MAX: The Forgotten Commodore Computer

commodoremax_headerWe take a closer look at the long forgotten Commodore computer, the MAX MACHINE. Step back in time and take a look at this pretty little thing in the below pics!

Before you do go wandering down below to check out the MAX, let’s just pause and reflect on this Japanese made Commodore computer that never really got any market traction. The Commodore MAX Machine (aka: Ultimax in the US and VC-10 in Germany) was a home micro computer designed and sold by Commodore International in Japan at the beginning of 1982. It was the C64’s predecessor, and hence it was swiftly discontinued when the Commodore 64 went gangbusters! Due to it’s low production run, it is now considered a rarity.

The MAX did share the same CPU (MOS 6510) and SID (sound) chip as the C64, but that is where the similarities stop. With only 2KB of RAM, the MAX Machine was severly handicapped when compared to it’s bigger and more successful brother. One saving grace of the MAX was its ROM cartridges – they worked on the C64, and it also paved the way to the ‘freezer’ carts (like the Action Replay) due to the MAX compatibility mode that was built into the C64.

For those technically minded, here are the specs to whet your MAX appetite:

Operating system: MAX BASIC (Cartridge), 2047 bytes to program in, LOAD/SAVE support
CPU: MOS Technology 6510 @ 1.02 MHz
Memory: 2.0 KB, 0.5 KB color RAM
Graphics: VIC-II 6566 (320 x 200, 16 colors, sprites, PETSCII keyset)
Sound: 3 / 4 channel 6581 “SID” chip
Ports: expansion port (cartridge), RF/TV port, audio port, cassette port, 2 joystick ports

The MAX♦Machine bundle!

Nothing too exciting on this side of the box!

The back of the box reveals something out of this world!

Not to be outdone, the sides are look lovely!

Not sure about those keys, but it’s still beautiful

Taking closer look at the membrane keyboard…

The MAX does have a few interfaces to insert bits into them!

Not matter which way you look at it, the MAX Machine has gorgeous curves

Aha, so the model reveals itself, it’s the MAX-04!

Even the MAX requires power! Oh, and it’s all RF baby!

No gaming computer is complete without a killer game! 

Hook us up to the MAX!
image source: eBay


Ausretrogamer 2016 Highlights

As another year draws to a close, one can’t help but to reflect on the year gone by. With a record number of visitors hitting the site, we had a heap of highlights in 2016, so dwindling them down to a handful proved to be harder than we thought. Are you ready? Here we go!

We started the year by learning how pinball machines work and how to troubleshoot general problems – a course that was well worth doing!

Getting the grand tour of ZAX Amusements and getting to play the newly released (at the time) Ghostbusters Pro pinball machine was a double highlight!

What better way to spend your birthday than having the awesome Ms. ausretrogamer organising a birthday mystery tour involving escape rooms, USA foods, retrogaming hunting at vintage markets, arcade action and a drive-in movie!

It is always a wonderful surprise when you go on a holiday and find a market that has retrogaming goodies! Carrara Markets delivered the thrill of the hunt buzz we were looking for!

After the birthday mystery tour, it was only fair to repay Ms. ausretrogamer in kind, by surprising her with The Walking Dead Pro pinball machine for her birthday. The look on her face was priceless!

When Marcus Sezonov extended us an invite to his Rosstown Retro Pinball Arcade tournament, we definitely could not pass up the opportunity. With a fantastic pinball collection comprising of classic machines from a variety of manufacturers from around the world, we could not stop flipping the silverball. Oh yeah, Marcus also had an original Japanese Space Invaders cocktail table to satisfy our arcade urge.

Being part of Australia’s biggest gaming event is a privilege. For PAX Aus 2016, our Classic Gaming Area was even bigger and better – more arcade and pinball machines, old school computers and consoles, handhelds from yesteryear and for the first time, a classic gaming museum!

Another PAX Aus 2016 highlight was participating in Seamus Byrne’s Geek Trash or Treasure? Finding Collectibles with Real Value panel in the Gamespot Theatre! We can now say that we popped our public speaking cherry.

