Video Games 1 (TI99)

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scotland
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Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby scotland » May 2nd, 2017, 5:52 pm

Video Games 1 for the TI99/4a

Original Cost: $30 on cartridge
Release Year: 1979
Size: 16K cartridge
Author: Texas Instruments - no information on who
Rarity: Somewhat hard to find (due to the title)
Price: Even with the rarity, it can be found for $10

videogames1.png
videogames1.png (2.59 KiB) Viewed 1013 times


With a name like "Video Games 1" the mind goes to Tic Tac Toe, Hangman, or a simple car game. Its actually better than anticipated, perhaps due to using 16K in the cartridge. All the games use a joystick, and not the keyboard. Pin-Ball has some sound, but the other two are virtually silent. Pot Shot does make a 'pffffft' sound when you shot for some reason. Maybe its an airgun.

I put up 3 small videos, one per game, so you can get a feel for them.

Had I bought this game for Christmas in 1979 for $30, I think I would have felt okay. Better games were coming for this system, but before this, the pickings were really slim.

Game 1: Doodle
A game where you slowly fence off the opponent. Don't think fast Tron light cycles, think the same game with slugs. Its actually somewhat impressive this cartridge has a 1 player versus the computer option, and the computer can make very precise turns. However, the computer is easily snookered into being boxed in -- and then takes forever to finally run out of room. Against a human, its a better game to be sure though.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4aNNwrX5Ic

Game 2: Pin-Ball
This reminds me mostly of the Atari Pinball pong console. Its pin-ball (not pinball), and there is no sense of down or gravity. Its like if Mrs Air Hockey and Mr Pinball had a love child, and it was raised by the Pong family. While primitive in both graphics and gameplay, its still easy to pick up and kinda fun. Nice for kids too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpZqSmSabic

Game 3: Pot-Shot
Here is the crown jewel. While lacking a light gun, it immediately brings NES Duck Hunt to mind. No laughing dog, but you have rabbits, a goose, and I think a deer to shoot at. You use the joystick, and the crosshairs move fairly slowly. Those geese are worth 5 points, but are hard to hit (and just disappear). You have several shots, then you reload automatically, during which you cannot move the crosshairs. You can set your own time limit. Also nice pick up and play fun, and great for kids. By setting your own time, you can give the kids a handicap, which makes for better adult versus kid times.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsF8m3-Qkvg&t=4s

Sut
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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby Sut » May 3rd, 2017, 1:22 pm

Good review Scotland is the TI-99 worth exploring for us uninitiated ? Not sure if it saw a release in the U.K. So would probably go the emulator route.

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scotland
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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby scotland » May 4th, 2017, 5:55 am

Sut wrote:Good review Scotland is the TI-99 worth exploring for us uninitiated ? Not sure if it saw a release in the U.K. So would probably go the emulator route.


Thanks Sut.

The TI99 has been relatively inexpensive to collect for here in the States. The biggest issue I was oxidized keyboard contacts. I ended up buying two units and swapping ojt components into one shell.

The system is probably on par with the Colecovision. Except in games where its really pushing, like Alpiner, its smooth and there is little flicker. You can compare a game like Donkey Kong across platforms for an idea on what it does. It has a speech unit, and some 16bit components.

Emulation sounds like a way to go. There is an active AtariAge community for it. If you do, let me know what games you try.

mbd36
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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby mbd36 » May 5th, 2017, 3:00 pm

scotland wrote:
Sut wrote:Good review Scotland is the TI-99 worth exploring for us uninitiated ? Not sure if it saw a release in the U.K. So would probably go the emulator route.


Thanks Sut.

The TI99 has been relatively inexpensive to collect for here in the States. The biggest issue I was oxidized keyboard contacts. I ended up buying two units and swapping ojt components into one shell.

The system is probably on par with the Colecovision. Except in games where its really pushing, like Alpiner, its smooth and there is little flicker. You can compare a game like Donkey Kong across platforms for an idea on what it does. It has a speech unit, and some 16bit components.

Emulation sounds like a way to go. There is an active AtariAge community for it. If you do, let me know what games you try.


