Casual Photos: Dragon 32/64, Radio Shack Color Computer and Nintendo 64 stuff

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Below are five new casual iPhone photos, this time of various Dragon 32/64, Radio Shack Color Computer (CoCo) and Nintendo 64 (N64) items:

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A Dragon 32 joystick to the left, with a Radio Shack Color Computer joystick in plastic to the right. These joysticks did not self center, just like the Atari 5200 SuperSystem joystick (i.e., you moved the joystick left, it would stay left until you moved it back yourself to some other position). I have the NTSC Tano Dragon "64" (several, actually), which is the 64K model of the Dragon 32. It made nary a splash in the US, which is why people never heard of it. It was essentially a mostly incompatible knock-off of the Radio Shack Color Computer.

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Three Radio Shack Color Computer Cartridges, the legendary "Dungeons of Daggaroth", "Monster Maze" and "Crosswords", as well as one Dragon 32/64 cartridge, "Ghost Attack". Note a 1987 issue of the "Dragon User" newsletter, a UK publication.

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The Nintendo 64's Excitebike 64, top, which was a late release for the system that took advantage of just about every feature that system offered, including requiring the memory expansion. Towards the bottom is The Children's Computer Workshop's (aka, CCW; yes, the Sesame Street people, CTW), Taxi, listed as a cooperative strategy game, though requiring a joystick. This Extended Color BASIC game was for the Radio Shack Color Computer and as you can see came on cassette.

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The box for two Dragon 32 joysticks, which contains only one joystick for the Dragon computer.

Comments

Chris Kennedy
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Joined: 08/31/2008
Enlightened by Armchair Arcade

Once again I pop in here and see something I haven't seen or heard of before. Dragon? Sounds like something I would want simply because of the name.

I certainly know of and have possibly seen/used the TRS-80. If I have used it, I haven't done so in about 24 years. Even that memory is a little vague. Seems like I knew someone that had one, however he also had a TI-99/4a AND an Apple II. Surely he didn't have the TRS-80 as well.

That joystick looks like it could double as an oar if you ever find yourself on a boat with a Dragon. My goodness. Better a Dragon than a dragon. You could probably slay a dragon with that joystick as well.

Are the games good?

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Bill Loguidice
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This is my favorite Radio

This is my favorite Radio Shack Color Computer games site: http://nitros9.lcurtisboyle.com/coco_game_list.html

That should give you an idea of what the games at least looked like. As you can tell, they didn't do great with color and the sound was only a single channel without an external add-on.

As was also the case - and obvious with a computer that was first released in 1980 - memory and memory requirements varied wildly, from just 4K all the way up to 64K. This of course also affected game quality and complexity, added to the fact that software came on cassette, cartridge and later disk, again, each with their own set of capacities.

The Radio Shack Color Computer and Color Computer 2 can be considered one class of system, while the Color Computer 3, which was almost completely backwards compatible and not released until 1986, can be considered another class of system, with a base memory of 128K (512K games were available) and increased color depth.

The Dragon, which was released in the US through Tano in a slightly upgraded form (64K versus 32K) and had very limited distribution (it was released around 1983/84), was essentially a CoCo 1/2 hardware-wise, though not a compatible. So Dragon software is essentially equivalent to what you see on the CoCo 1/2.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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kickback999 (not verified)
i assume the tano dragon 64

i assume the tano dragon 64 is completely compatible with the dragon 32 software that my dad wrote boxes of cassettes full of.
Would get a dragondata ltd dragon 32/64 from the uk but they are much harder to find even on ebay and more expensive than a brand new tano dragon 64.

Bill Loguidice
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Tano Dragons - interesting systems
kickback999 wrote:

i assume the tano dragon 64 is completely compatible with the dragon 32 software that my dad wrote boxes of cassettes full of.
Would get a dragondata ltd dragon 32/64 from the uk but they are much harder to find even on ebay and more expensive than a brand new tano dragon 64.

Yes, the only difference between the 32 and 64 is that the 32 has 32K of memory and the 64 has 64K of memory, as well as a serial port. There's zero benefit as far as I know to owning a 32, other than its collectibility. If you want to actually use the system, the 64 is the logical choice.

Here in North America there is still a ready supply of Dragon 64's, naturally the NTSC version. You can easily get a new or close to new complete in box unit for around $50. Finding software is rather trickier, but with patience, I've been able to build up a small collection on cassette and cartridge.

Due to various circumstances, I ended up with five new Dragon 64 units, including one with upgraded capabilities. I also have a modified Radio Shack (CoCo) disk interface that works with the Dragon.

They're very interesting systems, but really only of value to a hardcore collector, as it's extremely technologically similar to the Radio Shack Color Computer series, which are far more desirable choices to collect for, especially here in North America.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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