Retro computer museum in a cabinet

31 May

I finally found some time to get my collection out of the boxes, they still need a clean up or a retro bright treatment to make them a bit whiter again.

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I try to collect the early eighties 8-bit microcomputers, still missing some essential hardware of that time:

– Apple II

– BBC

– Acorn ..

– Oric Atmos

– Dragon

– Jupiter ACE

That last one, recently had the whole brand on sale at ebay for 10000 pound, if I had the money, … euromillions please !!! See http://www.thejupiterace.co.uk/

If I find some place in another cabinet I can display my collection of early 8/16 bit cartrdige based consoles, for the time being they are still in the boxes…

I’m becoming like my wife using closet space for retro stuff and she collects… dresses, shoes…. ūüôā

 

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Hello again VIC or should I say VC-20 ?

9 Feb

I recently purchased a Commodore VIC-20 again, yes again, my first one I bought one here in Belgium in a local photo shop, must have been 1984 I realise now.

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I think it was just a year later after I had bought a Sinclair ZX81, the VIC  was all what the ZX was not, lots of colour, sound chip, more memory (5K) and the price over here was just a little more than the ZX, I must have paid 7500 BEF for it.

Back to the future, luckily I won the bidding over a VIC-20 on a secondhand website. The VIC-20 was in it’s original box and all orginal included accessories were in mint condition. But I remarked some differences with my original VIC which was probably a Japanese model while this one was certainly destined for the German marked. Power supply was marked as VC-20, this is the name that the VIC was marketed in Germany as Volks Computer.

So in mint condition, but does it works, yes, the red power light flashed on and the VIC welcome screen was shown on screen….

For more technical info about the Commodore VIC-20, visit the wikipedia site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vic-20 it has extensive section on the VIC.

And welcome back VIC to my collection.

Mitsubishi MSX ML-F80

23 Dec

I recently aquired an 1983 MSX manufactured by Mitsubishi;

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It’s an MSX 1 with 64kb RAM I found some extra information here http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=431

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Msx basic isn’t the same as the C64 basic, I had to to some research to write¬† a small basic script with my 7 year old son, but we succeeded ūüôā

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Next find some cartridges to test the cartridge port, I never had an MSX when I was a child but a went to a local electorshop to try out their Sony hitbit which was on display. Remember playing some sort of ‘pitfall’ game on it. I have a hitbit in my collection but it isn’t in working condition.

Any Belgian retro-collectors out there who can lend me a cart ? They’re difficult to track-down on second-hand sites here.

Next time I dig up my Panasonic MSX together with¬† the Sony hitbit to complete the picture…

 

Installing and running an Atari 800 XL emulator on Ubuntu linux.

31 Jan

After reading a lot lately about some Retro Atari games, I decided to search for an Atari 800 xl emulator for Ubuntu. Yeh I ditched win7 this summer after numerous problems with my new core I7 laptop. So this happy Ubuntu user only had to type ‘atari’ in the Ubuntu Software Center to find Atari800 an Atrai 800, XL, XE, 5200, … emulator for linux systems. (See http://atari800.sourceforge.net)

So what now, the installation doesn’t put a launch icon in the Ubuntu launcher ? But wait before doing that we still missing something, the Atari ROMS, these are copyrighted so are not in the install archive. Luckily you can find the ROMS here http://pleasantfiction.ipower.com/ps3linux/xf25.zip unzip the archive on your computer.

Open a terminal window and type: atari800 -width 800 -height 600 -dsprate 48000 -windowed

ScreenshotAtari800EmuConfig

This should fire up the emulator, the emulator will show a message that it needs the ROMS. So we give it some ROMS, press F1, in the menu navigate to emulator configuration. Press ENTER, for each ROM in the zip archive you unzipped in the previous step set it’s path in the Emulator config.¬† When you restart the emulator (cold restart) it should find it’s ROMS,¬† You can resize the Atari800 emulator¬† just by resizing the window.

The emulator supports different kind of atari files like rom, atr,… But don’t forget the remove the cartridge (rom) if you want to load disk or cassette files after, as the cartridge will boot first, hey it’s an emulator of the real machine…

Here’s a screenshot of the classic pengo running on the Atari.

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I could be running these on my real machines, I have a boxed Atari 800 XL and an Atari 130 XE but sadly only a taperecoder and no tapes… Luckily I found out that some Atari fans have created an Arduino based sio2sd device but that’s another blog post.

Aside

DIY Android Game Console

18 Oct

While everybody is waiting for the ouya to arrive -you know the kickstarter funded project for a top notch Android  gaming console Рjust make one yourself.

What are the ingredients, well easy an Olimex OLinuxIno board (45 euro, with Android ICS image), an ordinary pc USB gamepad (10 euro), monitor or TV screen VGA and audio input.

As already mentioned in a previous post the Olimex board features a 1Ghz A13 Allwinner CPU and a Mali400 GPU plenty of power for an Android gaming console.

See https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/A13/A13-OLinuXino/

You don’t need to install special software to use usb gamepads or joysticks. Since 3.1 Android offers out of the box support for game controllers. The app you see running on the video is the ApiDemos app you can find in the Android devs examples. Click on the Views -> Game Controller Input¬† in the ApiDemos example.

See http://android-developers.blogspot.be/2011/05/android-31-platform-new-sdk-tools.html

 

If you want to create Android games I suggest you’ll give AndEngine a try, see www.andengine.org

While there’s no real documentation, you can buy a book written by Rick Rogers that explains AndEngine in detail plus the beginning of writing games. ‘Learning Android Game Programming’ published by Addison-Wesley and available on Amazon,com where else ?

There are a few branches of AndEngine out there, I created my own version in the beginning of AndEngine one that still runs on 1.5 devices, yes I have a phone and tablet that run 1.5…yes that old…

On thing still missing is a plastic case for your console, I’m working on that, so keep en eye on my blog, when it’s ready I’ll publish the 3D files here so you can print one…

My new playboard the Olimex Olinuxino A13 dev board running Android 4.0.3

11 Sep

The Olimex board delivers what’s promised an ARM A8 cortex running at 1Ghz with 512MB ram, 4 GB Nand(flash) memory with wifi and VGA connection.

The board is a lot more powerful as the the Raspberry Pi I have lying around, Android is by default installed but you can power it with a linux distro.

I connected it to my LG TV/monitor without problems, you see the Nexus wallpaper running in the background…

The power supply I used is a 6V 1,65 Amps,the same I  used for my Arduino projects. Keyboard and mouse are standard usb devices.

Next step is to 3D print a¬† box to hold the board, I recently build a Felix 3D printer which uses PLA (corn plastic) to print it’s objects. Probably going to use openscad to make the model. I’ll hope to make the box VESA mountable so I can attach it to the back of a monitor.

When that’s done I can start to make some ‘retro’ games for it and¬† attach cabinet style joysticks¬† with usb or using the available GPIO pins. Or make some cool open source games console with it, the board has a lot of possibilities and is very open.

For those¬† who have a rev B board they can fix the VGA problem with the solution described in the Olimex document here , my LG monitor accepts fine the original signal so I didn’t need the fix.

Oh, I forgot to mention it’s price 55 euro’s excl tax and shipping, that’s for the dev boards, the price will change when the board goes in production. You can still order it online https://www.olimex.com/dev/index.html

 

Bye bye Jack

13 Apr

The popular site engadget brought me the sad news, Jack Tramiel the founder of Commodore Buisiness Machines died on April 9th.

Thanks for the VIC20, C64 …

Original post: http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/09/commodore-founder-jack-tramiel-dies/

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