'd recommend the lighter XL or XE systems; my personal favorite is the standard 800 (decked out to 48K, w00t!), but shipping is a killer with those beasts.

There are a couple of "roads less traveled," as well: TRS-80 Color Computer and TI99/4a. The Color Computer has a wealth of disk and cartridge software, although probably not as much as the Atari/C64. The games tend to be knockoffs of "big-name" games (apart from small computer-platform publishers like Datasoft, the only licensed games for the CoCo I can think of are Frogger, Zaxxon, and Pitfall II, though I'm sure there were others)...which isn't to say they're bad by any stretch. They're also not as colorful as other systems, despite the system's name. The standard joystick is definitely an experience with its free-floating, noncentering stick (it's great for things you would use a mouse for, okay for things you would use a paddle for, and pretty bad for just about everything else), but the centerable Deluxe Joystick -made by Kraft, if I'm not mistaken- is excellent. CoCo stuff seems be getting expensive lately, though.

The TI99/4a, meanwhile, is generally dirt cheap, has vibrant, colorful graphics, better stock joysticks (and if you hate those, you can get adapters to use Atari/Commodore sticks) and it has games from the likes of Atarisoft, Parker Bros., and other third parties. Its games are generally cartridge-format, but it does have a much smaller library than the other systems, and its disk system (aka PEB) will probably cost a bit more than one for the Color Computer...although both systems have IDE/virtual floppy devices now, anyway. Both are cool systems in their own ways, if you don't mind having a Charlie Brown system. :-D

Edited by BassGuitari, Sun Apr 7, 2013 11:02 AM.


#8 Seob OFFLINE  

Seob

    River Patroller

  • 2,510 posts
  • Location:Netherlands

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 11:42 AM

How about an Amiga? I don't actually have one myself, or know what its homebrew scene is like, but it's a pretty slick system.


As far as i understand, the Amiga is a great option, if you live in Europe. The NTSC version lacks a lot of great software, because the best software came from Europe (Britain) and was written for PAL. So in order to get the best of the Amiga, you have to get a PAL, so you would need a way to display PAL or use a monitor. Don't forget the power supply.

#9 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

The Usotsuki

    River Patroller

  • 2,061 posts
  • Also called "Licca"

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 12:09 PM

I'm biased toward the Apple ][ line so I'd recommend Apple IIgs =P.

C64's good too.

#10 doctorclu OFFLINE  

doctorclu

    ***Moon Patrol 5200*** *Moon Master2015* *Blue Max:Class 4*

  • 7,794 posts
  • *Star Raiders 2* **Captain -CL 2**
  • Location:*Star Raiders * *Star Commander -CL 1*

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 12:18 PM

I could throw out there the Coleco Adam. Cartridge based, though not sure they ever made a floppy drive for the system.

Other than that, the Atari 800 is my personal favorite.

#11 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

Manoau2002

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,072 posts
  • Location:Saskatchewan

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 12:37 PM

I could throw out there the Coleco Adam. Cartridge based, though not sure they ever made a floppy drive for the system.
.


I dont like the fact that you have to have a working printer to use the adam. I also already collect coleco games and other than those the library seems small. I remember using a c64 when i was young as well. I dont remember playing games however. I remember learning some basic. I honestly didnt know that atari made computers till joining this site. I remember using a spectrum emulator a few years back. Is it a good platform? Is there an sd multicart available for the c64?

#12 BassGuitari ONLINE  

BassGuitari

    Glorified Toaster

  • 6,988 posts
  • Remember how bright the future used to look?
  • Location:Fiorina 161

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 12:43 PM

...apart from small computer-platform publishers like Datasoft, the only licensed games for the CoCo I can think of are Frogger, Zaxxon, and Pitfall II, though I'm sure there were others...


Since I'm mostly into the Color Computer 1/2, I forgot about some of the later "A-List" titles that were licensed for the Color Computer 3, such as Arkanoid, Rampage, Super Pitfall, Robocop, and Predator. The CoCo3 also had some downright impressive NES knockoffs, such as Quest For Thelda and The Contras. And of course, there's the homebrew Donkey Kong Arcade. :)

#13 JamesD ONLINE  

JamesD

    Quadrunner

  • 8,481 posts
  • Location:Flyover State

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 1:17 PM

Atari 8 bit or C64 would be first choice in North America based on your criteria. A huge number of titles and more new ones all the time.
In the UK I'd say the Spectrum would be a strong contender.
In South America or Japan I'd say MSX would be the first choice and it's not a bad choice in general. Get at least an MSX2 machine if you go that route.
If you will consider a non-8 bit then I'd say Amiga would be my first choice.

