Meetup #16 – 2021-05-15

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 – 2021-04-17

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!

Meetup #14 – 2021-03-20

We started our 14th meetup with Sean’s Sharp MZ-1500. Its most outstanding feature is the QuickDisk, a format that fell by the wayside as the battle for supremacy was eventually won by 3.5″ floppy disks. The MZ-1500 has some excellent renditions of arcade classics, like Pac-Man and Dig Dug.

There was some 8-bit love in the forms of Curt’s Atari 800XL and Greg’s Commodore 64 G. The 800XL came equipped with the Ultimate 1MB, a modern-day memory expansion and OS management device. The Commodore 64 G was put to good gaming use, including playing some classics and some modern developments.

Edoardo couldn’t stand watching us eat convenience store food, so he whipped up some homemade Italian food and brought it in from home, and Christian supplied us with a bottle of wine and some German beer for all to enjoy. It was quite a feast, thanks for that, guys!

After a brief lapse last meetup, more technical pursuits were resumed, including Justin attaching a keyboard cable and Edoardo soldering a new battery into a PC-8201, and trying to pin down the sordid details of the mod performed on Michelle’s Famicom.