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BetaWolf47
01-31-2010, 08:22 PM
I'm reading up on all of these classic computers, most of which were before my time. I'm interested in knowing more about them and their games. However, having not been around, or old enough to know what they even were back during the heyday, looking into the past has offered nothing but confusion for me.

I know of these systems: Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64, Apple II, Commodore 16, Atari ST, Atari 8-bit family, DOS, MSX, MSX II, and Sharp X68000. However, it gets more confusing, as each computer has about 6 different models. Amiga even has a CD add-on! That, and there are more gaming computers I haven't even mentioned! It's almost as confusing as Sega Genesis's line of consoles.

What sites do you guys recommend to go to learn more about them? Yeah yeah, Google and Wikipedia... but I want personal recommendations from fellow gamers here.

phreakindee
01-31-2010, 09:21 PM
Honestly, I use Google and Wikipedia most often. From there it leads me to various sites that help with each system. There are some places with generic info on each of these, like http://www.old-computers.com/, http://oldcomputers.net/ and Dave's Old Computers (http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/). Tons of info at these places and they are where I check first.

Somewhat of a personal plug, I have been making videos to answer this problem, especially regarding different versions of each machine and what to look for when starting out with them. Here's what I have so far:

IBM PC / DOS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fkT0H-RQd4)
Commodore 64/128/etc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP4zuV2szYU)
Atari 600XL/8-bit family (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSLLLh2sFa8)
Commodore VIC-20 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecxADZwybfE)

BetaWolf47
02-01-2010, 08:52 AM
Thanks, I'll be sure to check those out when I have the chance. The most confusing thing is choosing the right version of a game when it got a multi-platform release. Shadow of the Beast, for example, was released on Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, as well as various consoles. The Amiga version was the original and is supposedly the best, but I have little way of knowing.

It's kind of cool how computers back then had console-style video games, and superior versions in many cases. I could start a "way back when" rant right now about today being all FPS, but I was only 4 years old when Doom came out so I've hardly got the right... heh.

phreakindee
02-01-2010, 09:59 AM
Ah, I see your dilemma. The magazine Retro Gamer is about the only people I've seen that did that, where they choose a game and compare it across all platforms. There was an online retro magazine that did this too, I can't remember it though. Still, this doesn't help if they don't have the specific game you're looking for. I wish there was a more accessible way of looking at which systems carried the best version of a game, other than comparing the screenshots and reviews on Mobygames.

Ze_ro
02-01-2010, 01:39 PM
I know of these systems: Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64, Apple II, Commodore 16, Atari ST, Atari 8-bit family, DOS, MSX, MSX II, and Sharp X68000. However, it gets more confusing, as each computer has about 6 different models.
To make things even more confusing, in a lot of cases, the different models can have completely different capabilities which hurts compatibility (ie, a game programmed for the Amiga 500 may not necessarily work on an Amiga 4000). Figuring out this kind of crap can be a huge pain the ass. Check out this thread (http://www.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?t=137869) for recommendations on what models of computers are likely your best bet. If you have any specific questions about hardware, this forum is a good place to ask.


The most confusing thing is choosing the right version of a game when it got a multi-platform release.
Well, there are three schools of thought here:
Get it on your favourite system, the one you feel most comfortable using.
Get it on the original system that it was programmed for, so that you can get the version that most accurately reflects the developers vision (for example, the C64 version of Ultima III is a fairly crappy port of the original Apple II version).
Get it on the most advanced system, as it will presumably have the best graphics and sound, and possibly more content (this works well with arcade ports, as each version is usually programmed separately anyways).
Which version is "best" really depends on the individual game, and occasionally on your own preferences.

--Zero

Soviet Conscript
02-02-2010, 12:22 AM
Which version is "best" really depends on the individual game, and occasionally on your own preferences.

--Zero

truth, i always try to get the "definative" version of a game but thats not always an easy task.

btw i really enjoyed those videos phreakindee, i have the itch to pick up a a 5150 now.

Jorpho
02-02-2010, 02:39 PM
There was an online retro magazine that did this too, I can't remember it though.Retrogaming Times (http://www.tomheroes.com/Video%20Games%20FS/Retrotimes/retrogam.htm). HG101 (http://www.hardcoregaming101.net) does that sort of thing a lot as well.

Ed Oscuro
02-02-2010, 03:36 PM
I thought there were closer to 12 models of X68000 than six. Six major revisions during the time the system was popular, sure. It gets more fun if you count up known case color variants.

BetaWolf47
02-02-2010, 04:00 PM
I thought there were closer to 12 models of X68000 than six. Six major revisions during the time the system was popular, sure. It gets more fun if you count up known case color variants.

Woah, wait what? There's more than just revisions?

Flack
02-02-2010, 06:45 PM
I suppose it would be handy if everybody picked a line of machines and did something like this:

VIC-20 (incompatible with the C64)
Breadbox C64 (the original)
C128 (100% backwards compatible + 128 + CP/M)
C128d (redesigned C128)
C64c (redesigned C64, 100% compatible, altered sound chip)
SX64 (portable/luggable c64, built in drive+monitor)
C4+ (not C64 compatible, had 4 built in productivity apps)
C16 (not C64 compatible, didn't even have the 4 productivity apps)
C64GS (rare, cart-only C64)
C65 (unreleased)

Something like that?

BetaWolf47
02-02-2010, 07:10 PM
That'd be helpful for anyone here like me who was a child of the 90's. Except you'd need to be more specific, since IIRC Commodore 16 is a totally different system than Commodore 64 or VIC-20.

Ed Oscuro
02-02-2010, 09:26 PM
Woah, wait what? There's more than just revisions?
I've seen gray and black case versions of the Ace HD, at the least. Are you counting the Compact / regular versions too? The Compact units have 3.5" drives and are much smaller (at least a XVI compact is much smaller than the usual, between 1/2 to 1/3 as wide).

Ze_ro
02-02-2010, 11:57 PM
That'd be helpful for anyone here like me who was a child of the 90's. Except you'd need to be more specific, since IIRC Commodore 16 is a totally different system than Commodore 64 or VIC-20.
The Commodore 16 and the Plus/4 are part of the same line of hardware, though it's not immediately apparent. This line was sometimes known as the "Commodore 264" series while in-development, and it's sometimes still known as that. Commodore always wanted to have two computers in each series... one powerful expensive model, and a cheaper entry-level model. In this case, the Plus/4 was the powerful model, with more memory and built-in software. There were two other models too, the Commodore 116 (which was basically the same as the 16, and only released in Europe) and the 364 (An enhanced machine with voice synthesis, but was never released).

The 264 series was based around the TED video chip, and did not have a SID chip... It cannot run C64 or VIC-20 software, and was generally considered inferior. It also didn't help that many ports and interfaces were also incompatible, including the joystick port. The Commodore 16 only had 16k of memory, which was downright pathetic at a time where 64k was standard. The Plus/4's built-in software is generally considered to be terrible (but at least it's available at the press of a button). The relatively poor sales of the systems also meant less software was available. On the plus side, the machines use a more advanced BASIC, and the video hardware offers more colours then the VIC-II chip (even though it lacks hardware sprites).

While it's hard to find a single page that has everything, there are many platform-specific sites. For example, this site (http://www.zimmers.net/commie/) is good for Commodore stuff (click on Gallery/Collection for a list of basically ALL Commodore hardware).

--Zero