Making Of Reset C64 Intro

By Andrew Burch

While immersed in Syntax 2015 and beginning work on an intro for Hokuto Force (which went on to be released as “Technic” shortly after), I was approached by a familiar face. Unkle K sat down and we had a great chat about family, the C64, my intros and naturally, the Reset magazine. During the chat, he asked if I was interested in doing an intro for Reset64. Given Reset is an Australian magazine and I loved the work they put into it, how could I refuse? Time passes too quickly these days and it would be another 9 months before I’d start to form the basis of the intro. But once started, it came together quickly over the following weeks and I was pleased to be involved in the Reset #10 release with an intro and this write up to accompany it.

Rather than just put a bunch of things on screen, I like to focus on the design of my intros so the effects fit with the music and there is a smooth flow to the experience. Because I have so few SID contacts to help with the music, I begin most of my intros using sidplay2 and HVSC (High Voltage SID Collection) to look for existing tracks which I think I could design an intro around. Often I have an idea of how much memory I want to allocate to music, so this means I can focus on SID files of a certain size. I have a simple script that digs through the HVSC folders looking for SID files under (or between) a certain size and then copying them to a separate folder. I then create a play list from that folder in sidplay2 and explore for suitable tracks. This allows me to create a short list of music, which I will then listen to on repeat as I begin designing the flow of the intro. For this intro, I ended up settling on a track from ECO (Raik Picheta), which I had been wanting to create an intro around for quite a while. I’ve used a few of Raik’s tracks now and love what he creates.

My goal was to create the biggest (and hopefully best) Reset intro to date. I wanted the intro to be more than just a simple greets list, scroller and logo. This meant it had to have multiple parts instead of a single screen. The chosen music track suited a multi-part intro, so I was keen to flesh out something larger than the normal intro that accompanies each issue of Reset. Because this is a milestone release, the intro should celebrate the previous releases in some form and also acknowledge the Reset64 staff. A nice transition of some kind from the start screen to the intro is always a must for me and something I would incorporate into the intro. When designing the flow of the intro, I don’t necessarily know exactly how each part will appear on screen. Mainly, I focus on what each part will represent and build on that. With these few things in mind, and the music track selected, I came up with the flow to use:

  • Transition from BASIC to intro
  • Introduce Reset intro
  • Reset team credits
  • Show logo
  • Intro credits
  • Final part (continuous play)

With some design down for the intro, I now got cracking on writing the code. With every intro I’ve done, I always have multiple parts under development at the same time. I find it a good way to avoid getting stuck on a certain bit for too long and it also helps give an early idea on how well the implementation matches what I envisioned. Each part is developed within its own assembly file, which helps avoid working in large files. For some of the larger parts, I will even split them into smaller assembly files and code each sub effect first before bringing them together. For example, the final part which has a logo swing, cycling text, scroller and border sprites started life as four separate “effects” which were eventually brought together with their own transitions into a single assembly file, which then got merged into the final release file. I’ve found this method allows me to tweak and tune parts and their transitions easily before considering them complete and ready to move into the intro. It also makes it easier to sort out bugs before intro parts are merged together. An added bonus to this is it means I can quickly test each piece in both PAL and NTSC modes too. The final intro file will contain a small section at start up that detects NTSC mode (by peeking at the value in $02A6) and adjusts some variables & instructions to improve stability under that mode.

The assembly files won’t run themselves though and need to be compiled. My choice in compiler is win2c64 which was written by Aart Bik. There are more flexible cross assemblers around, but I found Aart’s to be very easy to use and haven’t had a reason to switch. For code writing I use Sublime Text 2 and a custom syntax colouring scheme I wrote (which I could not live without!). I make use of several common C64 cross development tools like Timanthes, CharPad, SpritePad, Sidplay2 and of course VICE.

Another tool I make use of is Beyond Compare 4, which is great not only for comparing source code changes, but also comparing images. I used this in the Reset intro where I had run the logo data through some conversion routines and wanted to make sure that the before and after output was the same. So before and after screen shots were taken from VICE and fed into Beyond Compare, which can then highlight pixels (bottom panel) where my conversion had faults.

