The retro computing and gaming museum
A few years ago, I started to go through a retro gaming and computing phase, I collected quite a few old computers and consoles from various car boot sales during this time, nowadays it's more Ebay, Facebook marketplace, and various other sitesHere is my collection presented together in groups in almost the order I originally had themLook for the links beneath each item to discover more about the system, and my collection...
Section 1: Retro computers
Commodore Plus/4 (X3)Commodore Plus/4
One of these Plus 4's was used to house a Raspberry Pi Zero and a Keyrah V2, you can read about it here
This was my very first proper computer, I previously had a Binatone TV Pong game which came from my parents.The Commodore Plus4 was a bit of an oddball, it was never as popular as the C64, lacked the SID sound chip but had slightly better graphics with 121 available colours (16 base colours with 8 luminence levels, but black is always black) but the machine didn't have hardware sprites, and compatibility with the memory lacking Commodore C16 meant cut-down games. It was common practice to develop for the least capable machine first, meaning ports to other platforms were much easier and quicker to complete.An extremely basic office suite called 3-plus-1 by Tri-Micro was built in which could only be used with a floppy disk drive, which wasn't included as standard, and you couldn't save any work to cassette which made the software completely pointless. But I loved my Plus4 anyway.I think I must of had nearly every game ever released and would spend hours playing games like Mercenary, Winter Events, Exorcist, Monty on the Run and Treasure Island firstly on an old black and white TV with varicap tuning, then a monster 24 inch colour TV with a dodgy volume control. Happy days.My original Plus4 was sold years ago, but since then I've picked up three of them. The first one stopped working years ago, the second one was found in a job-lot box and just booted to a black screen, so I put a Pi0 in it, but the third works perfectly
Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2
Following on from the Plus4, I 'upgraded' to a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128, this was the model with the large heat sink down the side that burned your hand. This was also sold and was eventually replaced with the +2 version from Amstrad, The main reason for swapping from Commodore to Sinclair was everybody I knew had a Spectrum, so games and other software was easier to get.At the time I was impressed with the sound output from the new sound chip in the 128K Spectrum and spent many happy hours playing games like Dizzy and programming in BASIC.
Commodore Amiga A500 PlusCommodore Amiga 500+
Things are starting to get serious now with the Commodore Amiga A500 Plus, a machine that was so far ahead of it's time when the original Amiga 1000 was released in 1985, it made the competition look like pocket calculators. I had the Cartoon Classics pack, the intro animation to Bart vs the Space Mutants was something else, I would spend most of my teenage years doodling in Deluxe Paint II, creating music with real sound samples in OctaMED and playing as many games as possible. Noteworthy games include, Monkey Island, Fire and Ice, Turrican 3, Xenon 2, Cannon Fodder (with that intro music) Shadow of the Beast 3 and Lemmings. Also spent lots of time watching the many public domain demos like State of the art, hardwired and Jesus on E's.I upgraded my Amiga to 2MB of chip RAM and added an external floppy disk drive.I collected both Amiga Format and CU Amiga magazines and still have all the cover disks. Happy days! However no-one told me about death from Varta, so it's dead, but the case lives on in the A500 that I bought which got destroyed by UPS
Atari STe (X2)Atari STE
I saw one of these at a car boot sale for not much money, so I bought it. Some time later I was given another one. The Amiga was better, no need to cry about it Atari fan-boys, it's true. Although I'll concede that the ability to read PC formatted discs natively and on board MIDI ports were a key selling point.Eagle-eyed readers will notice an Amiga mouse in the box with one of the Atari STe's, I don't know how that got in there, honest!
