Meetup #8 – 2020-09-05

We had our eighth meetup, a meetup filled with repairs and drama. Sean and Edoardo arrived at about the same time. Sean brought with him his Sega SC-3000 for play, his PC-6001mkII for a possible sale, and *two* PC-8201s, one for repair and the other for comparison. Edoardo brought his extensive repair equipment like some sort of traveling workshop.

Shortly after Michelle and Sven arrived, Michelle with her PC Engine for repair and MSX Sanyo Wavy, and Sven with his 21st-century keyboard that had developed a problem. Edoardo spent minutes expertly and promptly diagnosing and rectifying Sven’s keyboard. Michelle’s PC Engine and Sean’s PC-8201 received a good fixing, as well.

But suddenly Sean’s PC-6001mkII decided to act out. It refused to load tape images from anyone’s smartphone using any cable. A couple of hours were spent poking around at it to no end. As an aside, Sean took it back home, where it loaded tape images without issue, but then promptly died. Michelle set up her OSSC for use with the SC-3000, etc. Very impressive piece of machinery.

Justin and Curt showed up a bit later, and intense diagnostics began on the Wavy. Intense video gaming took place, as well. SC-3000 provided access to Zaxxon, Sinbad Mystery, and Sokoban, while the MSX machines played Lode Runner and Ilevan.

Meetup #7 – 2020-08-01

Despite the sharp increase in covid-19 cases in Tokyo, we braved a meetup. It was again rather intimate, with six members in attendance. That’s probably for the best right now. We got the big conference room on the 4th floor again, all to ourselves. New members Michelle and Tom came to join in the fun.

Sean had CRT duty so for the first time did not bring any computers of his own. He set up a nice little display of the random items he brought for testing around the CRT, which made for a fairly boring first 15 minutes, but Edoardo soon showed up and plugged in his very customized Amiga A600. Demos and gaming ensued!

Soon after came Curt with his Apple IIc and National JR-200 to show off. Justin joined shortly after. Not too long after, Michelle and Tom showed up, each lugging an MSX machine with them, Michelle with a first-gen Wavy by Sanyo, and Tom with a MSX2 WX by Panasonic. Tom brought a handful of cool MSX games, including some modern-day homebrew games. Some were indeed really unique and impressive.

Sean took advantage of the presence of a first-gen MSX machine to test some games that wouldn’t run easily on his MSX2, including Ghostbusters and an impossible-to-figure-out game called Relics. I mean, like, you battle stuff, that part’s easy to understand, but the game also wants you to do stuff to progress, but it doesn’t tell you what, not even in the manual!

It is our sincerest hope to be able to do this again in September, but with covid-19 infection numbers continuing to rise, we’ll have to play it by ear. Stay safe everyone!

Meetup #6 – 2020-06-27

Emerging from the wreck that is covid-19 while Tokyo experienced a huge dip in active cases, we had our sixth meetup, our first in over four months. We met up with our newest member Edoardo, who brings a wealth of knowledge and some serious-grade professional equipment.

Covid-19 was not the only tragedy surrounding this meeting, Sean also had a phone problem which ended with losing the pictures from the meeting. Fortunately, Sven and Curt had taken some so there is photographic evidence of our June meetup.

We played with a Commodore 64 and both a PC-6001 and a PC-6001mkII. ROMs were burned, CRT photography was performed, joysticks were fixed, power supplies had cables soldered onto them, and keyboards were poised for trade but it turned out not to be in anyone’s best interests.

Although there were few of us this time around, it was great to be back in the familiar meetup room with friendly, masked faces.

Meetup #5 – 2020-02-15

Our fifth meet-up saw a sharp drop in attendance, but it was really difficult to find a single day that even a simple majority of people could attend. We were back to five people this time around, but a good time was still had.

Sean arrived first and set up his Spectrum+ and went to work on a little BASIC programming, something that would have taken about two minutes on a Commodore 64 but this was a lesson in patience to be sure! But it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

Justin and Sean took turns with Space Junk on the Spectrum+, which is an impressive-looking game for the system, with a tough learning curve. Figuring out how to turn your ship the way you want took a surprisingly long time! But I think that contributed to the fun. Curt showed up a bit later and took a crack at it, too.

Then Curt’s Apple IIc took over for a while and he showed us a graphic demo and a few games, such as Star Trek and Lemonade. No photos, it seems, but an honorable mention to Justin for soldering on a connection to Sean’s X1 D keyboard. Works like a charm.

Next up was Ohgami-san’s very portable setup – the Pasocon Mini 8001 with PCG (programmable character generator) and ultra-lightweight LCD monitor. He may be our youngest member, but he showed off some serious old-school techniques, hand-drawing custom characters on a paper grid and inputting them into the system to be saved and reloaded. Respect.

And Sven brought out his Commodore 128, that’s right, the British rendition of the unholy Trinity – Apple/Commodore/Spectrum all on the same table. We played a brand-new game on Sven’s 128 – Millie and Mollie. His joystick port stopped working in the middle but he and Curt waved screwdrivers and multimeters menacingly at it and it started working again.

The day wrapped up with some more Spectrum gaming – playing Opz, 3D Monster Maze, and City Bomb.

Meetup #4 – 2020-01-18

Happy new year! And thanks to all members, old and new, for another fun meet-up. Our event ran from 10am to 6pm and the retro computing conversation and after-party continued until 10pm at the nearby yakitori shop. We continued the trend of growing slowly, with twelve people in attendance this time.

