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RetroElectroDad

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Posts posted by RetroElectroDad


  1. Yep, that message re:Rebooteroids and the post being pulled from Facebook with a reference to “vile people” was from me. If required I have an archived copy I can retrieve.

     

    To me, there’s no doubt that such comments will have resulted in a loss of orders. KH opinions had an air of legitimacy, at least to me probably naively. Those not in the know I believe would take his comments at face value from a “journalist”.  This definitely has resulted in lost orders for both Reboot and AtariAge.

    • Like 5

  2. I've collected much more than I had BITD but the only item I ever got rid of was my broken 800XL. It broke the day after my Amiga arrived with a red screen and I always thought that was suspicious.  I always regret getting rid of it as I know now they are fixable and it had a wonderful keyboard. Oh well.

     

    My final BITD setup was my orginal 600XL with 1064 expansion (it resumed service after the 800XL death) with two 1050s and a 1010.  I loved having two drives when playing Alternate Reality: The Dungeon and the Wizard's Crown games or using Synassembler.


  3. I voted for green, because that was the colour the terminals used when I was learning to program on a mainframe and it feels like it screams retro!.

     

    But... for each platform it differs for me. For instance DOS PC - amber, Apple ][ - green, TRS-80 - white.

    • Like 1

  4. Im so glad its back to you after its stay with me. I didnt notice anything obvious with the reset switch when I was testing it so I hope it wasnt bashed during transit. I tried to protect it from the rigours of international postage.

     

    I never did change the battery so thats a wise move!

     

    Cheers,

    Trev

    • Like 3

  5. My Amiga with Workbench Amiga 1.3 was outstanding for it's time (haven't used subsequent releases). I was using MS-DOS 3 at work and wondering why everybody didn't go Amiga. Somebody at work had a Mac 128K to evaluate and it seemed primitive in comparison.

     

    MS-DOS 6 was, for me, the best DOS I worked with. Windows 3.1 was OK but 98 seemed more capable and solid to me. Then I moved into the Windows NT world and wasn't greatly impressed until XP which seemed great until I sampled Mac OSX Tiger.

     

    These days Windows 7 seems even better now that I've had to 'upgrade' to Windows 10 for work. OSX Snow Leopard was the peak of that line for me, luckily as it's the highest my vintage Macs will reach. If I had to choose two, it would be Snow leopard and Win 7.


  6. In September 1982 I bought my first computer, a Sinclair ZX81, then a couple of weeks later the very necessary though unreliable 16K RAM pack. The first magazine listing I remember typing in was a Star Trek game in the UK magazine Personal Computer World (Octobet '82).

     

    I vividly remember spending all evening over it and I loved it. I was very reticent about switching the machine off in case it didn't reload but I think the cassette save was OK in this case.

     

    I have looked for that very magazine issue for a few years now but until three weeks ago it had not appeared on eBay as far as I could tell, but now I have it! I plan on reliving that evening soon and once again typing that Star Trek game into my ZX81. I have not even found the game saved online so I think the effort is justified. I'll save it to SD card this time!

    • Like 3

  7. This year:-

     

    TRS-80 Model I original model without the keypad but upgraded to level II BASIC, fully working. Best pickup of the year so far.

     

    ZX Spectrum +3 that was 'untested' but turned out just to need a new disc drive belt and is now fully working.

     

    Amstrad 8256 CP/M machine, beloved by authors, rescued from recycling for free and I don't yet know whether it works but it is in some state.

     

    Dragon 32 fully working.

     

    Dragon 32 in a bit of a state but served as a motherboard donor for a broken machine.

     

    Atari 1040 STe with colour monitor both fully working.

    • Like 1

  8. Did you get anywhere with running the code? I do have an Atom though it spends most of its time in a box and I haven't used it much.

     

    In case it helps, I looked up running machine language code in Atomic Theory and Practice and there were the following commands:-

     

    LINK - link to machine code subroutine (returns with RTS, A,X and Y are initialised to the same-named BASIC variables and decimal mode flag is cleared) e.g. LINK #FFE3

     

    *RUN - load and run a machine code file, e.g. *RUN "FILENAME" SSS where "SSSS" is an optional load address. The execution address is as stored in the file even if you relocate it.