A final piece of software I make frequent use of is Fraps. This tool allows me to capture the intro running in VICE to a video file for playback. This is extremely handy when graphical glitches occur on screen and you can then go back and watch them frame by frame to help diagnose the cause. This was used a few times on the Reset 10 intro where the transition code between parts had some conflict, which resulted in brief graphical glitch flashes and some cases where rasters were flickering. I often find the cause is usually raster interrupts fighting or a timing issue.

Along with the software mentioned, I also have a library of Lua scripts I have developed over the course of my C64 projects which are used to export and transform data into a state ready to be used in one of my assembly files. This includes things like data exporters for sprites, fonts, music, logos and scroller message formatting. There are some days where I spend more time tweaking and improving my tools than I do coding intro parts, simply because of the benefit they offer to the current and future projects. My choice in Lua is simply because, at the time I got back into C64 coding, I was working in the games industry on PS3 & X360 games and used Lua daily. So I found it quick and easy to get my early script library together. I’ve not yet had a reason to switch to something stronger.

I always like to see a transition in an intro from the start screen as I think it’s a nice presentation touch and starts the intro off nicely. For this intro I settled on fading each line of the screen to black (in a pattern), while leaving a nice bright RESET tag in the lower right corner. I use a colour table to ensure that the fade to black looks reasonable no matter what the colour ram, background and border colours are at the time the intro is run. It does however make an assumption the colour RAM is consistent across the screen. You’ll note that the border colour for each 8 pixel high character line also fades out with it, which requires raster interrupts all the way down the screen. It’s actually the same interrupt repeating all the way down, with each row containing its own indexes into the colour table. It’s a simple transition, but gets the intro off to a nice start and something I felt lacking in previous Reset intros.

With the transition done and the intro now starting, I wanted to include something that acted as an “intro to the release”. Reaching issue 10 is a nice milestone for Reset and something for Unkle K and the team to be proud of. I thought it might be good to look back at the previous releases, to see the important dates in their journey so far and then acknowledge their latest release date as part of that. There’s nothing too tricky in terms of code in this part, although originally the dates were not animated using the hardware scroll register. I added the animation to give the screen a little more life as each date fades in and out.

I wanted to dedicate a part of the intro to the team behind Reset who put it together for us to enjoy. It can be thought of as a shout out to the guys who “power” Reset64. This part went through a few design changes before the final was settled on. Originally it started a lot darker, with the scrolling text lit up using white and greys. The colour cycling was also intended to be more of a light source, circling around the text. The names were always going to glow in colour and it was hoped the darker background would put strong emphasis on the name. But the lack of colour felt dull and the “lighting” effect not as good as I imagined it would be. The light source was changed to cycling the colour RAM and brighter colours added. The scrolling “RESET64” text is achieved by rolling character data left and right, which is more efficient than using the hardware scroll and actually scrolling 12 lines of screen data. It leaves plenty of cycles free to scroll the colour ram instead. The top and bottom borders are also open, with sprites waving within. This is actually a really easy trick to perform, and requires you to switch the screen mode to 24 row mode just before the bottom border begins to render. This tricks the VIC into thinking the border is already being rendered, so it doesn’t bother starting it at raster line 250. You simply need to restore it to 25 rows somewhere in the next screen update (I usually do this as part of the frame set up in the top border).

The intro was really starting to come along at this point and I was in need of a logo. Unkle K put me in contact with Shine. This was excellent as I had been looking forward to working with him for a while. Because I wanted to swing the logo (along with bouncing it with Flexible Line Distance), I was keen for a 3 colour logo that could be converted to a character set. Keeping it at 3 colours means the colour RAM does not to be updated during the swing effect. This allows me to spend time doing other things on screen. However, this then places an annoying limit on any artist, but Shine did well to put together a logo (40×8 characters).

The logo arrived in the form of a bitmap, which I then wrote a conversion script for that converted it into unique character data and also a display matrix that could be used to render the characters to screen. This resulted in a set of 194 unique characters for the logo. Part of the conversion process was to also standardise the use of the character colour and the two multi colours. Because the logo started as a bitmap, the multi colours and character colours were not uniform across the logo. An inspection (and adjustment) of the bits for each character byte was done as part of the conversion to ensure the colours were standardised. Beyond Compare was very useful here to verify the output against the original and would highlight where bits had not been converted properly.