When I was a kid, my neighbor friend had a TI99. I remember playing Munch Mobile. I didn't know until recently that it's a port of an obscure SNK arcade game. It might be the only port.

Yeah, I was going to point out that the graphics are just like Colecovision until I saw that you beat me to it.

goldenband
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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby goldenband » May 5th, 2017, 8:50 pm

At least as a kid, Parsec always seemed like the system's killer app. It might not shine as brightly now but I still quite like it, especially with speech synthesis.

Alpiner is great fun for a while, but I was very disappointed to learn that it doesn't have a proper ending! The manual makes it sound like it does, but the game just loops and the difficulty increases to the point of unplayability.

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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 8th, 2017, 12:42 am

I recall my buddy Andy getting a lot of TI-99 games just after the system had gone out of business. Two titles I remember are Parsec and Alpiner. Wow. I remember those being a lot of fun... about 35 years later. Now I want to get a TI-99.

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scotland
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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby scotland » May 8th, 2017, 8:24 am

I think around $200-$250 will set you up in the US. That is for a system ($50), multicart ($50), 32k RAM expansion ($40), composite out cable, ($15), power cable ($15), joystick adapter which doubles as a multitap ($15) and your favorite 9 pin joystick ($15). That's about $200, but add in all the shipping, etc, and maybe its closer to $250.

The other nice things to have are the voice unit, and casings for the multicart and RAM expansion.
There are two computer cases, but I much prefer the black and silver. Remember this is the TI99/4a - not just the TI99/4.

That will give you a pretty big library of games to explore. The multicart is pretty new, but the Atari Age community has converted much of the library, including all the carts, to the format. The 32k sidecar RAM expansion is also new, but works like a charm. You can get a vintage 32k expansion too if that's your style.

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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 11th, 2017, 7:09 pm

Scotland -
Thanks for breaking this down for me! I am seriously thinking about diving in, especially if there is a multicart.
Are there a lot of good games?

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scotland
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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby scotland » May 12th, 2017, 7:58 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:Scotland -
Thanks for breaking this down for me! I am seriously thinking about diving in, especially if there is a multicart.
Are there a lot of good games?


I am just learning about the TI99 library myself, so I don't want to overpromise lots of good games.

I never played with one back in the 80s, but ended up getting a unit cheap awhile go. I was buying games, but over time got the multicart and RAM expansion. The AtariAge community has made available a lot of games to work on the multicart. Excluding utilities and educational programs, I think I have about 300 or more games. About 100 of them are small games that work on the 3K unexpanded TI, and the rest need a RAM expansion. That includes all the commercial game cartridges I believe.

The multicart is called the FlashROM99, and its been out about a year now. Here is the AtariAge page on it
http://atariage.com/forums/blog/567/entry-13032-the-amazing-flashrom-99-cartridge-modified-7272016/

I got the hobbyist made 32k sidecar expansion from "Arcade Shopper" for $35 plus shipping. Looks like he also sells the FlashRom99 for $65. You can buy a kit cheaper, but I got a pre-assembled one 2nd hand.
https://www.arcadeshopper.com/wp/?page_id=11#!/Hardware/c/12497083

The rest I just got on Ebay over time or from what I already owned. The A/V composite cable is a 5 pin Din port, and it may be the same as the Atari 8 bit computers or Commodore you already have. This store sells them for $10 (although I think you are only going to get audio from one of the two audio jacks, not both).
https://www.8bitclassics.com/Atari-Commodore-TI99-Composite-Audio-Video-Cable.html

The first TI I bought had a badly oxidized keyboard where several keys would not work. I was unsuccessful in repairing it, so I ended up swapping it out for a keyboard from another 'parts' machine. Swapping them out didn't require any soldering.

I am happy to help where I can. Sorry that I am not a TI guru, but I am really still learning the system myself.

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Re: Video Games 1 (TI99)

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 13th, 2017, 5:58 pm

How about picture quality? I was perusing Ebay and a lot of systems shown seemed to have a very fuzzy picture.


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