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doctor_x

Atari Yearnings... Increasing as you get older?

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I had a big spurt of interest around 1994 or so - I was buying everything I could off of ebay - even an Amdek dual 3” drive system for the Tandy just because I wanted to see what the form factor of the unit would have been like for the Atari... I kind of got out of it then for a bit - possibly because I got married.  I find over the past year or so I’m collecting C64/128/Atari/Amiga and even some low end pentium stuff so I can run pascal programs without the pascal bug that occurred with speedier pentiums.. But obviously mostly Atari as thats what I grew up with.. Even paid a guy on AA recently for a 7800 with the A/V mod done - and I’m not really even much of a game player.... Craziness!

 

Does your interest wax and wane? Or is it constant?

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I was the only person with an Atari computer growing up in my little neck of the woods; which actually makes the nostalgia worse. Not only was it part of my childhood, but it was uniquely so; uniquely mine. It has always felt that way. Even now working in computer-based fields for 20 years I have never met another person professionally who owned one.

 

Years ago I stumbled across the emulators but didn't have enough time. It was this year, 2019, when I finally decided that I should actually own my first computer again. I don't know what kept me away really but I do know that it was actually this forum that made up my mind. I found this forum when looking for more information about purchasing my Atari. I went to craigslist and found a 800xl, 1050, and a bunch of software for sale locally and had the opportunity to be the second owner. Over the last few months I have picked up a handful of mods from the members here and tried a ton of new software... maybe there is a novelty which will wear off?

 

To answer your question - yes, as I got older, and I am really enjoying myself. Thanks everyone!

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I think that everyone will have their own unique answer when replying.

 

For me - it's not so much about the physical hardware - although I do have the desire to acquire say at least 3 8-bit Atari computers - but it's more about the software - the games as such.

 

That I'd like to see the missing games - appear eventually to show that the hardware could be pushed to new limits?

 

Because it's the graphic capabilities of the hardware that impress me - I like to see this in use in videogames.  The hardware can't do the impossible - so the programmer will have to resort to various tricks to make the impossible seem to happen.

 

Harvey

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I certainly waned for a large number of years, but never lost complete interest. I would still read some of the old ANALOG, Antic, Compute, etc magazines while not actively using the machines. When I finally got a really nice laptop in the latter part of the 90s I got back into retro stuff in earnest. The funds were available to buy stuff that I could never afford in the early 80s. The 00s were balls to the walls busy at my family’s business and the amount of any retro computing I did was almost exclusively relegated to the Jakk’s Pacific PAC Man type stuff and a few minutes with stuff I picked up on eBay. 
 

After we sold the business in early ‘13 and my forced medical retirement, I’ve messed around with Atari (or similar retro systems) on an almost daily basis. I enjoy it more now, too. 

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4 hours ago, doctor_x said:

I had a big spurt of interest around 1994 or so - I was buying everything I could off of ebay - even an Amdek dual 3” drive system for the Tandy just because I wanted to see what the form factor of the unit would have been like for the Atari... I kind of got out of it then for a bit - possibly because I got married.  I find over the past year or so I’m collecting C64/128/Atari/Amiga and even some low end pentium stuff so I can run pascal programs without the pascal bug that occurred with speedier pentiums.. But obviously mostly Atari as thats what I grew up with.. Even paid a guy on AA recently for a 7800 with the A/V mod done - and I’m not really even much of a game player.... Craziness!

 

Does your interest wax and wane? Or is it constant?

Definitely waxes and wanes. I'm willing to bet we bid against each other a lot back in the mid 90's!  Do you still have the Tandy Amdek? I'd like to buy it if you're interested in selling. I have a controller board from a partially recased Atari Amdek unit, but the drives had been replaced with 3.5s.

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With me its that I'm playing less, I still love that I have my bits and bobs but I just don't sit down and play as much as I used to, maybe its down to my medical discomfort, I'm not sure. I just pick up a game, play it for a few mins and then just stop. Its not like I ignore the machines, I just feel 'awkward' at the mo, probably too much stress and pain.

 

Will I stop using these lovely machines, NEVER!!

