This weekend came on and went a bit unexpectedly game wise. Things ended up taking an unusual turn Friday timewise, and still going off my momentum from last week’s deep game plays and Sega-CD setup, I found myself with the time to dig into my vintage computers.

 

This Weekends Buys:

 

Silpheed (Sega-CD) – I know there are good games out there for the Sega-CD. Silpheed is said to be one of the best titles on the system, yet also remains fairly obscur. In my play-through’s of both Project Sylpheed, and Silpheed: The Lost Planet I mentioned that this version is actually this first, however as I’ve recently found out it’s actually a remake, or reboot whatever you want to call it. Anyone I look forward to playing this one.

 

Wing Commander (Sega-CD) – Don’t know how this will work on the Sega-CD, but considering I have versions on both the PC and SNES to compare it with it will be interesting to see.

 

Toy Bizarre (C64) – This one was the second game I had gotten with Park Patrol years ago although I didn’t remember its name till recently. Fun game, and I look forward to playing it again.

 

This Weekends Plays:

 

Canyon Climber (TRS-80) – Inspired by my digging out and hooking up my Sega CD, I decided to finally get my TRS-80 CoCo out too. The CoCo has been sitting for about 9 months as well,  although it wasn’t a Midwest Gaming Classics purchase. What had happened is that I purchased a TRS-80 Model III back in March, but after I found out it wasn’t designed for the game carts I went ahead and picked up a CoCo for less than $30 on eBay. In October I sold the Model III for a modest profit, using the funds to buy my X-Arcade Tank Stick. Anyway, Canyon Climber I have to say is one fun little game. It reminds me of the second level of Donkey Kong whereby you climb up several levels setting two traps along the way that will spring once you reach the top. In this game you place explosives on either end of each levels bridges before getting to the detonator at the top, and you do so while fighting mountain goats along the way. It amazes me how this type of game seemed to be common in computer games of that era, yet each like Hard Hat Mack or Toy Bizarre (to name two examples) seemed to be completely unique enough to make playing and owning them worth it. To say the least I’m impressed by this first encounter with a TRS-80 CoCo game.

 

Top Gun (C64) – Trying to remember if I had this one as a kid or if it’s one I always wanted. Anyway, this isn’t anything like the NES Konami version. Essentially you take off from an aircraft carrier with your opponent on a split screen, than the game goes into one on one dogfight mode. Dogfight mode is half modern 8-bit with controls, and vector based in the combat view, its “different”. Anyway the game-play is a bit odd since it took a lot of bullets for me to shoot the computer down and barely anything for it to shoot me down. Plus I witnessed it shoot me down while being nowhere near its crosshairs a few times. With that said though it’s actually a fun little game and a great example of mid-80’s Top Gun fever.

 

TI-99 Revisited

 

I spent a weekend over the summer trying to get several of my older computers up and working including this one. Sadly though this one is one I had written off to general repair pile, but after my recent success with the CoCo I decided to give it another shot and I’m glad I did since it works fine but needed a little TLC and early 80’s logic to get running.

 

Parsec (TI-99) – The first game in is Parsec, a side scrolling shooter. I never realized the TI-99 had a graphical style similar to ZX-Spectrum, but this game typifies that. The city graphics below your ship are colorful a cheery, and have a nice child friendly quality with robots and other kiddie sci-fi elements. The sprites themselves are simple yet also colorful, and game-play reminds me of Defender but minus the alien abductions. Cute game and great first play on the TI-99.

 

Munch Man (TI-99) – This is another Pac-Man clone but with a different spin. Here you start in the center (where the ghosts reside in Pac-Man) and more or less conquer the maze by making trails through it and occasionally biting power pills and eating monsters. This game unlike Pac-Man and it’s clones also has the distinct feature of having a white rather than black background. It also has the same graphical style as Parsec, and is equally kid friendly.

 

Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (TI-99) – This is one I have on a few different systems just to see if there are any real key differences. Outside of the graphical style of the TI-99 it’s basically the same game I’ve encountered on the Atari 2600, 5200, and 800 although with a few minor differences. .

