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My New Atari 65XE!


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#1 KirkEnterprisesTARDIS OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:16 PM

For my birthday last year, at the top of my birthday list was an old computer. And boy did my parents deliver! I got an Atari 65XE, complete with several games, mostly earlier ones - Ms. Pac Man (my personal favorite of all the games I got), Space Invaders, Galaxian, Missile Command, and Star Raiders. Now I hear most of the 8-bit love for the 800 and 800XL and many people say that the 65XE is unreliable and has a bad keyboard but it worked just fine for me and the keyboard is not great but fine for BASIC. Besides, coming from my dad, who grew up with a Timex Sinclair 1000, the 65XE's keyboard is fine - so to all the haters of the 65XE keyboard, try a Timex Sinclair!

 

Anyway, I love the 65XE and hope to expand my Atari collection some, with a disk drive, plus some disk games, and even more cartridges and hopefully more systems - an Atari 400, 800, 600XL, 800XL, or XEGS - any of them would be great, except the 130XE - while nice, it's basically the same as the 65XE.

 

One thing I'd like to note is I'm not a super hardcore Atari user into the demo scene where I need 1MB of memory; 64K is plenty for me, playing games and programming in BASIC, I am a more casual Atari user.

 

Any suggestions for future hardware (peripherals, other computers) or games? And what do you guys think of what I got?



#2 stirrell ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:03 PM

Congrats! My main computer up until high school was an XEGS, which is essentially a repackaged 65XE as you're probably aware. I would think a great peripheral to get would be an UNO cart or other SD card solution. Then you could try out a lot of games. What types of games do you like? The games you mention are classic arcade games so in that vein I would say the following are well done arcade ports or arcade style the Atari 8-bit:

Joust
Blue Max
Pac Man
Dig Dug
Donkey Kong
Gyruss

There are really too many great games to narrow down too much!

Check out Antic and Analog magazines online to get good reviews and some fun programming projects to do.

Enjoy the new machine!

#3 KirkEnterprisesTARDIS OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:10 PM

Congrats! My main computer up until high school was an XEGS, which is essentially a repackaged 65XE as you're probably aware. I would think a great peripheral to get would be an UNO cart or other SD card solution. Then you could try out a lot of games. What types of games do you like? The games you mention are classic arcade games so in that vein I would say the following are well done arcade ports or arcade style the Atari 8-bit:

Joust
Blue Max
Pac Man
Dig Dug
Donkey Kong
Gyruss

There are really too many great games to narrow down too much!

Check out Antic and Analog magazines online to get good reviews and some fun programming projects to do.

Enjoy the new machine!

Yeah thanks. I have a copy of Gyruss that I forgot to mention along with two other Parker Brothers games including Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle that I didn't mention as they don't work - Return of the Jedi boots to a self test. Donkey Kong, Centipede, and Mario Bros are serious considerations but as for Pac Man it looks more primitive than Ms Pac Man, having come out earlier, but I still might want to try. Dig Dug, Joust, and Blue Max sound fun too. I guess I've never experienced any of those games (except for Donkey Kong and Mario Bros on Nintendo systems) but my dad had a 2600 so he might have played the more primitive (or arcade where applicable) versions of many of these games. I have been considering an SIO2SD but they are kind of expensive. Yeah I do enjoy a lot of arcade-style games and stuff like Star Raiders (space-Star Trek-like stuff, these kinds of space shooters are in the same vein of something like Star Fox on Nintendo systems that I enjoy as well). Cool that you had an XEGS. Did you have the basic bundle with just the system and joystick or did you also have the light gun, keyboard, etc.? What about disk drives? And what kind of games did you have? What was your opinion on the keyboard then, and now.

 

Either way, thanks for the recommendations!


Edited by KirkEnterprisesTARDIS, Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:13 PM.


#4 slx OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:33 AM

 I have been considering an SIO2SD but they are kind of expensive. Yeah I do enjoy a lot of arcade-style games and stuff like Star Raiders (space-Star Trek-like stuff, these kinds of space shooters are in the same vein of something like Star Fox on Nintendo systems that I enjoy as well). Cool that you had an XEGS. Did you have the basic bundle with just the system and joystick or did you also have the light gun, keyboard, etc.? What about disk drives? And what kind of games did you have? What was your opinion on the keyboard then, and now.

 

Either way, thanks for the recommendations!

 

Some kind of "modern storage option" is nice as it will allow you to get stuff from the internet to your machine. Uncased SIO2SDs are cheaper and if you have access to a soldering iron the new SDrive Max (search the forum for details) can be built with very little soldering from a cheap Arduino Uno board and display (even cheaper if you have the patience to wait for one from China).