BBC Model BBBC Model B
Again I saw one of these at a carboot sale for not much money (£8 I think), so I bought it. This came with a small green screen monitor which I sold almost immediately. This Beeb has custom ROM chips in it. I don't know what they do as I never got any documentation with it, although I got an external 5 1/4 inch floppy with loads of blank disks and some unrelated cables.The BBC Micro was manufactured for the BBC's Computer Literacy project by Acorn. It was an expensive system and wasn't popular with home users, but was used widely within schools and colleges, it even had a rudimentary LAN called ECONET (*bye) with network attached storage know as the filestore. It's DNA lives on as these machines were used to simulate and develop the ARM architecture which is used in the vast majority of mobile devices (including phones and tablets) in use today. I loved being in the BBC computer room at school, and I can remember the large screen B&W monitor on metal stilts in the corner that showed what each BBC was doing
Toshiba MSX HX-10Toshiba HX-10 MSX
Another car boot sale find, a boxed Toshiba MSX HX-10 with all the manuals and three Konami games on cartridge. These were rare in the UK, I only ever knew of one other, compared to the 100's of Sinclair's, Commodore's and Amstrad's out there.MSX stands for MicroSoft eXtended, although some would argue it stands for Machines with Software eXchangeability. It was an attempt to create a standardized computing platform inspired by the success of the VHS video cassette format, there were several manufacturers producing MSX clones and the hardware was upgraded throughout it's lifetime, ending with the MSX TurboR.10 MOTOR ON20 MOTOR OFF30 GOTO 10RUN (Don't do that!)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3
Further proof that I "may" have a problem with vintage computing, this one was bought local to me and seems to work ok, but I don't have any discs at the moment. However the Easter egg procedure, and BASIC programming works great
Commodore C64Commodore C64
You know that feeling when someone posts a for sale advert in a Facebook group and you see it first? Well here we areThis one is not working at the moment, it looks like one of the CIA chips has blown meaning the 5V rail is shorted to ground causing the lack of output shown, but they're all soldered to the board. I have since acquired a C64c and a C128 to ease my C64 hunger pangs
Amstrad CPC464Amstrad CPC464
Yep, I bought one, the third player in the playground wars of the mid 80's, I don't have the monitor, but I do have the active SCART lead. One of my childhood friends had one of these, and I can remember playing all the versions of Dizzy on it, then coming back to my Spectrum 128 to play the same game
Sinclair ZX81 (X2)Sinclair ZX81
Took a chance on an untested ZX81, and as expected it doesn't work, but shouldn't take much to get working...However, I bought another one instead, and that one works great, I just need a 16K RAM pack now...
Acorn ElectronAcorn Electron
Saw this on ebay, immediately placed a bid and won, it all works, came with one game and a cassette recorder and all the leads needed to connect it up. It's the little sister to the mighty BBC Micro.Funny story, this was local to me, and I sent a message to the seller to say where I was and I'll come pick it up, and autocorrect changed the town where I live to lingerie, that was embarrassing
Commodore C64cCommodore C64c
As my C64 above needs a new CIA chip, I bought an untested C64c, and it works. My sister used to have one of these, we played Snare and Dizzy on it a lot
Dragon Data Dragon 32 (X2)Dragon Data Dragon 32
An almost unheard of machine, was only around from 1982 to 1984, very similar to the TRS-80 Color Computer from the US, I have bought two of them
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k (X3)Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k
I have three of these, The first one was an empty shell, so again, I put a Pi0 in it, the second was sold as not working, and it doesn't, but it was cheap and came with accessories, it looks like a RAM problem, and the third one works, but the case has seen better days, these were everywhere when I was little, I wanted one, but got a Commodore Plus 4 instead
Commodore Vic 20 (VC 20) (X3)Commodore Vic 20 (VC 20)
This one is in immaculate condition, for some reason it is badged as a VC 20? Anyway, I later got myself two more working Vic 20's, one came with a 16K RAM pack
Commodore C16 (X2)Commodore C16
I had been left unsupervised, and somehow managed to buy two untested C16's, one looks like it has a faulty TED (surprise surprise), but the other one works most of the time, and has been upgraded to 64K, it however occasionally fails to boot, I don't know why, however a power cycle makes it boot properly
Commodore Amiga A500Commodore Amiga 500
I won an Amiga 500 in an Ebay auction, but the Amiga got damaged in transit by UPS, so I've made one good Amiga out of two broken ones, I really want a 1200 though, do you have one to donate?
