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Everything posted by Turbo-Torch

  1. Are you talking about Block Buster? If so, have you tried any other games? My Block Buster seems to have bit the dust after I replaced the screen. The Speed and Go buttons in the center no longer work, so I can't even start a game. All the buttons on Baseball, Bowling and Connect Four work fine, so I'm assuming the cartridge simply failed. When replacing the screen, I used a microfiber cloth to clean everything, including that damn polarizing lens. Whatever that lens is made out of became supercharged and wanted to cling to anything within several inches of it. That may have zapped the game which was where I was working. Then I ended up removing the lens because it looks way better without it...I think it may have darkened unevenly over the years. I just ordered another Block Buster off eBay, hopefully it'll work.
  2. I bought my 2600 when I was 11. I have older sisters that were married, so I had brother-in-laws and they loved my Atari. My one brother-in-law decided he was finally going to take the plunge and buy his own Atari system and asked me to go along to the mall with him. There was this cool dark edgy stereo store called Playback that we went to and the game systems were in the back. 2600 was $199, Intellivision was something my $249 and then there was the Odyssey 2 for $179, and that price caught his eye. In addition to the cheaper price, the salesman told him he could choose 3 free games of his choice and that sealed the deal. I didn't know anyone who owned the system, had a bad gut feeling about it and tried talking him out of it, but it didn't do any good. Total of 4 games with the pack in, fancy looking joysticks and an impressive keyboard...I was having seconds thoughts that this thing may be better than my Atari. He liked it, as did my nephew (just 4 years younger than me and like a kid brother). I noticed right away that all the games were borrowing from a fixed character set and the sounds were limited. Alien Invaders Plus was one of the games he chose, it was good, but nowhere near as good as 2600 Space Invaders. Games like Bowling/Baskeball were just sad, yet football was way better than the initial 2600 version. Then came the day he bought KC Munchkin (while the Atari world was still waiting in anticipation for Pac-Man to be released). Till today, KC Munchkin is in my top 5 favorite video games. Fast action, cute animated Munchkin, great sound, no flicker, moving dots, multiple mazes AND you can create your own mazes! Months later 2600 Pac-Man comes out and I was ready as I had the money saved up. Bought it on release day and was so disappointed. If it weren't for the box and manual showing the game screen, I would have thought I bought a broken game. Then he got another phenomenal game called UFO. Not only could I shoot the UFOs, but I also had shields that allowed me ram them. UFOs combine and can track you. Then the killer chain reaction domino effect of exploding UFOs. Screw Asteroids, this game upped it 10X over. Pick Axe Pete is another awesome game that I found fun and highly addictive. Attack of the Timelord might be a bit better than Astrosmash, and Freedom Fighters was also fun. For me, the system has nostalgia because I played the heck out of it bitd and the games I mentioned above make it worth owning. Back in the 90s when thrift stores were full of 2600, 5200, Intellivision and Colecovision consoles, the O2 was almost non existent, and the few I found were roach motels. About 20 years ago I picked one up on eBay for next to nothing and it included The Voice. Yeah, a voice module is also something I always wanted for my 2600 back then and it never happened. Of course the O2 was never any competition for the 2600, but it's far from a worthless system that many make it out to be.
  3. Update for anyone that runs into a similar problem... I picked up another Odyssey 2 at a local video game store for $34 and it works fine. I removed the 8244 GPU from my old O2 and put it in the new working unit and the problem followed it. Definitely a partially failed GPU. Anyone have a working 8244 kicking around that they'd let go for a reasonable price?
  4. Odd issue. My O2 boots up to a gray background and all black background games play in gray. If I play UFO, any gray colored UFOs are invisible. If I jump pins 11 and 12 on IC4, I get normal black backgrounds, but light gray object like UFOs are still invisible. All other colors seem fine. I swapped out IC4 74LS00N with one I had on hand and it didn't make a difference. Should I suspect anything other than the 8244 GPU at this point? And if that is the cause, are they unobtainium? I assume the 8245 is PAL (not that it would be any easier to find).
