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Best 80's computer


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#101 Serious OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 6:27 PM

Based on what you said in your original post, I think you would be happy with a VIC-20.

Vic-20 carts tend to be more affordable than they are for C64 or Atari 8-bit machines, it has a large library of games, and there are homebrew releases for it these days. This is the machine you had as a kid, which gives you a kind of connection to it that you're not going to have to another machine. The graphics have a similar primitive charm as the Atari 2600. The sound is pretty good on it. Check out Attack of the Mutant Camels and Defender.


If you're not keen on the VIC-20, an interesting option may be the Coco3. I don't know much about this machine, but the games originally released for it look pretty damn cool to me. I have no idea if there is an active homebrew scene for it, but it looks like it would be alot of fun to program.









#102 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 6:47 PM

There were some cool carts for the CoCo 3 but most CoCo games were on tape or disk.

#103 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 7:41 PM

Based on what you said in your original post, I think you would be happy with a VIC-20.

Vic-20 carts tend to be more affordable than they are for C64 or Atari 8-bit machines, it has a large library of games, and there are homebrew releases for it these days. This is the machine you had as a kid, which gives you a kind of connection to it that you're not going to have to another machine. The graphics have a similar primitive charm as the Atari 2600. The sound is pretty good on it. Check out Attack of the Mutant Camels and Defender.


If you're not keen on the VIC-20, an interesting option may be the Coco3. I don't know much about this machine, but the games originally released for it look pretty damn cool to me. I have no idea if there is an active homebrew scene for it, but it looks like it would be alot of fun to program.

Serious,
agree on the VIC being a really interesting machine though I think the C64 and the A8's really ruled the 80's.

The CoCo (1 and 2) had a lot of gems and a ton of awesome software and was tremendous fun to program both with it's rich BASIC dialect and that 16-bit 6809 with it's verbose instruction set :)

There is an active homebrew scene for the 3 but I don't really consider it an 80's Computer because it didn't come out until 86 and then it took another year to figure out the GIME with it's 8K bank switching blocks and poor emulation of the 6847 VDG and SAM literally killing the CoCo's best semigraphics modes.

IMO a lot of the top coders just wrote better games with the VDG but you're right there were some really good looking games for the 3; Gauntlet II rivaled the Genesis Gauntlet IV version (without the music) and was graphically stunning.

#104 Serious OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 9:46 PM

Serious,
agree on the VIC being a really interesting machine though I think the C64 and the A8's really ruled the 80's.


Absolutely. I was a C64 user myself. Still have one setup on my desk, of course.

The poster having mentioned owning a VIC in his youth is the main reason why I recommended it.


The CoCo (1 and 2) had a lot of gems and a ton of awesome software and was tremendous fun to program both with it's rich BASIC dialect and that 16-bit 6809 with it's verbose instruction set :)

There is an active homebrew scene for the 3 but I don't really consider it an 80's Computer because it didn't come out until 86 and then it took another year to figure out the GIME with it's 8K bank switching blocks and poor emulation of the 6847 VDG and SAM literally killing the CoCo's best semigraphics modes.

IMO a lot of the top coders just wrote better games with the VDG but you're right there were some really good looking games for the 3; Gauntlet II rivaled the Genesis Gauntlet IV version (without the music) and was graphically stunning.


Yeah, I've been tempted to get one to play with.. would enjoy getting familiar with OS9 and maybe even some 6809 assembly language.. But I have a whole lot of stuff I'd like to do, and not as much time to spend doing it all as I would like.. This job thing kinda interferes with my free time..

#105 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 4, 2013 6:35 AM

Absolutely. I was a C64 user myself. Still have one setup on my desk, of course.

The poster having mentioned owning a VIC in his youth is the main reason why I recommended it.

Yeah, I've been tempted to get one to play with.. would enjoy getting familiar with OS9 and maybe even some 6809 assembly language.. But I have a whole lot of stuff I'd like to do, and not as much time to spend doing it all as I would like.. This job thing kinda interferes with my free time..