     

    *LOAD - load a named file, optionally relocated, e.g. *LOAD "FILENAME" SSSS where "SSSS" is again the optional relocated load address.


  9. I'd hazard a guess that it will be in the "Minority Report" section - it could be two double pages worth, one on hardware and one on the pick of the software. I hope they include some of the newer homebrew titles as they're way above the standard of the vast majority of the back-in-the-day releases.

    • Like 2

  10. Blimey, two people in the UK who owned Sord M5's :)

    It's a nice machine! I didn't realise until I owned one how close it was to the MSX / Memotech - using the same graphics as the TI.

     

    One thing that hadn't occurred to me at first when I started collecting is that I'm going to have to develop some electronics skill to repair, recap etc these old machines as they deteriorate. I had to change the motherboards in my two Mac LCs and made my Spectrum 48Ks composite video but that's my limit right now.

     

    I think I've shown most of my machines working on Instagram by now.


  11. It's a sickness for me. Started with my 800XL with 2x1050 drives, 600XL, Amiga 500, NTSC SNES, Japanese Mega Drive that I bought new. Then it was buying any new console from Dreamcast onwards. Then it was buying up machines I had parted with - TI-99/4a, Sinclair ZX81 and Acetronic MPU1000. Then it was 'always wanted a VCS'. From that point on it's been a matter of collecting every computer I'd ever read or knew of and any console. As has been pointed out, I couldn't possibly find time to use them all, but from the top of my head the current inventory of retro computers not including various drives, monitors, flash storage units etc contains:-

     

    Acorn Atom, Electron, BBC Model B x2, Archimedes A3000

    Amstrad CPC6128

    Apple IIe x2, Mac LC II, Mac LCIII

    Atari 400, 800, NTSC 1200XL, 600XL, 800XL x3, 65XE, 130XE, 520ST x2, 1040ST, Falcon 040

    Commodore VIC-20, 64 x2, 64C, SX-64, Amiga 500, Amiga 500 Plus, Amiga 4000

    Dragon 32

    EACA Colour Genie

    Mattel Aquarius

    Memotech MTX-512

    Oric 16K, 48K, Atmos

    Philips MSX2

    Sam Coupe

    Sharp MZ-700

    Sinclair Zx81 x3, Spectrum 48K x3, Spectrum 128, Spectrum +2, QL

    Sord M5

    Tandy Color Computer

    Texas TI-99/4a x3 (1 PEB)

    Toshiba HX-10 MSX x2

    Yamaha CX-M5 MSX x2

     

    As for the ones I use most.... an expanded 800XL, TI-99/4a with CF7A+ and Amiga 4000 are set up most of the time. The others are boxed up along with most consoles. Space is now an issue.

    • Like 2

  12. Well, seeing as it's bumped......



    1. Opening up my unexpanded 600XL when I bought it after selling my TI-99/4a. The TI had to go even though I loved it mainly because it was a very closed system having no access to machine language. I was intrigued by the mysterious “peek” and “poke” commands I saw in listings for other platforms. The 600XL was upgraded by a 1064 a few short months later at Christmas - on my first trip to buy software for my Atari i bought Airstrike II by English Software at WH Smith in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I could only play the 16K version so couldn’t wait to get more memory and try the other side of the cassette.


    2. Finding another Atari user at university and buying his 1050 disk drive with many disks of “backups”. My only brush with pirate copies from “the scene”. I went to his place to buy it carrying two boxes of blank disks and all were filled when I left.


    3. Discovering RPGs with Alternate Reality - The Dungeon. I ended up playing this through three times. The packaging was beautiful and I’m so glad this is one that I bought and still have to this day. I was hooked on RPGs from that time and went on to finish Wizard’s Crown, Eternal Dagger, Ultimas III and IV before I moved on to the Amiga.


    4. Many many hours spent with Synassembler and a black-and-white TV trying to be a games programmer. I was at one stage offered a conversion contract by Zeppelin (who were nearby) but I wasn’t allowed to enter into a subcontract agreement as a term of the government program I was on. That was disappointing!


    5. Getting my Symbolism game onto a Page 6 special disk. I now know how much better it could have been but I was young and inexperienced!