Last but not least, meeting Jack Guarnieri at the recent exclusive Melbourne Jersey Jack Pinball event was a huge highlight and one we will not forget in a hurry! Oh yeah, playing the Pat Lawlor designed, Dialed In, was pretty great too!

We can’t wait to see what awesomeness 2017 brings us all! We’ll take this opportunity to thank you for your patronage and hope that you’ll come and visit us again in 2017.

Happy New Year to everyone – we hope it is a happy, healthy, successful and fun one!

 

PAXAus 2016: Classic Gaming Tournaments

paxaus2016_cg_tournamentAttention gamers: Sharpen your gaming skills now and prove your retro gaming worth in the Classic Gaming tournaments at PAXAus 2016. As usual, you can compete for fun or glory!

There will be head to head racing, high score challenge competitions on arcade machines, consoles, 8-bit computers and pinball tables to show off your prowess. Speaking of pinball tournaments, Saturday’s competition will be fully sanctioned by the IFPA!

We suggest you put the Classic Gaming tournament schedule in your diary right now. Are you game to compete?

paxaus_cga_tournaments_schedule_2016

 

2016 Reset C64 4KB Game Coding Comp Preview

reset4kbgamecodecomppreviewWith the closing date getting ever so near for the 2016 Reset C64 4KB Game Coding Competition, we thought we’d take a look at the entries so far. From what we’ve seen, these CRAPTASTIC games are looking, um, pretty darn good for crappy games squeezed into 4 Kilobytes!

If you haven’t started on your CRAPTASTIC game, then you still have a few days to enter this awesome comp. So get cracking (or coding)!

Entry #1: M4573RB4G3L5
Developer: Cout Games
Status: Submitted
Author Quote: “The coding is handcrafted from the best 12-year old script kiddies that are known to exist and spelling of equal value if you look at the listing.”
A number guessing game, in which the C64 will get revenge if you don’t play it properly!masterbagles

Entry #2: Colon 10
Developer: Cout Games
Status: Submitted
Author Quote: “Hope this game is much more friendly than M4573RB4G3L5!”
Stop the C64 timer exactly for 10 seconds without going over. If you are over, even by a fraction, you lose.
colon-10

Entry #3: Dog
Developer: Vanje Utne (Privy Software)
Status: Submitted
Run around in Shouty Human’s garden and poo as much as possible without getting caught. A very ‘craptastic’ entry from Vanja!
dog

Entry #4: Granny’s Teeth
Developer: Richard Bayliss (TND)
Status: Submitted
Author Quote: “After seeing loads of terrible games, created with Creations / Mastertronic’s / Mirrorsoft’s Games Creator, I thought it would be pretty funny if I actually created something that sort of simulated it, and squeeze it into 4K.”
granny

Entry #5: Goblin
Developer: Vanja Utne (Pond Software)
Status: Submitted
Author Quote: “It’s another game! Code/graphics/music by me. 4096 bytes of platforming action!”
The Goblin Town potato cellars have been invaded by giant potato bugs! It’s up to you to salvage as many potatoes as possible.
goblin

Entry #6: Valentine’s Day Shopping Simulator
Developer: Karmic
Status: Submitted
Author Quote: “Only 2.13kb packed :)”
It’s Valentine’s Day, and time is running out to buy your girlfriend a gift. But will she like it?
valentines-day

Entry #7: Watschinator
Developer: Endurion
Status: Submitted
Author Quote: “Have fun!”
Hit your opponent three times before he manages to do so to you. Classic fighter action gameplay!
watschinator

Entry #8: Antarctica
Developer: Antarctica
Status: Submitted
Guide an Antarctic scientists on his damaged snowspeeder to collect the supplies!
antarctica

Entry #9: Picross 4k
Developer: Oziphantom
Status: Submitted
The quirky Japanese puzzle game now on your 64. Work through the matrix and find the hidden image.
picross

Entry #10: Zombie Massacre
Developer: Wanax
Status: Submitted
It’s a zombie apocalypse, and now they have weapons! Graphics and sound by Saul Cross.
zombie