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It ebbs and flows. About 12 years ago I bought everything Atari that I could, as well as other systems and consoles, C64, Amiga, Sega etc etc etc.
Sold a lot of stuff 4 years ago before we moved house. The stuff I did keep was kept in the loft for 2.5 years.
Recently got back in to the hobby, but discovered that a lot of stuff now doesn't work and my eyesight is shot so fixing stuff isn't so easy.

Regretting selling a lot of the nice bits that I had, especially now that prices have gone through the roof and postage is a killer. I really should have kept those 1200xl's and the 1400 motherboard and the 810.......................................

 

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I started with the 2600, then 800, then 130XE then 520STM then 1040STF, obviuosly when the ST came along

the old 8 bits got used less and less and there was a long period when I didn't use either, just the occasional

power-up to make sure they all worked (except for the 2600, I really souldn't have sold that).

 Some years ago my interest sparked again and now it's every day, not so much the ST's.

 

Can't see me ever selling any of it, it has given and still gives so much pleasure.

 

I love what some people have done to upgrade the machines, have upgraded 1 130XE to U1M and Side2.

Would love to do the Incognito on my 800, but can't justify the cost at the moment.

 

I also play the games on RetroPi as my interest crosses many platforms, I was (am a serious C programmer)

and have nearly completed an EPROM Programmer to burn cartridges for the 800/130XE, running on a

Raspberry Pi Zero W.

 

So in answer to your question, it did wane for a while, but it's back with a vengance and no sign of abating in the future.

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We live in the moment, try not to regret it...We have all been there though...

 

When all my Atari's, C64's, Dolphin DOS 1541's, real Omnimon, proto stuff etc etc all was DUMPED from my mothers house after she died while in sheltered accommodation I was gutted but I'd been carrying it about for a few years after our house went so wasn't using it. I sort of came to peace with it but later when I got back in to it all the hurt was huge, I'd have everything I wanted (almost) and now had to find it all again while losing all the stuff I could never replace.

 

Now its sort of an annoyance but I'm just happy to have what I have and enjoy the systems in their own right....Life sometimes is good to you and some days its bad, we just have to try to stay in middle ground or better.

 

Saying that, I just got a parking ticket for straying in to a bus lane 10ft from the end of the lane...Oh well, I did it so I have to pay :)

 

 

Edit: I just reread the post and it looks like I was only gutted about the Atari's etc, obviously my mothers death was an utter blow but she was very ill so it wasn't a complete shock, it took her pain away...

Edited by Mclaneinc
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Short answer: HELL YEAH

 

Long answer:

I got hit hard by the Atari bug a while back, and I think a big part of it was lurking here at AtariAge.  Reading all the great topics here brought me back to when I was a kid, playing Spy Hunter and figuring out how to load my Temple of Apshai cassette on the 600 (maybe 800) XL I inherited from my older brother.

 

It's funny because I really had zero interest whatsoever in the Atari 8-bit computer line from then until just a while back, as my main computer growing up was a C64 and I (very foolishly) assumed the Atari 8-bit line had nothing to offer that I couldn't find on my C64.

 

Well, one day I was on Ebay looking for Atari 7800 games, and I found a reseller selling "old new stock" XEGS systems... I knew that it was a consolized 8-bit, so I decided to add it to my collection.  A few weeks later, it was here and I was having a blast with it!  I couldn't believe what I had missed.

 

After that I managed to get a nice deal on a beautiful 800XL here on AtariAge, and now I've got it hooked up in a place of honor right next to my treasured C64, ready to play at any time. :)  I was just playing Spy Hunter on it, actually!

Edited by newtmonkey
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My interest in Atari has always been there. It was life and circumstance that always got in the way and forced me to push it underground. I got back into the hobby about three years ago as a result of several factors. First, the Atari stuff was taking up a lot of room in the basement and I realized it would be more efficient to unpack it all. Second, I work all the time and realized it would be good to have a hobby for some work-life balance. Third, my kids are older and need less attention. Fourth, I really needed something to take my mind off the daily grind that is U.S. politics. As a result, I have been able enjoy Atari on a weekly basis and even found time to do a web page, write a 2600 game, and write an Atari book. Unless some major life event happens (knock on wood), I plan to continue my Atari passion into retirement.  

