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About RodLightning

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  • Birthday 08/21/1969

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    USA Southeast
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    Computers, console gaming, cycling both motor and human powered. Old technology. Coin-op games and equipment.

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  1. Infocom Stationfall. After playing through the Zorks, I played through Planetfall and enjoyed its comedy scifi theme. The Stellar Patrol was a fun transition from adventuring in The Great Underground Empire. I was in the middle of another Infocom title (wish I could remember which one) when I learned that Stationfall, the sequel to Planetfall would soon be released. I started telephoning local stores, as we did in those days, to ask if Stationfall for Atari was in stock. I could have ordered it from a mail order catalog like Tevex, but wanted to do cash and carry so I waited. I really miss in-person browsing for physical boxed game media. Going from want, to setting aside cash, to finally seeing and buying a software title was part of the fun.
  2. I pieced my first 5200 system (a 4 port) from thrift store parts back in the early 1990's. Amazing times, as Atari cartridges could be found in Rubbermaid tubs for pennies each. Actually from around $1.49usd each to as low as .39 cents. I wired a diode into the RF cable since I had to solder in a power jack on the board at first to use it. I had collected a few 5200 controllers over time. The first thing I noticed was that the buttons either didn't work, or barely did. I had a few loose carts by that time and played a lot of PacMan. It looked much better than the 400/800 version and didn't need a fire button to play. The analog stick made it so aweful to steer PacMan that I was finally forced to do something about the fire buttons for other games. After bodging a couple of controllers various ways, I played mostly Centipede and Pole Position after that. Those two games are very well suited to the 5200 analog sticks. I have two four ports today, one in storage and the other on a shelf with all parts including that weird switchbox/power thing. I play with it infrequently and use emulation most often as that is the most convenient. My main 5200 console is more of a display piece these days.
  3. Looks very cool. The blue LED was a nice touch. It seems to set off the color shifting. At least the exposed cards are capped and labeled versions. May I suggest a piece of clear plexi for the top?
  4. I found Zarlor Mercenary more fun on the rare occasions I played over comlynx with a second player. As for Electrocop, the built-in mini games where nice to have at computer terminals.
  5. Here's a picture of mine, with a SLB-10A camera battery installed. The block of packing foam is wrapped in green tape and wedged behind the battery. There are three contacts on the other end that are springy enough to keep the battery in place. When the back is on it and screwed down, it all holds together well.
  6. I used a battery made for Samsung digital cameras. Search ebay or Amazon for SLB-10A. The battery is a little small for the atgames genesis battery compartment, but can be padded on the end and sides to help hold it in place. I used a bit of cut packing foam. The important part is that the contacts line up correctly. They sell for around $7 to $10 USD. I read somewhere online (forget where) years ago someone claiming that the game unit will drain the battery too low to the point of destruction. Being a cheap design, it lacks any protection to keep this from happening. No idea if this is true, but I have since stored mine with the battery removed.
  7. In that case, a method mentioned elsewhere of cutting out the chips with a pair of fine snips, leg by leg might be safest. It sounds tedious as hell to me, but does make the pins "easier" to remove. The chips are out of the way and each leg can be individually heated with fresh solder and a little flux, then gently pulled out with pliers. All 256 of them! or, 240 if we leave the NEC dram in place.
  8. I ordered some from Jameco a while back. I notice that they are listed as refurbished. https://www.jameco.com/z/4164-150-Major-Brands-IC-4164-150-DRAM-65-536-Bit-65-536x1-150ns-with-Page-Mode-DIP-16_41662.html
  9. The piggyback trick doesn't always work, although always worth a try in finding bad RAM. No success here either. A second cheap trick is to leave the XE on for a few minutes and do a touch test on each chip. Dead ones might be very hot (shorted) or cooler (broken circuit) when compared to most of the others. With the bad reputation of those MT4264s found in 130XEs, RAM is still highly suspect as the problem. Best to replace all the MT branded chips. The NEC chip has the best chance, I suppose of being good. There has been speculation about why that first chip in bank 0 is often a different brand. Could the flakey RAM have been a known issue from the factory? Many including mine also have one NEC chip in that spot. The one I have here is in pristine condition otherwise. It only boots to self test and shows red blocks in RAM test. I've been putting off desoldering all the RAM for a while now. Reading various forum posts about poor quality circuit boards and lifting traces if the temperature isn't just right has given me pause. You will find many threads around here with good advice on the 130XE and bad RAM.
  10. There must have been some involvement between companies. Borregas Avenue was where Atari HQ in Sunnyvale was located, after all. The 400 label is indeed odd. Perhaps that 800 was used in-house by Atari. It would be interesting to get a look inside it for sure. Control Data appears to have been Atari's neighbor, or at least had an office on the Atari campus.
  11. Robotron 2084 was very annoying to play on the Lynx. The game looks and sounds great. I love the music. However, the controls don't do the game justice. Due to Lynx design, there really isn't a good control option. I was excited when I first bought the game, but quickly disappointed by it's high difficulty. Maybe there is hope for getting better controls through a Lynx emulator...
  12. I wonder if it was part of their educational program? I attended a Control Data learning center while in high school as part of a tutoring service. All we ever used were ascii terminals attached to a mini-computer, but anything is possible. Atari may have been involved in the program elsewhere. I googled "Control Data Corporation" and that logo brought back memories. It was on every terminal and also on the letterhead for documents issued to students. I was clueless about any of that at the time, but looks like the main company was a heavy hitter in early super computer development. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_Data_Corporation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_Data_Institute
  13. If you must, color shifting paint would be an interesting look. Otherwise, what about a camo color scheme? I don't think anybody has done that yet with Atari 800. Modern digital camouflage, desert theme, or even the traditional green/olive drab. It might be difficult to paint though. Silver might look good too, come to think of it.
  14. Several rides would be rotated in and out every few months. Thunder horses were always good earners. The only licensed products I remember were a Sonic race car, Bob the Builder dozer, Sesame St. Big Bird car and a Paddington Bear taxi. There was a semi truck ride with the Walmart logo in one store that did pretty well. Most of the others were generic themed, like helicopter and rocket rides. Stores with more room would have a carousel.
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