Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

I had to give a presentation at work recently, and I really sweat those things. I decided I would help myself look forward to the day by planning to go to Akihabara after the presentation was finished. I went to my favorite vintage computer shop – BEEP – and looked through their stuff for the first time in a long time. BEEP used to be a weekly visit for me because one of my customers was located in Okachimachi – about a 15-minute walk to Akihabara. But Covid19 changed a lot of things.

Anyway, I rarely buy anything from BEEP because it’s awfully expensive, but their “junk” items are often reasonably priced. I picked up a few tape games for the FM-7 and FM-8, and an unexpected find – some J3100 software. The J3100 software was only 330 yen! There were four or five identical sets, and they included the games Tenka Toitsu and Columns. I picked up two sets in case one didn’t work, and at that price, why not?

Columns is an extra special game for me because my friends and I used to play it many hours at a time in hotly contested battles at my old apartment in California. This isn’t exactly the same version but it is close and contains many of the best elements of the game we used to play.

Playing on this system is always a bit bittersweet. There’s only the PC internal speaker for sound so often you’re playing in silence or with simple beeps for sound effects. But at least you get to look at the beautiful plasma screen!

As I have mentioned before, it’s really hard to get a good capture of the plasma screen. The oranger-looking shots are a bit closer than the redder-looking ones.

By Sean

2 thoughts on “Columns”
    1. That’s a good question. It’s been a while, but I think the situation was that the J3100 could use 1.44MB disks but my standard Windows 98 notebook PC could not use the 1.2MB-formatted floppies that the J3100 usually uses. But since there’s no form of copy protection, I should be able to transfer it to a 1.44MB floppy disk easily and test it out. But it might be written for the custom J3100 video mode (double-scan CGA or something).

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