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9 hours ago, MrFSL said:

I was the only person with an Atari computer growing up in my little neck of the woods; which actually makes the nostalgia worse. Not only was it part of my childhood, but it was uniquely so; uniquely mine. It has always felt that way. Even now working in computer-based fields for 20 years I have never met another person professionally who owned one.

 

Years ago I stumbled across the emulators but didn't have enough time. It was this year, 2019, when I finally decided that I should actually own my first computer again. I don't know what kept me away really but I do know that it was actually this forum that made up my mind. I found this forum when looking for more information about purchasing my Atari. I went to craigslist and found a 800xl, 1050, and a bunch of software for sale locally and had the opportunity to be the second owner. Over the last few months I have picked up a handful of mods from the members here and tried a ton of new software... maybe there is a novelty which will wear off?

 

To answer your question - yes, as I got older, and I am really enjoying myself. Thanks everyone!

You have probably met other people that had one and it just never came up. My first system was a 600XL. A few years ago we were over at my inlaws and what catches my attention? An Atari 400 in their crawl space!!!

 

I then find out it was my wifes first computer! Then find out her favorite A8 game is River Raid.

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2 hours ago, newtmonkey said:

Short answer: HELL YEAH

 

Long answer:

I got hit hard by the Atari bug a while back, and I think a big part of it was lurking here at AtariAge.  Reading all the great topics here brought me back to when I was a kid, playing Spy Hunter and figuring out how to load my Temple of Apshai cassette on the 600 (maybe 800) XL I inherited from my older brother.

 

It's funny because I really had zero interest whatsoever in the Atari 8-bit computer line from then until just a while back, as my main computer growing up was a C64 and I (very foolishly) assumed the Atari 8-bit line had nothing to offer that I couldn't find on my C64.

 

Well, one day I was on Ebay looking for Atari 7800 games, and I found a reseller selling "old new stock" XEGS systems... I knew that it was a consolized 8-bit, so I decided to add it to my collection.  A few weeks later, it was here and I was having a blast with it!  I couldn't believe what I had missed.

 

After that I managed to get a nice deal on a beautiful 800XL here on AtariAge, and now I've got it hooked up in a place of honor right next to my treasured C64, ready to play at any time. :)  I was just playing Spy Hunter on it, actually!

Also next to your Super Famicom? :)

 

No harm in loving lots of machines, keeps the world going ;) but yes, you missed out on a hell of a lot of Atari goodness back then..

Edited by Mclaneinc
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I don't think it's ever waned for me. I started trading bad NES carts for backpacks full of 2600 carts in school, and never looked back. What has changed is my focus.

Originally, it was the 8-bit Ataris and the 2600 only. Got older, got connected, started running retro game cons and started collecting everything. Had everything from APM-M1000s and Astrocades to Hyperscans R-Zones.

Sold most of that, kept the stuff I actually enjoy playing. My focus these days are in two basic blocks:

8-bit era: Atari 8-bits, 2600, 7800 and to a lesser extent, the Intellivision Colecovision and the c64.
16-bit era: TG-16/PCE, Neo Geo and Genesis.

That's pretty much it, outside some Lynx and GBA/GB games and, for some reason, the Arcadia 2001 (it's objectively terrible, but I like it).

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Totally agree with Harvey on this one: answers will most likely be different for everyone, for sure... and that makes the topic even more interesting, on its own.

 

I grew surrounded by tech. In fact, my first part-time / do-it-for-fun job was on Sales of personal / home computers at well-known tech-shop near home (my Dad used to know closely the owners, so it was like a "techno-Disneyland" for me!) We sold all kinds of platforms, we got to know most (industry) players, and who-was-who (most of us at the shop were impressed with IBM, HP, Apple, Atari and Commodore Amiga, but much less with VIC20 and C64 stuff). I was not the only Atari user around, I had several friends... 

 

The very first time I saw the 8bit line was right there, a 400 connected to large-screen optical-tube projector... and showing Star-Raiders in full swing... I was in absolute shock, like most of the people there... That first impression, that very first "WoOoOoW" has no price, has no equal in life... plus growing under the strength of a bigger-than-life Mum/Dad duo, it made those discovery / learning years not just immensely happy, but integral to my formation. It was from there, and from Atari, where I launched my career and pro-life (!) However, and I have to say this, that first "discovery/formation"-stage was partially plagued by shortcomings, including the typical HW, SW and documentation limitations usually found in overseas markets.

