• Category Archives Computer Arcana
  • Retro computing and other things computer related

  • Interfacing With Commodore

    Doug Crawford & Chris Fala demonstrated Commodore 8-bit machines performing similar tasks to Arduinos (or any other microcontrollers).  I always like the VCF East exhibits that mix the retro with the modern to provide perspective and a point of reference for the younger generation.

    Starting with a PET 4016, working its way through the VIC-20 and C64, all though the C-128.  Oh, and with an SX-64, C16, C64C, C128D, and Plus/4 thrown in for good measure.  Each machine was interacting with hardware just like an Arduino counterpart – both machines did the same thing.

    For the most part, the demonstration machines were simply running banks of LEDs in unique configurations.  However, the C128D was hooked into a 40 column composite display, an 80 column RGBi display, and a tiny 20 column vacuum florescent display, all operating at the same time.

    Everything was running BASIC, operating on simple peeks and pokes to interact directly with the user ports for I/O.  BASIC does a fantastic job of providing a non-intimidating coding environment for first time programmers.


  • Wasteland (DOS, Apple 2, Commodore 64)


    [DOS / APPLE2 / C64] [USA] [MAGAZINE] [1988]

    • Computer Gaming World, August 1988 (#50)
    • via CGW Museum
    • ‘Wasteland’ ring a bell to anyone? Hopefully it does, since it was a huge contributor to the book of what we see in popular post-nuke games! It even got a sequel through Kickstarter a couple years back, and before that it spawned a spiritual sequel that you may have heard of: Fallout!


    Wasteland is one of THE classic role-playing games for 8-bit computers. Unlike most RPGs, Wasteland was not set in a fantasy world of wizards and dragons but in a post-apocalyptic future. Wasteland was developed for the Apple 2 and ported to the Commodore 64 and DOS based computers and released in 1988. Originally, two sequels were planned but one was turned into an unrelated game (Fountain of Dreams) and the third was cancelled (Meantime). Wasteland was a favorite of critics and fans alike and was hugely successful but it took five years to develop which is an unheard of amount of time, particularly for that era.

    Wasteland is a turn-based RPG somewhat similar to the Bard’s Tale series by the same developers. However, the mechanics were really based on the pen and paper role-playing games Tunnels and Trolls and Mercenaries which were created by designers of Wasteland.

    Fallout, while not a direct sequel, was inspired by and has many references to Wasteland. Fallout was released in 1998 and has spawned a series of sequels and spinoffs that continue to this day. Most of these games, particularly the original, have also been huge critical and popular successes. Wasteland did not receive a direct sequel until the Kickstarter funded Wasteland 2 was released in 2014. Wasteland 3 is scheduled for a 2019 release and it appears this series is continuing the high quality everyone has come to expect from these semi-related post-apocalyptic games.

    The above ad is from the August 1988 issue of Computer Gaming World.

  • Antic – September 1986


    Source: Antic – Volume 5, Number 5 – September 1986

    Antic was a magazine for Atari 8-bit computers named after the ANTIC chip which was primarily responsible for the graphics in those machines. For a brief time in part of 1985 and 1986 Antic also covered the Atari ST until an ST specific magazine was published.

    The September 1986 issue focusses on weather and includes the following:


    • Weather Maps From Space – For Atari 8-bit and ST computers
    • Weather Fascimile Worldwide – From satellites to ships at sea
    • Music Studio – Music for 8-bit Ataris and STs
    • Build the Wefax Interface
    • New Owners Column – Lesson 6: Subroutines
    • Wefax Decoder – How to use the program, why it works
    • BASIC Tracker – Powerful debugging utility for your programs
    • Where The Weather Comes From – Inside a National Weather Service Station
    • Weather Calculator – Meteorologist uses Atari as home forecasting tool

    ST Resource

    • ST Wefax Decoder
    • – DEGAS graphics from satellite pictures

    • The Manager – Massive, full-featured database uses ST’s colors
    • ST Product News
    • Megamax – “Don’t even think about another C compiler”

    …and more!