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Member Since 26 Jun 2014
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#4255888 High Score Competition (April: Blasto)

Posted by majestyx on Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:01 AM

Vorticon: The key is to play on the faster speeds, with trails, and high mine density. There is only a single screen on which you need to clear all the blue mines as fast as possible. This is because the major points are in how much time is left on the timer when you clear all the blue mines (1000 points x amount of time remaining). Typically, you get around 8000 points (give or take about 1000 - it varies) by clearing all the blue mines. So for the scores you see posted, you can deduct 1000 x time remaining to see how many points were scored via shooting all mines.


For example, in my high score: 35430 - 28x1000 = 7430 points from destroying screen objects.

For globeron's ridiculously high score: 39490 - 31x1000 = 8490 points from destroying screen objects.


What this means is that globeron likely had about 20 additional blue mines than I did, as the blue mines are worth 50 points each. The more blue mines, the higher your potential points from destroying them, not to mention time savings from the chain reactions caused by them.


The reasoning for the game choices are:

- speed: the slowest speed, while giving you the most time, isn't offset enough by how slow everything moves. Your tank moves slow and so do the explosions. The other two speeds reduce the time limit but can be made up by how fast your tank moves and explosions occur

- trails: reduces the amount of small (green) mines you have to get rid of which are only worth 10 points. The best strategy is to clear the board as quickly as possible, so wasting time on 10 point targets is bad strategy.

- high mine density: more points due to sheer volume and the chain reactions they set off, again saving valuable time in clearing the board.


Hope that helps in planning a strategy.


Here is my latest high score, still not touching either of globeron's amazing scores. I am using the RAPID speed, as I get the most consistently high scores this way. Tried FULL TILT numerous times but more often than not I end up with only 10-15 seconds left on the clock, resulting in scores of around 15000-22000.

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#4255301 High Score Competition (April: Blasto)

Posted by majestyx on Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:00 AM

Here's my best so far which I think was a fluke by how many mines there were and how close they were together. Higher scores definitely depend on clearing the field quickly, as you get 1000 points per second left.

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#4244575 TI Related -- Ebay / Heads Up Notice

Posted by majestyx on Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:39 AM

TI-99/4 in original, albeit water damaged, box. No indication that it actually works and very sparse description, so buyer beware. Looks like it also includes a cassette cable but no Program Recorder.



#4233957 Dragon's Lair is sold out!

Posted by majestyx on Thu Mar 7, 2019 3:40 PM

#47 received yesterday. Hope to get the time to play it soon. Awesome work on the packaging and contents~!

#4233953 High Score Competition (April: Blasto)

Posted by majestyx on Thu Mar 7, 2019 3:31 PM

The game has only two treasures. Not sure what all you want for pics. Here is the final score screen. I do have the notes I made while playing (not a traditional map), but since this is ongoing, I'll hold off on including those.


EDIT: I somehow overlooked the post that said we could play any one we liked. Oh well, here's Pirate Adventure anyway!

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#4223620 New Atari Console that Ataribox?

Posted by majestyx on Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:08 AM

While this is true, let's face it...this was never being sold to people that gave a crap about what it did.

These were people willing to throw money at a 2600-esque box that said "Atari" on it. What it did or didn't do, or indeed whether it did anything at all, was a secondary consideration at best.

These people are still enthusiastically on board. Chesnais aimed for the low hanging fruit, and hit it brilliantly.


While it doesn't say Atari on it, it does at least have the emblem and looks like an (old school) Atari VCS



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#4220468 New Atari Console that Ataribox?

Posted by majestyx on Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:13 PM

When I read this:


The atari vcs is going to be an evolution of video game consoles. Not only for atari but all video games in general. The atari vcs is going to offer more flexibility and less restrictions than other platforms. When it comes to playing video games the atari vcs is going to awesome and I can’t wait to get it.



...I'm wondering what it is he can't wait to get. "[A]n evolution of video game consoles." Hasn't just about every new game console been this?


"Not only for atari but all video games in general." Um, okay, WTF does this even mean? It's not like "atari" has been constantly pumping out consoles every so many years like a few other console manufacturers. Just about anything would be an evolution for them. What in particular is it going to have that other manufacturers are going to think "man, we need to add that to our next console!"?


Never mind that what he's stating is so generic. He's using a whole lot of words to essentially say nothing. What do you mean by "more flexibility and less restrictions," which in itself sounds redundant? What restrictions?



I'm sure he's convinced himself it's "going to be awesome" (how 80s), but it's gonna take a lot more than him just saying so to make it so.

