Meetup #19 – 2021-08-21

Our 19th gathering was attended by a recent record of nine! That was thanks to the brief appearance of member Michelle’s wife and son (bringing along a PC Engine) before the group of them scuttled off to their previous engagement.

Edoardo and Sean were first on the scene. Edoardo brought his Super Famicom gamepad controller adapter that attaches to the MSX-style game ports of many Japanese computers. And Sean brought with him just such a computer – the MZ-2500. We tested the controller adapter with Xevious and it proved to be good and responsive with no detectable lag as far as us middle-aged men could tell. Very nice solution!

The MZ-2500 has two alternate modes, MZ-80B and MZ-2000. We spent much of the meetup playing MZ-80B games, an assemblage of simple monochrome games (usually in BASIC) but with some unique ideas, for example Treasure Searching Game, where you search for treasure with a metal detector and sometimes blow yourself up by stepping on a bomb. More standard games include breakout and Pac-Man.

Greg came in with his MiSTer and displayed some Street Fighter II with the thumping subwoofer in the venue-provided sound system. Street Fighter II in action turns out to be pretty hard to photograph clearly.

Curt came in with a couple of MSX machines for Lode Ru^H^H^H^H^H^H^H diagnosis and repair. Comically, Edoardo thought the machine was broken even more when a game loaded and started making a rudimentary sound effect. But it was still pretty broken at that point. Finally, some semblance of success seemed to be achieved as Lode Runner eventually graced us with its presence on the screen.

Saburo arrived with his KryoFlux, a device that can make near-perfect copies of floppy disks and provide a detailed, graphical analysis of its results. This allowed us to play some of the MZ-2500’s more sophisticated native games such as Archon and Toritorn. Justin and Sean played a full game of Archon to the bitter end, with Justin ultimately being the victor.

And Justin was the hero of the meetup, because he managed to get a program to compile in the MZ-80B FORTRAN program – Tiny FORTRAN Form. It didn’t have any output but hey, it compiled!

Meetup #18 – 2021-07-24

Sean brought his MZ-700 back for a second visit, this time in a handsome carrying case. It saw a lot of use for gaming including titles like Donkey Gorilla, Pac-Man, and Mass.

Edoardo was the hero of the meetup! He brought a pair of replacement CIAs for Sven’s ongoing Commodore 128 project and a new revision of the digital to analog RGB converter, which worked beautifully. He also went to work on fixing Michelle’s OSSC, successfully bringing it back to life once again. He also gave Curt’s second JR-200 a quick recap job later in the afternoon.

Once Michelle’s OSSC was fixed, it was put to use to play some classic NES titles like Contra, Metroid, and just a bit of Kid Icarus. She also brought some game disks back for Sean, including a very legitimate-looking version of Karateka for the PC-9801.

Saburo brought a wealth of software, but we couldn’t use any of it because there was no tape drive. However, we did have an opportunity to use his ultra-compact JR-100 on his ultra-compact monitor.

Meetup #17 – 2021-06-19

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.