Order of Retrocomputing Appreciatives - CoG chapter


#1

Hi everyone, my name is moufassa and I am a retrocomputing geek.

I’ve been interested in computer history probably since 2001 or so when I got my hands on an Amiga 1200 via the then-nascent-and-good-value eBay. Since then I’ve amassed a large cache of mental information on many and varied systems from the early 80s to the early 2000s, particularly of Commodore and (pre-1995) Apple origin because that’s what I had the most experience with whilst growing up and in my early years in the IT profession.

Some people in my circle of friends have a passing familiarity with the Mac Plus or the Commodore 64 but go glassy-eyed if probed on specifics. A couple could reminisce with me on the finer points of various Amiga or vintage PC models, but it was only on Friday night that I attended a meeting of fellow retrocomputing tragics in my city that I realised that there are people out there who have as diverse interests as I (and can also talk about them as much ;)).

Currently I have a small collection, including:

  • an Amiga 1200 with 68030/50 accelerator and 32MB RAM, and matching Commodore 1942 monitor
  • a Psion 5mx palmtop (bought new by me in 2000) in excellent condition
  • a Mac LC630 (originally DOS compatible but sans card) with 13" Apple display
  • a Mac Classic 4/40 (newly purchased and not even collected yet)

I also own some classic game consoles:

  • a Sega Master System that my brother and I have owned since 1990
  • an Atari Lynx 1 (round-button) with genuine Atari carry case(!)
  • a couple of Sega Game Gears
  • a Nintendo Game Boy
  • a Sega Megadrive (Genesis)
  • a Super NES
  • a Playstation 2

On the want list is an Amiga 4000, an LCIII or LC475, and a Mac Powerbook made between 1996 and 1998. Also would like to build a Pentium 200 rig for 90s DOS games, but an emulator scratches that itch for the moment.

If anyone is interested I’ll upload some pics.

Please be interested… please. :pray: :nerd:


#2

I need to find my old Texas Instruments PC. We had the voice modulator add on, and something else I can’t remember now.

And I think the evolution of the Commodore is pretty interesting, from the first Vic-20 to the 64/128 and then the Amiga lines. I would have cut someone for an Amiga when all my buddies had Atari-800 or Apples. Then we got the IBM machine in 1986 or 87. I think it’s all still at my dad’s, but so is everything else that’s even gone in there, plus some stuff that grew.

I can’t remember where my Intelivision went, or the 2600. I sold my Nintendo 64, but I still have my Wii and Wii U.

I can’t say I miss using a tape drive, or external
I wanted one of these so badly, I could taste it. There were a couple “old guys” that used to show up at the Commodore Club with a couple of these, they even drove themselves.


#3

BTW, best game ever in history RoBB.


#4

What be RoBB?

My sister has our old Atari (2600 before anyone called it 2600 - it was just The Atari), and I think their family still plays it.
I used a TI 99-4a until the sound chip went out and I could not save or load programs. The cost to repair would have been ridiculous, so it became unused after it let me down.

I probably still have a Pentium 200 in the garage, or possibly a dual Pentium 133.
That’s right, back in the day, I ran a Tyan Tomcat II with dual procs. I was a legend in my own mind. Finding the upgraded cache stick to enable the dual proc mode was the hard part - took me months.


#5

Raid on Bungling Bay.

Yeah, I used to call it an Atari, I still remember coming home and seeing my Mom and Dad playing it. I didn’t even know what it was they were doing.


#6

Oh, C64/NES game. I had a few buddies with C64s, but that was before NES. I skipped NES - went from Atati to PC games to Xbox.


#7

My first NES was a 64, no PS, I got an Xbox for Ninja Gaiden.

  • Atari
  • Intellivision
  • TI
  • C64
  • Another C64
  • IBM XT ( I think it was an XT, some sort of 286)
  • Then in the service I got a 486 DX
  • I bought I think it was a Sega Game gear with all the fixings, and then they killed it.
  • After I got a Pentium
  • Then I joined the home builder brigade and had a new machine about every 8 months
  • Then N64
  • XBox
  • Wii
  • Wii U

Fine, I’ll do bullet points too!


