Another Saturday was claimed by the vintage computing monster. Six of us gathered to share our computers, games, and expertise with each other. Sean arrived first with a nearly-empty suitcase, and Edoardo moments thereafter, carrying Sean’s Sharp X1 D which he had performing some maintenance on over the previous week. The X1 D is a beast of a machine.
Edoardo also brought his modern-remake of the Amiga 500. It’s A500 compatible but with some modern conveniences to allow it to survive the trying conditions of the 2020s, such as HDMI output. The Amiga port of Double Dragon, famous for being terrible, is much better than the Commodore 64 version, so Sean managed to play it all the way to finish.
Sean had recently purchased some VIC-1001 tapes from Yahoo Auctions but doesn’t actually have a VIC-1001. Saburo to the rescue, he brought in his VIC-1001 to the meetup. Unfortunately, whether the fault lies with the tapes, the VIC-1001, or both tape drives, loading was met with little success, but it was sure funstrating to try! We did at least get Heiankyo Alien to load once.
Justin, Curt, and Sven pursued some more technical activities, ranging from troubleshooting the tape drive problem on the VIC-1001 to recapping Curt’s JR-200.
The team also reassembled the necessary connections to hook the X1 D up to the PVM, so a gaming session ensued. The X1 D is a strange model of the X1 series, with 3″ internal drives, as opposed to the standard tape or 5.25″ drives. Sean had come across a relatively large lot of X1 D disks recently so we played around with some of those. 6 o’clock always comes too soon at our meetups.
Due to the state of emergency, the venue we use for the meetups was technically closed, but groups were still allowed to use it anyway, for free no less. That was a nice if baffling surprise for our eight attendees.
Edoardo arrived 30 minutes ahead of time but was allowed to enter and sit all by himself with his soldering equipment in the spacious 4th-floor large meeting room until Sean finally arrived at 10. Sean brought a Super Sanno Primary Computer, an attractive-looking MSX machine that fits just perfectly in the locker so at least one computer will always be available, and multiple members have games that will run on that system, so it’s a convenient choice. He also brought his Pasopia, a tape recorder with some games, a curious game selector switch branded as Konami’s, and a couple of PSUs to disassemble and list components for.
After a while, Sven arrived with his Commodore 128D and went to work at repairing it again with some expert assistance from Edoardo. He’s been at trying to fix this computer for a while now. His determination is admirable but the solution still eludes all at the meetup. Keep trying, Sven!
The Pasopia was not a very successful attempt at market entry for Toshiba. It’s not widely thought of as a gaming computer and most games we had on hand were fairly simple BASIC games, which were held back even more by the fact that we started playing in black and white. But if there’s one thing to be said about the group members, it’s that we’re obstinate, so we spent considerable time trying to work out the mechanics of and improving our skill at these simple games.
Near the end of Pasopia playtime, Curt arrived with the digital to analog RGB converter, and Saburo arrived with some Pasopia games, including a very good Pac-Man clone, so we were able to experience a bit more of what the Pasopia really has to offer. Saburo also brought his Pasopia7, which is a bit more formidable a system with better gaming capabilities. Pasopia and Pasopia7 may be comparable to FM-8 and FM-7.
Greg brought along his Mega-65, the re-imagination of the Commodore 65 by some hardcore enthusiasts. The Mega-65 was having some graphical issues but it was at least running well enough to allow us to watch 3 Stooges.
Michelle brought in her PS3 for some diagnosis and her (American!) Super Nintendo for a little gaming.
Meetup #15 has come and gone as our band of regulars met with new member Saburo and returnee Tom for a party of 8 despite the gloomy situation of coronavirus. Sean and Edoardo arrived simultaneously and went to work, Edoardo on further maintenance and repair of last month’s PC-8201 and Sean on doing nothing of consequence in BASIC on the Casio MX-10. Sean then made a brilliant program on the PC-8201 to test it. The program starts with a number (zero), adds 1, waits for a while, and then does it again, endlessly. It got somewhere over 10,000 without any errors so it’s probably bug-free.
A bit later, Sven and Curt arrived with their toys, Sven with his not-quite-happy Commodore 128D and Curt with an MX-101 and a non-working black and white monitor. The Commodore 128D’s internal floppy drive seems unable to initialize properly, just keeps spinning and spinning. Justin, Curt, Edoardo, and Sven ran a considerable amount of testing but were not able to make it work. But at least Sven has some thoughts about what steps to take next.
The problem with Curt’s monitor was much more straightforward to solve. Edoardo looked at it, touched a dial, and it worked fine after that. Curt swears he touched that dial before, so we can assume Edoardo fixed it by looking at it. It has a good picture with crisp black and white output.
New member Saburo brought a wealth of vintage electronics treasure with him, from a Bandai Gundam RX-78 with games to an Epson HX-20 with software tape library and a bunch of PC-8201 software that unfortunately couldn’t be used, but looked really cool nonetheless. He also brought Alfort chocolate snacks so that was worth some bonus points right there. He’s definitely welcome back!
Michelle and Tom showed up a bit after lunch. Michelle got some troubleshooting done on her OSSC and tried to hook it up to the TV using her Saturn, but it turns out there may be some cases where the OSSC has compatibility issues with LG TVs, so results are inconclusive. Tom brought some games for the MSX to add to the ones Sean had brought earlier in the morning, and some MSX gaming took place.
We also had some fantastic news that will improve the convenience of the meetups going forward. We were granted permission to use one of the meetup location’s lockers so we can store our PVM. This saves us having to carry it back and forth to each meetup. Although not prohibitively heavy, they definitely weigh on the arms after a while and risk damage if they bump into a heavy object while carrying them around, so this is very welcome news for the group!