• Tag Archives Radio Shack
  • K-Power (November/December 1984)


    Source: K-Power – Issue Number 8 – November/December 1984

    In the early 1980s, there were several computer magazines oriented towards kids. Most of them didn’t really last very long. K-Power, despite incorporating another short-lived kids computer magazine, didn’t survive much longer than a year. The November/December 1984 issue includes:

    Features

    • Space: The Fun Frontier – A look at computer games for Trekkies!
    • Let Your Computer Organize Your Hobby! – Need help sorting out your collection? Here it is! Plus, a look at hobby software. And a program to help you organize your hobby!
    • Computer To Go – K-POWER’s guide to buying a portable computer. And a chart of portables you might go for.

    Departments

    • Editor’s Note – How to make your computer part of the holidays.
    • Logon – Pen pal information, reader requests, and a coconut!
    • Compuzine – The lowdown on new computer TV shows. Plus, an exclusive repot from a computer trade show, Silicon Alley, and Scrolling Dough.
    • Dr. Kursor’s Klinic – The Dvorak keyboard, and big news for Timex owners.
    • K-Net – How to battle on-line frustration.
    • Screening Room – Reviews of Amazon, Cell Defense, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, Jack Attack, and Castles of Dr. Creep.
    • Strategy – Zork hints! And, how to survive fantasy/role playing games.
    • Classified
    • Contest – What’s the use of computers?

    Hacker Heaven

    • Programs – Palindrome Construction Kit, Music Gizmo, Amazing Drumulator, and Melodies from Mars. Plus, the winners of the Word Twister Contest.
    • Pixel That! – Take off with the E-Z Flight Simulator.
    • Compucopia – Encoder/Decoder Contest winners.
    • Microtones – Musical Stings – mini-routines that play tunes! For the Apple, ADAM, CoCo, and more.


  • Dungeons of Daggorath (TRS-80 Color Computer)

    Dungeons of Daggorath (TRS-80 Color Computer)

    http://darth-azrael.tumblr.com/post/177285712699/dungeons-of-daggorath-trs-80-color-computer

    While many games released for the TRS-80 Color Computer were mediocre and derivative, if not direct rip-offs of more popular games, Dungeons of Daggorath is an exception. This early role-playing game was among the first to offer a real-time, first-person point of view. This game has made an impact on popular culture including appearances in “Ready Player One” (the book…apparently it didn’t make it into the movie) and as album cover artwork.

    Dungeons of Daggorath was quite sophisticated for its time (released in 1982), featuring a number of complex mazes to navigate, various weapons and items to use and a variety of monsters. Instead of numbered stats, the game featured a heartbeat that got faster the more at risk the player was. The game was played by typing in simple commands (turn, move, attack, etc.) The goal is to ultimately defeat the wizard at the end of the last level of the dungeon (level 5).

    Dungeons of Daggorath was one of the best selling games for the Color Computer. Tandy produced a sequel titled Castle of Tharoggad but the original team was not involved and the game was not as good and sold poorly. In 2001, Dungeons of Daggorath was released as freeware by the author and the source code became available for a small fee. This led to ports for Windows, Linux, PSP and other platforms. The original Windows port was done way back in 2003 but there is a newer Windows 10 port available for free on the Microsoft store as well. Of course, there is always the option of using original hardware or emulation as well.


     


  • Tandy TRS-80 MC-10

    The Tandy TRS-80 MC-10 was Tandy’s attempt to compete with the Commodore VIC-20. Released in 1983 and based on the TRS-80 CoCo 1, this machine retailed for a paltry $119.99, which did not give you much at all. It used a Motorola 6803 CPU clocked at 890KHz (that’s under a megahertz!) with 4K RAM and 8K ROM featuring BASIC. It could do color video with the same MC6847 found in the proper CoCo system, and be upgraded to 20K RAM with an addon.

    However, it was a complete and total mess. In 1983, a new microcomputer was expected to have things like:

    • Full travel keyboards
    • Disk drive support
    • Medium resolution graphics
    • 64K of memory

    This system has a chiclet keyboard, only used cassette tapes, low resolution graphics, and barely any memory. It also has really bad RS-232 serial functionality. The 6803 CPU has a built-in UART, so it SHOULD be able to do it without needing any special hardware or hacks. But the engineers only provided one timing crystal – a 3.58 MHz TV colorburst crystal to properly generate video – which did not divide correctly for serial communication timing. Instead, all serial communications are done manually in software, which results in a very unstable and difficult-to-use connection. The MC-10 was canned in 1984, less than a year after it was released. Now, what to do with all that unused stock…

    http://darth-azrael.tumblr.com/post/171535130100/tumblokami-the-tandy-trs-80-mc-10-was-tandys

    Tandy produced a confusing array of incompatible computers with the TRS-80 label. First up was the main TRS-80 line that started with the TRS-80 Model I and continued through the Model IV many years later. These were all essentially compatible with each other. Then there was the TRS-80 Color Computer line. This was a completely different line of computers that was incompatible with the first though they were sold at the same time. The Color Computer line eventually dropped the TRS-80 designation and was just known as the Tandy or Radio Shack Color Computer or CoCo for short. The last in that line was the CoCo 3.


    Then there were the one-off machines that weren’t compatible with anything else. There were a number of these. The one pictured above is the TRS-80 MC-10. It was basically a scaled down version of the Color Computer meant to compete with inexpensive computers like the Commodore VIC-20 and the Sinclair ZX-81. Released in 1983, it was really much too little and too late. By 1983 the VIC-20 was on its way out in favor of the Commodore 64, a much more advanced machine. The same was true of the ZX-81 which never had a huge amount of success in the U.S. anyway.


    The TRS-80 MC-10 had a number of big disadvantages. While it was only $120, the VIC-20 was already (or would soon be) $99. The VIC-20 only had a 22-column display (without add-ons) but it had excellent hardware and software support and a much better keyboard. The MC-10 had basically the same graphics capability as the Color computer (based on the MC6847 VDG) but it used the less advanced Motorola MC6803 processor (as opposed to the 6809 in the Color Computer). This and other differences made almost all Color Computer software, even most BASIC software, incompatible with the MC-10. The MC-10 only ever had a very limited amount of cassette based software available for it.


    The MC-10 would only be on the market for about a year. By the time it was released in 1983, the world was moving on the bigger and better computers. The Apple II had already been around a while, the Commodore 64 and IBM PC had recently been introduced, and because of the Commodore instigated price war, Atari’s 8-bit computers and others were rapidly dropping in price. The MC-10 just didn’t have much of a market.

    For those that have an MC-10 or are interested in seeing what one was like in action, checkout http://faculty.cbu.ca/jgerrie/Home/jgames.htmlwhich has tons of mostly fan-made games (screenshots of a few above). For those with a real MC-10, most of these require the 16K expansion. However, there is also an emulator linked at the top of that page.