#8

You’re not alone, I love old machines.

Over the years I’ve had my hands on the following, in chronological order:

  • 1986 Macintosh Plus (with a 20MiB Winchester) - it was technically the office computer but I played games on it whilst mother disapproved. It died in August 2001 when the office roof collapsed.
  • 1996 Macintosh Performa 6200/500 - officially the “worst Mac ever”, this was my first colour computer and I don’t care if it was shit when it was released, and laughable shit now with its history, but I have it in my closet and every now and again it comes out to say hello. The original monitor is long since gone, but an 800x600 LCD from a cash register is perfect for it. It’s even faded to the same yellowbeige.
  • 1999 iMac G3 “Five Flavours” in Lime - my all-time most favouritest machine in the world. It exploded three months after the warranty ended. Literally exploded. Everywhere.
  • 2003 Iridium Starbook 520 - my only non-Macintosh machine and my first laptop. It contained a desktop class (stupid) Pentium 4 running at 2.4GHz (stupid) and 512MiB of performance RAM (stupid) in a rather neat - for the time - enclosure. The laptop died from being too hot because they put a desktop processor in a laptop and then had the whole thing cooled by one fan. Way to go, Canada, way to go.
  • 2006 Mac Mini “Core Duo” - the biggest mistake of my life. It died in 2011 trying to be a server.
  • 2008 MacBook - I got the black one to go to college with. It served its purpose, and now my friend Glenn uses it to DJ with because, despite being on Snow Leopard with 4GiB RAM and a total inability to perform graphically, it’s still damn good at mixing tunes.
  • 2011 MacBook Pro - this was bought to replace the MacBook when it became apparent that it was woefully underpowered for what I needed it for. It is also the machine that I am typing this on, albeit with the HDD upgraded to a Samsung SSD and the RAM quadrupled to the maximum 16GiB.

I could list the consoles I’ve owned, but putting them in a list would be daft. Still interested? Okay then…

  • 2000 Sega DreamCast

Ideally I’d like to own another Lime coloured G3 iMac. Either lime or Indigo. I’d also love a Macintosh Classic II or a SE/SEFD/SEFDHD since they’re probably the best of the compact Macs. And just for a laugh I’d love the weird twin-floppy G3 AIO machine that released before the iMac and is pretty much the OldApple version of the iMac concept; totally idiotic, insane, and awesome.

My fiancé has the innards of a RiscPC inside of a Dell case upstairs (the original Acorn case being long since disintegrated) and I know he’s still hankering after a BBC Master 128, or a replacement A3010 for choldhood memories…


#9

Dayum, that’s impressive.

Back then I was in school with a shiny new Pentium 90 and someone told me about their dream machine - an SGI Indy P133. Ever since then I have viewed SG machines in general with some reverence, but a dual P133 would have been the shiznit (unless you were running Win9x - then it would have been useless :D).


#10

I’d love a Classic II or SE/30 but since (as you say) they are the best of the compact Macs they are somewhat difficult to find in working order (and for less than the king’s ransom). The guy I just bought the Classic from also has a Colour Classic and possibly a few other colour machines that I might try to make him exchange for money, but I would like a big-box late 90s model (7300 - G3) to run System 8.

I really need to build my man cave.


#11

Also - I’ll try to take some pics of my hoard when I have a chance.


#12

Somewhere in my parent’s basement is a Pong from the 1970s along with Panasonic FZ1 3DO from the 1990s. I don’t think the Pong works anymore but I’m pretty sure the 3DO still does.


#13

True, even with NT workstation, there wasn’t much that would use them both


#14

Yep. Someone at the uni once ordered a dual Pentium II 266 to run as a server… it was going to have this thing called Unix installed and I didn’t know what that was supposed to do, much less why it needed 2 CPUs!


