Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by oracle_jedi


    I wanted a small XP system with a built in DVD as I have a bunch of ~2000 era Windows games on CD and DVD.  I had previously tried to repurpose a Sony Vaio laptop (Vista era) but found XP unwilling to recognize much of the hardware including the graphics adapter.  I never though of trying Dell D-series laptops.  Instead I recently bought a Dell Optiplex 760 SFF off Ebay.  Delivered to my door it was $60.  They have so-so built in graphics but they do have a PCI x16 expansion slot so I added an Nvidia 6500 for another $11.  


    For XP era games this is working really well.   The Core Duo proc and 2GB of RAM handles GTAIII through GTA San Andreas.  It runs Need for Speed Underground and Nightfire very smoothly.   It will run Need for Speed III but it needs a patch to load and run.   Rogue Squadron runs without any problems.  


    The Small Form Factor is bulkier than a laptop but is still compact.   I would guess it is about the same dimensions as an Amiga 3000.  I use a Raspberry Pi keyboard and mouse which don't take up much desk space.


    What is not working so well, and I am hoping you guys might have some insights, is DOS era games.  


    Doom, Doom II, Simcity 2000, Quake - the graphics and sound are corrupt.   I have to use DosBox to get them to run properly.   I don't recall if/how I ran these back when XP was my main OS so perhaps this is expected?   But I am wondering if there is a command.com config option for XP that would allow these games to run without DosBox.   Since they are running well enough its more of a curiosity at this point.





    Wondering if anyone recognizes this chess game screen shot?




    It was broadcast as part of the BBC's Blakes7 episode "Gambit".


    The show was originally broadcast in March 1979.   It was a low-budget Sci-Fi show that routinely recycled props from other shows to save money.  In the show the chess game is animated and I highly doubt the props department created this from scratch.   Plus in 1978/79 home computers/consoles/TV games beyond "pong" were still quite rare in British homes, so I expect they used a commercial product assuming most viewers would not know.   Including me.


    It looks like it might be from an Atari 2600, but this is not the 2600's chess cartridge.  Also it is not from the Philips G7000 or the TI99/4. 


    What home chess games were even available in late 78 or early 79 when this was probably filmed?



  3. I bought a second 400, and installed the 48/52K RAM card and the Super Color Card. - SN 210043







    I also installed a 5-pin monitor jack to replace the 2/3 switch.  I had to cut the opening a little larger, but I think the end result is pretty good.



    • Like 3

  4. On 10/14/2021 at 5:07 PM, Koji77 said:

    Thank you for responding!  The site says that is does not have the cpu/ram/power supply. Do you know where these can be sourced from.. I dont want to screw this up!


    Centurion has the power supply in stock


    Exxos did have a supply of 060 procs.  


    RAM was pretty standard IIRC.  I'll have to look to see the spec. 


  5. 8 hours ago, Robert Cook said:

    Oh, that.  Maybe it's just me, but I've never found system-specific graphics and sound commands that were added to many BASIC interpreters all that useful.  To really get anything done on home/personal computers back then required machine language, which I promptly learned to program in when I finally did get my first computer.  Slowly plotting pixels and drawing lines in BASIC using graphics commands and such was quaint at best.  I hardly think that these extensions or lack thereof determine whether any particular implementation of BASIC is "whackadoodle" or not.  CBM BASIC V2 on the VIC-20 and C64 was pretty solid, as these things go.




    CBM BASIC V2 is an implementation of Microsoft 8K BASIC.  As such it is extremely limited.


    It does not support IF..THEN..ELSE.   It does not support user defined functions.  It amounts to PRINT, GET, a few arithmetic functions, GOTO/GOSUB, IF/THEN and a FOR/NEXT loop.   Not much else.


