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.