Atari 65XEAtari 65 XE
My first Atari 8 bit computer, this one is immaculate, and works perfectly, which is good as these were unreliable at best
Philips Videopac G7000 (Magnavox Odyssey 2)Philips Videopac G7000 (Magnavox Odyssey 2)
I wanted one of these when I was a child, I remember seeing them in the John Noble catalogue. This is an earlier version with the joysticks, video, and power cables permanently attached
Texas Instruments TI99/4A (X2)Texas Instruments TI99/4A
I managed to get two of these for some reason, This is the first one I've ever seen in real life, and it looks very good, one of them is in its original box. They are different revisions of the same machine, only one has the solid state software badge
Sinclair QLSinclair QL
I bought a QL, I didn't read the Ebay listing properly, it was listed as working, but doesn't come with a PSU, chaos ensues...
Commodore C128Commodore C128
I wanted one of these since like forever, it's two machines in one, a C128, and a C64, it works perfectly and came with a 1541-II disc drive
Section 2: Games Consoles
Super Nintendo (X2)Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
Yet another carboot sale find, The seller wants £10, I paid £8 but he wouldn't let me have the super scope but would let me have the related cartridge. Never understood why. This one suffered from intermittent sound before losing it completely, shame as I love Super Mario.However I recently purchased another console, and that one works fine, but has had a bad retrobright experience
Sega SaturnSega Saturn
Swapped a TV for this, it suffered with the usual bad PSU connections, once soldered it worked perfectly.Clockwork Knight and Sega Rally were my most played games.The Saturn was incapable of using pirated discs for quite a while as the disc protection data was written outside the TOC (Table Of Contents). If you observe the disc loading and checking routine, you can see the laser read the TOC at the inside edge and then move almost to the outside edge of the disc, read 'something' and then return back to load the game. Normal disc copying software only copies what it can see, ie, what's in the TOC.Maybe that's one reason the original Playstation was so popular???
Sega DreamcastSega Dreamcast
Paid £17 from Game Station when they existed and were a decent retro games retailer. I'd been fancying one of these for a while, just to play Shenmue, and to burn emulator discs as these machines did not need a modchip to play homebrew games. This one needed the lid sensor cleaning out and the common PSU pins problem fixing.Four player ChuChu rocket is insane!I did get quite a few accessories for this console as you can see in the picture. Keyboard, mouse, VMU's and rumble packs. I managed to connect it to the internet after receiving the update disc in the post from Sega themselves.The House of the Dead with two light guns and Virtua Fighter 2 kept me entertained for quite a while.
Sega Master System IISega Master System 2
The Master System was donated to me and it does work although I never really played on it. However the wife has fond memories of playing Miracle Warriors from her childhood, so I bought it.
Sega Mega Drive II (X4)Sega Mega Drive 2
I paid £5 for a box of four Mega Drives and some other unrelated stuff, No powerpack between them and I didn't have anything suitable, so I've no idea if they actually work, maybe I'll put a Raspberry Pi in one..?
Nintendo 64 (X2)Nintendo N64
Another carboot sale find, Goldeneye and Super Mario 64 were epic! The World's first true 64 bit console, The Atari Jaguar claimed to be, but it used 2 x 32Bit (GPU and DSP) and the Motarola 68000 (32bit internal processing with a 16bit external data bus, same chip as used in the Amiga A500) as the controller, with a 64bit data path between them.
Sony PSoneSony PSone
I bought this for the kids, we didn't really use it that much. We all know the story of why Sony entered the console market, however many years before they produced a MSX clone so the Playstation wasn't Sony's first venture into the world of gaming, as many people think.
Microsoft XBOX 360 (X2)Microsoft Xbox 360
Somebody gave this to me, in the wrong box of course. This only has a 60GB hard disk, but it seems to work ok.I wondered if it's possible to run Linux on it???Update: I acquired another Xbox 360 with 120GB hard drive, and an Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive
Sega Mega Drive (US: Sega Genesis)Sega Mega Drive
I already have four Mega Drive 2's, (but no power supply), but it's always nice to have the original, which only outputted mono sound from the rear video socket, if you wanted stereo, you had to use headphones, or make a custom video cable.