  5. Maybe turn the knob and find out?
  6. It was slow on the native 386 20mhz and not what I'd consider playable. Although, I didn't try to shrink down the view; I'll have to give that a try. I just installed it on my other P70 which has the same AOX board and memory, except the AOX was upgraded with a Intel Overdrive 486 DX4 100mhz (not 75 as I thought). Plays excellent with no lag at full screen which is cool for a 1988 PC.
  7. It has two slots, one 32 bit and one 16 bit. The AOX is using the 32 bit and I still have the 16 open. I downloaded Doom 1.9 to my current desktop PC and then copied the files to floppies using a 3.5" usb drive. I was able to use those floppies on the P70 and installed Doom. Doesn't work too well. Running on the AOX, I can get all the way to the start screen but it crashes as soon as soon as I start the game. If I boot without the AOX to the original 386, it starts and plays fine, but it's not very fast. And the monochrome doesn't look as good as I thought it would lol. I'll have to try messing with the config.sys settings or try a different version of Doom.
  8. It uses an ESDI hard drive and the expansion slots are Micro Channel. The plasma display is red monochrome but it's like watching a plasma TV, razor sharp contrast and no motion blur. If you plug in a VGA monitor, you have full color and the plasma automatically turns off. The keyboard is one of the best. It was made by Alps and uses plate springs...nice tactile feedback and clacking noise with each key press. The big downside to this system is the Micro Channel slots. The MCA Sound Blaster or ChipChat cards are incredibly rare and expensive...like in the $1,000 range when they turn up. I see TexElec has an Adlib compatible card called Resound for $60 that I'm thinking of trying. Unfortunately no game port though. I think Doom would look bad ass on that red display. I'm gonna have to give that at try.
  9. I have a 1988 IBM P70 that uses DOS 6.22. This unit can run in two different modes. It's IBM's highest spec P70 with the 20mhz 386, math coprocessor, 8mb of ram and 120mb hard drive. It uses a VGA red gas plasma display, 1.44mb floppy and full size keyboard. These were crazy specs for 1988, and more impressive is that it's a portable the size of a large briefcase. It also has a VGA port on the back so you can use a normal color VGA monitor. It has a Kingston AOX MicroMaster upgrade board using one Micro Channel slot. That brings it up to a 486 with 64mb of ram. That AOX board has also been upgraded with a Kingston 5x86 133mhz Turbo Chip. At startup I can press O to boot to its native 386 configuration or let it boot to the AOX 5x86 configuration. I also have another twin of this, but with a 486 75mhz CPU.
  10. First computer to show up in my shitty private Catholic school was a single Commodore 64 with a color monitor. I was in 8th grade, so this was 1983. That one computer got its very own private classroom. The day it arrived, each class (1st to 8th) got to visit and view it in awe as a special event. No one was ever allowed to actually touch the damn thing and we were constantly reminded how lucky we were to have it. The upper grades had "computer classes" in that room where we'd get to watch the psychotic bitch 7th grade teacher try and do things with it. By that time, I already had my Model III upgraded with full 48K, an RS232, a DC-Modem I and was playing Black Dragon on Compuserve. 1984 was the start 9th grade at my awesome public high school. Orientation was about 2 weeks before school started and we were allowed to roam around and explore. I remember walking into one classroom and there were DOZENS of Model III systems. Go around a corner into another room and it was full of real IBMs with amber monitors! I never did have a class with the Model IIIs, but I did have Pascal programming and Word Processing on the IBMs. The XTs were upgraded to AT models with hard drives and color monitors by my junior year. The teachers were also phenomenal, they knew the systems and software inside and out. Now going off topic, that Catholic grade school was a like a business that thought it was so big it couldn't fail (sort of like Atari in its heyday). If one kid left, there was a replacement the next day because there was a waiting line to get in. 7 masses on the weekend and each was a full house. Big fund raising carnival every July that took over part of the downtown area. Insane tuition cost. The cash was rolling in and they could do no wrong! Yet, we had senile nuns and mentally disturbed women teachers who couldn't hack it in a real school. Some of our text books were literally from the 50s and 60s. Our history books didn't include anything about Vietnam or the moon landing, because neither happened yet. The playground was a bare asphalt parking lot, not so much as one swingset. Then to get one cheap ass computer and told how lucky we were. Karma caught up. After 10 years my generation was starting families and no one in the right mind would send their kids there. Attendance dropped so bad in the mid 90s, they started combining 3 grades in one room. Today, one classroom (out of over 20) is used as a preschool and that's it...about 98% of the school is vacant. They often hire my company to do work and I love taking photos. It now looks like something out of a Nightmare on Elm Street movie mixed with Chernobyl. Garbage cans collecting water from the leaking roof, ceilings falling in along with ancient artifacts and writing on chalkboards left from nearly 2 decades ago. The Commodore sat to the right of the creepy purple desk/shrine thing. Hell, it might even be in that closet lol.