#4219864 Basic Fun to Reissue Speak and Spell in Fall 2019 for $25

Posted by majestyx on Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:20 PM

Should have known better. It looked like TI BASIC but when I saw CALL SAY, I knew that wasn't available in it. Thanks to Greg for the solution. Also, I found this as well, in order to avoid a program crash:



#4214706 🖥 FlashROM 99 & FinalGROM 99 - Repository -- (04/08/2019)

Posted by majestyx on Wed Feb 6, 2019 9:53 PM



OK- to start the ball rolling, here is a zip with a lot of short text files to place on your FG99 SDHC card.  You will need to unpack the zip file and then match the txt files with module bin files with the same name and have matching files in the same folder. You will probably have set up different folders to me- I split my games into 4 folders for convenience..


Note that if your bin files have differing names you will need to change the txt files to match.


I have concentrated on short notes for as many games bins as I could- and was disappointed to find many where I could not locate any docs at all.  And I learned how to play a few games (we never RTM do we!).


When you have a list of modules to select from on your TI screen, press FCTN 7 and a query (?) will appear at bottom right.  Now press the letter for the module you are interested in (A B C D E etc).  If there is no text file you will be shown the menu again.  If there is a txt file it will be displayed.   To exit back to the module list, press key Q.


There are a few none-game txt files, but it is not possible to fit a 300 page manual in 100 or so 32 character wide lines.


Feel free to write your own files - or let me know where I can locate docs for the games I've missed.


Enjoy.    Stephen


I have no idea if anyone would be interested in these, but I've been slowly typing up more aid files for titles that weren't included in blackbox's original post for the FG99 cartridge. I've only added 5 more and none are for games. They are...


- Diagnostics

- Demonstration

- Early Learning Fun

- Beginning Grammar

- Number Magic


As blackbox mentioned, there is a limit to the size of the files that can be created. In my experience, 146 lines of 38 characters per line appears to be the limit. Due to this, I've only included the following in each file:


- cartridge title

- TI given description

- the Quick Reference Guide

- the blurb from the back of each manual


I will continue to create more and am happy to share them here if there is interest in them.

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#4214481 Creative Computing Software for the TI

Posted by majestyx on Wed Feb 6, 2019 2:55 PM

Has anyone ever tracked down any of the three titles that Creative Computing released for the TI? Below is the page in their Catalog 8 that lists them. They're also mentioned in the TI Home Computer Program Library brochure that usually came with a TI-99/4A. I've no idea if this software was any good, just curious if these titles have ever been preserved or if they may be most liekly lost to history.


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#4213585 High Score Competition (April: Blasto)

Posted by majestyx on Tue Feb 5, 2019 11:52 AM

Not that I expect this score will hold up, but here's my current best score for this game. It's actually a lot better than I remember it being, with a decent amount of depth for what at first glance looks to be a simple game.



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#4210346 Amusing yet true marketing claim by TI from Back in the Day, durable indeed

Posted by majestyx on Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:52 PM

Here is a piece of marketing copy (item 10) that has indeed stood the test of time. Such a shame their support for the computer ended so abruptly, but of course, money talks.


This comes from the "Introduction to Computing with the TI-99/4A" booklet that was put out by the TI Computer Advantage Club in the "Commonly Asked Questions" section.


The second one (item 12) was clearly a shot at both of Commodore's computers - the VIC 20 and the 64 - with the marketing hype taking over by mentioning only good things such as creatively arriving at access to 110K of memory and a 16-bit processor in the era of 8-bits, even if the machine really was unable to take full advantage of it. Dazzle 'em with numbers - the higher, the better, baby! (...or baffle 'em with BS, depends on your point of view)



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#4204329 Stupid blunders with my TI

Posted by majestyx on Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:35 PM


I did this exact thing when I was about 11 or 12. Only I was working with a borrowed Extended BASIC cartridge. As fast as my temper has always been I seem to be able to think rationally more quickly or at least in parallel: as I raised my fist I decided I would not hit the keyboard since the keys would likely break and scatter everywhere, so I hit the top of the computer instead.  Which jogged the cartridge loose.  Which crashed the computer.  Which lost several hours of work because saving to tape takes FOR-EV-ER.


Truth told, this is largely why I stopped working on the TI in my youth. My short temper and ease of frustration versus my lack of modern accoutrements for the TI. All my friends with their Apples, Ataris, and Commodores could do things much more quickly and easily than I could on my TI. Generally if things take too long I get distracted by another project and away I go. To my story, I am pretty certain I never finished that program and moved on to something else.