Although the logo would be bouncing and swinging across the screen, it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to give the logo a little more life and decided to add some animation to it. Getting another colour on the logo might be good too, so I added sprites that flash across the letters and Shines tag. I also decided to animate the stars that appear in the top left and right of the logo.

Next I thought about how I could introduce the logo onto the screen. When it appears in the final part of the intro, the logo will swing across onto screen – so that one is easy. But I want to introduce the logo earlier, right after the Reset team credits have been shown. There is a perfect part of the music where this can happen and from the first time I heard the track, I had a mental picture of a logo vertically scrolling up. I settled on using a small “trick” of the VIC hardware, which stops rendering colour and simply renders black if you have both multi-colour and extended colour modes enabled at the same time. Putting this together with a Flexible Line Distance effect, I could make the logo begin to appear from half way down the screen. This was then finished off by rendering a line which the logo could appear from, bounce on and then disappear behind again. You’ll notice in the final intro that the word “MAGAZINE” appears in the bottom half of the screen in a wave pattern. These are sprites and are not affected by the multi-colour + extended colour “trick”.

This trick was used again for the intro credits part, but this time it also hides sprites by having their colour set to black. This way the role and credit can appear from the line in different directions. One is hidden by multi-colour + extended colour being enabled and the other is simply sprite colour changing at a certain raster line. To make the sprites appear, their y position is simply updated. The text appears by again using FLD (Flexible Line Distance) to push the character data down.

With all these parts getting to their completed state, I was able to begin creating the “final” assembly file. This is where all the parts get merged together for the final release of the intro, which means I now need to think seriously about memory layout. For this sort of intro, memory size isn’t an issue – I’m not going to run out. But I’m forever conscious about what memory I’m using and where it makes sense to compress or optimise things. The code will start at $0810 and I’ll have exomizer prefix it with an auto run block on the final build. I’ll be using memory around $0b00 to $0fff for sprite data and some table data. Music will live at $1000 and the logo character set at $2800. The main 1×1 font will live at $3000 and is made up of 64 characters. The larger 1×2 font will live at $3200, followed by animated characters used in various parts. I know I’ll need to allocate a little more space for sprites based on my estimates, so will set aside some memory here for those too. I want all graphics data sitting before $4000 so I don’t have to think about bank swapping. I built in some buffers to each of the key areas to allow for change right up to the last minute. In the end those buffers will either compress right down using Exomizer, or I’ll juggle some data tables around to fill them. The rest is free for code and data tables. With that decided I create a new assembly file with the above memory mapped out, ready to start merging parts together.

Merging everything and their transitions together can be tedious work. It can also be rewarding as you see the intro finally coming together in its final form, but it can be slow going as you realise the transitions you’ve created don’t gel well with the previous part, which then requires some juggling. Or new bugs get introduced, which can be “fun” to hunt down. I’m also more mindful at this stage of memory alignment with certain code blocks and where some bits best fit together. As I bring each piece together I test both PAL and NTSC modes. This way I can see early on where there is flicker (usually in NTSC mode) and do my best to get both running well so by the time the intro is completely together there are minimal changes required to have it run under either mode.

At this stage the intro was really flying along, but I still need to code up the final part. The final part will remain on the screen until the system is rebooted. This screen will contain a few different effects, all happening at once. It’s probably one of the trickiest parts to get complete as you not only need to get each effect running, but they have to run side by side with everything else going on screen and everything needs to transition in smoothly. I manage this with some raster interrupt juggling as each effect transitions on screen until finally it just loops forever.

When designing this part, I knew it had to have the logo and it would swing and bounce (using FLD and the hardware scroll register). This would take up the first 10 rows of screen display. When using FLD to bounce the top section of the screen, you need a second FLD effect further down to balance it out. As the top FLD increases in height, the lower FLD decreases. That way the lower section of the screen remains stable all through the bounce.

