As luck would have it, I came across an amazing stash of Panasonic JR-200U (aka, Panasonic Personal Computer or PPC) stuff for about $40 shipped that puts my previous collection for this system to shame. In fact, the only major item not present in this new haul was Wordwatch. There will be no need for me to re-hash what was in the prior "A Long Visual Look at..." as you can just read it for yourself if you haven't already. Since all of the setup stuff is already taken care of, I can get right into this haul and PART 1, which will briefly lead into coverage of one of the interesting games now in my possession (subsequent parts will naturally follow suit in various degrees of detail).
As you can see, this JR-200U is in similarly great condition as the first one, and came with pretty much the same connections, save for the addition of a Panasonic TV switch box, which is a nice touch for the collection. Anyway, obviously the real treasure here is in the software. As I stated in the previous entry on this system, developer (since Panasonic appears to always be the publisher for their system) Instant Software sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't quite place them, and developer Datamost was definitely familiar, being heavily involved in other 8-bit computers, particularly the Apple II, and particularly for games that included Swashbuckler and Aztec. Interestingly, I have a good amount of Datamost software for the Apple II, software that came in the early Zip Loc style bags before boxes became all but competitively mandatory. What we'll see as we go along here throughout this series is that I have some of the same Datamost games for the Apple II, which will make comparisons quite easy and interesting (not to mention the fact that we can all play along at Virtual Apple 2 in our browsers). Finally, while my previous exposure to this system made me think there were only the two developers, it turns out that a third has now been introduced, tmq (TMQ) SOFTWARE, INC., or "Trademark of Quality", a developer I definitely never heard of. I'll be covering their games in future entries, but I can tell you right now that their game cover art is downright hideous.
Here's a run-down of the software titles, not counting the ones I already had and covered in some detail in the previous entry (Solitaire (x3 now), Ramrom Patrol (x2), and Business Analysis and Forecasting (x2)):
From developer Datamost:
- Swashbuckler (1983) - This will be the first game covered in PART 2
- Vortex (1983)
- Mars Cars (1983)
- Crazy Mazey (1982)
From developer Instant Software:
- Santa Paravia and Fiumaccio (1983)
- Medieval Quest (1983)
- Phaser Command (1983)
- Mathmaster (1983)
- Science Skills (1983)
- Personal Bill Paying (1983)
From developer TMQ Software, Inc.:
- Joe Junk Man (1983)
- Galactic Chase (1983)
- Rat Patrol (1983)
- Pig Pen (1983)
In theory, the PPC should be able to blow the doors off the Apple II version, but as we've seen in the previous entry, so far the only nice things we've seen on the computer were the machine language loading routines before getting into very simplistic program implementations. Will this be our first glimpse at the true abilities of this computer? We'll have to wait and see...
See you next time and be sure to help spread the word!