 

There's also SIO2BT that uses Bluetooth to link the Atari to an Android phone/tablet for storage or, even simpler, the SIO2PC (or nowadays SIO2PC-USB) cable, that will allow  a PC or Mac to act as mass storage/printer/modem for the Atari. There are instructions on how to build one yourself but they're usually available for reasonable money on eBay or maybe even here. 

 

If you like BASIC, check out Turbo BASIC XL. It's much faster than Atari BASIC and has some extra commands. 



#5 gozar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:34 AM

First up would be some sort of storage, the SIO2PC-USB can be put together for under $8 using an FTDI device and some header wires. This would require you to use a computer or Android device (with USB OTG support) but it's cheap and easy to build. You can also look at other SIO2SD devices mentioned above. I'm in the processing of building an Sdrive Max, I've spent about $25 to get the parts for it.

 

Once you have that, for programming, look at Fastbasic, an advanced basic and editor that can be compiled.

 

After those, the next item would be something like a Uno, AVG, or Ultimate cart. 

 

Then you would to look at hardware expansions. The Ultimate 1MB is not for the faint of heart to install, put it would be the next item to set up.



#6 KirkEnterprisesTARDIS OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:43 AM

First up would be some sort of storage, the SIO2PC-USB can be put together for under $8 using an FTDI device and some header wires. This would require you to use a computer or Android device (with USB OTG support) but it's cheap and easy to build. You can also look at other SIO2SD devices mentioned above. I'm in the processing of building an Sdrive Max, I've spent about $25 to get the parts for it.

 

Once you have that, for programming, look at Fastbasic, an advanced basic and editor that can be compiled.

 

After those, the next item would be something like a Uno, AVG, or Ultimate cart. 

 

Then you would to look at hardware expansions. The Ultimate 1MB is not for the faint of heart to install, put it would be the next item to set up.

Yeah these SIO devices that allow for modern storage devices seem nice in addition to a real disk drive, but as a collector, I really wouldn't want any carts besides homebrew games, no multicarts or flashcarts, yet anyway. The Ultimate 1MB isn't really on my want list as 64K is plenty for my purposes - I need no more out of the machine than a 16K Atari 400 would provide - BASIC and cartridge games. But even for disk games that I plan to get too, 64K should be fine. I don't need to run all the latest demos.



#7 gozar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:47 AM

Yeah these SIO devices that allow for modern storage devices seem nice in addition to a real disk drive, but as a collector, I really wouldn't want any carts besides homebrew games, no multicarts or flashcarts, yet anyway. The Ultimate 1MB isn't really on my want list as 64K is plenty for my purposes - I need no more out of the machine than a 16K Atari 400 would provide - BASIC and cartridge games. But even for disk games that I plan to get too, 64K should be fine. I don't need to run all the latest demos.

 

The U1M is nice for alternative OSes (such as high speed SIO all the time), SDX, and flashable 8K carts. I have Deluxe Invaders in one of the cart slots. :-) 



#8 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:56 AM

The current ultimate SD card based SIO device emulator is the SDrive-MAX... you can get a fully assembled one in a nice case from: https://www.vintagec...duct/sdrive-maxor you can build one yourself if you think you have the skills.

 

The simplest / cheapest entry point is a simple SIO2PC-USB Adapter, ie the one from Lotharek: https://lotharek.pl/...tail.php?id=108- Use your Windows/Mac/Linux PC running AspeQt or RespeQt to serve up the virtual disks.



#9 zylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:47 PM

I currently use Unocart and the 8mb flashcarts from Atarimax. They won't run everything, but do open up most of the library, new and old, for play on my XEGS. 

Nice score. :) I also have a 65XE that I saved from a defunct radio station's closet some years ago. :thumbsup:



#10 gilsaluki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:16 PM

Stay stock.  You do not need more that 64K RAM for 99 percent of what you will want to do with the XE.  Memory upgrades, while nice, are not necessary.  Power users here will disagree, I get it.  I have been using 8-bits for over 35 years, only a small amount of programs take advantage of the extra RAM, they are used as RAM Disks almost exclusively.  If you are going to use Batteries Included PaperClip Word Processor, then yeah, 128K is nice....if you plan to do a lot of writing (like a book). Otherwise, stick with the simple, but very capable Atariwriter, Atariwriter Plus, great word processors.  Good for you.  The Atari 8-bits are a thing of wonder.