This session began with spreading out the early-arrivers’ devices and Curt, Justin, and (new member) Tadashi running through some troubleshooting with and Curt’s newly-constructed Apple I clone kit. The mini NES in the box was already there and nobody seems to know whose it was.

We played with Christian’s The C64. It’s a hardware based Commodore 64 and VIC-20 emulator with some modern conveniences, such as HDMI output, and it’s all wrapped neatly in a very convincing-looking Commodore 64-like cover.

Next at bat was new member Ohgami’s PasoconMini, a modern-day device using a Raspberry Pi that emulates an NEC PC-8001. It’s super tiny and has a case designed to look like the real machine. It was his first experience with this machine, and he learned that old video games are really hard!

While this was all going on, Sven was working on his new Amiga 500 all the way from Switzerland. He was trying to get a GoTek to work with the system. That keyboard is nice and clean! But his PSU is 230V. What to do? Sean’s after-market PSU with back-side power switch to the rescue! We got some Turrican time in.

What can possibly be better than an Amiga? How about TWO Amigas! New member Katsuyuki brought in his rather pimped-out Amiga 500. He carried two large bags of stuff with him, one for the system, two different accelerators, and a portable monitor, the other for software. It was quite a sight to see. Dualing Amigas!

Once the The C64 and PasoconMini were put away, Sean set up his VIC-20 with Penultimate+ Cartridge, showing off its capabilities, such as switching between different memory configurations, loading different versions of BASIC, and, of course, launching games. We played some Pac-Ma^H^H^H^H^H^H Jelly Monsters, Dig-Dug, and Doom.

We spent the rest of the cold afternoon chatting and playing. Other devices included Popo-san’s NEC PC-6001 mkII and Gameboy Color complete with camera. Curt graciously fixed Sean’s secondary FM Towns PSU.

Meetup #3 – 2019-12-07

Our third meet-up has come and gone, and it was another good one. Sean arrived first and had a chance to set up shop with his gadgets – a Commodore 116 and a Sinclair Spectrum+ (a gift from would-be attendee Stephen if only he didn’t live in the UK). Hiroki joined shortly after and brought along another present for Sean (why is he so lucky?) – a Sharp Zaurus mobile device, as well as his home-made MSX emulator, a Raspberry Pi with ROMs with a surprisingly convincing cardboard shell!

Justin, Curt, and Sven all showed up soon thereafter. Curt brought along his NEC PC-6001 and (thankfully!) PVM, while Sven brought his Commodore 64C with Reloaded board, 1541 Ultimate-II, and his ready-to-roll, FastLoad-integrated, cart-based SD2IEC device. We played some games like Tennis and Queen Othello on the PC-6001 and Jetman on the Commodore 116. Curt, Sven and Justin spent some time becoming intimately familiar with the Spectrum+’s keyboard.

Then we were joined by first-time attendee Jim, who was a member of the Atari ST development team back in the day. He brought his own collection of goodies, including an honest-to-God STacy2 (!), as well as other Atari gadgets. Shortly upon his arrival, we were also joined by Hiroaki, Yohsuke, and another first-time member Satoshi, who is the developer of the Pasocon Mini (!). Yohsuke brought his Sony HitBit MSX machine with multi-ROM loading cartridge.

Hiroaki and Yohsuke went about making an adapter to connect a USB keyboard to a PC-8801-series computer. Sean went to work on not fixing his tape recorder and getting his hands messy with melted, liquified rubber. And we ended the day with some Jack Attack on the Commodore 116, and a few games on the Sony HitBit.

Meetup #2 – 2019-11-01

We’ve had our second group meeting now. We met in the same location in Kayabacho, and it was attended by nine people: Christian, Curt, Hiroaki, Hiroki, Justin, Matt (who doesn’t live in Japan, but nobody’s perfect), Sean, Sven, and Yohsuke.

This time we played with Sean’s MZ-700, including games like Yellow Balloon, Ottotto, and Pac-Man. Sean was pretty happy because he finally made it to level 3 of Yellow Balloon but Hiroki made it to level 6 on his second attempt. Curt claims not to like the sound of Pac-Man on this system, but actually the problem was that the volume was just too low.

Christian’s MAX Machine was modded for composite output, and we did a VIC-II chip replacement to get Curt’s Commodore 64 up and running. Sean’s 72-pin SIMMs were modded in two different ways to try to get them to work with his FM Towns, but as of now, they still can’t be used. Curt and Justin worked on a digital RGB -> analog RGB converter and made substantial progress (green, red, and sync all worked!), but it didn’t quite get finished. Maybe next time!

Meetup #1 – 2019-09-28

Today we had our first meetup. We met at a co-working space in Kayabacho. It’s a handy place for this kind of meetup; you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a venue and it was accommodating. In attendance were Albert, Curt, Justin, Sean, and Sven.

We are not looking to be platform-specific, but this time we had all Commodore machines. Sven brought his MAX Machine and Commodore 64 with Reloaded board, and Sean brought his Japanese Commodore 64 and Plus/4. We were given two 40″ large-screen TVs to use, but most of the time we were fixated on Curt’s 9″ CRT monitor. We used it for playing Radar Rat Race and Pet’s Rescue. I hope we didn’t drive the other patrons crazy with the Radar Rat Race music.

In addition to playing games, we tested some equipment, took apart Sven’s Commodore 64C because, and Curt gave a presentation on using a development environment as well as a brief demonstration of doing machine language programming on the 6502 CPU.

Join the Next Meet-up・打合せの参加

If you want to join in the fun activities, we welcome friendly new faces to our laid-back environment. Our next meeting is scheduled for October 3rd. Please check for details on our schedule page.