In the bottom section of the screen I wanted to put the scroller and settled on a 4×4 scroller. Instead of taking up more memory with a new 4×4 font, I wanted to dynamically create a 4×4 version of the 1×1 font already in use. Creating a scroller like this isn’t too difficult (I’ve created a tutorial on my site www.0xc64.com for those that are interested). It requires 16 characters, which make up every combination of 2×2 pixel data. Then using a bit mask and some shifting as each 2×2 bit block is processed, the scroller code creates an index into those characters to build the required 4×4 version.

That left the middle of the screen empty to do something with. I thought it might be nice to show off what features would be appearing in the release. Originally this was just a blue background with colour cycling over the text. It felt too dull and as always I wanted to put more on screen. I ended up with a parallax starfield, which was split in the middle of the screen. This had stars rolling left on one side and right on the other, keeping the flow of the colour cycling on the text. Because the new issue would contain many features, I rotate through new features every so often. With the old feature being hidden with blue colour. The update code detects this and then begins to render the next feature while the colour ram and background colours match. This way the next feature smoothly transitions on to screen.

As a final touch for this part, I opened the top and bottom borders again and added some sprites with a subtle wave to give them some life. Once all the pieces of the final part were brought together (with their transitions), it was added to the final release file.

Quite often as parts evolve, I have to juggle where updates and transitions occur, as adding more things to the screen takes up more raster time. I use a simple method of changing the border colour using an inc and dec on $d020 to see roughly how many scan lines certain update / render routines are taking up. In the screen shot below for example, the final part has several interrupts performing update and rendering for various things going on in the frame. The big gap at the top is reserved for the music, frame prep and top border sprite set up. As you see down the screen, the border changes colours at certain spots, showing the rough start and end raster lines for different routines. Often these will increase and decrease depending on what code is executed in the update. Where I have routines that execute on alternating frames, I can combine these into 1 block to try and get more effects into each screen.

At this point, the intro was ready. The scroller text and feature text are placed right at the end of the intro, which makes them easy to update. I always put these sorts of things at the end since they are variable in length and I don’t want to have to shuffle code or data around if their length exceeds what I had allowed for.

Working on the intro for Reset #10 was a great experience. It came out better than I had planned and certainly hope everyone can enjoy it. Congratulations to Reset for reaching 10 releases and let’s hope there are many more to come.
One part that you’ll never see in the intro is this one. Originally it was going to form the basis of the final continuous play part of the intro. A parallax star field, with a huge vertical logo on the right. It was intended the logo be made of multi-colour sprites, which could be moved around separate to the starfield. Text would be displayed on the right, acting as the scroller. It was ditched as I wanted to do far more on the screen and felt limited by the design. The white lines at the bottom is the raster time the star field animation is taking up.

Pre-order the latest issue of RESET C64 right now from Binary Zone!

 

Neohabitat Reawakens Lucasfilm’s First MMORPG

It seems that we may have been living under a rock all this time! We are the first to admit that we aren’t massive fans of adventure or RPG style games, but when the C64 is involved, we always sit up and take note!

Now cast your mind back to 1986 when Lucasfilm Games (LucasArts) began previewing their new online game Habitat (developed a year earlier) in magazines of the time. If you are lucky enough to remember, you’d recall that the game looked bloody amazing, a cross between an adventure game and something akin to an online chat room. If your recollections are a bit fuzzy, then think of a multiplayer SCUMM game before Lucasfilm were anywhere near releasing Maniac Mansion! Then, the game went into a closed beta and didn’t see the light of day till 1988, when it was scaled back as Club Caribe. Ah, you would be forgiven in thinking that the game was lost to the sands of time. But wait, there is a new ending to this story.

Before we get swept away by the nostalgic tide, let us give you the good news – Neohabitat have reawakened the original Lucasfilm Habitat server, which is now available for anyone and everyone to play online – for free! How awesome is that! It will feel familiar to those accustomed to the SCUMM-like interface, complete with cross hairs with a modern twist, which ain’t a bad thing at all.