The 2nd tier of 8/16 bit machines to consider:
Tandy CoCo, preferrably the CoCo 3. It doesn't have as large a homebrew scene but if you want to play with programming it has the best BASIC and CPU hands down. You can also play with OS-9. The disk drive options are good and you can load most software from a PC through DriveWire, a CF card, or SD card. The CoCo 3 was one of the most powerful 8 bits made and the Donkey Kong port and some recent demos give a hint of just what the machine can do.
TI/99-4/A. It has a decent group of followers and some good development tools. The homebrew scene isn't as large as the C64 or Atari through. I'd knock it a few points for disk drive options. You have to act quick to score a CF interface because the guy making them only makes a few at a time and sells them on eBay.
VIC-20. It has a good sized software base and plenty of homebrew titles but it's limited capabilities do put a little damper on what can be done with it. Still, there have been some impressive homebrews in recent years in spite of it's limits.
Apple IIgs. Huge software base and great hardware options... sadly most homebrews haven't lived up to the machine's capabilities and there haven't been a lot of them.

Edited by JamesD, Sun Apr 7, 2013 1:20 PM.


#14 high voltage ONLINE  

high voltage

    Quadrunner

  • 6,858 posts
  • Location:europe

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 2:24 PM

Spectrum a contender? only tapes on that, and bad monochrome games with squeaking sound and no joystick connection. you do your eyes and ears an injury playing those

Edited by high voltage, Sun Apr 7, 2013 2:26 PM.


#15 JamesD ONLINE  

JamesD

    Quadrunner

  • 8,481 posts
  • Location:Flyover State

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 2:44 PM

Spectrum a contender? only tapes on that, and bad monochrome games with squeaking sound and no joystick connection. you do your eyes and ears an injury playing those

You do realize they load tape images strait from a CF card now right?
eBay Auction -- Item Number: 171005510907

You have a point on the sound and joysticks but later versions have joystick ports and sound chips built in.
A Spectrum demo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv_v4c1t_X0

#16 save2600 OFFLINE  

save2600

    Quadrunner

  • 15,724 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 3:02 PM

I could throw out there the Coleco Adam. Cartridge based, though not sure they ever made a floppy drive for the system.


Never new one existed myself, until I saw this:

http://rover.ebay.co...=p2047675.l2557

#17 save2600 OFFLINE  

save2600

    Quadrunner

  • 15,724 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 3:11 PM

Best 80's computer? For me, that would be the Amiga - and easily.

Hats off to the TI-99/4A, AtariST, C64, A8 and ][gs though! Hell, even the Coco's were nice for what they were. There really wasn't a "bad" system from the 80's, save for anything IBM released and any similarly hampered and pathetic monochromatic displaying green screen "business" clones.

#18 BassGuitari ONLINE  

BassGuitari

    Glorified Toaster

  • 6,988 posts
  • Remember how bright the future used to look?
  • Location:Fiorina 161

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 3:52 PM

...There really wasn't a "bad" system from the 80's...


The Timex/Sinclair 1000 and Aquarius beg to differ. :P

Nah, just kidding. Even those were able to do some fun things within their stifling -and sometimes outright peculiar- limitations. And I imagine the computer/software world would be very different today if not for the ZX81.
  • jhd likes this

#19 save2600 OFFLINE  

save2600

    Quadrunner

  • 15,724 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 4:26 PM

The Timex/Sinclair 1000 and Aquarius beg to differ. :P


Haha! Sorry, have this nasty habit of ignoring computers (even though I've owned both and an Atari 400 BITD) with less than decent keyboards. :lol:

#20 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

Manoau2002

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,072 posts
  • Location:Saskatchewan

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 4:48 PM

Does anyone know of a good north american website for purchasing either atari or commodore computers? If possible id rather buy from an experienced seller and not ebay.

