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Your 8-bit hibernation (if you had one)

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Another topic brought up the thought.

Was there a period where you just packed all of your Atari 8-bit computer gear into the closet/basement/attic and forgot about it for multiple years before the retro revival?

Or did it never leave the lounge-room?

 

For me - got an ST in 1988, Amiga in 1993. The 800XL played second fiddle a bit in the late 1980s and by 1991 was mostly packed away. Admittedly though, the ST wasn't exactly centre stage.

I remember in the mid-late 90s I got the Atari out a few times. One I think was to try BBSing with a work modem I'd borrowed.

 

I also remember in my early internet days - 1995-97 - I AltaVista'd and WebRing'd a bunch of Atari sites which helped revive my interest. Got into the technical stuff and it gave me reason to dig out the Atari again to try out some stuff, I think specifically it might have been graphics modes like APAC and HIP.

 

But back into storage it went again for while, then another revival and some serious involvement started around 2001.

Big point of interest by then was Windows based emulation which had improved a lot since the first 8-bit emulator I'd used on the ST almost 15 years earlier.

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I used an 8-bit Atari from 1982 through the summer of 1986 when I bought a 1040ST and went off to college. Most of my 8-bit stuff was given away (ugh!) and forgotten until the early Aughts when I got a hankering to have one again. Around 2001 - 2004 when eBay was still mostly unknown by most folks and retro-nostalgia hadn’t taken over nerd culture, I was able to acquire a relatively good quantity of stuff for next to nothing - a 400, 800, two 600XLs, two 800XLs, two 1200XLs, three 1050’s (*), two or three 410’s, a 1010, an ICD P:R:Connection, and a 130XE, a decent number of carts and a handful of disks. I also got a 7800 and a few 2600/7800 carts, which was my first exposure to a 7800.

 

And then my kids started doing sports and more after-school stuff that started taking up family time and I packed it all up for about 10 years again until a sudden, unexpected job loss in 2014 gave me a bunch of free time and the urge to rediscover some fun from the past. I got out my Atari stuff and never looked back.

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sadly my 8 bit did get a brief shelving, but the falcon030 stayed up, it was when the the pitter patter of little feet occured... I didn't want the 8 bit stuff to get sippy cups, crumbs of joy and all that sort of thing... It wasn't exactly put away... just not where it was useful...

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From 1997 (PC bought) to 2014 (first visit to the Atariada meeting). Emulation here and there during hibernation.

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I didn't own an Atari 8-bit computer until I bought a huge lot locally, for about $150 IIRC, from an eBay seller in 1998. But all my other 8-bit's (with the exception of my C64 which I used sporadically until about 1992-1993) were boxed up and packed away between 1990 and 1997.

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Another topic brought up the thought.

Was there a period where you just packed all of your Atari 8-bit computer gear into the closet/basement/attic and forgot about it for multiple years before the retro revival?

Or did it never leave the lounge-room?

 

 

I used my 800XL almost all my Univerity period (80's-90's), because I could use it as a word processor at home instead of having to schedule for a PC in the laboratory, and no difference could be noticed in printed sheets (PaperClip==WordPerfect). Later, I had it connected to my own PC at home (both SIO2PC and 850 COM port), but I almost didn't use it. At the born of my first son, I had to clean the room and all my hw was put in boxes and stored. At the same time, as I wrote in my home page that I was an Atari enthusiastic, someone from one of the local communities invited me to join them in their forum, and since then, most of my 8bit activities were related to memories and to learn and comment more about the local scene. Then, because of some community projects, I returned to programming using emulators, and finally I am writing minigames for the tenliners contest. I only unbox my hw to test my games and to use it at local meetups.

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I used my 400 from 1982 until I got a 130XE in 88. When my 1050 drive died in 1991, I packed everything away. I am so glad I never throw stuff away! Some years later we got a PC (I'm thinking late 94). I soon discovered emulation, and once I got on Ebay, I wondered if my old stuff would work with a new drive. Bought a drive, saw the disks were still good, and I started collecting like a fool ever since.

