VCF Midwest 17/2022 Pickups

Just like last year the Vintage Computer Fest Midwest (VCF Midwest) was held in Elmhurst, IL in September. It was my first time attending last year and I don’t know that anything could quite prepare me for how much of a nerd heaven it ended up being. Meeting new people within the hobby, seeing so many cool things and being able to experience so much… it was almost too much!

Well this year was even more bonkers. Exhibition rooms filled to the brim with celebrities (LGR or 8-bit guy anyone?), tons and tons of vintage equipment and lots of opportunity to buy things. I don’t think I could accurately describe it in just a few paragraphs but needless to say it was an awesome event. If you have any chance to go I’d highly recommend it, it’s a great opportunity to come together as a community. I’m planning to go again next year but for now enjoy a video where I go over some of the items I picked up while I was there this year!

Livestream 10/6/22 – Swedish PC Gamer January 97

Someone asked me about doing another magazine read through and showing off some of the cover disc demos again like we had done before. When they also mentioned it had been a year since we did it the last time I was a bit blown away. It felt like it was just a few weeks ago!

No time to lose obviously, so I brought out my trusty Pentium 166 MMX again which is very era appropriate for the January 97 timeframe this magazine was published. It is a huge round of nostalgia for me, personally, to go through this since I read this cover to cover as a kid (teenager). I got most of my gaming news, reviews and industry insights from magazines just like PC Gamer. While the US version of the magazine had even more content, seeing one that was local to my region was a treat. I subscribed to it for a few years so expect to see more of these in the future.

For now check out the replay below where we go through the magazine, remember the era fondly and lastly try out some of the games on the cover disc.

Livestream 9/30/2022 – Simon the Sorcerer

During the 80s and 90s it was hard to argue the hold that Lucasarts and Sierra had with their adventure games. While many different companies tried different approaches to the classic, point and click, adventure style those 2 companies had the market nearly cornered. That’s not to say there weren’t other studios making excellent games in the genre but bring names like Monkey Island, or King’s Quest up and you see what I mean.

One studio trying to show their take on the genre was Adventure Soft. They created the irreverant teenager Simon to star in their game. The game has Simon, being bored with his homework, get accidentally transported into a fantasy world trying to find a way to get home again. Featuring what I’d call very British humor, it’s an incredibly solid addition to the genre. The gameplay follows the Lucasarts mold where you don’t have any game over screens (looking at you Quest games), and actions are done through a list of verbs at the bottom of the screen.

The art is gorgeous, the puzzles mostly make sense and the humor really is befitting the game. All in all if you enjoy point and click adventure games from the 90s this is one to definitely check out. We played my original copy of the game which is the CD, “talkie” version. This replaces all the text found on other versions with a fully voiced soundtrack. It’s still a fun game so check out the replay below!

Livestream 9/15/2022 – Tandy 1000 SL

It’s September yet again which brings the recurrent event SepTandy. Each yeah content creators celebrate and covers all things around the computers and items produced by the company Tandy. The computers were manufactured and sold by RadioShack for a large portion of the 80s, mostly in the US but distributed across the world as well. Many games featured explicit support for the Tandy 1000 series of computers and they saw wide adoption. As close to consumer PC standard as we got for the era, all things considered.

The Tandy 1000 line of computers did have a few unique things going for them. They had a special TGA, or Tandy Graphics Adapter, video card that was integrated. To the best of my understanding this was an expansion of the CGA standard (remember the… special magenta and cyan combo) that instead provided a full 16 colors. Until EGA and eventually VGA became standards TGA was quite advanced. Originally starting as a PCJr video standard Tandy took it over once that system became a flop.

There was also a special audio setup for the 1000 series computers that allowed 3 separate voices (plus one noise channel) to be played at the same time. Compare this to the PC speaker of the time and it added an entirely new layer to audio. It’s quite similar to how the Sega Master System sounded, and they share many similarities. Not all games supported all the features but for those that did, the games could be considered the superior version until later standards came along.

It’s a really neat platform to explore with many options, my 1000 SL being one of them. We had a lot of fun playing some Tandy enhanced games for the livestream so check out the replay below.

Livestream 9/1/2022 – Macintosh Quadra 610

In the lot of Macs I picked up recently was a Quadra 610. A fairly run of the mill computer from Apple around the early/mid 90s. While it may not have stood out much at the time it was one of the later 68k Macs. That is to say it’s right before Apple switched over to the RISC based CPU architecture that gave us the PowerPC platform that they stuck with for some time after.

The Quadra 610 then is something that likely sat in many classrooms as well as homes. It’s a capable machine that could likely be considered a 486 equivalent, to give you an idea on the performance. That said it had a multitude of games available. Many written for Mac games, like Marathon, and also plenty of ports, like Sim City 2000. It’s a machine that is ripe with nostalgia and neat experiences.

It was a bit of a work to get all the files I needed transferred to the computer but the stream ended up being a blast. One of the highlights was that the composer to the music in Tetrix Maxx (look it up, it’s awesome) dropped in! I’ve loved the music used there for a long time so that was quite a treat to have him visit. We also discovered that the music in the Monkey Island port for Mac is… well it’s not great. Setting the music to the lowest level of “Good”, was something else though. I won’t spoil just how truly horrible it sounds so find it in the video below.