    It is why Microsoft released 12K Extended BASIC, and many home computer manufacturers (e.g. Tandy, Dragon, Oric) used 12K BASIC or 16K BASIC as those dialects included a more comprehensive implementation.   Commodore could have delivered a more comprehensive implementation - and indeed they did on the PET (CBM BASIC 4.0), the C16/Plus (CBM BASIC 3.5) and the C128 (BASIC V7) -  but on the VIC20 and C64 we got stripped down bare bones BASIC 2.0 because Jack wanted to keep the costs low.   


    The original point here was that the VIC20 was a better machine for the budding programmer because it has a "real keyboard".  


    That real keyboard isn't very good.   Better than the 400's touch panel, but not really by much considering its anti-ergonomic curve and the height at which the keyboard sits due to the deep case.  But sure, a better option for the budding programmer than the 400s pregnant speak-and-spell approach.


    Commodore BASIC is a poor dialect to learn BASIC.   On the C64 you got Simon's BASIC that went along way to adding in what was missing, but the VIC got the Super Expander, which just added some RAM and graphical commands or the Programmer's Aid Cartridge which added some useful utilities.  You could not use both at the same time even with a multi-cart expander as they conflict in memory.  Neither one was likely to help you become a good programmer.


    Add in the VIC's limited screen size and user RAM, and few considered the VIC as a tool to learn programming, despite what the Commodore marketing people said at the time, or how many copies of "Introduction to BASIC - Part1" they bundled in with a VIC, a tape deck and a cassette of Hoppit, Race and Type-a-Tune.


    The VIC was a toy.  Its very development codename was "TOI".  The Atari 400 was a games machine with aspirations of being more.   Neither was a sensible choice for anyone wanting to learn programming.







  6. On 7/28/2021 at 10:02 AM, jedie said:


    Back to the Floppy topic: Is it possible to attach a Gotek floppy emulator to the external floppy port of the Atari PC1 ?!?


    Yes.    But you'll need the Atari 14-pin to Shugart 34-pin cable that includes both control lines for disks 0 and 1.   Many such cables only include drive 1 as they were intended for use with an Atari ST/F/E where drive 0 would always be the internal disk.


    If you press F2 when you boot the PC1, it will boot off the first external floppy.   Press F3 and it will boot off the second external floppy.   


    If you press F2, (and with the right cable) the Gotek becomes drives A: and B:, and the internal disk becomes drive C.



  7. Attached is a PNG I made with Painshop Pro to replace the damaged label on my Jelly Monsters cart.  I decided to make the Commodore logo more colourful.   




    The label was printed by Sticker You.   The label was 5" by 2.5"  and I used a xacto knife to bevel the lower edges.




    I thought I had the PSP assets file with the blank label but I can't find it now.  I probably used the Final Expansion label as a starting point and deleted what I didn't need, adding in what I wanted.




    • Like 1

  8. 4 hours ago, leech said:

    To keep this more on topic, doesn't Battlesphere play similarly to Crown of Creation? 


    I think so, but I don't know as CoC was never cracked/dumped/made available to those of us who got into the Falcon late.  I have a demo of it which is just a slideshow from memory and not much if anything playable.   I havn't checked in a while so is it now possible to download a fully playable CoC?


  9. On 3/11/2021 at 2:29 PM, ijor said:

    Anybody that bought recently from Brad, how much it takes approx to ship? Does it ship with tracking?




    I ordered from Brad this past Friday April 23.   The package arrived in Seattle today.


    It was USPS Priority with tracking.  




  10. 10 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:


    But man - did they have marketing muscle. The bandwagon was strong.


    According to Wikipedia (which is never wrong):   The 7800 marketing  "was aided by a marketing campaign with a budget in the "low millions" according to Atari Corporation officials. This was substantially less than the $9 million dollars spent by Sega and the $16 million spent by Nintendo."


    Yeah imagine if, instead of blowing $40+ million on the Federated Stores debacle, Atari Corp had instead spent the money pushing the 7800, and maybe some new titles.  


