NEC PC-TV151

I’ve got so many computers that either require or look best over digital RGB but only one monitor that supports it. If anything happens to that monitor, I can’t (optimally) use many of these machines. I decided to mitigate the risk by replacing one of my other monitors with this one. Nice and crisp text output, although photos come out slightly blurry due to the front glass cover.

The NEC PC-TV151 supports digital RGB, JP21, and composite. This is an excellent combination as I have a few systems that output over JP21 as well. But this one supports digital RGB using 15 colors, as opposed to the 8 colors that most digital RGB monitors support. Of course, supporting 15 colors is useless unless the computer also supports 15 colors, but that is indeed the case with the PC-6001mkIISR.

I don’t know how many games take advantage of the 15 colors, but one such game is Dig Dug. Here is a side-by-side comparison of 15 color more on the PC-TV151 and 8 colors on the PC-TV455.

The title and high score screens have some noticeable differences, for example the 8-color mode completely lacks orange, and the 15-color mode has differently mapped shades of blue, and although it came out a bit subtle in the photo, two shades of green (the 3rd and 4th high scores). But the major difference is in gameplay. The colors in 15-color mode are more natural because 8-color mode doesn’t output brown. The 15-color mode matches the colors output over composite on the PC-6001mkII (non-SR version).

Sharp MZ-700 Briefcase

A company called ACE made a suitcase specifically for the MZ-700. It came in a beautiful burgundy color, fits perfectly around the MZ-700, and has the MZ-series logo on the case.

I’ve seen thm now and again, but either end too expensively on Yahoo, or are in gnarly condition on Mercari, but then this popped up on Mercari yesterday. It sure looked good in the photos, and came with a handful of extras, which helped make the price a little easier to swallow (although this was by far the best bargain I’ve seen thus far). So I took the chance. Due to the amazing courier service in Japan, it arrived in under 24 hours and it is as good in person as it looked in the photos.

Barely a scratch on it, no rust on the locks or other hardware, and still with the keys and bag manufacturer’s introduction card. If I hadn’t bought it on Mercari and someone said “Oh, look at my new briefcase,” I’d definitely be all “Hey that’s a nice new briefcase you got.” Sorry some shots are darker than others, I was kinda playing with my new phone’s camera features.

I am no bag expert, but I noticed that in several places, they took care that the internal pouches wouldn’t get stretched. The big center pouch has two latches on the side to hold it in place, and they’re adjustable in case you have more stuff to stow inside. And the two smaller pouches have a loop for each button so it can move without stressing the pouch itself depending on the shape of the contents.

The machine itself works and it came with some extras: a user manual, an MZ-700 programming book, a bound copy of a Turtle graphics software package user’s manual, and some printer hardware. This is also the first time to receive a set of plotter pens. Surely they’ve dried out by now but maybe I’ll give them a shot.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve picked up five MZ-700s. Basically I get them to convert the tapes to wav files, maybe keep a couple of original tapes, sell on the system, etc. I definitely don’t need five MZ-700s! But of all these lots, one thing that’s still managed to evade me is a clean user’s manual. This is the nearest I’ve gotten, it’s pretty clean but there’s a giant crease in the front cover. And while there’s a plastic film protecting the cover that can be cleaned up well, this has a bit of dirt that actually seemed to have penetrated the film and just won’t clean up.

Cloud Kingdom for FM-7

This is one of the more unique games I’ve come across for the FM-7. I picked it up quite a while ago but if memory serves, I believe it came in a lot of several games. The box and tape are in good condition, but unfortunately it’s missing the manual.

It’s a colorful game with crisp, highly detailed graphics. You play a bird-mounted warrior and travel around the clouds looking for enemies amid cloud formations and fortresses, and shoot them with arrows. If you hit an archer, he falls satisfyingly from the castle.

The combination of bird flapping physics and arrow trajectory makes it rather challenging, and capturing a screenshot without pausing is all but impossible. One thing that seems a little absurd is that if you fall below the clouds, you die. I guess your bird can’t fly below cloud level… because that’s the sky down there.

Once in a while, you find a screen with some sort of bonus. Also, beware of surprise hands!

Dig Dug for MZ-1500

My MZ-1500 has seen quite a bit of use recently, not owing much to its own game library, but because it is MZ-700 compatible, and unlike the MZ-700, it is ready to connect to external tape drives. This allows me to play my MZ-700 tape games that I’ve converted to .wav files.

But I also kind of recently got a real, original MZ-1500 game. It’s an arcade classic – Dig Dug – but it doesn’t seem to be very popular on the MZ-1500. It’s a little lackluster in some ways, the character, enemies , rocks, and vegetables are well drawn and animated, but the background is made up of solid colors so doesn’t provide any of the texturing to the dirt that other ports do. The gameplay difficulty level is a little harsher than other ports, too, I believe.

The box is also in awful condition (although much of the smashed portion seems to be obscured by the angle). So due to its rarity it wasn’t dirt cheap (see what I did there?), but it was considerably less expensive than other games for the system I’ve seen.

QuickDisks are double-sided, so the way many of these games work is to load the data for the PCG (programmable character generator) and then instruct you to flip the disk over to load game program. But the game doesn’t actually detect if you’ve loaded the PCG data or not, so if you just load the second side, the game will work fine, you just can’t see your character, the enemies, the rocks, or the vegetables. In other words, they put a lot of effort into the PCG graphics and then left the main screen to an intern.

Sharp X1 G

This was one of my earliest Japanese vintage PCs, before I had the idea to start blogging about them. I found a couple of photos of them and decided to make a mini-entry about it.

The X1 G comes in both tape and floppy flavors, mine was the floppy variety. If I recall correctly, I actually bought two of them. Both were complete systems but the first came with copies of BASIC and CP/M, while the second was bundled with a small collection of original games. I believe both systems worked without issue.

It’s a very handsome machine, perhaps the first implementation of the future X68000-style orange, curved power button. The machine worked nicely in either the desktop or tower orientation. It also came with the Sharp gamepad.

I eventually decided to sell them both off after I got my bearings straight in the X1 world and realized the X1 Turbo Z was the system I really wanted, but this machine was a great introduction. I probably used the keyboard for my Turbo Z for a while before I could find the official Turbo Z keyboard.

I would someday like to get the X1 Twin, which I believe is very similar to the X1 G but with the inclusion of a HuCard slot for PC Engine compatibility.