Sony PlayStationSony PlayStation
Again, I already have the updated version, but the original is also very nice to have, I don't have the video cable, does the cable from the updated version I have above fit? Update... Yes it does
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
I spotted this for sale on eBay, and had to have it. To delay the inevitable row with the wife, I'll decline to say how much it cost, but it was a lot cheaper than we've previously seen them for sale for. It came with no games, and as the NES doesn't boot with no cartridge inserted, I couldn't test it for an agonizing 24 hours until I "acquired" some games. Happily after some fiddling with the cartridge and 72 pin connector, it does work.
Atari 2600 Jr (X3)Atari 2600 Jr
I bought this as "not working" off someone on eBay, but after some fiddling, it does work, and it works well. In fact, all three of them work, one only outputs in black and white, that may be a dirty or broken switch
Sega Master System / Power BaseSega Master System
Again, I was left unsupervised and found this, it works perfectly and has the game Hang-On built in
Sony PlayStation 2 (X3)Sony PlayStation 2
I used to have the silver version of this, but I believe one of my kids has it, so I bought one for myself while everyone else was squabbling over toilet roll. This one is the later SCPH-50003 with the built in IR port. I later acquired two more working PS2s, these are earlier versions without the IR port
Nintendo Gamecube (X2)Nintendo Gamecube
I have wanted one of these for a while, and was looking at one in my local games exchange shop, but then this boxed one fell into my lap at a good price, so obviously I had to have it, I was then donated another working one
Microsoft Xbox (X3)Microsoft Xbox
Saw a box at a car boot sale with an Xbox on top, I have been looking at buying one for a while, so took a chance for £25 and it turns out to be a modded xbox with several games installed, that's a win in anyone's book, the second one works, but the crystal doesn't work, it has Error 12 on the screen, which means issues with the DVD drive
Atari 7800 ProSystem (X2)Atari 7800 ProSystem
NURSE! NURSE! It's happened again, I somehow accidentally bought stuff from Ebay. Anyway enough of that, here I have two Atari 7800s, they both work, but one has a slightly fuzzy RF output, maybe this one will get composite video and audio modded..?
Commodore Amiga CD32Commodore Amiga CD32
During my self imposed retro hardware fasting month, I failed and picked up a CD32, it was just the console, and it was "untested", so we all know what that means, but I have one in my collection, and that's all that matters for now
Amstrad GX4000Amstrad GX4000
Well I got one, it's quite small, smaller than you'd expect, and it works
Sony PlayStation 2 SlimSony PlayStation 2 Slim
Untested as no PSU, and the PSU from my PSone is different, but it's very pink, and very small. No sniggering at the back!
Sony PlayStation 3Sony PlayStation 3
Not working, suffers from the YLOD, which could mean anything, and I have no controllers
Section 3: Hand held games consoles
Nintendo Gameboy Pocket ColorNintendo Game Boy Color
Now it's time to go mobile, I had the original Gameboy, but after a series of accidental drops I swapped it for some car stereo speakers. I was a master at Tetris, beating game B on Level 9, High 5 every time I played and regularly passing 150 lines in Game A, I received the Gameboy Color as a present some years later.
Neo-Geo Pocket ColorNeo-Geo Pocket Color
I saw the NeoGeo Pocket Color in an independent games exchange shop, so I bought it, An arcade perfect port of Pacman and King of Fighters kept me entertained for some time.
Sega Game GearSega Game Gear
Recent donations to the museum include Sega's answer to the Nintendo Game Boy. Boasting a backlit colour screen, but ridiculously short battery life. Technically similar to the Master System and also had an odd add-on, A TV tuner. This one, like most Game Gear's, will probably need recapping.