  11. The 5200 sticks are not free floating, they are self centering in a half ass way with the rubber boots, which makes things even worse. When brand new, they would return to center. After a few hours of use, the boots breaks in and you get a partial return to center from whatever direction the stick was pushed. Atari could have done much better had they used a spring return setup like on the Kraft PC joysticks. And even better if they used latches to unlock the self centering and allow free floating on X or Y axis. Lol! You don't even need to look at them. Just being in earth's atmosphere causes the carbon dots to lose conductivity over several weeks. Back in the 90s I painted the dots with the copper resin used in an automotive rear window defogger repair kit. It worked great for several years but eventually broke down. I then did the foil dots and haven't had to take a controller apart in probably 20 years.
  12. No reason it shouldn't work if it's oriented correctly. https://www.ebay.com/itm/164211732622?hash=item263bc8308e: Depending on where you're located, it could take a while to get, but Ian is the best when it comes to TRS-80.
  13. Windows XP still had drivers that supported my Star NX 1000 which was made in the 80s. It printed out everything from tax forms to web pages nicely. I bet it's doable if you find a printer that has Epson or IBM compatible modes. Most from mid 80s supported both and were selectable with dip switches.
  14. My first printer was the DMP-110. I saved forever and bought it when it was on sale for $299.00. It was a love/hate thing from day one. It had buffer memory, boasted some sort of dual hammer print head and promised the world with hi-res graphics, high quality word processor mode, many print densities, insanely small micro-font and even cursive. The printer itself looked incredibly cool...aerodynamic, light beige with a smoke tinted cover. Quite possibly the best looking printer ever made. Reality was the print quality did not live up to the hype. I took it back under warranty a few times, they made adjustments and eventually told me that's as good as an inexpensive printer gets. I will say it did deliver on all the features. Mirco-font was cool, you practically need a magnifying glass to read it. In high school, they started giving us fancy computer generated report cards with multiple fonts and line graphics. I was able to mimic it using Scripsit on my Model III and made some new report cards with improved grades for two close friends who would have otherwise had their asses kicked and been grounded. Instead of keeping it a secret, word got out quick. I made and saved a template which allowed me to make a new card in about 5 minutes with teachers' names, room #s, previous grades and the new requested grades. They were really spot on good. I was only charging $10 for a new card but would bring in between $300 to $400 during each report card week. On report card day, my street looked like April 15th at a tax preparers office. lol Following year, another kid decided to muscle in on my business and his cards looked like absolute shit. Dude got busted and suspended for a week! The school started using a notary type stamp and alerted parents to look for it. That scared the hell out of me and I was done. And all the way to graduation, I thought it might come back to bite me, but it never did. Till today I wonder what happened when some of those kids tried to get into college and their transcripts didn't come close to matching up with what they brought home to mom and dad. So yeah, that printer has some fond memories attached to it and I still have it. Ribbons are very rare and it shares them with one obscure Commodore printer. I have quite a few new sealed ribbons, which of course are all dried out, but are easy to re-ink with a roll-on bottle thing from Staples. Several years ago I picked up a spare Model III on Craigslist for $25. The guy also gave me a DMP-100 with it and a ton of fan-fold paper. The computer and printer looked like they'd never been used and work great. The 100 actually has better print quality than the 110 imo. I also like that it's battleship gray and matches the Model III.