#11 suspicious_milk OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:08 PM

I love the XE line.  I would rather an XE over the original and XL.  I have found them to just as reliable, if not more so than the XL's;; but to each his/her own.

 

Since you are keeping it stock ...  SIO2SD or SIO2something is probably the 1st thing you'll want.  2nd and high on the list would me an Atarimax MYEIDE ][ (there is a few games that require 128k, that with this cart can play on a stock 64k, as well as lots of other features).  I have over 50 converted .r16 files/games downloaded from the atarimax forums.

 

Search these forums as well for an enhanced Ms. Pac-Man (better speed, music etc).

 

If you do opt for an upgrade, I recommend the Antonia 4MB.  Tons of RAM configurations and BASIC/OS combos.



#12 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:53 PM

my setup is an SIO2SD and a 512K ram upgrade (eventually dual pokey's I have all the parts), not even sure the ram upgrade is needed for the majority of software available, but I like demoscene demos and a lot of those want 320k (130 + 256) 

 

the SIO2SD is a bit fussy when one is brand new to it but once you get it working its dead easy to handle and serves all my needs (considering almost all OG carts have disk versions or have been imaged in a format that the SIO2SD works with) 

 

I have never gotten into the whole OS / Basic rom options, never really saw the point 


Edited by Osgeld, Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:54 PM.


#13 gozar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:33 PM

I like having the U1M for SDX and flashable OSes, it's really nice to always have high speed SIO no matter what software you are running. The memory upgrade is secondary, although SDX really likes having more than 64K. There are several XEGS cart conversions that require 128K. But, if all you're going to do is play games, than anything but an SIO2PC (or SIO2SD) would be overkill.

 

Although the ability to switch internal basic to Deluxe Invaders (or Assembler/Editor) is just icing on the cake. :-)



#14 scitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:28 PM

Congrats! I have been developing a list of Atari Projects you might enjoy on your 65XE. These are meant to be fun projects you can complete in less than an hour. Have fun!



#15 KirkEnterprisesTARDIS OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:02 PM

Congrats! I have been developing a list of Atari Projects you might enjoy on your 65XE. These are meant to be fun projects you can complete in less than an hour. Have fun!

Yeah they look pretty fun. I just watched all the Atari commercials, and my dad wasn't surprised when I told him "a guy from Mash did Atari commercials". The other stuff like GTIA and ANTIC display lists sound complicated but I will endeavor to learn - programming for an Atari might be fun.



#16 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:42 PM

Might be interesting to check the insides to see if your 65XE is the earlier 8 RAM chip version, or the later 2 RAM chip version.

 

If it's the 8-chip version, its basically a 130XE PCB with some components missing, and is apparently very easy to upgrade to a 130XE 128KB just by populating the missing stuff, sugh as 8 4164 memory chips.  And if you consider that, you might as well put in 41256 chips, making the a small labour jump for 320K.

 

Edit: Found a video clearly showing the process:



#17 stirrell ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:56 PM

Yeah thanks. I have a copy of Gyruss that I forgot to mention along with two other Parker Brothers games including Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle that I didn't mention as they don't work - Return of the Jedi boots to a self test. Donkey Kong, Centipede, and Mario Bros are serious considerations but as for Pac Man it looks more primitive than Ms Pac Man, having come out earlier, but I still might want to try. Dig Dug, Joust, and Blue Max sound fun too. I guess I've never experienced any of those games (except for Donkey Kong and Mario Bros on Nintendo systems) but my dad had a 2600 so he might have played the more primitive (or arcade where applicable) versions of many of these games. I have been considering an SIO2SD but they are kind of expensive. Yeah I do enjoy a lot of arcade-style games and stuff like Star Raiders (space-Star Trek-like stuff, these kinds of space shooters are in the same vein of something like Star Fox on Nintendo systems that I enjoy as well). Cool that you had an XEGS. Did you have the basic bundle with just the system and joystick or did you also have the light gun, keyboard, etc.? What about disk drives? And what kind of games did you have? What was your opinion on the keyboard then, and now.

 

Either way, thanks for the recommendations!

 

Hey there. I had an XEGS with XF551 disk drive (the Atari-made drive that cosmetically matched the XE series). I had the system with gun, keyboard, Bug Hunt and Flight Simulator. The game I played the heck out of was Micro League Baseball. Of course, one would need to be a baseball to enjoy that - and it is a strategy game, not an action game. Some other games I remember really liking:

Ultima IV, The Eidolon, Star Raiders, Lode Runner, Telengard.

 

I used AtariWriter for my writing needs and had a disk subscription to Antic, so I looked forward to exploring those disks. 






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