    I've never understood the attraction of SMB.   I've played it a few times.  And I have what I am told is an almost pixel perfect conversion on my C64.   I get that it is an interesting game.  But damn, it is dull compared to Boulderdash, or Dropzone, or Elektraglide, or Star Raiders.   Am I missing something fundamental or is the lure of Mario as much marketing as it is substance?


    • Like 3

  11. 3 hours ago, Atariperson23 said:

    Maybe they didn't do Missile Command because they felt as if the graphics were too simple and by that time, the game was old so not a lot of people would be interested in it? Or maybe you could already play it on the 2600 and 5200, and they wanted to create something different?


    That's what I think.


    Or maybe they felt Missile Command 2600 didn't stink, and it was good enough for the 7800?


    Yeah I know a lot of you guys love your 2600s, but I have to admit when I first saw Asteroids 2600 I though "what the *** is this crap!?" (actually I had a similar reaction to the Atari 400/800 version too).  Donkey Kong and DKJr were also weak on the 2600, Ms. Pac Man was at least an improvement on Pac-Man, Joust was okay, and Missile Command actually looked quite good (IMHO).  The odd one for me is Defender.   Defender 2600 was another stinker, and could have benefitted greatly from the 7800s better hardware.  Williams signed off on Robotron 2084 for the 7800, so why not a Defender or Stargate release?   


    Wasn't Bob Decrescenzo working on a port or am I remembering that wrong?


    • Like 3

  12. As others have pointed out, the XEGS did not replace the 7800.  Indeed from 1988 to 1992, Atari sold three 8-bit console architectures as the 2600 was also still being actively sold.


    The August 1988 Antic article that @pacman000 linked to earlier is almost as interesting for the questions that were not asked; namely "why another architecture?" when Atari already had two, one of which was at least somewhat competitive to the NES and Sega in terms of hardware (at least if you turned the TV volume down to zero).


    A review of Toys R Us catalogs from late 1988 shows the 7800 being positioned as cheaper ($80 vs $100) than the Sega or the NES in basic package form.  That the executives quoted in the Antic article wanted the $150 games machine over the $80 "powerful" computer isn't surprising.  The computer would likely create an expectation of post-sales support from technically challenged parents, whereas a simpler game console would not, and the game console would generate additional revenue from game cartridge sales, whereas a computer might not.


    But how to create a higher-margin deluxe 7800 package?  Atari killed off the keyboard attachment and the XM expansion (or whatever it was going to be called) and had torched the relationship with GCC.  Nintendo had their light gun and a dance pad.  For the 7800 Atari had.... a sexy euro-style controller?


    In addition someone else pointed out in an earlier thread that I think bears repeating; Nintendo was locking up software publishers with exclusive deals for the NES, freezing out Sega and Atari.   But these deals could not cover software that already existed.  Atari struggled to launch new titles for the 7800, and much of what did come out was improved arcade conversions from the early 80s, but less so titles that were in the arcades at the time.   But with the XEGS Atari was able to instantly bring to market a significant number of game cartridges of a higher quality than they would be able to quickly get ported to the 7800.


    The Tramels didn't care at all about their customers, they cared only that they were making a profit.  I for one don't blame them for that, although it was ultimately short-sighted and self-defeating.  What I find interesting is that they didn't kill of the 7800 in 1988, and that they did not tells me that either it was selling well enough to justify continuing supplying it, or that they had a warehouse full of unsold inventory that they were slowly draining.  I don't know when the last 7800 production run was made and I would be interest to learn if anyone knows.


    But the XEGS totally made sense to me in retrospect.  For almost no development cost they got a "new" console product with a software library that circumvented Nintendo's strangle hold and allowed them to position it as a more sensible alternative to the game-only NES.  Of course that all makes sense in the abstract.  In reality, the kids wanted Super Mario Bros, and even a face lifted Mario Bros on the XE just wasn't going to cut it.



    • Like 5

  13. Oh two more things... perhaps you already know..


    You have a "Chicken Lips" keyboard.  These are considered to be the best of the Amiga 500 keyboards and fetch quite a premium.  It means your motherboard is probably a Rev 5.


