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Strider

Your Favorite "Classic" Home Computer?

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As the title says, what was, or is, your favorite "classic" home computer? Hard to pick, I know. lol

For some of the younger folks, it does not have to be an 8/16 bit machine, just whatever you have the most fond memories of.

While I was a huge Commodore fan, what started my love of computers in general was the TI-99/4A, as it was the first "real" home computer I ever really got to play with. I had played with Atari, Intelevision, and Odyssey, but never a "home computer". As I said in another thread, not the best machine of the time, but my first and it looked SO cool!

My uncle had one, he worked for McDonnell Douglas at the time, and we had a family reunion one weekend at his place. I spend both days that weekend glued to that TI machine, by the end of the weekend It had made it through several BASIC programs and played just about every game cart he had for it. A couple weeks after that, he bought me one, how cool was that! I often credit him for sparking my interest in computing, from that point on, there was no going back. I was amazed by these machines and still am to this day. Although to lesser extent these days than I was back then.

So what's your story? 😁

Edited by Strider

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I started out with the Philips G7000 (Philips Videopac G7000), also known as the Magnavox Odyssey 2.

I think we had 5 or 6 game cartridges for it and my parents had to connect it to the family TV whenever we were allowed to play on it.

Later we got the Amstrad CPC464 which is actually my favorite because it is the first computer that I was able to write programs on. It had the monochrome green monitor and built-in tape drive.

I spent many hours typing in basic programs, debugging and testing them out, but as I could not read english and had no one to help, I never learned how to save my programs to tape.

In the end, the CPC646 was swapped out for a C64 as that is what all the other kids had and for some reason the C64 games were not working on the CPC464 😉

I continued doing basic programs on the C64 and I actually learned to save my programs to tape, and even floppy.

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I also started with a TI99/4A my dad bought for me (and himself) in 1982. It soon turned out be be the "wrong" choice, compared to everyone else in school (some VC20 and mostly C64)... I did some BASIC programming with it, but it wasn't capable enough for what I wanted to do with it.

But my favorite was the Atari 260ST we got for Christmas 1985. I upgraded it to 1MB of RAM myself with some soldering... also changed the keyboard later to MX switches. Then we got the 20MB external Harddrive, which was incredible!

Of course I've used it for gaming a lot... But the ST got me into "real" programming (GFA Basic, Pascal, C) and was the catalyst for my career in computer science and software engineering.

The ST was still easy to understand (it didn't have the "blitter" chip), IO chips, video and audio was all directly memory mapped. I could look at the main board and actually see how everything was connected, where the address and data bus was routed through etc.

Switching to PC compatibles in the late 8ies/very early 90ies for my professional career was a shock. Compared to the ATARI ST those were crap really. It took until Windows 95 (98) for me to get back the same "multimedia feel" and easy of use with PC compatibles. More than 10 years to catch up with the ST... 10 "lost" years!

That's why the Atari ST will always have a special place in my memories.

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As I've mentioned elsewhere,  the ZX81 was my first home computer,  and became my first closet computer when it convinced my to guy a C64 and 1541 in it's first summer on the market.

But my absolute favorite was the C128D. It was a sad day when I fried it's processor and had to retrieve the C64 from the closet.

Edited by BruceMcF
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9 hours ago, JimmyDansbo said:

*snip*

We never had the Odyssey 2, only the original, but I do remember having to share the family TV with everything until the early 80's when I managed to get my own TV in my room. lol

Spending countless hours in BASIC on the TI, good times.

8 hours ago, AndyMt said:

*snip*

I always wanted an Atari ST, but never got one, Commodore had won me over by then. I did end up with an old Atari 400 and 800 though. 😛

7 hours ago, BruceMcF said:

*snip*

I remember being reluctant to move off my TI when the C64 came out, I really did like it and had so many accessories (like the PEB, Floppy Drive, and Speech Synthesizer), but after playing with one at a friends, and seeing how much more powerful it was and what it could do, I was sold! Though I got mine used.

After the C64, the Amiga 500 was the next system that really hooked it's teeth into me, and put my C64 in the closet. Friends had the C128, and I really liked it, but buying "yet another" computer at the time was just not gonna happen. By the time the C128 dropped, I had managed to get myself a used CoCo 2, had a VIC20, and I even found a Plus/4! I was also eyeing a Tandy 1000 that I ended up getting used at a huge local flea market. So our first "new" purchase was the A500 if I recall correctly. Everything back then is a blur to me these days, as I got many of my machines used, and even more long after they were obsolete.

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For me, the TRS-80 Model 1 is near and dear to me, because it's the first computer I learned to program on, in about 1980.

What I worked with the most, however, was the Apple ][. I still have the //c I bought new in 1984. It took darned near every dime I earned that summer to buy that computer.

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I always thought the PET 4016 and the TRS-80 Model III had that nice, iconic "I'm a Computer Terminal!" feel to them.

Especially the TRS-80, because of the two drive bays mounted next to the monitor.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRS-80#/media/File:TRS-80_Model_3_01.jpg

In the mid 80s, I mocked up a next-generation computer on a whim, and it had the Model III look, with a 14" **flat** color monitor and two 3.5" drive bays.

 

Edited by rje

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1 hour ago, rje said:

Especially the TRS-80, because of the two drive bays mounted next to the monitor.

The III/4 is actually one of my favorites.  My wife doesn't agree, but I still need to get a Model III; I was recently fortunate enough to score a Model 4 with the original warranty seal still intact.

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My all-time favorite was the Apple ][+ with the 16K Language Card for 80-columns and a 20MB Apple Cider external hard disk. Most of my friends had a C64 and I loved the games but the overall user experience was definitely better with the Apple.

I was then saving for a Commodore 128 but ended having enough for an Amiga 500. I loved it but now, in retrospect, I'd have preferred the Apple Macintosh IIfx if money was not an issue!

But of course, the Commander X16 will trump them all... maybe not the IIfx but I like my memory map small... 64KB for the win!

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Those early TRS-80 models were so cool, while I never owned one, we had them in school. I can recall my first time sitting down at one, my math teacher used one in his class and he let me mess with it one day after he learned I was somewhat of a budding computer geek. I just really love the look of them, the same reason I loved the TI-99/4A so much. What they lacked in "power" they made up with in looks in my humble opinion.

The same with Apple Computers for me, I never owned one, I much preferred Commodore and DOS/PC's once we got that far. We had Apple 2's in our Tech School, so I used them quite a bit. Oregon Trail, the very first game I ever played on an Apple 2, I remember it frustrating me and loving it at the same time. Funny thing, I am also a big Doctor Who fan, and one of my favorite images I found floating around the web is this one. lol

everybodylives-small.jpg.c6bc1836d65ca67d2ebb6d1af1534dc4.jpg

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It's not something I ever owned, or had even heard of until very recently, but the ACC 8000 seems to the perfect 8bit machine: An Apple II clone with a Z80 and 6809 on the motherboard, plus built in 80 column card, floppy controller, battery-backed real-time clock, parallel and serial interfaces, RGB, NTSC/PAL and monochrome composite video output and 128K RAM, this could run Pro-DOS, CP/m and Flex OS. Oh, and a mechanical keyboard.

 

It looks great too!

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