    6. Buying a Dixons 800XL plus 1050 drive package when they were really selling them off cheap. That 800XL became my main machine and it had a lovely keyboard, the 1050 meant that I now had two drives. What luxury! Shame that I binned the 800XL when it died as I haven’t found an 800XL with as good a keyboard since and if it happened now I’d hope to repair it.


    7. Receiving the Mapping The Atari book for Christmas. How that book opened up the possibilities and answered all my questions. It was invaluable.


    8. The intense shock the first time I encountered the Alien in RoF. It was around 2am, the house was quiet and my heart rate didn’t come back down for quite a while. From that moment the game was filled with a tension for me that had been absent up to that point.


    9. Hiring games from a lending library and defeating the copy protection to create my own backups. Particularly copying Koronis Rift on disk and transferring Bounty Bob from cassette to disk (there were quite a few encrypted segments in that multi-load). I was pretty alone in my network as an Atarian so I had no access to pirated copies unlike my Commodore or Spectrum owning friends.


    10. “The games are so much faster on the Atari” - a quote from my C64 owning best friend when he played Bruce Lee on my machine.


  13. Legionnaire - First true rts game as far as I know. You commanded up to 10 Roman Legions of varying skill, unit strength, and speed against hordes of barbarians. The barbarian tribes were separated into infantry tribes and cavalry tribes so you were always outnumbered 2 to 1. The game took into account factors including terrain elevation, flanking attacks, and unit morale when determining the outcome of individual skirmishes. The game came on a cassette tape so it was a sad day when my 410 program recorder died.

     

    I've not played that game before - very interesting and will have to give it a try. It sounds like kind of a forerunner of Rome: Total War!


  14. I’m a compulsive collector / hoarder and I hadn’t made an inventory until now for this post. Many of the computers and consoles have expansions / add-ons for CF/SD mass storage and mini software collections. Computers often have disk drives etc. so there’s lots of extra equipment lying around. Most come from eBay over the last 13 years of active collecting if I’ve not had them since new. I think it was all kicked off when I wanted to buy an Atari VCS because I’d not been able to have one as a kid - it was kind of a gateway drug that led me on to basically wanting anything I’d ever seen a magazine advert for back in the day. These days I just tend to get a machine out once in a while for a session and take a picture for Instagram or sit and gaze at the machines and boxes when I'm supposed to be working!



    I’d say the TI-99/4a was my first real programming platform, though I moved on to the Atari XL to be able to (cost effectively) learn to program in assembly language as I was jealous of other machine’s being able to PEEK and POKE. I’d say the TI (especially with Extended BASIC) was great to learn on initially because it didn’t use those hardware access instructions and made you concentrate on program structure and efficiency. I did have the ZX81 before the TI, but only typed programs in from magazines and quickly moved on for colour and sound.



    The list of computers and consoles is below (all UK PAL unless stated), except for the handhelds. I think I may have a problem and have just prevented myself from compulsively buying a CoCo 2 on eBay.



    Computers:


    TI-99/4a PAL silver (x2) and a beige NTSC with PEB


    Atari - 400, 800, 1200XL NTSC, 600XL, 800XL x 3, 65XE, 130XE, 520STE x 2, 1040 STFM, Falcon 030


    Commodore - VIC-20, 64 (x2), 64C, SX-64, Amiga 500, Amiga 500 plus, Amiga 4000.


    Sinclair - ZX81 (x2), Spectrum 48K (x2), Spectrum+, Spectrum 128, Spectrum +2A, Sinclair QL


    Acorn - Atom, Electron, BBC Model B (x2), Archimedes 3010 (x2)


    Apple - IIe (x2), Mac LC, Mac LCIII, Powerbook G4, iMac 17” (2006), iMac 27” (2010), MacBook Pro 15” (2006)


    Tangerine - Oric 16K, Oric Atoms


    Sord M5


    EACA Colour Genie


    Memotech MTX512


    Mattel Aquarius


    Sharp MZ-711


    MSX - Yamaha CX5M (x2), Toshiba HX-10 (x2)


    Philips NMS8250 MSX2


    Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer


    Tatung Einstein


    Dragon 32


    Amstrad CPC 6128


    Sam Coupe



    Consoles:


    Atari VCS (x3), 2600Jr, 7800


    Nintendo NES (x2), SNES (PAL and NTSC), 64 (x2), Game Cube (Japan and UK), Wii (x2), Wii U


    Sega Master System I and II, Mega Drive (Japan and UK), Mega Drive II (with Mega CD), Saturn (Japan and UK x2 ), Dreamcast (x2)


    Sony PlayStation, PS2, PS2 Slim, PS3 60GB, PS3 Slim, PS4


    Microsoft XBox, Crystal XBox, XBox 360 (original version), Xbox 360 (black)


    Neo Geo CD


    NEC TurboGrafx and PC Engine Turbo Duo


    Amstrad GX4000


    Philips G7000 (Odyssey II) and CDi-210


    Fairchild Channel F (Grandstand)


    Intellivision


    Colecovision


    Acetronic MPU1000 (x2)


    Winthronics Academy (Pong clone)


    3DO

    • Like 2

  15. I think if I was dis-regarding personal memories and trying to be objective, I'd have to champion Star Raiders as the definitive Atari game. Bearing in mind it's an 8K ROM and in the first wave of releases for the computers it really is a great achievement in game programming and use of the resources of a new platform - fast, colour, first-person view space combat in 1979!

     

    The thing is, a screenshot doesn't do Star Raiders justice as the graphics look dated when not moving and it's only when played that the game shows it's calibre and you get that real Atari 'feel'. There's the wonderful maybe one second pause just before you exit hyperspace when you hope you've managed to steer the ship to the correct destination and you're maybe just about to enter a dogfight and you can really feel the tension. Then there's the desperate attempt to escape to save your damaged ship with failing systems using a blind hyperspace jump that could take you anywhere. All this wrapped up in a frantic race against time to save the galaxy

     

    Any game that inspired both Archer Maclean and Jeff Minter deserves a place in the all-time all-platforms hall of fame.

    • Like 2

  16. As a Retrobate and subscriber, it's great to hear of more Atari coverage coming up in Retro Gamer! I was a lonely UK Atari owner up in the North East looking on with envy at the other areas that had Atari specialist shops as I could only get new titles by mail order. I wrote a short article for retrogamescollector.com here: http://www.retrogamescollector.com/atari-8bit-memories/ about growing up owning an Atari computer in the UK.

     

    Not that I think they're necessarily the best games, just personal favourites because of where I was at the time and associated memories....

     

    1. Alternate Reality: The Dungeon
      Played this one through a number of times with many late, late nights. Incredibly involving with great replay value.
    2. Boulderdash
      Became a compulsive completion with a perfect difficulty curve.
    3. Star Raiders
      My first Atari game coming with my new computer and really convinced me I'd made the correct platform choice in moving on from my TI-99/4a.
    4. Mercenary
      Many hours lost to exploring the 3D world of Targ in a flying block of cheese.
    5. Zork
      The last pick is always the most difficult as there are so many more I'd like to have in the list but I loved the Zork trilogy and they really got me into text adventures.

    If you pushed me for more -


    Koronis Rift
    For me, the best of the early Lucasfilm games that started life on the Atari.


    Fort Apocalypse
    Synapse at their best.

    Necromancer
    Synapse still at their best - frantic action where each level builds on how well you did in the previous.

    Rainbow Walker
    Those Synapse guys just couldn't stop releasing top quality games!

    Dropzone
    What hasn't already been said about this masterpiece.

    Bounty Bob Strikes Back
    For me, the game Manic Miner wishes it could have been.

    Drelbs
    Weird and wonderful.

    M.U.L.E
    The best four-player game until Bomberman arrived.

    Trev

    • Like 2

  17. The games I lost most late night hours to would be these, from most to least accessible:-

    Alternate Reality - The Dungeon (probably The City too but for some reason I never got around to playing that one)

    Ultima III and IV

    Wizard's Crown and The Eternal Dagger (very hard core with a strategic battle system)

    I'd find it very hard to pick a favourite.

     

    I still have on my wish list to play (but I never seem to have enough time to devote):-

    Temple of Apshai

    Questron

    Phantasie

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