I was lured away from the TI by the Apple ][+ in my gifted class, the Atari 1200 in the computer lab, and my buddy's Commodore 64.


Your and Tursi's stories are familiar. I would get frustrated at some of the games I'd play on the TI (I think Alpiner was one that always got to me with those completely random boulders falling) and get so mad that I'd hammer fist the "coffee warmer" section of the TI which would almost always reset it and sometimes make it whine with the long beep until I'd turn it off. Stupid kid getting too frustrated over something that was supposed to be fun - oh to go back knowing what we know now.


Also, money was always tight, and since most of my tapes were used for recording songs off the radio, I'd be stingy with my TI tapes. Of course, due to overuse, my typed-in listings from Compute, 99er, a few books, and even some of my own programs ended up with dropouts on the tape. It certainly helped to improve my typing skills, but also made me realize I needed to upgrade to a new machine, much like OLD CS1 states. The Apple //c was the one I got since my high school had Apple ]['s and (imagine that) Franklin Ace Apple ][ clones, with a lot of software available for it. My cousins had C64 and Atari 800 so the TI was looking pretty shabby by 1985 with it being an orphan, Triton catalogs notwithstanding.


As for non-TI buffoonery - as a child of around 5 or 6, I accidentally knocked the power cord of a wall clock out of the socket. It bent the prongs so, not knowing how it worked, I decided to hold the prongs while plugging it in. I kept wondering why my teeth and back kept hurting everytime I tried this... until my mom heard my wailing - which I wasn't all that aware of doing - and screamed at me to drop the cord. My first lesson with the dangers of electricity!

#4197415 My "new" TI-99/4A with FinalGROM and nanoPEB - so darn cool!

Posted by majestyx on Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:10 PM

Okay, now I know what I've been missing. And let me tell you, I'm glad I dove back in!


I picked up a few TIs from a person nearby whose relative was apparently a hoarder. I figured I'd grab three to start (yes, there are a decent amount of additional ones I may grab) and thankfully one of them works with almost no issues. The other two I will be sending off to another AA member to attempt repairs once I recover from having my gall bladder removed this Wednesday. I am tentative about picking up any additional equipment because the place they were stored has water damage due to both a leaky roof and very damp basement. In fact, the 3 machines I picked up still have a bad mildew smell to them. If I can get what I want at a decent enough price, I will. If not, I'll be happy with my current set up, which does include a speech synthesizer.


I know I've said this a few times in other threads, but I've really been missing my original hardware for a couple of years now, wishing I had never given away the rather large collection of TI-99 items I had up until 2010. But, it may have been for the best, now that I've gotten a hold of a FinalGROM and a nanoPEB. So much power in so little space! It's amazing how you can fit pretty much every TI cartridge onto an SD card and over 2500 diskettes onto a 4 GB CF drive. Add to that the 32K expansion and RS-232 port, it's amazing that I've been able to expand to my dream TI set-up for less than $150 including shipping for these two amazing pieces of equipment. These are so much better than the humongous and noisy PEB (not to mention the cards needed to fill it) and all those cartridges and aging diskettes lying around. If I had the space to store it all or enough room to set up all of the systems I'd like to, it wouldn't be an issue, but having downsized my living space by more than half between 2005 and 2010, these tiny devices are a godsend. So for me, it's a wonderful alternative.


Between this and my modernized Amiga 4000, this is like living in retro computing heaven. Two of my three favorite computing platforms (the third being the Apple ][ line) I now have working original equipment that are modernized to enjoy nearly everything there is to enjoy on them. It's doubtful I'll ever get any original Apple ][ hardware due to how the prices on them have soared over the past few years, which is fine since I already have to swap my systems in and out of my limited space in order to enjoy them. I guess I can settle for Apple ][ emulation on my Raspberry Pi for now!


I just wanted to thank all the hobbyists who have kept this 40-year old computer relevant (or at the very least still fun to play around with) all these years later. There are far too many people to list without anyone feeling slighted, so I will just thank all of the contributors to this wonderful group here on AA as well as on FB for all the useful and helpful information on modernizing the first computer I ever owned. Like the Blood, Sweat and Tears song goes: You've Made Me So... Very Happy!


#4191550 Colecovision Auction Watch

Posted by majestyx on Sat Jan 5, 2019 10:47 PM

Sure, its packaging is unique, but it's far from pristine condition and the game itself is about as common as can be. I can think of far better uses of $500, but then again, I guess if you can get someone to part with that much for it, more power to ya.