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All of my stuff went into hibernation around 1995 when I got a PC and joined AOL, which put the last nail in the coffin for my Atari's. It was also the last year for me to have a presence on Genie. And this was all because of the Internet, and not having a way to really connect to it properly even with my 1040ST. Not wanting to miss out on all the fun my friends were having on their PC/AOL systems, I stored everything Atari related in my garage, and went out and purchased my first Pentium-60 Mhz based PC, thinking I'd never look back.

 

I believe it was around 2003, where all my long forgotten Atari gear got packed into my Honda CRV for a trip to a bay area computer swap meet. It was at the swap meet I met Curt Vendel for the first time and somehow talked him into taking all of my stuff (it wasn't really very hard to do ;) ). So I truly thought that marked the end of my Atari adventures. Boy was I ever wrong.

 

May of 2015

 

One day I was bored and Atari suddenly popped into my head. So I opened up Goggle and started searching for all things Atari, and eventually landed at AtariAge. Just for grins I entered TransKey into the AA search box. This had been a project I spearheaded back in 1990, so I was naturally curious if anyone was still using or talking about it after all these years. Sure enough there was a recent topic discussing where could one possibly get this old device, and also mentioning something called the AKI that was apparently a more modern replacement. When I dug more into it, I soon discovered what AKI actually stood for (Atari Keyboard Interface). And although I had always mused about using a PIC MCU chip to do what I did with the TransKey, here was someone in Germany that actually had. Unfortunately it too was no longer available for purchase, and hadn't been so for nearly a decade. So the wheels started turning in my head, and next thing I knew I signed up for an AtariAge membership, and then made my first post in that topic asking if someone would be interested in a new version of TransKey. Well we all know how that story went :) .

 

----------

 

So getting back to when I gave away all of my original Atari gear. Did I regret it? Yep I sure did, because I had to slowly reacquire much of what I had once possessed. But most of all I missed my customized XF551. It was actually two XF551 cases bolted together with Bob Puff's Dual XF ROM and potted mystery chip that allowed me to have both a 5-1/4" as well as a 3.5" drive running off of a common controller board. And I remembered installing a switching power supply in the semi empty case containing the 3.5" mechanism that not only powered the dual drives, but also had some banana jacks (remember those) on the back to break-out the 5 vdc, which along with a custom power cable powered my 130XE at the time. I remember thinking at the time how cool this setup was. Of course I thought that this unique conglomeration of electronics was probably no longer in existence, and had likely found it's way into a landfill somewhere in New York (home state of Curt Vendel). Well I was about to be proven quite wrong about that, as well as learn what a hoarder of Atari gear Curt really was :) .

 

In around 2017-2018 Curt touched bases with me and we started to talk. In our conversation I mentioned the dual XF drive I had given him, at which point he surprised me and said he still had it sitting on his desk. I couldn't believe it, but when he later sent me some pictures of it, I was overjoyed :-D . And here are a couple of those pics...

 

post-42561-0-64450300-1554911145_thumb.jpg

post-42561-0-47184300-1554911153_thumb.jpg

 

It's not everyday that you get to see your long lost child from the past :) .

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I think I packed away my Atari 1200XL in 1994, after a got a PC. Even at the time I was playing more games on NES and SNES, but when the coding bug hit I would write stuff on my Atari.

 

I kept it packed away until around 2011 after I moved to my new house. I was into emulation from around 1997, when I discovered MAME. But I lived in an apartment and really didn't have much room for hardware. Then I guess around 2010 or so, emulation wasn't quite doing it so I picked up SNES and a few games, and that started me wanting to find more old hardware. So I got dug out my old Atari 1200XL and started playing games on it again.

 

Then a BASIC contest on reddit, r/retrobattlestations got me interested in writing code on these old machines again. (I am a programmer by trade, but mostly all I write is C# web apps).

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I don't know if i had a real hibernation like others here did.

