The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

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scotland
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby scotland » March 12th, 2016, 8:53 am

Here is an article from 1984 on Brits with Modems
http://sploid.gizmodo.com/how-to-send-an-email-in-1984-1764379236

Its both oddly charming, and somehow 'Stepford Wife' kinda of creepy. Pat acts more programmed than his computer. Love that Kristy McNichol haircut on the hostess. Makes me want to catch an after school special on television.

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SilvaHaloOne
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby SilvaHaloOne » June 5th, 2016, 5:54 pm

Before I had much of a chance to do anything with that Vic-20 I mentioned in a prior post, I came into contact with a guy who collects vintage computers and he gave me a deal on a Commodore 128 with a disk drive that I could not pass up. He said that as soon as he finishes unpacking, he will give me some of the common duplicate carts/disks he has. I'm really stoked about this... I picked up the computer earlier today... I don't have anything to play yet and I'm spending my lunch break on here and some other sites trying to figure out where I ought to begin. Also, I start to think... there are still some Atari computer games I was planning to get eventually... should I stick to getting them on the Atari 8-bit or should I start with those on the Commodore and then go from there? Or do I start with exclusives? Or do I start by getting the classic arcade game ports that I already have on other systems and see how they compare to the other systems? So many possibilities...

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scotland
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby scotland » June 5th, 2016, 6:49 pm

Congratulations!

You are going to have fun. You are an adventurous sort, you can buy lots of diskettes on Ebay - you never know whats on many of them. Lemon 64 is a notable Commodore fan site. Also, the internet archive has many Commodore books. https://archive.org/details/commodore_c64_books. As to where to start - I have no idea. Maybe something pretty simple like Beachhead II or Raid over Moscow. Don't let a games reputation on another console or computer sway you.

Tell us what sites you use, books you read, games you play. I will be excited to hear about your adventures.

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SilvaHaloOne
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby SilvaHaloOne » June 8th, 2016, 7:38 pm

So after doing some reading and acknowledging that most of the media I have collected for the other consoles/computers are cartridges (I have 3 disks and 2 tapes for my Atari 8-bit)... I think for the C64/128 I am going to focus largely on the disks. That’s a great idea you have scotland… I think I am going to get on ebay and pick up a couple lots with a bunch of disks and see what I come up with. I also spent some time researching and coming to understand what a “Fast loader” cartridge is… getting one of those is near the top of my list, but I’m not seeing much on Ebay right now. I was giving consideration to the “Epyx Fastload Reloaded,” but I’m not sure if I want to go for a modern homebrew solution such as that or if I should look for a second hand fastloader from back in the day. I will gladly take any advice the forum has regarding any of those products. Otherwise, I’m in somewhat a holding pattern while I wait for the guy who sold me the computer to get back to me with the disks after he unpacks. I’ll continue to update as things progress.

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scotland
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby scotland » June 8th, 2016, 10:17 pm

I have an Epyx Fastloader that just lives in the cartridge slot. It was fairly common back in the day, and cuts disk loading times notably. They should not be that expensive, so just keep an eye out. I also don't recall the C128 having a reset button, but many people installed them in the C64 breadbox. Some fastloaders may have a reset button put in as well. Its good to have.

All the games of note I recall are on diskette. I would not invest in cassettes or a datasette or the gizmo that makes an mp3 player act like a datasette for the C64 or C128. Cracking was widespread, so lots of generic diskettes will probably get you many of the early common games like Raid on Bungeling Bay, H.E.R.O., etc. Treat the disk drive nicely, as the heads can misalign.

Some of the games I remember enjoying do seem to show up on the lists of best games. Some games, like Karateka, have poor reputations among console gamers because of inferior ports, but don't let that dissuade you from trying them.

Depending on your sensibilities, there are the equivalent of flash carts for these systems too.

Robotrek
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby Robotrek » June 9th, 2016, 12:23 am

C64 stuff has gotten expensive, glad I still have mine. I actually kept my Vic-20 as well. Love the Vic-20. It's easy to amass a large library. The Vic has some pretty fun arcade conversions, along with the C64. The C64 was great because of how smooth most games were. The only downside was in the 80's, joysticks were expensive. And cheapies wouldn't last long!

