trs-80

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Gamer's Haven - Episode 106 reviews CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer

Episode 106 of the Gamer's Haven podcast, entitled, "Catch-Up and Online Games," is now out. In the episode, the Gamer's Haven crew talk about some online games and catch-up their listeners with what they’ve been so busy with over the last several months. Included in the podcast is a thorough review of our recent book, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer. You can hear that thoughtful discussion around the 1:20:40 mark, though, as always, it's recommended you listen to the whole show.

Bill Loguidice's picture

RetroGaming Roundup podcast episode 70 reviews the CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer book!

RetroGaming RoundUpRetroGaming RoundUpIn the opening Hardware Flashback segment of the latest episode, 70, of the great RetroGaming Roundup podcast, Scott Schreiber provides a thorough review of our latest book, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer. As always, the whole incredibly lengthy (~6 hours 43 minutes this month) and feature packed monthly podcast is well worth a listen (and subscription in your podcatcher of choice).

Bill Loguidice's picture

The upcoming book, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer, is now available for pre-order!

CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog ComputerCoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog ComputerI'm happy to officially announce that my next book, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer, written with Boisy Pitre, is now available for pre-order from booksellers everywhere, including Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, and of course, the publisher's (Taylor & Francis/CRC Press) Website. My personal favorite place is Amazon, where you can buy it at a nice discount from the full retail price, plus, if the price drops upon the book's publication sometime in November, you get it for the lower price. Of course, you don't get charged until it actually ships.

What's nice about the book (available in both paperback and ebook versions) is that this is the first time the story of Tandy's Color Computer - affectionately dubbed "CoCo" - will be told in this manner. The first version of the computer debuted on July 31, 1980, and it and its successors were staples in Radio Shack stores into the 1990s. While never the most popular computer series, the ubiquity of Radio Shack's stores, catalogs, and overall advertising meant that it was impossible to ignore, even if systems like the Apple II, Commodore 64, and IBM PC garnered all the headlines. Thanks to extensive interviews with most of the principles involved in the computer's creation, community, and support, you'll have a definitive first-hand account of how the computer series came to be, from an extensive pre-history right through to what's going on today, where a small, but enthusiastic cadre of fans still enjoy working with the systems. In short, you get to learn about the "soul" of this underdog computer series, including all the business decisions that went into its creation, all the personalities both directly and indirectly involved in its support, and some of the herculean efforts needed to keep the platform alive.

Finally, for those not interested in pre-ordering, I'll be sure to post again once the book is actually ready to ship. As always, I greatly appreciate the support.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Atari's 1981 Anti-piracy Advertisement

On his excellent TRS-80.org Website, Matthew Reed has a nice blog post and break down of Atari's 1981 anti-piracy advertisement, which was merely the marketing tip of the legal iceberg that would have ramifications throughout the industry. This is still something of a hot topic in the burgeoning homebrew community--it seems many of today's top homebrew programmers are content with creating more perfect versions of well established arcade hits rather than creating original designs. While a fan and purchaser of these amazing programming efforts, I still philosophically fall on the side of wanting to see something original created with that talent, even if it may be flawed. As industry legend Scott Adams stated himself in his somewhat dated, but still relevant quote found in Reed's post, "I would like to suggest that anyone writing arcade-style software base it on original ideas. Novel and original arcade games will be best sellers, and who knows, maybe your arcade software will end up on a coin-operated machine!"

While it's unlikely anything will end up on a coin-operated machine these days, a quality original homebrew design might just make the next great mobile game design, as one possibility, and with the plethora of easy-to-use development tools, that scenario is actually quite plausible. After all, even if you do create the best 8-bit home version of Satan's Hollow ever, it's still really not your creation and you are skirting copyright law. Of course, sometimes it's the proverbial kettle calling the pot black, as Scott Adams himself was no stranger to "borrowing" ideas, particularly when it came to his legendary first commercial product and Colossal Cave Adventure. A multi-layered issue indeed...

Bill Loguidice's picture

The MSX Lode Runner TRS-80 Model 4/4P Bootleg Project

Mark McDougall, of The Space Invaders TRS-80 'Bootleg' Project fame, has taken another big leap with a port of the MSX version of Lode Runner to the TRS-80 Model 4/4P equipped with a MicroLabs/RadioShack hires graphics board. While it would be cooler without the need for a hardware add-on that few collectors have (I sure don't), it's still a great technical accomplishment and a very interesting story. Be sure to check out this awesome bitmap image of all the levels in the game! (Thanks to Matthew Reed for bringing this project to my attention.)

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 48: Dungeons of Daggorath

Here's the latest Matt Chat episode, this time on the Tandy CoCo classic Dungeons of Daggorath. Enjoy, and let me know if you played this game back in the day. Love to hear more about its critical reception among Tandy CoCo owners.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Bill's Quick Video Look at the Official Frogger and Zaxxon for the TRS-80

As requested, here's Chatty Cathy's (aka, Bill Loguidice's) casual, single take look at the official TRS-80 versions of Frogger and Zaxxon, shown on a 128K TRS-80 Model 4 with a black and white monitor. Of course I talked too long yet again, so yet again it won't fit on Youtube.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Casual Photos: Boxed Dragon and TRS-80 Software

As a sequel of sorts, I have more casual iPhone photos of boxed Dragon (Tano Dragon, Dragon 32/64) software, as well as TRS-80 software, including an improbable official conversion of Sega's classic Zaxxon arcade game. See below:

Bill Loguidice's picture

Looking at the TRS-80 Model x Series - Part 4 (Familiarization)

(Part 3 here) Welcome to Part 4. I've still been busy with the book and related stuff (Gamasutra bonus chapters, bonus images, documentary), as well as the usual family thing and a lingering illness (a four week "cold" that my wife and I are still suffering with), so I really haven't had the time or energy to get downstairs much to mess with the TRS-80 collection again until last night. Needless to say, even though I only spent about an hour down there, it was very educational. I hope to be able to devote a small block of time each night to making progress and formally blogging with images and/or video when there's something particularly interesting happening.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Looking at the TRS-80 Model x Series - Part 3 (Temporary Working Location)

(Part 2 here) Welcome to Part 3. Instead of doing text and photos here in Part 3 of this TRS-80 slog, I thought I would just shoot a quick (unedited) video tour of the stuff that I moved into the office, which gives a better view of the entirety of that particular part of my collection and what I'll be going through in various forms starting with Part 4. For those that care, I captured this with my Canon PowerShot SD790 IS Digital Elpha camera in its movie mode, which does 640x480, 30FPS, AVI format. Quick and dirty, but a very large file for such a short video (in fact 464.3MB), so it's not really practical for longer format work without conversion, particularly since YouTube only allows maximum 1GB single video files regardless of whether it's HD or SD, like this is. In fact, YouTube again thwarted my attempts to use it (multiple hung uploads), so I went to Viddler.com, which seems to work better with larger uploads, though it degraded the quality considerably. So much for "quick"...

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