• Stuck in the Middle with the Fujitsu FM-8

    Many vintage computers have advanced hardware, great software libraries, or even both. But how many of them have gravitas. The desk presence that when guests who don’t follow vintage hardware walk into your house and see it, they say “wow” and want to know at least a little more. The Apple ][plus has it. And that, along with two 6809 CPUs, is what Fujitsu brings us with the FM-8. Unfortunately, it might be one the modern enthusiast should give a miss. Let’s dig in.

  • The Last of the First: The Magnavox Odyssey 500

    The very first television video game dates back a circuit built by Ralph Baer in 1966; he used vacuum tubes as he was more used to them. This circuit, transistorized in 1972, became the Magnavox Odyssey. With the circuits moved to ICs in 1975, it became the Magnavox Odyssey 100 and 200, adding some new capabilities. But now it’s 1976, and that little circuit’s at the end of the line. The Magnavox Odyssey 500.

  • Taito's Mini-Vaders: Why Should Dottori Have All the Fun?

    Remember Sega’s Dottori-kun? A small game built using discrete logic whose sole purpose in life was to allow Sega’s “candy cab” machines to pass Japanese electronics regulation, and then be thrown in the garbage. Well, you might wonder, if Sega had to do that, surely other companies did too. And you’d be right: here’s Taito’s take on the concept. Sega went back to a late 70’s classic game of theirs; did Taito do the same?

  • Composite Mod from Scratch: Atari's Pong Sports IV

    If we’re doing all these pong articles, we might as well get a real, authentic, Atari Pong. So much like with their Pinball, we’re not, but are doing the next best thing: Sears, Roebuck & Co.’s Tele-Games Pong Sports IV. From day one, Atari’s Pong games had a standout feature: full color. How did it work? And how did it look? Plus, this’ll be one of my first serious attempts to build a composite circuit without assistance, and it’ll go… okay.

  • Fixing my Yamaha Electone ME-50: An FM Synthesizer Home Organ from 1986

    The home organ is, at least in my home of North America, a dead market, mostly because synthesizers can do pretty much anything the old beasts could. Nevertheless, because I am that kind of person, I have a 1986 Yamaha Electone ME-50, which I’m not very good at playing; I won’t subject you to that though. This old beast needs some maintenance, and we’ll do that.

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