Entry #11: Lumberjack
Developer: Majikeyric (Megastyle/Protovision)
Status: Submitted
Author Quote: “Rip off your grey and boring suit and reveal the red flannel shirt you are hiding under you clothes. Let your beard grow and equip yourself with a big axe and enter the woods. Just admit it, You’ve always wanted to be a LUMBERJACK!”
Enter the forest and start chopping wood, but beware of the branches! Graphics by Rotteroy and all sound by Drumtex.
lumberjack

Entry #12: Bonkey Kong
Developer: Graham Axten (Privy Software)
Status: Submitted
Graham’s take of the original Donkey Kong, with a twist!
bonkey-kong

Entry #13: Super Ski
Developer: Andreas Gustafsson (Privy Software)
Status: Submitted
Slalom Skiing down four treacherous slopes! Graphics and sound by Vanja Utne.
super-ski

Entry 14: ? (Unknown at this stage)
Developer: Paul Koller
Status: Pending
Author Quote: “The following words are included in my c64 4KB game, in no particular order: work, nipples, died… :)”
Paul hasn’t disclosed much about his game, except for this small teaser screenshot and cryptically teasing that the theme of the game should be easily recognisable!
pk

We know that there are more registered (and unregistered) entries that are still pending that aren’t included in this update, with developers working very hard to get their games ready on time.

We wish all of the entrants the best of luck and a big congratulations to those who have managed to get their games submitted!

Thanks again to the following sponsors for supporting this wonderful competition: Retro Computer Scene, Bitmap Books and Protovision. This is all for fun, but it’s nice to have prizes for the winners!

 

Reset Podcast Episode 01: The Hewson Episode

reset_podcast_eps1_hdrIf you have ever wondered what shenanigans go on behind the scenes in creating a retro computing magazine, then you are in luck! For those of you in the know, the Reset magazine crew got together for the inaugural podcast of the same name to chat about the making of Reset issue #9 (it was the Hewson Consultants theme issue).

If you weren’t in the know, now you know! Listen in and make sure you grab the issue for free over here!


source: Reset on Soundcloud

 

Shotgun: 4-Player Death Match On Your C64

shotgun-box-contents-1What’s better than playing a death match with a friend in the same room? Playing a 4-player death match with your closest mates in the same room on your venerable Commodore 64!

Forget Goldeneye 007 on the N64, we give you Dr Wuro Industries’ Shotgun! This fast-paced death match game is available to download for free or you can grab the awesome boxed version (€16.90 + shipping) which comes in a plastic box with a flip-cover (which can be turned around to showcase the different covers), a 5.25″ floppy disk and a printed manual! The boxed version also comes with three additional extras – everyone loves surprises!

So grab the Protovision 4-player interface, plug in four joysticks, invite three of your closest friends and load Shotgun for some death match shenanigans on your C64 – let the rage begin!

shotgun-box-contents-3

shotgun-box-contents-2image source: Dr Wuro Industries

 

Press Play On Tape: The Commodore Is Still Keeping Up With You

PPOT17_TitleAs Commodore 64 month draws to a close, episode 17 of Press Play on Tape rolls in to prove that the Commodore is still keeping up with you! Hosts Alex and Aaron are joined by Ant Stiller and Hellfire64’s Rob Caporetto on a round-table discussion on everyone’s favourite 34 year old breadbin.

The group discusses what makes the system special to them, how they’ve been celebrating C64 month, and if there’s anything they’d ever do to change the system. There is also a look at some of the brand new releases that have caught their eye in recent times, and a few of the upcoming titles on the horizon.

The audience were challenged to come up with what game defined the Commodore 64 for them. The lads definitely weren’t ready for the overwhelming response – definitely proving that people are still keeping up with the Commodore!

This episode of Press Play On Tape along with all previous podcasts can be found on Podbean and also iTunes – we’d love it if you gave us a review while you’re there. It all helps!
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blahjediAaron Clement
Tassie based retro gaming guy. Father of 3 and married to the very tolerant Kellie Clement. Coffee powered!

Follow Aaron Clement on Twitter and Instagram