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English Invader

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  1. 1) In answer to your first question, there are games that came with hard disk installable files back in the day but they're few and far between and tended to be football management sims, shareware or games/software that clearly appeal to an older, adult, intellectual type consumer; developers tended to err on the side of caution with games that appealed to a younger, less responsible market. Some contemporary homebrews have separate hard disk installable files as well. So, yes, there are some but you'll have quite a limited experience without WHDLoad. 2) The PCMCIA slot is for file transfer only so if you plan to use it you'll need floppy disks and a program to convert ADFs to real disks as detailed above. If you use a Gotek floppy emulator, you won't need the PCMCIA or a conversion program as the Gotek runs ADF files and can run them straight off a USB stick. 3) An 8MB+ upgrade will be needed if you want to run WHDLoad but remember that not all memory expansions were created equal and you'll need to do your research before buying. I personally regard the lack of standardisation for memory upgrades as a significant failing of the Amiga (by comparison an Atari STe takes off-the-shelf PC SIMM modules and a 4MB configuration will run everything there is to run on an Atari ST). 4 and 5) The A1200 has what is called the AGA (Advanced Graphics Architecture) chip set and there is a significant library of AGA games that the A1200 was designed to run. This new chip set caused significant compatibility issues with OCS (Original Chip Set) and ECS(Enhanced Chip Set) games and a homebrew piece of software called TUDE (mentioned above) was created in 1994 to resolve these problems. These problems are also resolved with WHDLoad. 6) Original floppy disks are a lottery. I'm fortunate to have a reliable batch of DD disks that I'm able to use but I wouldn't want to rely on buying them from eBay in this day and age. My advice would be if you have reliable disks and a working floppy drive, you might as well make use of them but if you haven't I'd go with the Gotek. The Atari ST is a different beast when it comes to floppy disks. The file transfer process happens on the PC and you need an old system with Windows XP and an internal floppy drive to do it and you'll spend a lot of time messing around with disk parameters and so forth before you'll finally get an ST bootable piece of software (I recommend a hard drive solution all the way with the Atari ST). With the Amiga, the ADF goes on the CF card from your PC to the A600/1200 and in the space of a couple of minutes you've got a working piece of software (including the time it takes to format your floppy).
  2. If you're on Windows, Steem is the way to go; if you're on Linux, use Hatari. Never used Mac so I can't offer any recommendations there.
  3. This is the expansion I used: https://amigakit.amiga.store/product_info.php?cPath=182_25_87&products_id=12690 I did the basic stuff like adding the A500 KS ROM and so forth but I didn't tinker with any major settings.
  4. As Daedalus said, that's one hell of a find. You have three systems that many Amiga enthusiasts would love to have. Good luck with the restoration job.
  5. I think memory will be an issue with your set-up. I'm assuming you have the stock 2MB which isn't enough to reliably run WHDLoad and the cheap 4/8MB upgrades are unreliable (most of the games either won't run or will crash in a few minutes). I found a PCMCIA adapter with ADF Blitz to be the most effective but I'm fortunate enough to have tons of DD 3.5" floppy disks lying around - I don't see any reason why a Gotek wouldn't produce the same results. You'll need another program called TUDE (The Ultimate Degrader and Enhancer) to successfully run most OCS/ECS games on a stock A1200. This can go on your CF hard drive along with ADF Blitz (if you're using a real disk drive). Make sure you use a light Workbench or you'll have no memory to run games. Floppy disks or ADFs are really the only way to go unless you plan to spend a fortune on a memory expansion to reliably run WHDLoad. I know this from bitter experience.
  6. I'm enjoying learning Basic on the BBC Micro in 2020 because I like the system. Python and a Raspberry Pi just doesn't cut it for me. I don't care if I do anything special or not or if I ever make programs that are of interest to other users; it's just something I do for fun like playing games. There are a lot of people who enjoy flying as a hobby. That tiny little two seater plane is never going to qualify them to fly for a commercial airline and it's never going to be of any practical use and it's never going to be anything but a huge money pit but people still do it. Why can't I fly the BBC Micro?
  7. The VIC-20 isn't even that limited in RAM compared to other systems of the time. It can be expanded up to 35k (or 32 + 3k) which exceeds the stock model B BBC Micro and isn't too far off the C64's 38k. The VIC-20's lightweight ROM Basic makes economic use of the memory while the C64's bloated Basic eats up almost half of its system memory.