    Your Agnus chip has a clip over it.  It might be the 8370 version, which is hard coded to NTSC or PAL.   If you're lucky its the 8372 which is PAL/NTSC switchable.  The latter means the unit can soft-switch between 60hz mode and 50hz mode, allowing you play both American and European timing dependent software.  A lot of the best Amiga games were written to the PAL standard, and won't play on a 8370 equipped Amiga.   If you have the 8370, you can replace it with the 8372 - its a drop in replacement.



  14. I believe Ray Carlsen still sells new Amiga PSUs.  He does great work.  


    Alternatively, the Meanwell RT50B is a good unit.  They even sit perfectly in the original Amiga PSU housing.


    If this were mine;   open that RAM expansion unit in the trap door and check if it was the battery backed clock version.  There might be leaking battery in there that needs to be removed.  Any damaged traces might be repairable.


    Do you have any floppy disks with this?   The Amiga 500 has a kickstart ROM to boot the system but you'll need a Workbench disk to get to a usable desktop.   If you power up the system without a disk the drive, you should hear periodic clicking from the disk drive as the system checks to see if you inserted a disk.


    Get yourself an RGB cable.  The exact one will depend of course on what your display is, the Commodore 1084 was a great monitor, but they are getting hard to find these days.   There are also HDMI options if you want to go that route.  You might want to wait until you know the unit works before paying out for the RGB cable.


    Get a Gotek or a Lotharek device.  Moving files from a PC or Mac to an Amiga is harder than it is for an ST.  But a solid state disk drive makes it simpler - you can just download ADF images and load them onto an SD card.  If you still want to be able to use the floppy disk, get yourself a boot switcher, so the external Gotek can be drive 0, and the floppy be drive 1.  The external floppy can draw power from the external disk interface, which is a really nice feature and helps to cut down spaghetti.


    There's some good mods/expansions available.   Assuming your RAM expansion is not damaged by battery acid, you should have 1MB of RAM.  That's enough for most disk-based games, but limited for anything more.   Luckily there are several good expansions available now, such as the Terrible Fire or the ACA500+.   I have the ACA500+ which connects to the expansion port of the left, and brings your total RAM to 8MB, as well as providing two CF-card hard-disk interfaces, so you can use the WHD hard-disk based software options.


    Another expansion option is the Vampire, which gives you 68060 levels of performance with massive amounts of RAM, HDMI output etc.  It really isn't an Amiga anymore at that point, but can be interesting if you want to explore some of the more demanding software for the machine.  Playing Frontier on the Vampire is quite an entertaining experience.   


    There are also PowerPC based expansion units, and there is even some software written to use it (Wipeout, Doom, Quake etc), but these seem to be very rare, so unless you are willing to spend a huge sum of money, you might want to leave these for the time being at least.


    These are great machines, especially if you enjoy playing 16-bit era games.  Have fun and congrats on the acquisition!



    • Like 1

  15. I don't have a TIPI.  I mostly use a Lotharek attached to a Corcomp CC9900 Micro-Expansion, but I also use a Tex'n Treasures 3.5 inch floppy disk.


    I also have a couple of CF7/A+ units, but I find the CF cards a bit cumbersome to use, especially as CF-card readers are not as common on the PC side as they were a few years back.


    In the past I've used a PEB with 5.25 inch drives, but I sold that monster off a long time ago.  Pretty sure my TI cassette deck no longer functions either.  I suspect the belts have stretched.   

  16. If you're still taking orders please put me down for:


    - Dragonfly basic version (without Pokey and YM2151), the set includes a memory card and a cartridge-console cable - 350PLN / $95
    - As an additional option, Pokey Max - 160PLN / $43
    - As an additional option YM2151 module - 100PLN / $27


    This looks really amazing!  Thanks


  17. 55 minutes ago, 1200XL M.U.L.E. said:

    @mytek My experiences agree with yours. I also make a table/list and Brad responds to each item. It’s perfect. 1-2-3 ... 1-2-3. 