 

My family was very "out with the old, in with the new" and by "out" we meant the item was already worn out and served it purpose. Dad purchased an 800 with 48k of RAM and an 810 drive sometime in late 1980 or early 1981. Definitely not 1982 because I remember we were still living in a duplex. Dad then built himself a barebones 800 system from surplus bits and I got the original 800 in my room. By then the 800 had a 1050 drive with it. My older brother had no interest in computers. This was probably somewhere in late 1984. I remember being glued to the 800 playing games, programming in BASIC and LOGO, and just plain ol' messing around. The 800 and I had a good 5 year run until 1989 when we got a 520 STFM. I remember we put the whole 8-bit kit along with what seemed like 100's of floppies in the closet. From 1989 to about 1991 I was an exclusive ST users. We gave the whole 8-bit kit to a Russian immigrant family in 1990 or so. Adding a bit more to this, I started to run Dad's old 286 system in parallel with my ST in 1991. By 1992 I got his 386SX system and then I got my own 486 in 1993. By then the ST found its way to the same closet and it was sold to one of Dad's colleagues at work. I think we got like $200 for the whole thing.

 

Many, many years passed since 1992 / 1993 and I saw a 520 ST on display at a gaming convention last year. It was in the "museum" section behind a barrier with a sign that read "do not touch". I was floored! This 520 ST was in a museum? With a "do not touch" sign? Seriously? Teenagers were standing around and passing by this old 520 ST like it was an ancient statue or some relic from the 16th century. How could that be? I used to have one and I played with it, used it, and programmed on it. Am I really that old now? That's when I got hit with nostalgia ... but only for my ST.

 

My kids had seen movies like Wreck It Ralph and Ready Player One. I tried to explain some of the games in those movies and what it was like to play them. They nodded, uh-huh'ed, and smiled politely. At some point I realized they weren't really getting that connection to the past so I dove in on the 8-bit scene with a mission to bring that reality to them. Oh boy, did I opened a pandora's box with that! With a 130XE and SIO2PC-USB kit I was able to show them all sorts of games from MULE to Caverns of Mars to Pole Position to Vanguard to ... name it! :) I would play against them and they were shocked I could beat them. They always beat me on the modern games like Fortnite. When we play on the 130XE we laugh and joke and giggle like we're all little kids. My kids get to see a version of their father before he became their father and that is super fascinating to them!

 

Anyways, as I got deeper and deeper into today's revived 8-bit world I see just how rich it is with new hardware, programs, and technical insights. I feel like I can have the system today that I always dreamed about back then.

 

So, in this case the nostalgia found me vs. me being nostalgic like I was with the ST. Now I'm roped in with little hope of getting out. :)

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I was an Atari fan since I bought my 800 in 1982. The space bar went bad in about 1986, destroyed by too many dorm-mates beating the hell out of it playing Karateka, and I replaced it with an 800XL. I stupidly trashed the 800. Man, do I ever wish I still had that! I drooled over STs from 1985 on, but I was a poor college student and couldn't afford one. I graduated college in 1989, got married, started having kids, and started my career with Toyota in 1992. My 8-bit went into storage around 1993 when I bought my first 486 based PC. I finally treated myself to a used 1040STF in 1994, but I never really had the time or space to set it up. With work and kids, the ST went into storage almost as soon as I got it. Somehow along the line I picked up a 520ST as well, and, for the life of me, I can't recall where or how. It also went straight to storage.

 

So, all of my Atari computers had been in storage in one location or another since 1993 or 1994, until about six months ago when I pulled everything out and started getting into them again.

 

Now that I have them out again, I plan to clean/restore my 800XL eventually. I've purchased an AtariMax SIO2PC-USB and APE/ProSystem software for it, as well as an Ultimate Cartridge and my newly received, but not quite working yet, Sophia DVI Upgrade. I still plan to purchase an Ultimate 1MB Upgrade and a Biggus Dickus SIO2SD from Lotharek soon, then I'll be about done with my 800XL. I'm really leaning hard towards starting 1088XEL project though.

 

I plan to restore my 1040STF as well and install a few upgrades in it, but my 8-bit is coming first. It was my first love after all.

 

Hopefully, once I get them restored and upgraded, none of my Ataris will ever go into storage again, at least not permanent storage.

 

I have some other Ataris in storage too. A boxed Lynx and some games and accessories, a boxed Jaguar and a couple of games, and an older, unboxed 2600, a "Vader" style if I remember correctly. I'll probably look into selling those eventually, as was never as attached to them and I'd like to see them go to good Atari loving homes. Whatever little bit of money I get for them will likely help me feed my 8-bit and 16-bit Atari upgrade fever!