 

The Apple IIe:

 

I’ve bought this system over 2 years ago and have been trying hard to get it to work on my own. When I couldn’t get it to work after I bought it I took it to my local retro repair specialist who had no problem getting it to work on a CRT screen, and a CRT is something I don’t possess and haven’t been inclined to buy either. But, I did try the suggestion of using a VCR as an old tech to new flat screen translator of sorts, which has worked for me before just not here. As luck would have it a few days ago I joined a Apple II collectors group on Facebook, and after posing the question there a great guy by the name of John H. (I won’t say a last name) tipped me off that I should connect the video out of the computer into the green video input on the composite side of the TV. It worked perfectly, and looks perfect too. So……

 

Moon Patrol (Apple II) – I guess after all these years I forgot some games where only B&W on old computers. Anyway despite that this is a fairly faithful port, perhaps it lacks the near arcade graphics of the Atari 5200, but it is still fairly will done and would have been fun to play at school when the computer instructor was off doing other things.

 

Jungle Hunt (Apple II) – Like the above this is a good port, but lacks some of the panache of its console counterparts like the jungle beat music from the 5200 version. Anyway, the only real complaint is that the control is a bit off, which on this particular game is an issue when timing is key. Good port, but far from the best.

 

Galaxian (Apple II) – Again like above two missing the nice color elements, but this port is pretty awesome. The background music, sound effects, and controls are all spot on. Of the three games I have (so far) this is the best and most entertaining.

 

Broken XEGS:

 

Considering a week ago I didn’t think I had a working Apple II, CoCo, or TI-99 I’ve been pretty surprised by the results of this weekend with regards to my vintage computers. However, the streak has come to an end. With what I’ve learned this weekend, I thought I would apply it to my last remaining and non-working computer an Atari XE otherwise known as a XEGS, since this is the full gaming system model. When I first tested it some months ago I had an issue with getting nothing but a green screen. Hoping to resolve it this time I gave it another try in different inputs, but the results were nearly the same. Some good folks on Facebook’s Atari 8-bit Computers page tried to help me, but not even they could come up with a fix either. At this point it’s looking like the motherboard is fried, which will be a simple fix but will still cost be about $65.

 

Atari 800XL:

 

Luckily I do have one operation Atari computer, my 800XL. One of my backlogged games was Flight Simulator 2, which has been waiting a long time to get played and my 800XL, one of my first vintage computers, is up for the task.

 

Flight Simulator 2 (Atari XE) – The Atari 800 was a powerhouse back in its day. This is the reason the system cannot only play its own games, but those of the 400, and XE as well, plus it can take on a disk and/or tape drive. Anyway, Flight Simulator 2 is an early ancestor of what would later turn into Microsoft Flight Simulator and its various incarnations up till now. It’s wireframe graphics a very simple, and a far cry from MS Flight Sims current levels of realism, but for its time it was still as realistic of a flight sim as the era could allow. Nice, game and fun to play.

 

Bug Hunt (Atari XE) – Looking to test the XEGS pack-in’s I grabbed this one and the XEGS joysticks for testing. Sadly, Bug Huntis a light gun game, which means although it works I can’t play test it. Anyway, it’s a cool looking game too bad I couldn’t play it. BTW, it’s a very unique light gun game

 

 

The only vintage computer I didn’t take out of mothballs this weekend was my iMac G3. The older computers listed above, with the exception of the Apple II, come from a different era when a family computer was often hooked up to the family TV and had to be set up and taken down quickly and simply. Even the Apple II although it was meant to be a dedicated desktop, has the ability to be moved in and out quickly. The iMac G3 on the other hand is an excellent example of a mid to late-90’s desktop, meaning it was a bit harder to move and setup than its predecessors a decade earlier. After all if you wanted portable by this era than you should just have bought a laptop. Anyway, my current goal it to find a home for the G3, and then to start some experiments using Windows 95/98 programs on it via some quick and dirty modern programming. I will let you all how that works out, hopefully sooner than later.

 

Anyway, with all that said and done I’m pretty impressed by my progress between this and last weekend, and the original backlog of console and online games that reached 101 six months ago is now down to 3, and by the way I added 56 more games in addition to this over the last six months as well. Sadly, I still have 18 PC games out there needing testing and cataloging, but hopefully the above mentioned G3 experiment will help with that. Here’s to hoping I never reach a backlog that bad again.

 

So I hope you all had a good weekend too, and that this next week goes smoothly for you so you can get back to gaming next weekend yourselves!! Cheers!!
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