home computer

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Mark Vergeer's picture

Absolute Inebriation (Amiga)(Demo)(Scene)(PAL)

Dug out the old Amiga 1200 and hooked it up for a bit of demo watching and gaming. I have a PCMCIA compact flash adapter installed as well as a compact flash IDE interface booting into a very nice setup of Workbench and WHDLoader that allows me to run a plethora of games and demos. Here I load up one of my favourite demos created by Fairlight, quite a prolific demo-group on the various systems that can be found within the Commodore range of home computers.

This recording is done from the composite video signal. A nicer RGB signal can be taken from the Amiga but I was not able to hook that up properly for the recording of this video.

Demos really show what machines are capable of and the sounds and visuals often are quite artistic and can sometimes compete with the creations of serious graphic design students/professionals.

To this day, demos are being created on various computers and consoles often containing the various elements seen in this wonderful example. Having grown up with these home computer systems and coding myself it is fun to see how the various programmers 'evolved' and learned new techniques often typically absorbed during college computer science and math classes, resulting in even better demos.

Enjoy! And Kudos to the people from Fairlight for making this wonderful demo. I've been enjoying it a long time and will continue to do so for a long time!

Mark Vergeer's picture

SV-328 Microcomputer - pickup / lot

I got myself a new system (SV-328) in a pretty complete lot. Mind you I was pretty tired when I filmed this so bare with me. Check out what I got.

Spectravideo, or SVI, founded in 1981 as "SpectraVision" by Harry Fox was a US based firm. SVI originally made video games for the VIC-20 and Atari 2600 consoles. They also made Atari compatible joysticks and many C64s actually were completed with a set of Spectravideo joysticks. Some of the later computers were MSX-compliant and some even IBM PC compatible. SVI folded in 1988.

The SV-328 is an 8-bit home computer introduced by Spectravideo in June 1983. It was the business-targeted model, sporting a full-travel keyboard with numeric keypad. Making it look like a professional machine that could compete with the big professional systems out there. It has 80 kB RAM (64 kB available for software & 16 kB video memory). Other than the keyboard and RAM, this machine was identical to its predecessor, the SV-318.
The SV-328 is the design on which the later MSX standard was based. Spectravideo's MSX-compliant successor to the 328, the SV-728, looks almost identical, the only immediately noticeable differences being a larger cartridge slot in the central position (to fit MSX standard cartridges), lighter shaded keyboard and the MSX labels.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Tubular Worlds (PC / MS-DOS / Amiga / 1994)

I was going to play the Amiga game but that kept on crashing on me so I chose to do the PC version instead which is very similar if not identical.
A great R-type/Nemesis/Gradius like shoot'm up for PC and Amiga systems. Very nice smooth scrolling and a wonderful use of the 256 colours of the VGA palette. It spreads around 4 levels (worlds), has a nice weapons upgrade system comparable to that of Konami and Compile shooters. Nice soundtrack and great sound FX using the wonderful Sounblaster and FM synthesis. A two player mode is optional but I was unable to show you that as I didn't have a second player available to me. The game is controlled through either mouse, joystick or keyboard

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... 'Left' cartridges on the Atari 800XL (50 minute extravaganza)

Ever since I got my Atari 800XL I've been slowly expanding on my 'LEFT cartridges' containing all sorts of arcade ports. It's a bit of a weak spot of mine to try to get all sorts of classic arcade ports on various machines I own. The Atari 8bit line is no exception. I play each cartridge until the 1st game over and this results in about 50 minutes of video. Hope you guys enjoy this one as well.


I must say I just ordered a good microphone on Amazon.de, so things may be looking up on this end sound-wise.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark plays... Boggy'84 (MSX & Arcade)

A nice little platformer with gameplay somewhat remeniscent of that of Burgertime & Mappy. It was brought out on the MSX platform in Japan and also had an Arcade version out in Japan.
In this clip I show the MSX version and the Arcade version and talk a little about the differences between the two and try to play the game as well.

Taito released this in 1984.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Home Computer Designations of the Late 1970s: A Feature Article

So, do you think today's computing landscape of desktops, laptops, notebooks, smart phones, tablet computers, and netbooks - among other designations - is confusing? Imagine a computing landscape with no particular point of reference outside of mainframes and terminals. That's exactly what it was like in the world of personal computing from the mid-1970's to the start of the 1980's. The terms "laptop" and "notebook" were still several years away, with "portable" computers describing those systems you carried about like an overstuffed suitcase and ran off of AC power (like the Osborne 1 [1981], Compaq Portable [1983], or the Commodore SX-64 [1984]), a form factor many of us more accurately refer to today as "transportable" computers.

In any case, continuing along the same line of thinking started with my blog post, "Do you know what and when the first recognizable modern day personal computer with BASIC was?", or my related segment on Armchair Arcade Radio - Episode 1 (and with which I will pursue a somewhat similar theme in Episode 2), I thought I would describe how the 1979 book by noted writer Steve Ditlea, Simple Guide to Home Computers, classified the personal computing landscape of that time.

First off, in Part I, Home Computer Fundamentals, under Chapter 1, The Home Computer Revolution, it calls the Altair 8800, the "world's first home computer". In Part II, Choosing a Home Computer, and specifically Chapter 7, it starts off with "Programmable Video Games" (which is the name of the chapter). The systems he designates as programmable video games (and in the last part of the chapter refers to them as "starter units") are the "Odyssey2 Computer Video Game System", the "Bally Professional Arcade", "Cybervision 2001", and the "VideoBrain". Ditlea calls the Odyssey2 a "price breakthrough", though it's arguable to me if the North American version of the Odyssey2 ever really qualified as a computer in the traditional sense. It does in fact offer a very nice Computer Programming cartridge - which is mentioned in the book - but never any ability to save your output. If it qualifies under that scenario, then the BASIC Programming cartridge for the Atari 2600 would also make that console a computer, albeit even more primitive than what was offered on the Odyssey2. At least in the case of the Atari 2600, though, Spectravideo did eventually come through in 1983 with the CompuMate add-on, which not only added a keyboard and a reasonable BASIC, but the ability to save your data to tape.

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