Feels like it’s time to spend some time with my 8 bit machines after spending a year with my Macs. Started with the Vic 20 tonight and wasted 30 minutes on Spaceship Minus One. Easily one of my favorite games

The quality of modern C64 games really blows me away

Hmm, SD2IEC is mysteriously not seeing any of the files on its SD card. Probably a sign it’s too hot for retro computing today

I rekajiggered the cables on my Commodore monitor so that my Apple //c video is in monochrome green phosphor. Takes me right back to having one as a kid, though the official monitor that goes with it has a much clearer picture 🤫

Apple IIc connected to Commodore monitor with monochrome green phosphor picture

Finally had a spare moment to figure out l the source of the strange plasticy odor coming from the VIC 20. Turns out it was from the penultimate cartridge. Not sure what to make of that

Got a little desk from IKEA to put my retro set up on. I forgot how difficult positioning a large CRT on a tiny desk is, what a nostalgic experience. I quite like the end result, feels very cozy B94C702C-9E0B-4AD9-9A46-BB1E6857C9D7.jpg FB8D8AF5-1F71-41B6-960F-C5B3E87518D0.jpg

A friend sent me his RetroTink 2x to try out. A bit disappointed in the image quality, it’s very smudgy. However, this is the first time I’ve played C64 games with no lag on a modern TV. I think something like this is in my future for after my Commodore monitor gives up the ghost. 6AE75ADA-6AC3-4EC5-9D56-A1A99A15EB65.jpg

Never would have imagined that there’s a vi clone for the C64, let alone that it would be so feature complete 909D1EAF-F3D9-4443-BC9B-F9EA44DB418F.jpg

Hmm, the Vic 20 is putting off a mysterious foul odor when in use. I should probably find the source of that before I use it more…

Ordered some desolder braid. The power switch in my flat C64 is broken and needs to be replaced. This will be the first repair I’ve done with a soldering iron since my breadbin C64, hopefully it doesn’t end in disaster 😳

I thought this game – Rescuing Orc – didn’t work with the SD2IEC, but it just does not like the fastloader it comes with. I don’t even remember what this game is about, but I remember being fairly excited when I downloaded it… A8B019C2-3418-4A93-8F87-0CBA3FB19266.jpg

This is probably silly, but I recently picked up a C64 to use as my “daily driver.” Parts for the C128 are pricey, and it doesn’t have nearly as much documentation as the C64, so I want to reduce the number of hours I put on it.

There was just one fault with the C64 I got, it was missing the 4 key cap. I found a very cheap replacement, but it does not match. I kind of like how silly it looks, it gives the whole system character.

Since it’s easier to find parts and whatnot, I think that I might attempt to do more to restore this system. It would probably be good to learn how to recap a motherboard, and I do like the idea of retrobrighting the key caps. They are extremely yellow B0452EBD-2468-407C-BF90-25756D022E48.jpg

There is just something so pleasant about the VIC-20. The primitive graphics and sound make using it feel very intimate in a way that modern technology can’t match.

Got the WiModem working with the VIC-20. This is probably the oldest computer I’ve gotten online with to date. At least VICTERM emulates a 40 column display! 08D42A3D-9889-4AEF-A4AB-41C7FDA0CF9E.jpg

Cheese and Onion is both technically impressive for a VIC-20 game, and a lot of fun. Really enjoying the penultimate+ cartridge so far AD657619-39BE-47E7-B773-21F220721D73.jpg

Super excited to try out the Penultimate+ cartridge with the VIC-20! EEAF5B1E-1CE2-49B7-A0D4-5CAE7A9DFEFF.jpg

Put some replacement feet on the VIC-20. It feels like this project is now complete! Can’t wait for my Penultimate+ cartride to arrive 😃 8AFA59CB-8205-49DC-89FA-AF70371A11B7.jpg

This is probably more window dressing than anything else, but I added heat sinks to the VIC-20’s hotter running chips. Still, 🤞🏽 it helps prolong the life of its expensive and hard to source components

I also discovered the source of the video not working when I first plugged in this (the original) main board: one of the potentiometers for adjusting the video signal is broken. If you turn the machine upside-down, it causes it to lose contact with the main board and throws everything out of wack. A shake fixes it, but I’ll have to figure out a long term fix there CB62C551-67E4-4F9E-97AB-A537318B910B.jpg

I’ve set out to write a simple blackjack game in Basic with the goal of it running on the unexpanded VIC-20 eventually. I’m cheating a bit and writing it on the C128 – its coding environment is massively improved over the VIC-20 and C64. We’ll see how this goes…

Picked up a dead test cartridge. The C128 has been acting a little odd lately, figured it’d be good to test that its parts are doing ok AA941E80-01C8-46CE-92F6-B6746D59E435.jpg

I think the VIC-20’s case came out well. I was able to scrub off most of the marker and paint. I wouldn’t say it’s like new, but I’m quite pleased with where it’s at 48F61811-5ABB-4A3A-8839-5FB2697530F5.jpg F6250D7E-2ADE-4FA1-8892-883CC74A0FB0.jpg

I hit a bit of a snag in my plan. The “known good” VIC-20 main board I had turned out to be not so good. When I plugged it in to test it, the video output was garbled! Fortunately, the original main board turned out to be ok. Just had to adjust the potentiometers controlling the video signal 1E81195F-27D4-4A98-9659-C07BB06EAC39.jpg A204BA44-0975-49AC-BECA-102941D315DC.jpg

The keys dried nicely over night, I was able to put them all back on this afternoon. I’m quite pleased with the result, they feel clean to the touch. I didn’t realize what a horrible sound the caps make when being reattached though, it sounds just like they’re snapping! B230B66C-4908-42E7-B31D-A4F0F9002909.jpg 0502078C-46D0-44E1-B186-4E1DF55D5D23.jpg 64D47BE1-01DE-4947-8B42-44BA2130B28E.jpg

Although I got this VIC-20 with the intention of putting my working main board in it, it seems there are signs of life in the one it came with. Might be worth attempting to fix 🤔 EE70A9EF-7AF7-4BD0-966E-BC4DE89CAB6C.jpg

Case is looking much better after a scrub with soapy water. This must have been a kid’s computer in its previous life. Need to get more cleaning supplies, and I’m hoping I can get this in like new condition again 30A39A57-CE0B-4527-B835-0694318794B7.jpg 1CCDD3E1-76A5-48E8-AD22-A51F1E81C6D8.jpg