As mentioned previously, I've been going great guns in an attempt to make my overly large collection of 400+ videogame and computer systems more accessible and immediately usable. In other words, figuring out how to waste less of my precious time setting up this stuff and use more of that time actually using what I want to use. Part of that initiative is to take the most "important" computer and videogame systems and put them front and center - and ready to go - in various rooms. I'll discuss the classic videogame consoles in more detail in another post, but basically I've set up a 32" Sony Trinitron CRT to supplement the other basement TV and can now plug in various consoles in that area quickly and easily, though I've changed up where (and how) I'll be making the actual systems themselves accessible. Anyway, where last we left off, I couldn't get my Amiga 600 or 1200 to work, which left me to choose between my Amiga 500, 1000, or 2500HD (with 8088 Bridgeboard). I chose the latter.
With the above in mind, it was of course bugging me that neither the 600 or 1200 were working, so I resolved to address the issue within my limited skillset, and of course when time permitted. Long story short, the 600 is dead, but the culprit in the 1200 was a deceased 40MB hard drive, which was easy enough to remove and replace with a Compact Flash adapter and card with the OS and additional software. In the mean-time, I also got a PAL Amiga 1200, stock, with its own Compact Flash adapter and card with the OS and additional software.
Developers: Ian Andrew & Ian Morgan from Incentive Software
Year published: 1983
Platforms: ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, Sam Coupé
Here's me explaining some about the game while playing...
RetroGamerVX has challenged us to make Spectrum themed videos this week in honor of the ZX Spectrum's 30th birthday. Of course all I could do is comply to escape the wrath of my Evil Twin from the UK.
His video can be found here:
"Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."
RetroGamerVX has challenged us to make Spectrum themed videos this week in honor of the ZX Spectrum's 30th birthday. Of course all I could do is comply to escape the wrath of my Evil Twin from the UK. Read more below...
As mentioned previously, I've been re-thinking my collecting activities, including selling off the non-working and duplicate portions of my collection, which presently consists of over 430 videogame and computer systems and countless thousands of related software, accessories, and literature. Naturally, part of that reasoning was "thinning the herd" after all these years, because - even though I am thankful to have a relatively generous amount of space for these types of activities - it has long since reached the point where I well and truly have too much to handle. Why has this become an issue? There's simply too much stuff, there's no time to use it (that would need to be my full-time job), and, when I do want to use it, it takes up most of my available time just setting something up, only to have to break it down and put it back on the shelf again. It's innefficient, and frankly, no fun anymore.
With that in mind, in addition to the thinning - which will take a very, very long time of course in a collection I've been cultivating for over 30 years now - I've been plotting how I can make better use of what I have. Like I said, I am thankful to have a relatively generous amount of space. I have a large basement area, with about half unfinished, which is used for storage, and the other, finished half, consisting of an office room, hallway, workout area, and den area. The main floors of our house contain our active systems, including the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Co-Star, various computers and handhelds, etc., but they are not an option for me to make use of for classic items, other than on an occasional basis. That just leaves the basement, which is, of course, fine, but also limits my flexibility.
Anyway, even though each area of the basement is brimming with stuff and each section serves a specific purpose, either on a permanent or temporary basis, I decided that my best course of action is to pull out the truly must-have-accessible systems from the hundreds available and make them accessible at a moment's notice. This was not easy to do, as I have a genuine passion for each and every system I own, but the bottom line is is that some systems are more interesting, more "useful," or I simply have a critical mass of items for them that they can't be ignored. I decided I'd tackle that task with my classic computers first, followed by my classic videogame systems at a later date. I cleared space on my big L-shaped computer desk in the office area and proceeded to select the systems that met my criteria and would fit on the desk (I'll have some flexibility when I set up the classic videogame consoles to make a little use of the den area as well).
