If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

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Which of these would have picked if not one of the "Big 3" 8-bit home computers?

BBC Micro
7
25%
MSX
3
11%
Commodore 16 & Plus/4
2
7%
Atari 8-bit
9
32%
Oric 1 & Atmos
2
7%
Acorn Electron
1
4%
Dragon 32/64
1
4%
Apple II
1
4%
Texas Instruments TI99/4A
0
No votes
Other
2
7%
 
Total votes: 28

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The Laird
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If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by The Laird » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:45 am

I was just thinking about this the other day while talking to a friend of mine and thought it would be interesting to get other people's thoughts too.

In the UK the "Big 3" 8-bit micros were the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC with lots of other supported to lesser degrees. So this is mainly for the people who went with one of those three big hitters really but others can vote too of course.

If you hadn't got ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 or Amstrad CPC then what 8-bit computer would you have been most happy with?

I went with a Spectrum back in the day because that is what all my friends had, but my dad really liked the look of the Atari XE and thought it was better value for money. I was insistent that I wanted the Spectrum but looking back the modern me would pick the Atari in heartbeat, as it's the only 8-bit computer that I really enjoy playing these days.

Be interesting to see what computer you pick and why?

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by fredghostmaster » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:42 am

I'd vote for Vic 20 but it isn't on the list. People forget just how popular a machine it was around 1982-3 until the C64 kind of killed it. Also fond memories of doing my O level Computers exam on a BBC, which I always found easier to program than Commodore or Sinclair computers. Had a few decent games for it as well.

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by The Laird » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:55 am

fredghostmaster wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:42 am
I'd vote for Vic 20 but it isn't on the list. People forget just how popular a machine it was around 1982-3 until the C64 kind of killed it. Also fond memories of doing my O level Computers exam on a BBC, which I always found easier to program than Commodore or Sinclair computers. Had a few decent games for it as well.
I didn't include the VIC-20 because it kind of came before then, competing with the likes of the ZX81, Acorn Atom and TRS-80 and it was replaced by the Commodore 16. It was pretty much gone by the time the Amstrad CPC came along for example.

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by paranoid marvin » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:08 pm

At times I owned a Speccy, a C64 and an A8 - and I have fond memories of all 3. Atari's machine was released before the other 'big 3', and was easily as good. Fractulus, Elecktraglide, Ballblazer, Star Raiders, Drelbs etc etc proved that the machine was capable of producing top quality titles; and if the C64 hadn't come along and took it place, then we would undoubtedly have continued to see bigger and better things released for the machine.

I could have done with a disc drive though!
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The Laird
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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by The Laird » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:15 pm

paranoid marvin wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:08 pm
At times I owned a Speccy, a C64 and an A8 - and I have fond memories of all 3. Atari's machine was released before the other 'big 3', and was easily as good. Fractulus, Elecktraglide, Ballblazer, Star Raiders, Drelbs etc etc proved that the machine was capable of producing top quality titles; and if the C64 hadn't come along and took it place, then we would undoubtedly have continued to see bigger and better things released for the machine.

I could have done with a disc drive though!
Vote for that then! :P

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by outdated_gamer » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:21 pm

For gaming, Atari 8-bit for sure, it had all the qualities of the newer systems and came out sooner too.

For productivity, I guess I'd lean towards the Apple II there.

IBM PCs were a bit crap when they first came out, although some 286 and EGA powered IBM clone wouldn't be shabby.

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by Matt_B » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:09 pm

outdated_gamer wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:21 pm
For gaming, Atari 8-bit for sure, it had all the qualities of the newer systems and came out sooner too.

For productivity, I guess I'd lean towards the Apple II there.

IBM PCs were a bit crap when they first came out, although some 286 and EGA powered IBM clone wouldn't be shabby.
Yeah, the Atari was the first home computer with any serious gaming credentials, and if you had the cash for one at the time it was the machine to get. It's a shame that Atari continually stumbled over the marketing of it and struggled to get pricing on a par with Commodore's machines, as they'd had a serious head start there.

The Apple isn't a bad machine for games though; it's just more of a strategy/adventure/simulation/RPG machine than one you'd get a lot of arcade action out of. They deserve a bonus point for longevity too, being in production all the way between 1977 and 1995 in one form or another. It'd cost you a pretty penny to get in at the beginning of all that but you'd have your money's worth.

The 286 is a 16-bit CPU so you definitely couldn't have anything based on that. Maybe one of the 8088 based Tandy 1000s would have been a nice machine to have in the mid-80s though. The graphics on them were much better than CGA and it had three channel sound where pretty much everything else just had the basic bleeper; developers were pretty good at supporting it with games too.

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by ncf1 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:56 pm

The Apple II. It just has a feel like no other, just a great all-roundedness about it.

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by batman877 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:58 pm

In hindsight I'd probably have gone for the Atari 8-bit, but at the time I would have gone for the BBC Micro.
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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by Crusty Starfish » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:52 am

Back in the day I had a real hard on (so to say) for the Oric 1, the BBC B and the Atari 800XL.

Looking at those machines now - I'd go for the Oric 1/Atmos. They have done wonders on that little machine.
Last edited by Crusty Starfish on Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by Antiriad2097 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:28 am

Crusty Starfish wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:52 am
Back in the day I had a real hard on (so to say) for the Oric 1, the BBC B and the Atari 800XL.

Looking at those machines now - I'd go for the Oric 1/Atom. They have done wonders on that little machine.
Oric 1/Atmos.

The Atom is an Acorn system.

I chose the Oric as the question isn't theoretical for me. We wanted a 48k Spectrum, there were none in stock, so I had to make the choice for real.
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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by Crusty Starfish » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:42 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:28 am
Crusty Starfish wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:52 am
Back in the day I had a real hard on (so to say) for the Oric 1, the BBC B and the Atari 800XL.

Looking at those machines now - I'd go for the Oric 1/Atom. They have done wonders on that little machine.
Oric 1/Atmos.

The Atom is an Acorn system.

I chose the Oric as the question isn't theoretical for me. We wanted a 48k Spectrum, there were none in stock, so I had to make the choice for real.
oops! Corrected. :lol:

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by Arnie » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:09 pm

Atari 8bit would be one of my choices, but would have to have a disk drive I cant believe how slow tape load is on them 30 mins for a game that loads in 3-4 on a speccy or C64. I think it had got good capabilities that were never fully used due to the lack of support here in the UK at least.

I think the Oric's could have done better but failed to capture the market with early issues and buggy rom something simular Sinclair managed to get around. The Atmos fixed that and had a much better keyboard but was too late.

BBC Micros were expensive but very well built, shame they never had 64K from the outset.

I also like the Memotech MTX 512 but again no support and the Enterprise Sixty Four / One Two Eight same again. The only issue with the Enterprise would be all the bare edge connectors.

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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by mrmessy » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:46 pm

At the time, it would probably been a VIC20 or an Electron, but in retrospect I went for the Atari 8bits.
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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by NorthWay » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:11 pm

The A8 for sure, I just wish the Dragon had some more interesting gfx chip as I much prefer the 6809. Incidentally, there is a 6809 transplant for the A8!

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