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Which 8bit micro you wish you tried bitd?

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I sort-of missed out on the TRS-80 Model II in the 1980s. I enjoy playing with one in emulation now. But 10-year-old me would have been bitterly disappointed by a computer with no color, no sound, and limited animation.

 

I missed out on the Amiga 2000 back in 1991. My parents bought me a boring IBM compatible. :- |  I got Amigas years later, but they were very much in decline by the time I could afford them.

 

P.S. My A4000 needed to be opened for most cold boots, and the sharp case usually drew blood. It's funny that the new Amiga accelerator is called the "Vampire."

 

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I'm 50 and have to agree with Bill on feeling fortunate to own any computer back in the early 80s.

My best friend's dad was a high school principal and he brought home a PET during summer break.  I was around 11 and it was the first computer I ever touched.  It went back after summer break.

About a year later, when I was around 12, my uncle gave me a TRS-80 Model III right after RS released that model.  It was a 16K cassette based system and I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.

Soon after, that same friend's dad bought a sweet Apple IIe with two disk drives.  I knew no one else with a computer at that time.  That was a fun computer and I was a bit jealous over the disk drives.  Drive 0 for my Model III was $999.00 and that wasn't going to happen anytime soon...my 1st car 4 years later didn't even cost that much lol.  38 years later and that exact same computer is now very well equipped.

 

My next computer experience was with the C64 in school.  I attended a crappy Catholic grade school which got a C64 (yes, 1) when I was in 8th grade.  They devoted an entire classroom to this single computer and it was shared by all grades K to 8.  My friend and I used to laugh our asses off on how they treated that thing like a holy grail.  The C64 BBS scene several years later became impressive.

 

 

9th grade was the start of public high school and I was completely blown away on my first day.  A room full of TRS-80 Model IIIs.  Another room full of IBMs for programming and yet another room full of IBMs for word processing.  That led me to my Tandy 1000EX I bought my junior year. 

 

I played around with Atari 8 bits in stores and would have loved to own one.  I did pick up a 130XE in the early 90s and still like to use it today.

 

I've always been a huge RS fan but never had much interest in the CoCo line.

 

Another good friend got a VIC-20 and I felt bad for him.  It seemed to have the programming power of a 2600 with a BASIC Programming cartridge and games about as good as a Channel F.

 

The TI-99/4A was another early 80s contender and not something I ever wanted.

 

Probably need an asbestos suit for this, but I always wanted a Coleco Adam.

 

I'd really like to find a nice Intertec Superbrain.  Never seen one in person, but just from the name and way it looks, I know I want one. :)

 

 

 

 

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My first introduction to consumer electronics (that I remember) would have been red LED calculators and Mattel handheld games. Might as well throw in battery powered motorized cars and erector sets, things like that. All early and mid-70's stuff.

 

But the first introduction to personal computing was seeing a PET at the local OLSON electronics shop just before they went out of business. The funky keyboard was amazing and the whole thing represented some kind of new world. Interesting. But not inspiring.

 

Having some basic electronics knowledge about batteries, magnets, wires, meters, diodes, resistors, capacitors, transistors, and other electronic parts soon expanded into integrated circuits. Then my curiosity took off. Having a tiny black slip of plastic that contained thousands of those parts was utterly enticing.

 

I came across a book from Hayden Book Company titled "A Consumer's Guide to Personal Computing and Microcomputers". It had all these cool pictures of single board systems like the KIM-1. S-100 cabinet and desk-sized systems. And even micros like the Compu-Color, Apple II, TRS-80 Model 1, PET, Sorcerer, Ohio Scientific, and more! It even showed what was in a microprocessor. It looked like the city map! Everything was so WOW! The future was here! It was 2001! Space:1999! I wanted to try them all!

 

On 10/31/2020 at 5:49 PM, MHaensel said:

I sort-of missed out on the TRS-80 Model II in the 1980s. I enjoy playing with one in emulation now. But 10-year-old me would have been bitterly disappointed by a computer with no color, no sound, and limited animation.

So I wanted some kind of micro. Something. Anything. Anything with lots of chips. The more chips a computer had the smarter it was. I went after the TRS-80 because "Radio Shack". Radio Shack was everywhere and the Model 1 was already having peripherals. It was also a complete system. I even began collecting some of the cassette-baggie software which I still have sitting in a Rubbermaid tub. I was so sure I was going to get one.

 

Thankfully my parents discouraged me on that, citing the same reasons: no color, no sound, minimal graphics, and even less animation. But when I took note of the Apple II they were suddenly supportive. No parental lock here!

 

Today I can try all the TRS-80s in emulation while not wasting time & money on balky & bulky hardware. But the II & III stood out as my most-wanted-to-play-with micro of the day.

 

All other contemporary systems I had access to through friends and additional purchases.