Who would have thought that we’d be playing an MMORPG in 2017 that was made over three decades ago! It is indeed a great time to be a retro gamer!

source: Bobby Blackwolf on YouTube

Concept art for the box cover of Lucasfilm’s Habitat game. Source: Wikipedia

 

Luftrauserz Cleared For Landing On The C64

Change your soiled trauserz peeps, as RGCD is busily flashing C64 cartridges with Paul Koller’s Luftrauserz game. Yep, you read that right, the awesome shoot’em up Luftrauserz is coming to the venerable 8-bit micro! Work is also being done on the game’s manual and case inserts which we must say, look absolutely amazing. We’ll hopefully get word on the release date very soon – we’re betting that this game will sell like crazy!

While we are on the C64 news bandwagon, RGCD are also relaunching their out of stock games, which is great news for all of you that missed out on awesome games like Powerglove, C64anabalt, Super Bread Box and Bomberland. These relaunched titles will have improved cartridge labels (see below) and newly designed printed manuals. We reckon we’ll have to hit up RGCD for a few C64 carts for the Classic Gaming Area at PAXAus 2017!

source: RGCD

Interview With Andreas Wallström: For The Love Of The C64

UPDATE 24-April-2017: Andreas has informed us that the Kickstarter has been cancelled!

The Commodore 64 was our first true love in gaming and computing. The beautiful C64 invokes great memories from decades ago, with memories feeling so vivid that they seem like they happened just yesterday!

Nostalgia is truly intoxicating, especially when meeting fellow C64 lovers like Andreas Wallström. If you don’t know who Andreas is, then this interview will give you an insight into Andreas’ passions and great dedication he has towards the fabled C64. We have been following Andreas for a while on social media and constantly refer to his awesome C64.com site. Once we found out that Andreas had a C64 book on Kickstarter, we took note as his book is unlike other C64 books we have seen or read before.

We managed to grab Andreas to tell us a bit more about himself, his passions and of course, his new C64 tome.

AUSRETROGAMER [ARG]: Hello Andreas, thank you for your time to do this interview. Before we delve into your wonderful projects, tell us about yourself – when did you start gaming and/or dabbling with gaming systems and computers? 

Andreas Wallström [AW]: My name is Andreas Wallström. I’m a 43 year old father, graphic designer, photographer, drummer and a massive Commodore 64 fan. Some time at the beginning of the 1980’s, my father brought home the ColecoVision, so that was the first machine I started with. But in 1984, dad brought home the C64, a 1541 disk drive, a 1530 tape deck, a MPS 801 printer and five Mastertronic games. That was the start of my love affair with the greatest machine of all time – which changed my life forever.

ARG: When did you discover the Commodore 64 and what was it about the C64 that got you hooked on this 8-bit micro?
AW: I got hooked pretty quickly. I was only allowed to use the C64 during weekends at first, but like the sneaky little bastard that I was, I brought friends home during lunch breaks to play games like H.E.R.O., Snoopy and Spy Hunter. Dad and I undertook a BASIC course in 1985, but that didn’t really spark my interest. The programming exercises were mainly aimed at an older audience, but I was still happy to just be near the machine. I got really hooked when I first saw crack intros (cracktros) and demos. I was very impressed when I saw text scrolling on screen for the first time!

ARG: Is the C64 your only love or do you have other computers, consoles or systems you like to use and play on?
AW: I play games and watch demos on three machines: The C64, the Amiga and the Mega Drive. I never owned a Mega Drive back in the day, but I love the games on it. Favourite games on these other two machines would be; on the Amiga: Pirates!, Defender of the Crown, Beach Volley, King of Chicago, Super Cars and Another World. On the Mega Drive, they are: Sonic the Hedgehog II, Castle of Illusion and The Lion King.

ARG: As you are a graphic designer and photographer by trade, did the C64 (or other systems) play a part in your choice of vocation? 

AW: It certainly did. My grandmother was a painter, so designing things runs in the blood. I started drawing logos and fonts on the C64 when I was 14 years old, so that was the start of my self-education in the field of digital graphics. I constantly thank the creators of the C64 and the people that inspired me along the way because it’s thanks to them that I have the job that I have today.