  8. I'm not sure that emulation is reliable for information about the hardware. I found the ZX Spectrum very usable in emulation - different story when it came to the hardware. Any emulation experimentation should be supplemented by extensive research about the hardware before purchasing. I think most people are going to go with what their heart tells them - it's an emotional hobby and if you don't feel attached to a system then what's the point? I came into the hobby because I wanted a VIC-20 and if someone had told me to get a C64 because it had a better games library or a BBC Micro because it had a better version of BASIC I wouldn't have listened. I found those other systems later when I was ready for them. The Beeb is my most recent acquisition and I've become far more immersed in the system than I ever expected to be. I'm enjoying the BASIC, I'm enjoying the upgrades and I'm enjoying the games. I don't think this system is coming off my computer desk for a very long time.
  9. I think starting off with a 16-Bit system is a bad idea for a number of reasons: 1) The emphasis shifted from encouraging people to learn how to program to selling expensive multimedia applications that relied on huge production teams. This turned the computer user into a consumer and that doesn't seem like a good way to learn how to be in control of a system. 2) The Amiga has an appalling lack of standardisation for memory upgrades. The expensive accelerators are catered for while the standard memory expansions are left behind. An Atari STe is much better in this regard because it uses PC SIMM modules and a 4MB configuration will comfortably run a hard drive and the most resource hungry games in the ST library. The Amiga upgrades market is the Wild West of the retro community - fine if you're Clint Eastwood but not the place for a beginner. 3 The beginner will get more out of a 16-Bit system if he or she serves an apprenticeship on an 8-Bit system first. The user control ethos will be fostered from the outset and, if all goes well, the user will develop the hunger to learn how to program a 16-Bit system instead of being consumed by the proprietary applications.
  10. Acorn relied on the BBC to do their marketing for them which fated them to the British education market. They created a brilliant machine with upgrade paths that the Commodore hobbyists would have loved (support for co-processors, mix and match ROM sockets for various programming languages and utilities, BASIC language with built-in assembler) but they failed to advertise the system's potential.
  11. For the Atari ST, I would recommend a hard disk solution all the way. I really don't have much occasion to use original disks at all these days; it requires a special effort to play disk originals, there is never any necessity. The support for the PP driver and the hard disk library is outstanding (in fact, PLM gets very upset if people don't provide regular bug reports for his games). The Amiga is the complete opposite. I found WHDLoad very unreliable and I attribute this to the lack of standardisation for Amiga memory upgrades - too many chefs and too many ways to skin the cat means one person's 8MB A1200 is very different to another person's 8MB A1200 (an STe takes standard PC SIMM modules). I'm much more at home with my A600, a PCMCIA adaptor and a ton of floppy disks. It's so easy to copy ADFs over on the Amiga compared to the ST which requires a PC with an internal disk drive and a load of parameter settings - there is JayMSA but that's limited to MSA files which tends to be shareware.
  12. I think community support should be a factor. It's no good if people aren't around to help you learn how to use the machine or play your homebrews. Objectively, it has to be the C64. Best games library, great music and a community that will never ever ever ever ever let this system go. Emotionally, it was the VIC-20. My parents had one when I was very young and it stopped working before I was old enough to experience it beyond vague memories of Blitz and Shark Attack. When I learned that eBay could provide me with any system from the past and present that I wanted, the VIC was the first one I went for. Still a great system, still a great community with lots of contemporary support and certainly not a bad starting point for the beginner. I recently bought a BBC Micro (11 years after buying the VIC-20) and I think my experience of other systems beforehand has allowed me to appreciate how much this system has to offer compared to the others. It has upgrade paths that were far ahead of its time and it's impossible to not become fully immersed in this system. It tempts you and pulls you in.
  13. I had to wait three months for a record needle to arrive in the UK from the US which was ordered a few days after the March 23rd lockdown (I even joked that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it was for my needle to enter the UK). By comparison, the PC Engine Mini I ordered from Amazon Japan arrived in the space of a few days.
  14. I suppose the availability of more convenient accessories for the VIC limits the interest in items like the 1010 to hard core collectors who want a state-of-the-art VIC-20 set-up as it would have been in 1981. For my part, I've got a Mega-Cart and an SD2IEC and that will do me. A 1010 would be a swimming pool purchase to me; a nice status symbol but not something I'm going to use very often. Same deal with the 1540. A VIC-1001 for $400 would be snapped up immediately because I know I would use it but I also know that it's never going to happen. When a seller lists an item with an expensive BIN, it usually means he doesn't fancy his chances in a straight auction but this is something that needs to be protected from being under-sold as it is a valuable item. $400 seems fair if you want a VIC-1010.
  15. These things are pretty rare and, in terms of status with VIC-20 collectors, it's not far behind the VIC-1001 (early Japanese release of the VIC-20) and the 1540 disk drive. Those original VIC-20 era accessories are pretty much the holy grail. I don't think it will take long for someone to buy that at $400.
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