 

Quote

I missed out on the Amiga 2000 back in 1991. My parents bought me a boring IBM compatible. :- |  I got Amigas years later, but they were very much in decline by the time I could afford them.

I always believed the core essence of the Amiga was the 1000 & 500/2000 models. It was just so new and different and had trainloads of hype. All these promised things - that was fun to read about! The real-world experience was disappointing because of availability. No computer stores really carried anything for it. I stupidly bought into both and A1000 and A500. Slugged it out till I got into those "boring" PCs.

 

And PCs, thank god and praise da'lord, became exciting starting with 386 era. New peripherals were coming out, new speed records being achieved. PC had supertanker-sized loads of science and astronomy software. And games too. Unlike with the Amiga the PC made file transfer from the Apple II easy. And the PC had real word processing. It was almost like an Apple II on steroids. No custom chip crap. No custom graphics. Everything a standard. What's there not to like?

 

 

Edited by Keatah
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Since I had an Amstrad CPC 6128...

 

- Amiga: Because those screenshots on the magazines sure looked cool.

 

- ZX Spectrum: Because most kids had one and only a couple of us had a CPC and I would have been able to access to a bigger catalog of "free" games and also cheap ones. I even tried a ZX Spectrum 3 inch disk from one friend to see if it worked in my Amstrad CPC.

 

- A tape version of Amstrad/Spectrum: Because those disks drives always auto-destroyed after around 5-10 years and I missed out on the hype of loading a game for 5 minutes while having a chocolate milk. Tape players were more durable and they would have helped me greatly in the mid 90s, in a dark period where there was not gaming machine in my own house and I had to "visit" my dad every single day: I would have used a tape ZX Spectrum/Amstrad CPC as my main gaming machine in 1996.

Edited by IntelliMission

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5 hours ago, Keatah said:

And the PC had real word processing. It was almost like an Apple II on steroids. No custom chip crap. No custom graphics. Everything a standard. What's there not to like?

But there were custom chips and graphics.   They used drivers to smooth it out in Windows,  but for DOS,  there were a number of different sound systems games had to support,  and there was no real video standard following VGA, every video chipset vendor was doing its own thing.   VESA would define some graphics modes that all card should support,  It's rare to see games in DOS go beyond 640x480 or else they might have to support different chipsets.

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I guess.. I won't argue too much.

 

But it can be said that chips from like Cirrus Logic, S3, TSENG, WD, #9, or even Matrox, ATi, nVidia, and 3DFx were standard stuff in a way. While each was a different design their 2D functionality was interchangeable. Certainly the cards were. Sure, the chips weren't off-the-shelf TTL. But they also weren't as machine-specific as Amiga or Atari graphics parts were. And the market was flooded with them.

 

I recall using the same 16-bit ISA graphics board in 286 through Pentium III machines. That's a pretty wide range of systems and dates.

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16 minutes ago, Keatah said:

While each was a different design their 2D functionality was interchangeable

It was to a point.   There was a reason when you went to install Windows on those systems you'd be stuck in 640x480 with 16 colors until you'd install the graphics driver..  Because that mode was the lowest-common-denominator standardized mode on cards at the time.   A lot of cards advertised "Super VGA" which wasn't a real standard, and they created new graphics modes that were mutually incompatible with other vendors.

 

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Some DOS applications included support for many Super VGA cards. WordPerfect for DOS 5.1 was able to use resolutions up to 1280 x 1024. The VESA BIOS helped conceal a lot of the differences between cards. 

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Until w95 (like it or not) the PC was a mess of Gfx and Sfx support, then w95 and standardized/unified gfx/sfx drivers were required and finally it got much much better imho, AC95/AC97 were a thing for the audio side. Granted it would be a few more years before DirectX and in general Windows would be a gaming platform.

 

Before that you had to have an SB16 (sometimes AdLib was enough), or bask in the light of your Gravis UltraSound which needed a separate driver though and wasn't as widely supported, VESA helped high-res support for sure (1024x768 was a sight back then) but boy was it slow .... can't blame the std for sure .... yeah ... it was what it was bitd .... using a joystick/joypad ... oh man, that was a giant pain and many games did not work well on a keyboard (Mortal Kombat anyone?).

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Hi all,

 

I have one other addition.

 

The Tandy MC-10 or the Alice computer (RED is cool!).

 

I've been playing with the MC-10 a bit lately and it's pretty fun (Emulation).

 

I have owned one in the past, but it went "away" when we moved houses.

 

I'm thinking about buying another one.

 

 

JR

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I recall changing the wait-states on my graphics card, a 16-bit ISA jobber. And that would cause joystick drift on the SB16 interface or on a dedicated interface card. And naturally any CPU speed change initiated through the BIOS or hardware would do more of the same. Much more.

 

But slowdown programs like mo'slo and others that were simple timing loops didn't affect the calibration at all.

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