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University, from 1992 (after first year) until I graduated with my last degree in 2001. I had given away or thrown out most of my stuff by that point, but my 1983 800 survived along with some odds and ends in my parent's Quonsett hut.

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Posted (edited)

Actually, no, I never have. I got my original 800 late in high school in a trade for a Gameboy (my folks hated computers and wouldn't buy me one). I was instantly hooked on the games, learning basic etc.

I have had an 8 bit hooked up and useable since 1990. The 800 (which I still have) for about 10 years, followed by a modded 800XL and 1200XL. Rare is the month where I'm not at least playing a game of Donkey Kong or Berzerk once a week. Usually, I play a few games daily.

I've always liked what I've liked, and I *really* like my 8-bit.

Edited by Lord Thag
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My 800XL was in hibernation for most of the 1990s but woke up from it's slumber in my father's garage around the turn of the century. I bought a bunch of A8 cartridge on eBay in the early 2000s but now, in this age of multi-carts and SIO2xx devices, I kind of wished that I had stocked up on cheap hardware instead.

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Just got my 800 out of storage after about 30 years. And it works! Now I need to learn all the tips and tricks all over again. ;) Next stop is to get the disk drive up and running.

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Posted (edited)

I used my first Atari, the 130XE from '85 to '96. It went into storage from '96 to about 2000, around 2003 I switched from 130XE to 1200XL with Rambo, then it stopped working in 2012 and I didn't have the time to fix it so it went back into storage from about 2012 until 2016. I finally had time and place to get it running again in 2016 and have been enjoying it again for the last 3 years and have upgraded and collecting again since then and now have the most powerful and complete system I've ever had. With any luck, it will stay in constant use until the day I die, which is hopefully at least a couple more decades or longer...26 years of the last 34 I've had an Atari 8-bit out and in constant use. If it weren't for life getting in the way, it never would have been put away, it was never due to a lack of interest or "moving on" to newer machines. I didn't even own a PC until this century, and have only ever used one for the Internet and file server for my Atari.

Edited by Gunstar
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The version told to the taxman is that my father acquired an 800/810 for his office around Christmas 82. It's actual abode was my room. It stayed there until at least 1986 or even 1987, when I hand it over to my nephews in exchange for a Mega ST2. I held on only to my Star Raiders (which they got a pirated copy of) and some OSS carts which I considered too complicated for them and sold.

 

When I moved out, the Mega followed but moved back to my parents when I upgraded to a used TT around 1992. (I considered a Mac but didn't know anyone who'd have pirated software for it and found Windows 3.1 unappealing). As I missed the 8-bit games and never got that interested in ST games, I bought a rather cheap 800XL/1050 with a touch tablet and a couple of floppies around the same time and occasionally hooked it up to the living room TV (it's hard to believe how much time I had as a young, unmarried man without kids). My main recollection of this is beating Spelunker after what must have been a couple of weeks.

 

Later I asked my nephews who had since outgrown my 800 and moved on to PCs if I could have it back. I got it (minus some of the Compute! books and the Monkey Wrench II) and put it into storage.

 

I stayed with the TT as my main machine until 1996 when using the internet was just too cumbersome using STiK and CAB. It was replaced with a P133 which I later upgraded to a Cyrix CPU (which required some soldering on the motherboard, a bit bizarre from today's viewpoint). It was replaced by another Athlon PC in 2002 and that gave way to an iMac in 2008, so the majority of my home computing was non-Windows.

 

When my kids were small I set the 800 up for a couple of days but stored it again as they didn't find it that interesting. With the advent of EBay I started buying some Atari gear I would have loved as a teen (such as an Indus drive), and finally got "one of each" for the 8-bits (except for the 800XE) as well as some of the other machines I had found interesting in the 80s. No need to tell you about the wisdom or foolishness of "keeping spares" and "not missing a bargain when you see one". Most of this stuff is in storage, much to the chagrin of my wife (not because she would like to see it set up but rather for the waste of space...) An exception is a 130XE I sent up for my son when he grew a bit older and which he learned programming on. It's no restricted to use as a self-programmed alarm clock, his main programming interest having shifted to Arduinos, etc. My other son (and sometimes even my daughter) enjoy an occasional retro-game or HSC game though they're quite picky and won't play everything.