Section 3: Hand held games consoles
Nintendo Gameboy Pocket AdvanceNintendo Game Boy Advance
My version of panic buying included old Nintendo Game Boy Advances, this one is in excellent condition and is fully working
Nintendo GameboyNintendo Game Boy
I missed my original Game Boy, so I had to buy another
Missile InvaderMissile Invader
This was my first taste of electronic gaming, it's more advanced than a Pong machine, so it does belong in here
Nintendo DSNintendo DS
This was recently donated to me, it's the original model, it came with a carry case and charger, but no games
Pinball TV GamePinball TV Game
Another recent donation, even though you connect it to the TV, you hold the whole unit in your hands, so I'm classing it as a hand held console. I suspect it's a NES on a chip device with a custom ROM image loaded
Section 4: Desktop PC's and laptops
Dell Optiplex 433s/lDell Optiplex 433s/l
I acquired this a while ago, It had Windows 3.1 installed on it's huge 300MB hard disc, I upgraded the PC with a CDROM drive, a 16 bit SoundBlaster sound card and installed many games. It's since been upgraded with a smart card hard drive
Hewlett Packard Omnibook 3000Hewlett Packard Omnibook 3000
My first Laptop, feel the power of the mighty Pentium II, 233MHz, 146MB RAM, 4GB harddrive. You can see a spare harddrive on top. I paid all of 50p for that off ebay. It originally had Windows ME installed, then it was upgraded to Windows XP SP1 (Didn't have enough disc space to install SP2/3), now it has Windows 2000 SP4 installed and the spare drive has an old version of Puppy Linux on it. Also note the Wifi card sticking out the side as this model doesn't have any on-board networking.I am going to try and get Lubuntu installed on it as it just about meets the minimum specifications for installation.
Asus 900XP NetbookAsus EeePC 900
I fancied getting myself a cheap netbook and bought this from PC World (Yeah I know!) because it was reduced to clear. It came with a cut down and modified version of Windows XP to fit on the fast 4GB C:\ SSD drive, it also had a slow 8GB D:\ SSD drive. There was a tool that moved the Program Files folder and contents to the 8GB drive, as the 4GB drive would run out of space fairly quickly. This model has been upgraded with 2GB of RAM, a very fast 32GB SSD and Windows 7. Once upgraded it's actually a very capable machine even though the processor is only a 900MHz Celeron.Unfortunately it's not compatible with Windows 10 due to the display adaptor, originally the upgrade advisor said the processor was not compatible as well, but that was a bug apparently.
Asus 900 NetbookAsus EeePC 900
This machine is the same as the above, but it came with Linux (Xandros) installed and originally a 4GB/16GB hard disc arrangement, they are actually two different chips rather than partitions.This machine now has the same hardware upgrades as the above model, but runs Lubuntu (Light Ubuntu) very well.I used to use this machine for working on this website.
Dell Latitude C540Dell Latitude C540
I had an idea for a media centre project and needed an old computer, I asked online if anyone had one to donate and received this, However there were some issues I had to sort out before I could use it.1. No sound, originally I thought this would be down to driver issues, but the hardware wasn't present in the device manager. After some furious Googling on another machine, It was found to be caused by a faulty dial-up modem which was on the same bus. Once removed the hardware appeared, and Windows XP automatically installed the driver. Problem 1 solved!2. No Wireless internet, This was caused by driver issues, For some reason the original wireless module had been replaced with a 3rd party module, so the driver downloaded from the Dell support webpage wouldn't work, Windows didn't recognise it (although Ubuntu Linux could recognise and use it without screwing around with drivers), so I had to remove the wireless module and Google the model name. I found a manufacturer webpage, found a suitable driver, installed and connected. Problem 2 solved!3. The only on-board USB port is USB 1, so I had to use an old double port USB 2 PCMCIA card in the slot (Yes I know it's a Belkin product, This is a rarity as it actually works!), by using a home made cable I can borrow power from the on-board port rather than use another PSU. Problem 3 solved!After all that the display driver wouldn't output in wide screen so this laptop wasn't suitable for my project. Bummer! Oh well never mind, I just bought and used a Raspberry Pi instead.This machine was upgraded to 1GB of RAM (from 512MB) and now runs Windows 7 slowly.The processor isn't compatible with Windows 10 according to the upgrade advisor.