 

Time passed fast, could not fully enjoy and learn from the HW I really wanted, and soon-enough moved to the 2nd-stage ("development") on 16-bit computing, with Atari ST. That 2nd-state, although important, was short-lived, not that inspiring, and my last contact with Atari, which ended in early engineering-college years. The only thing I kept was not the ST, but my 800XL from the prior state, for some reason.

 

From there, the 3rd-state ("growth") began, which was 32-bit computing, and it was and has been since then on IBM/PC platform (Intel 486). I knew, since my early sales-job that it would be huge... and what an incredible journey I have to say... More than amazement or wonder, my PC-era was more about accomplishment and fulfilled potential... It was very different, but pretty much in-line with my initial inclination: I have not been a "gamer" (even though I did play stuff) but always wondered about applications, utility, comms., etc. That's what I liked the most... and the PC was heaven for this! I also knew it could do games really well!

 

...But after all these decades, I've somehow felt that something was lose / incomplete during those first golden years, that I did not learn or see everything that the Atari 8-bit platform could do, sort of a nagging thought... and now we have a 2nd (and probably last) opportunity to close that loop, for once and all, and also confirm (beyond the shadow of doubt), not only how wonderful and re-energizing those years are, but also how special this platform is, and how refreshing is to spend some brain-power on it, sharpening your teeth and skills, and dealing with all of its intricacies, awaiting to be exploited (if time permits...)

 

Would not change those sweet early years for anything, ever!

 

 

Edited by Faicuai
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"It" comes and goes but on a semi-regular basis. Hasn't changed much over the past 10 years.

 

I continue to remain interested in Apple II (smaller collection nowadays) and TRS-80 Pocket Computer stuff. The other material consists of a few vintage and modern PCs. And on one of the modern PCs I thoroughly enjoy all the classic 8-bit stuff that was popular in the 70's & 80's through emulation.

 

Emulation for Atari 400/800, C64, Intelliivsion, ColecoVision, Astrocade, Amiga, real arcade, and more, is very well done these days and I find myself missing my original hardware less and less. I find increasing value in my own virtual setups and configurations. I find myself playing the old classics, like Star Raiders in bigger, badder, more grandiose, more spectacular ways then I ever thought possible when I was a kid.

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     I joke with my wife to be thankful and that this is what a nerd's mid-life crisis looks like.  After all, I could be wanting a Harley or worse.  I've had two periods of Atari enthusiasm.  The initial starting with my 400 in 1981 and that lasted until the early 90's.  The PC had amassed enough cool things that my 8-bit couldn't and the price was affordable enough for me to ditch my Atari's and I was a full time PC guy.  My stuff sat in boxes until 2004, when a cross country move was the straw that made me join eBay and sell it all.  Anything that didn't boot right up, went into the landfill.  Boy, that was a lot of premium hardware.  Fast forward to 2010 and for some reason unknown to me, I get the bug again.  Started out with emulation, bought a 1200XL and a Sdrive NUXX.  Not exactly sure what happened after that, its all a blur.  I now have amassed a staggering inventory, enough so, that I can't possibly justify the quantities on hand.  The cycle of buy, fix, sell, see something better, repeat.

 

     This second period is about to hit 10 years.  I'm content that I've quenched my thirst to acquire stuff and now its a time of reflection.  I've been slowing selling off things I don't need or have too many of.  I still have five mint condition 1200XLs.  Again, more than I can possibly use in my lifetime, but there it is.  Back to the question:  I guess it's 30% nostalgia, 40% enjoyable hobby and 30% admiration to a technology and product line that had a big affect on my life.  I'm convinced I would be doing somewhere else, doing God knows what, if I hadn't stumbled onto the Atari home computer in 1981.  It may have been a better path or worse, I'll never know.  It sure would have been different.  I am very content with how it turned out, so I think it currently holds my attention because is was so influential.  I'm about to turn 56 and I find myself reflecting on things in my life that made an impact.  My family does not understand my hobby and I feel a bit sorry for them and only hope that they find something, whatever it is, that brings them real joy.  Obviously, my family is the real source of my joy, but as a hobby, there are things that bring joy that is just icing on the cake.  How long will this second wave last?  I guess I'll get bored of it some day, but this time, I wont' sell the lot on eBay.  I'll maintain a cooling off period before I do something like that again.

