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Omega-TI

Add-ons that FAILED for the various "Classic Computers".

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Many peripherals were specialized for certain users, so whether those were successful or not depends how large you estimate the the expected market. For instance, various sound samplers on the Amiga were common/popular with aspiring tracker musicians, but probably not among gamers who didn't make music. Same goes for digitizers, hand scanners etc. If you were working with image processing to some extent - even if only on hobbyist levels - you were more likely to buy one than if you were using your computer mostly for accounting or programming. At one point, scanners became more everyday usable, with more powerful computers, bigger storage, other demands to publish stuff on Internet, and the introduction of all-in-one units with scanner and printer acting like a copying machine but obviously that is not the question here.

 

Perhaps lightpens never were expected to reach a wide market of users, which would make it hard to call them failed. Same of course goes for every other peripheral mentioned. Zip drives probably were useful for a few people who needed to make backups or move data with them, for others they would rather spend the money on other media.

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

Monitors are essential.  I was thinking about the various non-essential things like light-pens, digitizers, voice synths, graphics tablets that were proprietary, never got wide adoption, and most of the companies that manufactured them are defunct.   My question was more whether any of those types of things succeeded on classic computers. 

Well we all did the TV thing first, right? My first "monitor" was a portable black and white 13" panasonic until I blew my savings on a 1702. I wonder how many home computers, aside from the obvious picks like the TRS80 III, the Macintosh, and the luggables, actually required a proprietary monitor? The Compucolor II, perhaps?

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2 hours ago, high voltage said:

A8: Relax with Biofeedback device, from Synaps ...Again, I always wanted that

 

2RvLhPo.jpg

Someone should make a Fujinet enhanced version.

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Biofeedback? Sounds not too far from the Atari Mindlink. It reminds me there were plans to release an exercise bike connected to an Atari computer, but I don't think it ever went beyond prototype stage though advertised.

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6 hours ago, youxia said:

All these things, be it hardware or software, might not have "succeeded" on a large scale, but were a fun part of the early scene. And also helped to popularise microcomputers in general. They have also been naturally assimilated - now a silly onboard audio can do advanced voice sythesis and touchscreens owe a lot to the concepts deriving from lightpens/tablets.

That's right. The industry was new and in its infancy. Finding its way. And fun it was! We had a blast writing porn about light pens and I did some of my best Apple II Hi-Res artwork on the KoalaPad. And while I learned the most about paint programs on the Amiga, I got started with them on the Apple II.

 

It was also an experience in wanting an expensive technology, the RF-based Apple Graphics Tablet, not being able to afford it, and subsequently being surprised out of the blue when a low-cost resistive-matrix alternative became available. The KoalaPad. The KP also helped me project an air of technical superiority for the Apple II. My buddies loved the thing and hadn't experienced anything like it.

 

The AGT was however a halo-product in my neck of the woods. It was so futuristic and advanced and expensive that it was only discussed among a few of us and only when talking about CAD/CAM stuff. It was one of the products that made the II series highly desirable.

 

Edited by Keatah

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2 hours ago, Keatah said:

Indeed. Anything in this category was snake-oil.

Biofeedback?

Oh 1970s, I remember you too well...  ;-)  (And I am sure the 80's as well..)

 

I remember those standalone Biofeedback machines, kind of like arcade machines, but they'd give you a BioFeedback printout...  ;-)

 

Didn't know they had computer versions, but I am not surprised at all.. ;-)

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Atari 2600 keypad controllers. Bought a set of these back in the day and pretty much nothing supported it except Basic Programming which didn't come with them and wasn't available where I lived at the time.

m84168662302_1.jpg

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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. :)

 

 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Turbo-Torch said:

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. :)

 

 

 

 

Can you actually use those on anything besides the 2600?  They look kind of cool and would like to mess with them on the 8bit.  😛

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't ALL light pens pretty much worthless these days unless you are using an old antiquated CRT monitor?  

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24 minutes ago, leech said:

Can you actually use those on anything besides the 2600?  They look kind of cool and would like to mess with them on the 8bit.  😛

 

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. 

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Robin Harbron, a.k.a. 8-Bit Show and Tell on YouTube, a while ago posted a video where he connected some Atari 2600 keypads to his C64 and explained step by step what you need to do to use those. Basically you need to configure some of the input pins in the joystick ports as outputs, and then send signals to probe for column and row in a matrix and in that way read all the keys. You can't just read those using the normal inputs for the four directions and fire button.

 

In principle I think that is akin to how KoalaPads etc also work, by using inputs as outputs to probe for certain positions on the pad. It might explain why support was so little.

 

But no, I doubt any other brand and in particular not any home computers supported those 2600 keypads because if there was something the computers had plenty of, it was keys to press.

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4 hours ago, Turbo-Torch said:

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. :)

 

 

 

 

spectravideo-compumate-atari.jpg

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For that matter, almost all of the computer kits made for video game consoles were more or less failed but that is another discussion.

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15 hours ago, Omega-TI said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't ALL light pens pretty much worthless these days unless you are using an old antiquated CRT monitor?  

I would think so.  I believe they worked by detecting when the beam scanned on a CRT and compute the X,Y position from that?

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15 hours ago, leech said:

Can you actually use those on anything besides the 2600?  They look kind of cool and would like to mess with them on the 8bit.  😛

I've always wondered if BASIC keypads were compatible with the keypad they shipped with 2600 Star Raiders?   They had the same number of buttons.

 

I think I tried using the Star Raiders keypad on my Atari XL under BASIC,  I don't remember if I was successful though.

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3 minutes ago, zzip said:

I've always wondered if BASIC keypads were compatible with the keypad they shipped with 2600 Star Raiders?   They had the same number of buttons.

 

I think I tried using the Star Raiders keypad on my Atari XL under BASIC,  I don't remember if I was successful though.

Yeah, I would think that using them for 5200 conversions would work as well, though of course they would need to be coded to use a secondary port and not sure about the secondary trigger button.

Just makes me think I should play my 5200 more....

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58 minutes ago, zzip said:

I've always wondered if BASIC keypads were compatible with the keypad they shipped with 2600 Star Raiders?

Yes, these two use the same control scheme as I described above. The same goes for the bigger Kids Controller. While overlays obviously don't fit, electronically all three work the same way.

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And yeah, if you consider ADAM a computer add-on to a video game (sure, you put your Colecovision inside), it is an exception to the rule but at the price of the ADAM it better be useful as a computer or otherwise it would've been the biggest scam of the entire 80's, conducted by Coleco.

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4 minutes ago, carlsson said:

And yeah, if you consider ADAM a computer add-on to a video game (sure, you put your Colecovision inside), it is an exception to the rule but at the price of the ADAM it better be useful as a computer or otherwise it would've been the biggest scam of the entire 80's, conducted by Coleco.

Maybe a better example is XEGS which was moderately successful.   Adam was kind of DOA.

But of course you could easily argue that XEGS is a computer with the keyboard removed,  not a console with a keyboard added :)

Still it seems like the only console/keyboard hybrid that worked.   

 

Odyssey2 had a keyboard, but it didn't seem like it really had computer type apps?

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