#15

Reminds me of this…


#16

Lurking somewhere I have a 1984 Sinclair Spectrum+, and an Amstrad PPC640 “laptop”.

I sometimes wonder just WTF I am going to do with these dinosaurs…


#17

Wow, that is rare in Australia.

You know I’ve seen quite a few of these on eBay over the years but never in the flesh, so to speak.

One family I used to know had an Amstrad PC512 (DOS compatible) in about 1989/1990. We all went to a school that had Amstrad CPC6128s. A couple of my friends also had CPC464 and 6128s at home too.

Last week one of the guys brought along an Amstrad MegaPC (386SX/25 PC with a Megadrive/Genesis on an ISA card). The product bombed spectacularly (and I believe marked the end of Amstrad’s PC business in Australia) but how COOL is it!


#18

If you’re ever coming to Melbourne, let me know - the PPC640 is yours if you want it. I even have the manual and original 720k system floppies for it.


#19

Well thank you my friend, that is most appreciated!

I may have to organise a long weekender boys’ trip…


#20

First computer-related item I ever bought was the “Surround” game for the Atari 2600. I didn’t have a 2600 yet, so I’d take it over to a friend’s house to play.

I may still have my Timex-Sinclair 1000, but I still have a stockpile of Commodore 64 and 128 equipment, plus a few Amigas. Except for a few that I made available for sale at a consignment store, I also have every game I ever bought. I was never the kind to get rid of a game simply because I finished it. I have a couple of boxes of Infocom and Electronic Arts games, and because EA used those slim packages for their first games, I might have around 30 or 40 of those. I kept each PC computer I built, though that original computer got upgraded to the Kingston Turbochip 400 MHz CPU.

Maybe it’s nostalgia speaking, but games back then seem to have a higher replayability value. Mechwarrior 2 is a blast when you turn on the invincibility, unlimited fuel and unlimited ammo cheats, then strip the 'mech down to zero armor and add as many weapons as it will hold. Fourteen medium lasers continuously chain-fired packs a pretty good punch. There’s also one mission where you can fly over the top of a tall hill to where the jets finally stop that you couldn’t reach otherwise.

There’s a few games that seem to do well because of the limitations of an 8-direction joystick. I remember playing Disney Infinity and thinking, “Gah, this would be so much more precise if I had one of those joysticks”. That was usually followed by, “If I am still holding the thumb stick in the same position, my character should not change direction on screen simply because the camera angle changes.”

Online gaming may be able to offer a lot of content that is updated frequently, but self-contained games means you can keep playing one you like for as long as you’ve got the hardware to do so. It will never be a case of “we don’t want to support this game any more, so no matter how much you like it, we’re shutting down the servers and you won’t be able to play it”. I’ve been burned on a few games where that happened, so I tend to look for games that offer a single player mode.

Or you do it through emulation, like Ars Technica reported on Friday, where a person put their Xbox One into developer mode and used Dosbox to run Windows 95, Duke Nukem 3D and the ZSNES emulator. When I originally demonstrated a C64 emulator on that first PC, it had a 133 MHz processor at the time and I told our group, “It takes a Windows computer over a hundred times more powerful just to emulate a 1 MHz C64.”

Almost forgot. Not only did the Commodore 64 hold the world record for most computers ever sold at somewhere between 14 and 20 million, it also held an unofficial record for the SuperCPU accellerator being the only accessory you could buy for any computer that would offer a true twenty-fold speed increase for $200. You can probably go from a really old PC to a newer used one for $200 and get one that’s more than 20 times faster, but that is not buying an accessory. That’s replacing the entire computer. Anyone who played the original version of Elite will remember dreading seeing another ship show up when flying to the space station because you were stuck at the slow speed while it was there. The SuperCPU solved that with a flip of a switch. And running GEOS really benefitted from it.