    

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I only did the "cycle" once. Built up a hoard of stuff from the late 70's through mid 90's. Disposed of excess bulk and many things in those 90's. And then almost instantly thought about getting some or most of it back. Didn't work out. No longer were there stores with racks of the games I used to have. And cruising the garage sales and flea markets was very time consuming because of the pitifully small "near embarrassing" finds considering the effort spent. Got into emulation soon enough but still didn't feel "complete & whole" about the hobby again until very recently.

 

Was it a mid-life hobby crisis? I don't know. I don't think so, just a natural cycle. A natural evolution. This "becoming whole again" descriptor thing really came into focus as emulation evolved. Some standalone emulators are really fantastic nowadays. Marvelous. And it has been said that real hardware should somehow magically gain select abilities that only emulators have.

 

So though emulation along with modern archives, reliability, convenience, performance, and easy access to documentation; it suddenly became quite enjoyable to "get back in". I actually sometimes think that being saddled with tons of vintage hardware would've been a bad thing. Whether that's the right or wrong approach doesn't matter. It works for me.

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I had to pass on my 800 when I got a Mega ST (no expressions of condolence for a poor kid required) and as I kinda missed the 8-bit games I bought an 800XL lot a few years later when I earned my own money. I got a VCS on sale locally, a second-hand Lynx (sold by the mother of the previous owner who had taken the money to buy it from her purse), a Jaguar and a 7800 as well as an XEGS on various fares. I recovered my 800 when the recipients moved on to PCs and couldn't resist a cheap 65XE/130XE combo deal on Ebay. All that got stored and the 800 moved out once when the kids were small. 

 

I got some stuff (like a SIO2SD) then and after an 8-10 year hiatus the bug hit again and I thought I could as well finish the collection and get a 600XL and a 1200XL. Never came across a reasonably priced 800XE and did not care that much as it's not much different from the 65XE anyway. Somewhere along the way I couldn't resist getting an  Indus GT which I had always admired in Antic magazine, and somehow I ended up with two spares, spare 1050s to mount all the nice speeders in, and two Rana drives. 

 

If I had to diagnose, I'd say the bug hits in phases and I buy way too much given the time I have to spend on it. I managed to put an Antonia in my 600XL and an Ultimate1MB in and UAV in a 1200XL but there's still a lot of upgrade boxes sitting in my study. I haven't played at least half of my Lynx Jag and 7800 games and almost none of the Genesis/MegaDrive games I thought were essential when I was gifted a MegaDrive which my father in law had been given by the wife of his deceased neighbor. Same for the Amiga and Mac that came with the same lot and a C128 I just had to have after listening to an episode of Retrobits as well a BBC Micro I had always found interesting. On the positive side I just hooked up the consoles after two years of procrastination and cleared the desk for an Atari plus one extra "guest" computer, so there's hope.

 

Having passed $30 a couple of years ago I am still unsure whether all this is a good preparation to keep myself busy after retirement (which ist still more than a decade away) or if I might consider my remaining time too precious to dabble with 60-year-old electronics then.... 

 

Love browsing AtariAge but it sure takes a toll on my available spare time now.....

 

 

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I grew up with Atari computers. I was surrounded by them for as long as I can remember -- 400, 800XL, 130XE, 520ST, 520STE with 1MB upgrade, Lynx, Jaguar (briefly)... yeah, Atari has always been a thing for me, and even when I was apart from those beloved machines I grew up with, I still thought of them fondly.

 

In the last year or so I've got big into embracing my hobbies. It's probably, as someone above describes, a "nerd's mid-life crisis", but I'm happy and my wife seems to encourage me by putting shelves up for all my video games and hardware, so I can't complain at all!

 

Right now, our living room is dominated by shelves of more modern games (PS1 era onwards) while my upstairs study is a dedicated retro room with Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, NES, SNES, Mega Drive, N64 and Philips G7000 ready for action on the same old trusty Sony Trinitron I grew up with at all times.

 

I love it. Just looking at those rooms makes me happy.

