[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Laser 128 Family

November 23rd, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Laser 128 Apple II Compatible clone machine computer advertisement - 1987A family on the move

This Apple II-clone machine became popular in the mid-late 1980s as a low-cost alternative to the Apple IIc (almost half the price but twice the RAM — scratch that, Apple IIc had 128K too), especially for home use. I have a Laser 128 in nearly pristine condition in the box, and it feels nice to use. It echoes the integrated form factor of the IIc, which makes it convenient to setup in a pinch if you need to pull out an Apple II in an emergency. Or at least that’s how I use it.

Happy Thanksgiving from VC&G

[ From Family and Home Office Computing, November 1987, p.69 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you have any Thanksgiving computer or gaming traditions? Tell us about them.

5 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Laser 128 Family”

  1. Brian M. Says:

    For Christmas 1986 my parent got my brother our “family” computer: A TRS-80 Model IV. I was so disappointed. I read about the Laser 128 the following month and decided I had to have one. I mowed lawns, shoveled snow and 5 months later after my 13th birthday I’d saved enough to afford the $499 computer.

    I used that thing until it fell apart about 4 years later. I loved it.

  2. technotreegrass Says:

    Every year since 1996, I’ve played Ristar for the Sega Genesis on Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition I fell into after finding it in the clearance bin at Funcoland the Wednesday before, but didn’t get a chance to play it until Thanksgiving day.

    I actually have quite a few gaming traditions on holidays:

    New Years Eve – Columns for the Sega Genesis. I forget why it became a thing, but it’s something I still play a few rounds of before I head out for the night.

    Valentine’s Day – Kid Icarus for the NES, because Pitt kind of looks like Cupid.

    Easter – The Lion King for the Sega Genesis, because it was the last thing I expected to find in my basket that year.

    Memorial Day – Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball for the Super Nintendo, from many fond memories of playing with my cousins at the annual Memorial Day barbecue.

    Fourth of July – Bioshock Infinite, because the Americana decor.

    Halloween – Costume Quest, so I can continue to enjoy trick or treating at the age of 30.

    Thanksgiving – Ristar for the Sega Genesis, see above.

    Christmas – whatever game I happen to receive that year.

  3. Moondog Says:

    I recall seeing quite a few of these in high school. I think they outnumbered the Apple II’s. I’m sure the price had alot to do with it!

  4. vengefultacos Says:

    > “(almost half the price but twice the RAM)”

    Twice the RAM? No… the IIc had 128K, just like the Laser 128.

    Granted, you could more easily *expand* the RAM in the 128. At least in the 128EX I have, you just need to open the thing up and plug in the ram chips. Hmm… speaking of which… I need to find some RAM chips! To do that on a IIc you needed to buy an expensive add-on card that required you open up the IIc, pull out the 65C02, plug it into the board and then plug the board into the motherboard. Later versions of the IIc had a memory expansion port in it that made things a bit easier (no processor swapping)… but still required an add-on card.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks for catching that, vengefultacos. I was thinking that the IIc had only 64K like the IIe for some reason.

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