Very cool to have the C64 setup on your desk Serious! And I hear you about the job thing but some times you can combine them :) I have a breadbox 64 with the High Voltage SID collection on flash that I listen to all the time in the office when I'm coding. When I'm at a clients office I bring Rockbox (the open source firmware for mp3 players) with it's TinySID emulator for traveling :)

OS9 is technically excellent but I was never much impressed by it on the CoCo; IMO the gold (and the gems!) is in that massive base of RS-DOS ML and Extended BASIC retro software.

I've got a 512K CoCo3 with an IBM keyboard from Cloud9 I've been tinkering with trying to get any one of the 5 drives I had in storage to work but no dice; the CoCo is one of those interesting machines where I want the legacy hardware instead of a flashdrive - I need to pick up a new drive and a CoCo 1 or II!

#106 DaytonaUSA OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013 10:19 AM

Commodore PET. Sure not very useful for your wants.....but still one of the coolest looking computers I've ever seen in my life, right up there with the Mac Classic case design. The PET was "the future" to me back when.

#107 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013 10:42 AM

Commodore PET. Sure not very useful for your wants.....but still one of the coolest looking computers I've ever seen in my life, right up there with the Mac Classic case design. The PET was "the future" to me back when.


:) I just picked up a 4016 with 12" screen in good shape, and also an 8032 with 12" screen. I have an ugly for-parts 4032 also. I love them for nostalgic reasons and because they look so awesome. Pretty sure that they'd bore the snot out of anyone who doesn't have fond memories of them from BITD, of course. What personality though!

#108 Seob OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013 11:44 AM

I can kick myself for giving away my Commodore Pet 200. That machine looks so awesome. It looks like it came out of an 70s science fiction movie.
I got the machine from a friend of my dad. Didn't know what it was back then. Cleaned the machine and tinkered with it. Then when my family moved, i gave it away to a friend or i trashed it. Can't remember. We'll we all make mistakes in our lives.

#109 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013 4:49 PM

I've got a 512K CoCo3 with an IBM keyboard from Cloud9 I've been tinkering with trying to get any one of the 5 drives I had in storage to work but no dice; the CoCo is one of those interesting machines where I want the legacy hardware instead of a flashdrive - I need to pick up a new drive and a CoCo 1 or II!

If the drives spin but don't read...
You know those drive cleaning disks people warned you not to use... use one if you have it. Worked for me.

Edited by JamesD, Thu Jun 6, 2013 4:50 PM.


#110 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013 4:53 PM

Re: Pet 200

Oh yeah. I would be kicking myself too! Damn. Feel for you on that one. Sweet looking computer.

#111 DaytonaUSA OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013 5:46 PM

Yeah, the PET really did look like it came out of a movie. I wish they made "compact" PC/Macs still. Seriously, can you imagine buying a Mac from Apple that had modern components but was in a very similar shell with the same size monitor in it? Or one in an updated PET casing? Holy **** I'd be happy as heck.

I was actually wanting to make my own from a broken Classic with a Mac Mini inside, but the cost of the monitor and the computer always seemed to offset my giddiness to try the frankenstein job.

#112 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 6, 2013 6:57 PM

If the drives spin but don't read...
You know those drive cleaning disks people warned you not to use... use one if you have it. Worked for me.

Thanks JamesD, I will give that a try! :) I'm also going to try replacing the power supply for the drives since I've been using the same one for all 5 drives and they all whir and light up but I don't hear the tripple characteristic head banging the CoCo always does on init.

I can kick myself for giving away my Commodore Pet 200. That machine looks so awesome. It looks like it came out of an 70s science fiction movie.
I got the machine from a friend of my dad. Didn't know what it was back then. Cleaned the machine and tinkered with it. Then when my family moved, i gave it away to a friend or i trashed it. Can't remember. We'll we all make mistakes in our lives.

Seob,
I know how you feel; I destroyed my PET with the built in tape dec trying to hook the monitor up to one of my CoCo II's back in the 80's; partially burnt out the VDG on the CoCo and fried the pet. Before that I got the display almost working - everything but the vertical sync (tiny crushed image at the top of the screen). I think Commodore's dedicated monitor circuitry for the Pet was non-standard.




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