While I have many different models in most of the specific computer series I selected, I tried to choose the one model in my collection that would give me the most bang-for-the-buck. This in and of itself was not easy, as there's rarely a "most perfect" choice when it comes to choosing the ideal model in a series, which in this case also involved being a good fit for the available space. The systems I chose were as follows: TI-99/4a, Apple IIgs, Atari 600XL, Atari Falcon, Commodore Amiga 2000HD, and Commodore 128DCR, with a special appearance by the Radio Shack Color Computer series, which I'll explain at the end. So yeah, as hard as it was, no Sinclair Spectrum, BBC, IBM PCjr, Coleco Adam, Imagination Machine, MSX, Interact, Exidy, etc., etc., items, even though I'd love to have those out and ready to go as much as the others.
My initial goal - which I was able to accomplish - was to set up a basic system configuration for each and make sure it was working properly. I actually had a slightly different mix of specific systems, but, after testing, found some things didn't function as expected or didn't work at all. Over time, I'll add to each system I've set up (and address the other stuff that's not working) until each and every one is set up properly with their respective disk drives, flash cards, transfer cables, etc., to be fully usable with all of the stuff I have available. At the very least, with these minimum configurations, they're ready to go for most quick usage scenarios. I also decided it was important not to have any of them plugged in full-time, so everything gets hooked up and powered up on demand. This is actually simple and will not delay my usage in any way. In fact, the way I have the various monitors and TV's set up, I can hook up other systems as needed without too much fuss, which is another bonus. Anyway, here are the photos and additional explanation:
Well, this is great news for fans of retro computers. One of the most prolific original developers for the ZX Spectrum back in the day, Elite, will be reissuing the platform in honor of its 30th anniversary in 2012. Though little known outside of Europe, the ZX Spectrum was one of the most popular computers of the 1980s in the UK, rivaling the worldwide sales leader, the Commodore 64, for overall popularity. While there are few details about what form the new iteration of the computer will take - some say it will essentially just be a bluetooth keyboard for use with emulators - it's still a fascinating experiment in nostalgia, one we hope is successful so additional platforms might follow suit. If you're curious to learn more about the ZX Spectrum, our own Mark Vergeer has recently posted some videos (here and here) for your enjoyment.
I am pleased to announce that I have been given permission to publish an article by Bruno Florindo and Andrew Owen entitled, American Cousins, which features a fascinating interview with Lou Galie, Senior Vice President of Technology at Timex Group USA Inc and former Director of Engineering for the Timex Computer Corporation. The article tells the story of Timex's transition from their successful Sinclair ZX81-based budget computer, Timex Sinclair 1000, to the company's last two personal computing products in the US, the Timex Sinclair 1500, an updated Timex Sinclair 1000, and the Timex Sinclair 2068, an enhanced pseudo-clone of the UK's popular ZX Spectrum. You can read the PDF article originally intended for the fanzine Byte High No Limit by downloading the attachment below or simply clicking here. In the future, I will be providing more coverage of the complete series of Timex and Spectrum computers from my personal collection, so be sure to stay tuned. Many thanks to Andrew and Bruno for the article.
ANDRE*** has created another new game for the Sinclair ZX81/Timex Sinclair 1000/1500, entitled, "Canon War", which as the manual states, ""CANNON WAR" is an arcade game like we remember. In the game, you control the left side cannon and the computer controls the right side cannon(s). You lose a cannon every time a cannonball hits your defense line. Beware! You must move closer to the enemy to destroy his cannons. You have two versions to play: Version E1 uses keys 5, 6, 7, 8 and 0 (zero). Version E2 uses keys 1, A, I, P and 0 (zero)."
Thanks to Yerzmyey for the heads up on a new ZX81/Timex Sinclair 1000/1500 game, "Ferengi", said to be "a continuation of the classic ZX-81 game 'Klingons'". It looks like the archive contains versions for both unexpanded and expanded systems, with instructions to record to a real tape if you prefer not to play in an emulator. Get the archive file (.rar) here. From the notes:
Even though it's been in my collection for a few years now, I've had little direct experience with the Timex Sinclair 2068 (1983). It was time to inventory everything since someone wished to purchase one of my spare units.