ARG: Your website, c64.com is a treasure trove of information on the C64 (we constantly use it!) which has been around for almost 20 years! What made you start this site? And, do you have outside (contributors) that assist you with it?
 
AW: C64.COM was started by my friends Creeper/Flash Inc and Jordan/Antic. I helped out in the beginning but wanted to do a different kind of C64 homepage, so I started C64hq.com. After a few years working apart, I suggested that we’d join forces again to create one cool site together. That was in 2006 if I remember correctly. The reason why both sites were started was simply because the undying love for the C64. We’re a small team and would love more contributors, so if anyone is interested, please apply!

ARG: Let’s get to your latest project, the Commodore 64: For the Love Of A Machine book, which is currently seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter – could you tell us a bit more about this project and what people can expect from the finished product?
AW: Since I have something of an obsession with the C64, I thought it would be a great idea to design a beautiful coffee-table book that celebrates the world’s most popular computer. People can expect a 224 pages hardback book filled to the brim with C64 nostalgia. There will be interviews with Al Charpentier who was VP of Engineering at Commodore during the creation of the C64 and he also created the VIC-II graphics chip. I have also done an interview with Bob Yannes who created the SID chip and he was one of two engineers that put the C64 together. We got a lot to thank this man, and trust me when I say, without Yannes, there would be no C64!

Apart from these guys, there are in-depth interviews with the likes of Chris Hüelsbeck, Ben Daglish and Fred Gray. People can expect an interview with programmer John Twiddy who programmed The Last Ninja. Something I’m also very proud of are the game commentaries from people that created many of the games that we love. And hey, did I mention the scans of Rob Hubbard’s original music notes? Rob wrote the music to games like Sanxion, Thing on a Spring, Crazy Comets, and Spellbound to name a few. For the first time ever, people are given the chance to gain insight into how he used to compose his famous C64 tunes.

ARG: You have managed to get interviews with some big names from Commodore and the gaming community – was this a difficult process? How did you go about securing interviews with big names like Al Charpentier and Bob Yannes for instance?
 
AW: You know, for some reason I’d like to torture myself by pursuing people, knowing how hard it is to find people that have said no to others. The interview with Mr.Z/Triad for instance was particularly challenging – It took me three years to get a ‘yes’ from him and then it took eight years to finish the interview! Obviously, the interview was started way before I started thinking of doing a book, but you get an idea what I’m willing to go through. Regarding how I secured interviews with Al and Bob, well, I’ll have to keep that myself for now, let’s just say that being in the scene since 1987 helped a lot. Oh yeah, persistence helps too.

ARG: What sets this C64 book apart from others? 

AW: The interviews for sure. You won’t find current interviews anywhere with people like Bob Yannes, Mr.Z/Triad and Dave Collier who programmed games like Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Green Beret and Hyper Sports. This is the first time he’s talking to anyone about the good old C64 days. The Rob Hubbard scripts of course make this book stand out too. I’m also putting focus on women in games which I haven’t seen in any other books. The book will also include professional photography and photos from old copy-parties and meetings that have not been seen before. I take great pride in this and I will make sure the book has a really eye-catching design.

ARG: The pledge tiers are all enticing and we are struggling to pick just one – they all look good! Got any tips on which one we should go for?
AW:
How about the associate producer one? *smiles* I would really recommend to get the physical book together with a poster from Dave Rowe and/or Steinar Lund. They’re going to look great on any wall!

ARG: Before we let you go, do you have an all-time favourite C64 game and chiptune?

AW: The impossible question and despite the figure skating events in Winter Games, that would be my favourite game. When it comes to music, one tune I always love to listen to is the main tune in Krakout by Ben Daglish. It’s fast paced, it’s jolly and the melodies are second to none!

Like all good things, even an interview must come to an end. We honestly could’ve asked Andreas another hundred questions, which he would have happily answered, but we thought we’d better let him go to concentrate on his upcoming book. As we say our goodbyes, we are left quite confident that Andreas’ book will be something quite special, for all fans! If you want to back Andreas’ C64 book, head over to Kickstarter now.

source: Commodore 64: For the Love of a Machine

 

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