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scotland
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby scotland » June 9th, 2016, 8:02 am

Something like a C64 Flashback would be interesting, as the Spectrum has gotten the Vega. The keyboard would add cost compared to the Flashbacks we've seen before, and it would have to be built in ROMs (with an SD slot) to work. If that could be done, with the brand name, and for $75 or so, it might do fine. That overpriced modern computer that just looked like a C64 that came out a few years ago got all sorts of free nostalgic media coverage. I've enjoyed my At Games flashbacks, but after that Coleco Chameleon disaster, any kickstarter consoles are suspect. The bigger issue might be competition with the ever improving Raspberry Pi and a host of Android based devices.

I wonder if this is the top of the C64 collecting bubble. I think the future for playing C64 games are probably through emulators. Of course, I also think its the top of the NES bubble too, so what do I know.

For both the VIC-20 and the C64, and I'm guessing the C128, the native output might be RF - but you can get an A/V cable for about $15. There are conversations and threads on Atari 2600 controllers, which have the same 9 pin configuration as the VIC and C64. (Other systems like the TI99 have the same shape, but the wiring is different, which is annoying). Opinions vary on what people like -- However there is concern using a Genesis controller can stress the CIA chip, so I would stick with Atari, Commodore, or other 3rd party controllers of the day, and not use Master System or Genesis joypads. http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/ckb/display.cgi?26

Robotrek
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby Robotrek » June 9th, 2016, 12:18 pm

I actually own a Commodore 64 joystick, which allows you to launch an actual prompt. Wonder if it's possible to connect a disk drive or something to it.

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SilvaHaloOne
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby SilvaHaloOne » June 9th, 2016, 2:47 pm

The guy who sold me the computer also hooked me up with a combination S-Video/composite cable, so I am good as far as A/V goes. I also have quite a collection of Atari/Wico peripherals from my other Atari systems... as far as I can tell I'm set there as well.

I had an e-mail conversation with the guy who sold me the computer last night and told him the same thing I mentioned here about my interest in going after disks instead of carts, and he seemed to urge some caution with that approach, saying:

"Collecting disks is cool, however keep in mind that original floppy disks are starting to suffer from bit rot. Also finding original disks with manuals and boxes is tricky too, especially after 30+ years. "

What are other opinions on this?

And I personally have no problems with flash carts, SD2IEC, disk copies, etc... but I do make sure to have them as an enhancement to building a collection, not in place of the collection. I was going to pick up one of those SD2IEC's, but then had a car overheat/water pump fail on Tuesday, which set me back enough that I have to give it a few more weeks...

Karateka is one of the 3 disks I have to my Atari 8-bit. Too bad it isn't one of the C64 compatible flippies! =)

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scotland
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Re: The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby scotland » June 9th, 2016, 3:11 pm

Thanks for reviving the thread. This is fun.

We've had some conversations about this in the past, and opinions varied. There is both 'bit rot' (search for that term, and you will find some conversations on the forums), as well as magnetic media being easily damaged since floppies were real floppy back then, humidity and dust especially given the open window to the disk, being partially or fully erased since they were magnetic media in a world full of magnets, and the period of time in the 1990s when Commodore stuff was just old and not retro and cool and probably stored in a wet box in the basement.

That's a lot of ways for floppies to get damaged. Some of mine got dimples on them as well, while others seemed to not be readable on all disk drives. That last one might be my faulty memory or interpretation of the facts, but I think I recall misaligned drives writing disks that correctly aligned drives would then have trouble reading. All in all, lots can happen to a floppy, unlike ROM carts that are the video game equivalent of cockroaches. How much do you think that is overblown fear, or how much is it that bias from not seeing all the damaged floppies buried in New Mexico? I don't know.

That said, I have floppies that still work, despite a design life of maybe 10 years - here we are 30 years later. I've also made some useless ones into cool coasters. Almost everything I own just has a disk sleeve. Everyone I knew stored their games in a plastic rolodex kind of storage box, and tossed the box. Most of the boxes were probably paper, and manuals were a bigger thing then, so yeah, finding CIB is going to a challenge. Everyone has their place on the spectrum of collecting, so I'm fine with a naked disk copy floppies.

Dave and the C64 critic have a lot of disks and can probably offer an informed opinion. Here is a thread from lemon 64, a Commodore fansite that might help too http://www.lemon64.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=722579&sid=fb0bb20643508a53b59823d022d05c5a


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