December 6th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Atari, Atari 800, arcade, joystick, custom joystick, projects, dad, Nibbler, Asteroids, CX40, Atari 2600, Sanwa, Amazon
I've been playing around with making my own custom joysticks recently. Just yesterday, I built this Atari VCS-compatible unit you see above using a Sanwa arcade joystick assembly and two Sanwa arcade buttons, both of which are available on Amazon.
I also used an old Bud project box from my late father's things for the housing, some screw-in rubber feet on the base, a cord from a non-working Atari CX40 joystick, and some scrap steel inside to give the stick more weight and heft.
I built it mostly so I could have a 4-way only joystick for maze games on the Atari 800. (The Sanwa joystick is switchable between 4-way and 8-way upon installation.) The result is absolutely incredible either handheld or set on a table, and my high score in Nibbler has gone through the roof.
On this joystick, both buttons do the same thing, although my next Atari model will probably have three buttons — one for fire, one for up, and one for down so I can play Asteroids on the 800 like a pro.
December 21st, 2015 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, art, computer art, KoalaPad, KoalaPainter, tablet, Atari, Atari 800, Christmas, dad, Polaroid, 1984, 1985
A Christmas Tree in the Window
Back in the day, my dad bought a KoalaPad drawing tablet for our Atari 800. Perhaps that very December — in 1984 or 1985, he drew this scene of the front of our house at Christmas time, complete with a view of our Christmas tree through our living room window. So proud was he of his creation that he snapped a photo of it with a Polaroid camera, and that's the print I am showing to you now.
Merry Christmas from Vintage Computing and Gaming!
[ From Personal Polaroid SX-70 print, ca.1985, front ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you draw any Christmas art on your computer when you were a kid? Tell us about it.
May 18th, 2015 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Personal Software, Infocom, Zork, Apple II, TRS-80, Atari 800, brother, Monty Plays Monopoly, Arcade Classics, interactive fiction, Byte, 1981
A scene from "Zork: Brick Collector"
This is it, folks: an early ad (maybe the first) for the original commercial release of Zork, the famous Infocom text adventure, published by Personal Software ca. 1980 for the TRS-80 Model I and III home computers.
(This site has some wonderful background history on this release.)
I love the artwork featured in this ad. It is excised from the full cover art for the Personal Software version, which captures a great deal of the majesty and wonder of the seminal adventure title — plus a hefty dose of out-of-place machismo.
The mere mention of Zork takes me back to the mid-1980s when my older brother delved into the Great Underground Empire with the aid of photocopied maps and worn out InvisiClues on our family's Atari 800. Warm, fuzzy memories. Of course, by then, Infocom published the title directly.
[ From Byte, February 1981, p.31]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite text adventure game of all time? (Modern ones count.)
March 23rd, 2015 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Apple, Atari, Apple II, Atari 800, Hi-Res Adventure, Bob Davis, Ken Williams, Ulysses, Sierra, graphical adventures, adventure games, computer games, advertisement, Compute, 1982
HI-RES ADVENTURE #4
[ From Compute!, June 1982, p.15 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite static-screen graphical adventure game of all time?
March 2nd, 2015 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Atari, Atari 800, personal photo, Polaroid, brother, Jeremy, slime, bedroom, 1983
My brother Jeremy playing Slime on the Atari 800 in his room, Jan 14 1983
[ From Personal family Polaroid print - January 14, 1983 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: When you were a kid, did your parents let you have a computer in your bedroom?
June 23rd, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Lucasfilm, Koronis Rift, Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 800, first-person shooter, advertisement, Compute
A convincing illustration of a migraine headache
After seeing this ad, am I the only one who has the urge to play Lucasfilm's Koronis Rift on the Oculus Rift? Retro stereo 3D action!
See Also: The Eidolon (RSOTW, 2013)
[ From Compute! - November 1985, p.35]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Can you think of any vintage games that would translate well to the Oculus Rift?
February 4th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Olympics, Epyx, Winter Games, Summer Games, Summer Games II, Macintosh, Atari 800, Apple II, Commodore 64, Compute, advertisement, 1985
Just in time for Sochi. Sorry for the page fold.
[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.37]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite winter sport(s) video game? This is mine.
August 5th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, The Halley Project, Mindscape, space games, Atari, Atari 800, Compute, 1985
"Just tell your friends you're going on a very long trip."
As a kid, The Halley Project blew my mind.
I remember flying through the solar system, first person, in what seemed like a real-time simulation of space flight. All the distances between and positions of the planets were accurate, and you could visit each one by traversing the vast gulfs between them. It was one of the most awe-inspiring games on the Atari 800.
I haven't sat down and played The Halley Project in at least a decade, so I'm kinda fuzzy about the point of the game. I believe you're trying to track down Halley's Comet. On the way, I think you have to make stops at each of the planets in our real solar system. And, if I'm not mistaken, there's something special about the comet itself (once you actually find it) that I won't spoil for you guys.
The real Halley's Comet made a famous fly-by of our planet back in 1986. I still have vague memories of being awakened in the middle of the night when I was 5 so our family could drive out to a local school field and catch of glimpse of the comet. I remember seeing a fuzzy dot, perhaps through binoculars or a simple telescope. That real life celestial visit inspired a sort of frenzy in the media and popular consciousness here in the US, and I'm guessing this game played off of that.
I know I could look up the real plot / purpose / gameplay of The Halley Project online, complete with screenshots and analysis, but I don't want to. My warm memories are good enough.
[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.13 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you see Halley's Comet in 1986? Tell us about it.
July 1st, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Amdek, Color-I, composite video, monitor, Apple II, Commodore, VIC-20, Atari 800, Personal Computing, 1983
Tracking the shadow people on an Apple II has never been more fun.
[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, inside rear cover ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you own any composite video monitors? Which model/brand is your favorite?
February 25th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, The Eidolon, Lucasfilm, advertisement, Compute, first-person shooter, Rescue on Fractalus, Koronis Rift, Atari 800, 1985
Disney now owns this game.
In 1985, LucasFilm Games released one of the earliest first-person shooters, although they didn't know it at the time. In The Eidolon, players fluidly navigate corridors from a first-person viewpoint, shooting monsters that they encounter along the way.
The Eidolon utilizes a novel and technically impressive vector graphics engine to dynamically generate tunnel interiors from various angles as players maneuver through them. The engine also served as the basis of other LucasFilm titles like Rescue on Fractalus! (1984) and Koronis Rift (1985).
Although this game appeared on the Atari 8-bit computer platform (which I grew up with), I never got a chance to play it until about ten years ago. If I had seen it in the 1980s, it would have immediately become a favorite.
[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.33 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite pre-1996 first-person shooter?