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80s computing in Japan

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#51 carlsson OFFLINE  


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Posted Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:48 PM

I thought one could compare several advertisements from the same company, to see if they fixed any typos. The first one we've looked closed at was from February 1981.


This one is from November 1980. While the MB-6890 did exist at that time, the reseller doesn't seem to have specialized in it yet.



The next issue online is not until September 1981, by which some of the items seem to have expired. However a slew of Commodore stuff was added in the mean time.



At least we can compare some of the prices. Many seem have dropped by 33% between February and September 1981. If I get Google Translate correctly, the items on the bottom right page were a compatible case for 35,000 yen, an original keyboard for 25,000 yen and an original power supply also for 25,000 yen. Exactly what kind of original those were, the image of an Apple ][ like computer as well as the text box with Applesoft Tutorial and other items should be give aways. That makes me wonder if the items we already looked at belong to the Hitachi MB-6890 at all, or rather were part of a DIY Apple ][ clone with optional Z80 and 6809 CPUs.


Perhaps in February, they only had generic cases (16,000 yen) and that you would buy a cable to attach a standard keyboard to your Apple ][ clone, but in September they had good enough lookalike cases and keyboards to supply instead.

#52 Nebulon OFFLINE  



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Posted Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:49 AM

I had another stint at the I/O magazines and came across this Prolog (?) implementation for the +8K VIC-1001 (i.e. VIC-20). I doubt it has full compuational power, but probably worked as an introduction to the language. I wonder if they had similar listings for the more popular, Japanese computers as well.



I also found the PiO magazine, a more gaming oriented branch of I/O. However I only found one issue scanned.



A few more magazines:


Micom/Mycom BASIC Magazine: https://archive.org/...agazine-1988-04(should also exist more issues)

Super Soft Magazine: https://archive.org/...zine?sort=-date (possibly mostly gaming oriented, also incomplete)

plus some MSX magazines of course

Thanks for posting the links.


I was going through PiO magazine and spotted the game "Spy Panic".


In the game you have to work your way op the ladders and get to the GX device while avoiding the stuff that the mega-robot hurls down at you.


Hmmm.... I wonder what game this is a clone of?  :-D



#53 carlsson OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:13 PM

I have no idea... anyway, I think Pauline is cuter than this GX device.


#54 pacman000 OFFLINE  



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Posted Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:11 AM

I remember an interview with Jack Tramiel. He said Their computers were initially successful in Japan, but consumers stopped buying when Sharp said they were going to launch their own machine. Can't find that interview today, but I did find this:  http://www.commodore...ael_tomczyk.htm


Interview with Michael Tomczyk, with info on Commodore's presence in Japan, their strategy for competing in the country, and the company's demise.

#55 carlsson OFFLINE  


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Posted Fri Mar 8, 2019 5:03 AM

Regarding the MAX Machine / Ultimax, I just learned that Commodore supposedly had production problems with the touch type keyboards and it was mentioned in contemporary news articles. Thus no known MAX Machine has a serial number below 15000 and none has a motherboard rev A or 1, only rev B dated 1983. There are Japanese C64's with earlier motherboards (late 1982) than MAX.


It kind of makes sense if the machine was more or less ready by spring of 1982 but due to manufacturing errors they had to delay it by 7-8 months. Just odd that they would manufacture 15000 units with serial numbers before realizing they didn't work properly.

#56 carlsson OFFLINE  


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Posted Fri Mar 8, 2019 7:31 AM

Correction: Commodore ordered 100,000 keyboards on May 14, 1982. The first 35,000 arrived in Japan on December 9, 1982 where 20,000 of those were found to be faulty. So there goes the idea that the MAX Machine at all could have been launched prior or simultaneously to the C64 in the west, practically impossible. However the MAX games may very well have been finished already in May or so, though perhaps not available to buy with the C64, as elsewhere it has been discussed whether the C64 had any games when it was launched some time in June/July/August (depending on whom you ask). Some claim game cartridges were there on day 1, some say those arrived later in the fall or not until Christmas.

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