PC-6001 Demo Tape

This is NEC’s official demonstration tape for the PC-6001, which offers the user a glimpse into what is possible with their new computer.

It begins with a simple program that loads from tape in about five seconds, called “color”. It just shows off how many colors your computer can display (eight, although BASIC can only access them in terrible ways), and shows a couple of simple images that make use of these colors. The second picture shows that this cheap computer is just as capable as all of the expensive computers you can’t afford, as long as you sink a small fortune into expansions and peripherals. Motivating!

The second program shows some graphic capabilities. You can make graphs and charts and propel your career forward. If I recall correctly, the fifth image in this batch is from the third program, which shows off the audio capabilities of the machine, which are primitive, but still certainly add to the ambiance of a game.

Up last is probably the most interesting program on the tape, which shows a series of squares being drawn in different colors, rotated slightly and drawn over the existing squares, in series until the overall shape looks increasingly like a colorful circle.

I think there were more programs on the second side, I forget. I actually took these photos a few months ago. Anyway, I think this is a sufficient sample to get the idea.

One thing to remember is that NEC wanted to show users the machines capabilities, but actually the machine is *far* more capable than what you see here. You may recall the PC-6001 port of Eggy I posted about recently, it does a far superior job of showing the machine’s true power. Commodore had the same situation. Their demo disk showed so little of what the computer could do. To really push the limits of the machines, you have to get it into the hands of serious game developers, musicians, and even business software developers. These demo tapes and disks are really just the tip of the iceberg.

Also, since I took these pictures, I have acquired a PC-6001mk2. The difference is unreal. Quadruple the memory, far more sophisticated graphic modes and capabilities, vastly improved audio. The difference is really comparable to going from a VIC-20 to a Commodore 64 (which is not to say the machines themselves are quite comparable to the VIC-20 and Commodore 64, but the difference realized is about as big). Hard to believe they slapped on the same model number and just referred it as a new version, when it offered so much more.

骸骨は死の臭い – Skeletons Reek of Death

Sometimes, the artwork and title of a game really captures the imagination. Look at the box art. The title is “Skeletons Reek of Death”. It sounds like an epic role-playing game, or at least a good action game with fantasy baddies to fight off.

nope.

It is a breakout clone with a dancing skeleton on top. And the dancing animation was probably done in BASIC, because the arms disappear briefly as they move. I mean, I’m not going so far as to say it’s a terrible game, just… low effort and disappointing in comparison to the cover and title.

Eggy

I’d previously posted about this game for my Sharp X1. This is the PC-6001 version. Gameplay is the same, so it was mostly about seeing how the two ports compare. Considering how much more limited the PC-6001 is, I feel they did a great job in creating this version!

Tennis

So I’m not much of a sports game fan, whether that’s a computer game, watching a game on TV, or the worst, actually playing a sport. But once in a while a sports game comes along and captures my attention for a bit. It has an exciting flow of action, or an interesting challenge, or clever animation.

This game is none of those.

Basically the flow of the game is one of us serves, and regardless of what level of difficulty I set the computer on, he’ll return my hits time and time again for as long as five minutes. I mean, if the whole match lasted five minutes, that would make sense, but we’re talking potentially twenty minutes for a single match assuming I never make a mistake. He never misses, he just eventually hits the net once in a while. When he hits the net, a cute girl in a mini-skirt comes out and fetches the ball. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s supposed to be.

Most of the time, I make a mistake before he does, so I spend a lot of time losing, like this time when I lost all six matches in the set. But I can’t seem to control the direction of the ball, and that’s probably key. I suppose I should look for a manual.

Sometimes I do things besides losing in this game. For example, in this set, I managed to get up to Love-40, and in fact, I got two whole victories. But I always go right back to losing!

RAM/ROM Expander

One cool and useful item that came with my NEC PC-6001 is this RAM/ROM expansion cartridge. It plugs into the side of the 6001 and doubles the memory to 32KB, and it also has two ZIF sockets for ROM expansion.

At this point, I’m not sure what can be done with the ROM expansion but I hope to find out more someday. As for the RAM, many tape games require it, so it seems like something of a must-have expansion for this system.