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4 hours ago, pjedavison said:

I grew up with Atari computers. I was surrounded by them for as long as I can remember -- 400, 800XL, 130XE, 520ST, 520STE with 1MB upgrade, Lynx, Jaguar (briefly)... yeah, Atari has always been a thing for me, and even when I was apart from those beloved machines I grew up with, I still thought of them fondly.

 

In the last year or so I've got big into embracing my hobbies. It's probably, as someone above describes, a "nerd's mid-life crisis", but I'm happy and my wife seems to encourage me by putting shelves up for all my video games and hardware, so I can't complain at all!

 

Right now, our living room is dominated by shelves of more modern games (PS1 era onwards) while my upstairs study is a dedicated retro room with Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, NES, SNES, Mega Drive, N64 and Philips G7000 ready for action on the same old trusty Sony Trinitron I grew up with at all times.

 

I love it. Just looking at those rooms makes me happy.

Apart from the ST range that just about sums me up as well, the only thing missing is that Trinitron that we had and I'd play my brother at Defender on it like we were kids again back then..

 

As you say, we don't even have to be playing on them to make us happy....

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It's been fun reading all of these. I've had a similar experience to many here, but as said, different too, I can take a few of the statements above and combine them to get my own history.

 

My interest only waned for a few years after college, back in the mid 90's when I did my first real upgrade from my 8-bit Atari, which was the Atari Jaguar and Panasonic 3DO and Dreamcast. After their newness wore off around the turn of the century my love for my Atari 8-bits returned (I'd never not had one, but it was in storage and unused from about '95 to '00). My interest in all aspects of 8-bit hardware has only grown since then, and instead of just mostly playing games and writing term papers from the 80's and 90's, my interest first grew in the hardware area and now over the last year I've gotten the programming bug too.

 

Of course all the fantastic new hardware and software from the home-brew community has only kept me excited about it all, without this community though, I don't know if it would have been more than just nostalgia for old games, so I'm glad the community is here to give me more to interest me more.

 

For me, except for the few short years of the new "next-gen" 3D age, my interest never waned. In fact, I always felt technology moved too fast for me; the world kept moving on to new platforms and I still had a ton of stuff I hadn't gotten around to on the old platforms! I wasn't done exploring what could be done with the 8-bits! I wasn't finished with them yet! And I hope I never am and currently plan to keep using them until I am dead or physically unable.

 

There is so much more I can and want to do, even on my old 8-bits, because they are computers and not just consoles which are so much more limited (games only) that in some ways my interest can never wane like it has for my consoles. I'm the type that wants to keep it all, from my first to my last, consoles and computers alike, though I have been forced to sell stuff over the years for different reasons, I never sold off my Atari 8-bit (unless I got a different model, but that's all) and the other stuff I did sell, I eventually buy it back. 

 

There are still far to many projects, hardware and software that I still want to do and explore, and too much software I never had time for before, that I want to complete, for my interest to ever wane. I just hope I live long enough to start, finish and enjoy them all. Don't take away my Atari's and tell me there is something newer and better, I'm not finished yet!!! 

 

In a way, I liken my computer life to that of a space explorer: I'm given a new ship meant for deep-space voyages, and a mission to reach Alpha-Centauri on a journey that takes a hundred years, but by the time I reach my destination I've been surpassed already by newer, faster ships and all has already been said and done and colonized by younger generations by the time I get there. But it's all good still, because at least I made it and used the hell out of that first deep-space ship and learned it inside and out, upgraded and improved it, and had a wonderful journey doing it all. Like the band Supertramp, I'm taking the long way home...

Edited by Gunstar
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45 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

Apart from the ST range that just about sums me up as well, the only thing missing is that Trinitron that we had and I'd play my brother at Defender on it like we were kids again back then..

 

As you say, we don't even have to be playing on them to make us happy....

Funny you should mention the Trinitron. My nephew was cleaning out his "new" home and found an old CRT TV in the basement, left by previous occupants. He called and asked me if the old TV was worth saving, would I be interested. I told him if it was a Trinitron, save it for me, anything else, forget it. He called backed a few days later, half in shock, and said "I went to look and see what type of TV it was and you blew my mind! It IS a Trinitron!" So I'm getting myself a Trinitron for Christmas!

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