Compaq Mini CQ10-500SACompaq Mini CQ10-500SA
This was originally my daughters netbook, after years of abuse she bought herself a new laptop and I bought this one from her.To my surprise it was eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade, which ran like a bag of poo, so now runs Lubuntu. I'm using this machine for Android development as it's the only laptop I have (at the moment, don't tell the wife ;) ) that can run Android Studio.You can see the Ctrl key is missing and the battery does not hold a charge, also the charger cable has been broken and repaired many times, but however it still works ok.This is now my daily machine until I can get to the local computer fair to buy a more modern machine... (Mission successful, see below)I used the Windows 7 key from this PC to activate Windows 10 on my desktop.
Large bonus from work (in vouchers) + Unused christmas money + PC World = New laptop, obviously!Photo borrowed from t'internet8GB RAM, 1TB storage, CORE i3 2GHz dual core processor with 2 threads per core, 15.6 inch screen, Windows 10, etc...Loads of bloatware uninstalled, then re-installed to fix the battery only charging to 60% issue, then uninstalled again!Using this instead of the old single core Celeron netbooks is like going from a 50cc moped to a Bugatti Veyron, dbPowerAmp on the old machine converted mp3s at 5.0x if i was lucky, now it more like 35.0x, not even my desktop machine can manage that.
Apple eMacApple eMac
Donated to the museum by Trevor Smith. Originally a Mac for the educational market (hence the e in eMac) but eventually available to all. This one has OSX10 or something like that, 640MB's of RAM and a 700MHz processor.It's very heavy and noisy, and I don't understand the appeal of Apple products. But all donations are gratefully received
I acquired this laptop for £12 as it had a faulty screen, keyboard, no internal battery, and a broken installation of Windows 10. Windows was swiftly replaced by the latest Ubuntu 18.10. You can see the screen has vertical lines on it, these will disappear if the corner of the screen is help down, the keyboard has a broken matrix as whole groups of buttons don't work. It's fine for the occasional boot into Linux to fix the problems Windows can't
Section 5: Pong clones and machines
Teleng ColourstarsTeleng Colourstars
Here is a Teleng Colourstars pong clone, it's missing the controllers and game cartridges, so it is useless at this time, although I have since bought a controller and a cartridge
Grandstand 4600Grandstand 4600
This Grandstand 4600 Pong clone is more or less complete, the rifle attachment is missing some parts, but may still work. I do have the original box for it, but it's in a very poor condition. This has a chance of working, so I will be testing it soon...UPDATE: Yes it does to a degree.
Binatone TV Master Mk 8Binatone TV Master Mk8
I had one of these when I was little, and now I have another... It was listed as "not working", I wonder if it's to do with the "Back Porch" problem that the ZX80 and ZX81 suffer from?
Videomaster Visionscore VMVIVideomaster Visionscore VMVI
A £10 Facebook Marketplace and a 60 mile round trip gamble, did it pay off..?
Grandstand 3000Grandstand 3000
Another Ebay find, untested and cheap
Binatone TV Master Mk 4 (X2)Binatone TV Master Mk4
Two very cheap Ebay "untested" punts that didn't work too well
Section 6: Mobile devices (Smartphones and PDA's)
HTC "Touch" DiamondHTC "Touch" Diamond
My first touch screen smart phone, released around the time of the first iPhone
Samsung Omnia 2Samsung Omnia 2
I upgraded from the HTC Diamond to this, my favourite Windows Mobile Professional device
Asus P500 (Vodafone V1520)Asus P550
Donated to me by my sister, it had a crappy Vodafone branded enterprise ROM that tracked what you did and where you went. Reflashed!
Dell Axim X30Dell Axim X30
A PDA with no phone functions, donated by Trevor Smith
Still more to come...
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