Retro Scan of the Week: A Very TRS-80 Christmas

December 25th, 2006 by Benj Edwards

TRS-80 Color Computer Christmas Advertisement

The TRS-80 Color Computer (CoCo), as seen in this 1982 ad, has a special place in my heart because it was one of the first old computers I obtained when I started collecting them thirteen years ago. A family friend heard about my new hobby and donated the machine to me, complete with a disk drive and some cartridges. I had lots of fun learning the machine's particular brand of BASIC (I still maintain that the BASIC manual for the TRS-80 CoCo 1 is one of the best computer manuals ever created).

I also had a blast playing with the CoCo's Audio Spectrum Analyzer cartridge, which lets you graphically view an audio frequency spectrum through input from the machine's cassette jack. It had a really neat kaleidescope mode that was a lot like "visualizers" on MP3 player software these days. I spent hours MUSHing (not on the CoCo, of course, but on a PC) while listening to classic rock on the radio, all while the kaleidescope effects from the music played out on a RGB monitor beside me. Good times.

Strangely enough, the distinctive chiclet keyboard on the CoCo 1 never bothered me at all — it is probably the most usable and comfortable chiclet keyboard out there. And knowing chiclet keyboards, that's saying a lot. All in all, the CoCo was a great little machine. Did anybody else out there have one?

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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10 Responses to “Retro Scan of the Week: A Very TRS-80 Christmas”

  1. KitsuneDarkStalker Says:

    Merry Christmas! Hope everyone's was as good as mine. :)

    RedWolf, did the Audio Analyzer cart also let you sample audio?

  2. Daniel Says:

    Merry Christmas!

    Fun stuff! My first computer was a CoCo I, like the one pictured. My father got it for me because I couldn't wait the year it would take to get our first IBM PC.

    Thanks for these retro scans - I really appreciate them.

  3. KitsuneDarkStalker Says:

    Where is everyone?

  4. RedWolf Says:

    I think everybody's playing with their new Christmas presents / hanging out with family / out of town. :) How was your Xmas, Kitsune?

  5. KitsuneDarkStalker Says:

    It was good, the only gaming related things I received were an issue of PC Gamer and an Action Replay for my Gamecube tho…

  6. Randy Says:

    Thanks RedWolf. Brings back a lot of memories.
    I have a copy of the Premier Edition of the Color Computer News magazine. It's yours if you would like it.

  7. RedWolf Says:

    You're welcome, Randy. I just sent you an email.

    Oh, and Kitsune, the Audio Analyzer cart didn't let you sample audio. That would have been an absolutely amazing capability for the time!

  8. Zimriel Says:

    Wish some people would scan their old CoCo News (or early CoCo Ads or even CoCo Cassettes printouts). CoCo Magazine fell off around Dec '83; it was nice for us kids, with the Sorcerer's Puzzles feature, but nothing like the game quality of CoCo News.

  9. Aaron Newell Says:

    I had a CoCo gray ghost (chiclett keyboard) and later a 512k CoCo 3. I ran a CoCo users group in Orlando FLA in the mid 80′s Great machine.

  10. Shaenet Says:

    We had these in High School in the late 80′s early ninties. Kids called them "Trash" 80′s. They were always breaking. More than likely because of the students that were using them.

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