#21 save2600 OFFLINE  

save2600

    Quadrunner

  • 15,724 posts
  • Location:Wisconsin

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 4:52 PM

Does anyone know of a good north american website for purchasing either atari or commodore computers? If possible id rather buy from an experienced seller and not ebay.


Nevermind, by North America, you mean Canada, right?

As far is shipping and deals are now concerned, North America = Canada. America = U.S. South America = Mexico and below... :lol:

#22 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

Manoau2002

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,072 posts
  • Location:Saskatchewan

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 6:21 PM

Nevermind, by North America, you mean Canada, right?

As far is shipping and deals are now concerned, North America = Canada. America = U.S. South America = Mexico and below... :lol:


Canada would be the best because of shipping. But no north america means canada,usa,mexico,central america, and the caribbean.

#23 JamesD ONLINE  

JamesD

    Quadrunner

  • 8,481 posts
  • Location:Flyover State

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 7:04 PM

I could throw out there the Coleco Adam. Cartridge based, though not sure they ever made a floppy drive for the system.

I recently bought an Adam and it clearly has a lot of potential but they obviously rushed it out the door too quick.
Good ideas but it seems more like a beta version than a release version.
It's a nice machine if you like the Colecovision, just don't expect a huge amount of game software that doesn't run on the game console.


The Timex/Sinclair 1000 and Aquarius beg to differ. :P

Nah, just kidding. Even those were able to do some fun things within their stifling -and sometimes outright peculiar- limitations. And I imagine the computer/software world would be very different today if not for the ZX81.

I have a lot of old computers in my collection and the only ones I really want to get rid of after spending some time on them are the TS-1000s, the TS-1500, and the Aquarius.
It's not so much that they are horrible (the TS-1000 is borderline on that count), it's just that they don't really measure up to other machines.
I think the ZX-80 through TS-1500 introduced a lot of people to computers. Sadly I think there were as many people put off by those machines as there were people that got hooked by them. I've heard quite a few people say they got started on the Aquarius as well, I just don't like it.

Two of my favorite lesser machines are the VZ-200 and MC-10 and they were pretty neutered by the manufacturers.
But they can also be hacked to be pretty decent little machines and hardware hacking can be fun... if you like that sort of thing.
Funny thing, they probably would have been considered fairly powerful if they had been introduced before 1979.
But then they don't really fit what the original poster wanted and I'm veering off topic.

#24 magnusfalkirk OFFLINE  

magnusfalkirk

    Chopper Commander

  • 183 posts
  • Location:Western Oklahoma

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:02 PM

Here's my ][ cents worth. Research the classic computers and see what will fit best with what you want to do, in fact your best bet would probably be to download emulators and see what the different computers are capable of doing. Of course I'd lean toward the Apple II line, in fact for someone whose never owned an Apple I'd recommend the Apple //c. It's an excellent all in one computer: 65C02 processor, 128k memory (expandable to more), lo-res, hi-res and double hi-res graphics, built in super serail card, built in mouse card, built in 5.25 drive, compact footprint, can be used with a monitor or any tv that has a composite in, capable of running just about the entire Apple software library.

The Apple IIGS is also an excellent computer, with it's 65816 processor it will run just about all the 8 bit Apple II software the //c can run and all the 16 bit software written specifically for it. Of course it will take more to get it up and running since you'll need to buy at least one 5.25 drive and one 3.5 drive, an ADB mouse and keyboard. You'll also need a GS specific RGB monitor unless you prefer to use it's composite out, but for GS specific software an RGB monitor is a must.

As I said just my ][ cents worth.

#25 JamesD ONLINE  

JamesD

    Quadrunner

  • 8,481 posts
  • Location:Flyover State

Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 10:28 PM

Here's my ][ cents worth. Research the classic computers and see what will fit best with what you want to do, in fact your best bet would probably be to download emulators and see what the different computers are capable of doing. Of course I'd lean toward the Apple II line...

I would have put the Apple and CoCo 3 in my first group of choices if either one had a more active home brew scene.
They just don't have multiple titles coming out every year like the Atari and C64.
IIgs development seems almost non-existent as far as games go.

The Amiga probably lags a little in the homebrew scene vs the most active 8 bits but the quality of the games makes up for it in my book.




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users