    Brad’s A-OK in my book.


    Likewise here.  20+ years and no problems.  Brad's always been a great vendor.  


    I would add, that Brad appreciates it if you use your customer number, if you have one.  It will be on the shipping invoice of anything you buy from him.  



    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1

  18. On 3/12/2021 at 12:17 AM, donjn said:


    Should I ditch the 2600?


    Have you checked out any of the newer games for the 2600 in the Atari Age store?   There's some real gems in there IMO, including Star Castle, Mappy, PacMan 8K, Super Cobra, Scramble and many more.


    I was 100% with you on the 2600.  Didn't see any value in it as I had the Atari 8-bit computer, and a C64 as well as some other home computers.  But I got a 7800 in the end as my son is into console gaming, and it gave me something Atari to do at PRGE and SRGE.  The 7800 has some good games, albeit with often terrible sound, but some of the newer 2600 games have proven to be pretty cool too.




    • Like 1

  19. 1 hour ago, carlsson said:

    Well, if Bluejay wired a reset button to his own 35K expansion memory, I doubt the exact same reset button on somebody else's expansion memory would behave differently unless he made a mistake in treating/debouncing the signal.


    @eightbit has confirmed the user-port reset button allows the Atarisoft titles (Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man, Moon Patrol) to start.   I can confirm the RAM expansion reset-hack allows the same titles to start.  


    That leaves several possibilities:


    The software files bluejay is loading are corrupt.  They will never work. 

    Bluejay's hardware design is wrong.  It works on a real Commodore RAM expansion but not his.

    Bluejay's VIC20 is in someway different from the ones eightbit and I are using.  Later VICs could not play Jelly Monsters due to initialization differences with earlier models.

    The RAM chip bluejay used is losing its contents upon reset.  Some newer static RAM chips have an auto-power-down mode whereupon if the CE line goes low, it basically turns itself off, losing the contents.  Load up any Commodore cartridge image and press the reset button.  The game should start.


    2 hours ago, carlsson said:

    A few games rely on VIA timers set in a routine that only is executed on power on, not when pressing the reset button. Eventually I'll dig through disassemblies to figure out which routine this is, or if the pure circuit breaking causes the difference in how the VIA loads its values.


    Which ones?   Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man and Moon Patrol can be started with the reset button eightbit detailed.


  20. 9 minutes ago, bluejay said:

    Most Atarisoft games, INCLUDING Pole Position, Ms. Pac Man, Moon Patrol, etc. I haven't tried anything but Ms. Pac Man yet, but the website says I need to perform a hard reset, so I'm pretty sure I need to perform a hard reset.


    Like I said.  There is a RAM cart mod that performs a non destructive reset, allowing the Atarisoft titles to start.   Yes INCLUDING Pole Position.

  21. 10 hours ago, bluejay said:


    By the way @oracle_jedi, the RAM cartridge I designed already features a soft reset switch. However, some games require a power cycle (hard reset) in order to clear VIA parameters, like the fellows above mentioned. And what we're trying to figure out is how to reset those parameters through software in order to not kill the contents in RAM.


    Which games?    Because Pole Position is not one of them.  


  22. There's a mod you can do on the RAM expansion to add a reset switch that does not wipe RAM.


    I don't know if this differs from the user-port reset switch mod.  I think they are the same.   Resetting the computer does not wipe memory unless you power cycle it.   I modded a 16K board with a reset switch and also to sit in BLK3 and BLK5.  I used to use it to play cartridge dumps before I got a Mega Cart.  


    As @carlsson stated, there are not many carts that need it this switch.  They were mostly Atarisoft titles.  Probably your best option today is buy one of @brain UltiMEM carts, but if you're not enjoying what you're finding you might be better off just concentrating on what you do enjoy.


  • Create New...