  15. The 130XE never got much love due to the hassles of using the SIO2PC cable I built back in the 90s. SDrive-Max just arrived and I have to say it's really slick for only $60 bucks! This is up there with my Harmony Encore and FreHD. SD storage devices are the best thing to ever happen to this hobby.
  16. That's a good question. I've never seen any hacks to use them outside of the 2600. The 2600 had quite a few edutainment games that used them. They even evolved into kid friendly versions later on along with the single keyboard that was included with Star Raiders. My original keyboards came as a pack in with BASIC Programming. I'm probably one of very few people who thought it was a cool setup and spent quite a bit of time typing in the BASIC programs in the manual. Even the overlays were neat along with the way each keyboard latched together to form one keyboard. BASIC Programming gets ripped on a lot, but it worked and it had to take a genius to pull something like that off on a 2600.
  17. This is for classic computers. If you bring in failed/useless add-ons for game consoles, the list will become endless. The keyboard controllers get a pass as they were mainly used with the BASIC Programming cartridge which sort of made the 2600 a computer.
  18. There are thin mylar ribbon cables that go from the floppy controller and RS232 board to the motherboard. Disconnect one side of each cable and turn the computer on. See if you're greeted with the Cass? message.
  19. Ha, I was just looking at those today on eBay and thinking the same thing. Also, there doesn't seem to be a single seller of a C64 SD device in the US? I've got a 64C in the box that's been in my garage attic for 20 years, I don't even remember buying it, so it may have been there when I bought my house. Never been into the Commodore line of computers and I'm not about to buy a disk drive, but thought it might worth getting and SD2IEC to see what's it's about. Currently under quarantine after testing positive for corona and boredom is setting in. lol
  20. I was going to mention that, but the Exatron was sort of popular for the TRS-80 Model I. Not as good as a disk drive (but way cheaper) and much better than a cassette. I have an 80 Micro magazine here with a full back page ad. Says they are also available for Apple, PET, OSI and an RS232 unit.
  21. Maybe not so classic, but if you consider PCs, you definitely needed a Creative Labs Sound Blaster. Actually, my first sound card was the Game Blaster that I bought for my 1000SL.
  22. When I was a kid, I always assumed the MC-10 was a repackaged version of a wind-up toy Timex Sinclair. I was tempted to buy an MC-10 when they were on closeout for $20 bucks. Seems a lot of people did as it's the only computer ever made that's easier to find in the box vs loose on eBay. I think one of two things happened...someone who had no interest in owning a computer buys it because "hey only $20!" and never opens it. Others actually try it out and think "What the hell did I buy? Oh well, it was only $20." Either way, it gets tossed in the closet the same day and sits for decades. Sinclairs lol...Ribordy Drugs down the street was the only place I recall seeing them sold. They couldn't move them at $49.99 with free accessories.
  23. The TRS-80 Voice Synthesizer and VOXBOX were massive failures. They never even bothered to make versions for anything after the Model I. $400 for the Voice Synthesizer was insane (almost $1300 today) and I think Eliza was the only RS program that supported it. VOXBOX speech recognition wasn't as bad at $169, but supposedly an experimental toy. Alpha Products also had a voice synthesizer with big full page color ads in magazines. You would think it would have been a hot item, especially with War Games being out at the same time, but I don't think it had much support either. Price was very reasonable at $70. When you think about it, the I, III and 4 didn't really need a voice synthesizer, it had many games with clear speech. Now the Orchestra 90 Music Synthesizer did great and it's one of my favorite peripherals.
  24. That's an interesting one. Model 4 keyboard and badge, yet battleship gray and shown booted with trsdos 1.3. Memory badge missing to add more to the mystery Being disk based, it would be 64K or 128K for Model 4, 32K or 48K Model III. I'm guessing it's a III with the rare Model 4 upgrade kit. Definitely modified with an awesome amber monitor.
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