 

Over the last couple of years my actual Atari use has mostly been confined to emulation though I still try to clear enough of my desk to set up a real machine or two. It will be quite a tough choice what to set up. (I do still have the ST and TT but the kids don't consider them very remarkable as the user interface is "somehow like windows" and the super non-flickering screen is not as remarkable as it was in 1986. I should probably sell them rather than buy RAM upgrades that I don't install anyway but would like to get off the data still stored on their hard drives (especially early FidoNet conversations).

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I had a mini hibernation period, stuff all packed away at my mothers flat (only she had space), sadly all of it was lost but it was the quality of the modern emulators that brought me so much back in to it all and triggered me reacquiring hardware. Atari800Win (before the plus version) seemed great and I was back playing Bounty Bob etc and from there I decided I needed real hardware for all the stuff I was now emulating bar arcade stuff which I had already been playing thanks to MAME.

 

So yeah, was just a nice break that built up a real falling back in love with it all.....Breaks can be good...

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Another topic brought up the thought.

Was there a period where you just packed all of your Atari 8-bit computer gear into the closet/basement/attic and forgot about it for multiple years before the retro revival?

Or did it never leave the lounge-room?

 

For me - got an ST in 1988, Amiga in 1993. The 800XL played second fiddle a bit in the late 1980s and by 1991 was mostly packed away. Admittedly though, the ST wasn't exactly centre stage.

I remember in the mid-late 90s I got the Atari out a few times. One I think was to try BBSing with a work modem I'd borrowed.

 

I also remember in my early internet days - 1995-97 - I AltaVista'd and WebRing'd a bunch of Atari sites which helped revive my interest. Got into the technical stuff and it gave me reason to dig out the Atari again to try out some stuff, I think specifically it might have been graphics modes like APAC and HIP.

 

But back into storage it went again for while, then another revival and some serious involvement started around 2001.

Big point of interest by then was Windows based emulation which had improved a lot since the first 8-bit emulator I'd used on the ST almost 15 years earlier.

 

Sold the Atari 800 and EVERYTHING in Winter 1986 to collect $$ to get a 520ST in January. Didn't touch a real one again until 2002 when I purchased a 65XE. Played with that and a couple carts for a month or so and then boxed it up. Waited 10 years then got a 130XE and Sio2SD in 2012. I've had at least 10 8bits in an out of here since then with multiple multi-cards, sd drives, etc. Now I have over 100 carts and a stack of boxed games. software books, etc.

I'm addicted. Right now, i have a 130XE and an 800XL (with an Antonia that needs a little soldering to work right) along with a a 4meg STE and 1MEG STFM, Jag, 7800, 5200, Lynx all at my finger tips (to my wife's dismay) =) .. with much more in the garage in boxes.

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Posted (edited)

I did a full-stop hibernation when I sold all my ST and 8-bit stuff in the summer of 1995 and got a Mac. I kept my Lynx, but that was about it until I received an 800XL and 1050 from a friend back in February.

 

The list of the major items is still out there: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/comp.sys.atari.8bit/15kaNT_thmg/o5Zv_6jnmbYJ

 

I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm going back to that summer when I get a time machine to tell my 1995 self to at least hold on a few years until eBay gets rolling.

Edited by Slipqueue

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Posted (edited)

Interestingly my story almost parallels Stephens.

 

We had an 800 in the early 80's and then got a 130XE late 80's. Moved on to an 520ST later. Sadly all were replaced by a PC around 92'ish. After college (1994) got back in to A8's with emulation. Once eBay started becoming popular(I want to say around 98 or 99?) I was able to purchase an 800 and a 130XE.

 

Later got back in to ST's as well. They'll stay with me this time until I'm old and senile. - Then my children will probably sell them. :_(

Edited by Ute
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Good Gosh. This is like hearing a confession. I NEVER put my 8-bit in to hibernation. Still have ALL (well most, 98 percent) of all the Atari stuff I have bought. I guess I am a hoarder by nature. Glad I am, I love all things Atari.

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I went into hibernation between around 98 and 2008. In that time I threw away so so many cassettes and disks. I am ashamed.

 

Though I stuck to my childhood word to never ever sell my Atari, even until I am an old man.

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