As I detailed in my two previous posts on the subject (here and here), I got rid of my massive computer and videogame collection, as well as quite a bit of other associated materials (the big auction is set for some time in April or May, so stayed tuned). With 99% of the stuff in the basement gone, it’s now back to being an extremely usable space, with a nice gym, living room area, office space, and an unfinished portion that’s both a Makerspace (complete with crafting) and miscellaneous storage.
While there’s still a long way to go to fixing it up, including a fresh coat of paint and eventually replacing some outdated items, it’s already a joy to be in once again. With that in mind, I know there were several of you out there who wanted to know what the 1% of vintage stuff I decided to keep was and why. This is that explanation.
First off, I obviously kept all modern computers, consoles, and handhelds (those are in the main living areas). Going forward, I’ll get rid of those as they become obsolete or a better option comes along. For the most part, I’m also all-in on digital, so amassing more physical items is not going to be an issue. This applies to books, movies, games, music, etc.
So of the vintage stuff, I kept a dozen systems. Note that, of those particular platforms, what I kept was just a fraction of what they actually consisted of, included system duplicates, which all went to the upcoming auction. That also includes tons of boxed software (sadly, to a degree, since I love a lot of vintage software boxes) and all kinds of other paraphernalia.
Here’s the vintage stuff I kept:
– Apple IIe Platinum (NTSC, full setup, several cards, etc.)
– Atari 800 (NTSC)
– Atari 1200XL (NTSC; ClearPic2002 video upgrade, R63 resistor upgrade for SIO, 28 pin EPROM OS motherboard, OS has two selectable operating systems – 800XL and Omniview+40/80 column text mode)
– Atari 800XE (PAL)
– Commodore 64c (NTSC)
– Commodore 64c (PAL)
– Commodore 128DCR (NTSC, includes JiffyDOS 128 and Servant ROM)
– Extra Commodore 1571
– Various flash devices and multi-carts and a few miscellaneous homebrew games
– GCE Vectrex (two original controllers, one third party controller, various games, multi-carts, and overlays)
Sony PlayStation 3:
– Sony PlayStation 3 (60GB launch model upgraded to 250GB Western Digital Scorpio 7200RPM, Hardware Backwards Compatibility with PS2/1)
– Steering Wheel rig (and associated games)
– Flight Stick (and associated games)
Tandy Color Computer:
– Radio Shack Color Computer 2 (NTSC, 26-3128A, Factory composite/audio out (education model))
– Radio Shack Color Computer 3 (NTSC, Triad 512K upgrade)
– Multi-pak Interface
– Various flash and multi-carts and other solutions; Sound & Speech Pak
– (see Tano Dragon)
– Tano Dragon (NTSC, Hitachi 6309 CPU upgrade)
– Various flash and multi-carts and other solutions
– Disk drive with interface and switch to go between Tano Dragon and CoCo modes
I still have several displays left, including Sony Trinitron 20″ and 32″ CRT TVs (which the auction site wouldn’t take) and a Commodore 1084S monitor. Between those, several extra LCD monitors, our other, modern TVs, and a complete XRGB-mini setup, I still have plenty of coverage and versatility in that area.
Also, I have a selection of joysticks, paddles, gamepads, and an X-Arcade with various adapters for all kinds of different systems.
You’ll note that I didn’t keep any vintage consoles other than one Vectrex, and, if you want to call it vintage (for this, I do), the PlayStation 3. For the most part, I either wasn’t interested in keeping what I had, or could easily replicate the experience in emulation or some related manner (Retro Freak, etc.).
You’ll also note that I didn’t keep any vintage computers beyond the 8-bit ones. Although I was a big Commodore Amiga user back in the day and had every system in my collection save for a 3000 and 4000, I found the 16-bit+ experience wasn’t thrilling me as much anymore. It was too finicky, too close to modern experiences, too complex for more casual usage, etc. With 8-bit computers, you get a very specific, simpler type of experience out of it all and that’s something I was more interested in exploring with my limited “hobby” time.
So why did I keep the specific platforms that I did? Here’s a summary:
Apple II: I always had a fondness for this platform. It’s one of the big three for us in the US, along with the Atari 8-bit and C-64. It will obviously be used to play games, but I’m also interested in exploring some coding activities. I debated between the Apple IIe Platinum and my well-loaded Apple IIGS, but decided I preferred the simpler 8-bit configuration. Also, the Apple IIGS has no cassette port and displays original Apple II software a little differently than earlier II’s do.
Atari 8-bit: This is another one I have some interest in exploring some coding activities on. Technically I didn’t need the Atari 800 with the other two, but I can’t resist its aesthetics, and it’s nice to have a straight up original model for guaranteed compatibility with the older stuff.
Commodore 64/128: This was my first real computer, not counting a VIC-20, so my affection for this is obvious. It’s the vintage computing platform I understand best and the one I’ll probably be turning to the most for various things. Although it may seem odd I kept the 128DCR, it not only runs C-64 software, but also 128 mode and CP/M software, as well as has a built-in disk drive, saving me one external disk drive storage space. That type of versatility is prized in my new mindset.
GCE Vectrex: This was an easier one to justify because of the unique display and experience it provides.
Sony PlayStation 3: This is the backwards compatible model, so it can play PS1 and PS2 games. However, this was really kept because I have a fancy steering wheel rig as well as a flight stick that only really work well with the PlayStation 3 and the specific games I have for it. Still, the decision was made easier by its versatility.
Tandy Color Computer: This was a tough one, but I feel like I have unfinished business with this platform. It’s not a good game machine, but it does have an interesting processor and I’d like to explore some more involved programming activities with it. I could have easily just stuck with the CoCo 3 and have been fine, but, like with the Atari stuff, I wanted to ensure maximum compatibility with older software that would benefit from the CoCo 2’s restrictions and output.
Tano Dragon: This is the odd duck, the outlier. I really only kept it because I had a disk drive with switchable interface that works on both this and the Color Computer. Since I decided to keep that disk drive for the Color Computer (I kept real disk drives for all the computers save for the Atari 8-bit, just in case), I thought what would it hurt to keep this as well, particularly since I had a few extras like a multi-cart and a flash cart for it.
So that’s it. Again, my family and I are loving the extra space in the basement we have, freeing a whole other level of our house once again, and I’m actually able to easily use and enjoy what I have. While I will no doubt add a few things here or there for these systems, the focus will continue to be on extreme minimalism. Regardless, even before the auction takes place, I can say this move was as wonderful as I hoped it would be, despite the occasional pang of regret over letting go of a particular item or two.