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

Post by Matt_B » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:26 pm

English Invader wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:03 am
3.5k or 3583 bytes to be precise. The machine shipped with 5k but the ROM Basic eats up 1.5k. Some people love coding for the unexpanded VIC and have turned it into an art form. I'm not much of a coder myself but the VIC has a lot of appeal for hobbyist programmers and a lot of people are drawn just for the simplicity of the coding environment.

I think the VIC would have done better if the C64 had never happened because the C16 wouldn't have been enough of a jump to make people want to upgrade. I guess the C64 is to the VIC what MTV was to Christopher Cross.
As well as the 5K of regular RAM you've got an additional 512 bytes of "Color RAM". That's normally just used for the colours of each character on the screen, but you can use it for storing anything you want and on small computers every little bit of free memory tends to get used for something. Some people even developed programs that can run within it, although that'd be an unlikely use in games published back in the day.

Getting 3.5K for BASIC out of it was pretty good going. The C64 only gives about 38K and the Spectrum a little over 40K out of what they've got. Mind you, they were both designed with high resolution graphics in mind where it's implemented on the VIC-20 as a bit of an afterthought, and you've got to free up a lot of additional RAM if you want to use it.

It was pretty normal for a computer manufacturer to start from a clean slate when developing a new machine at the time, regardless of how successful its predecessor was. Sinclair left behind the million-selling ZX-81 to make the Spectrum, and would doubtless have abandoned that in turn for the QL if it hadn't flopped. The Acorn Atom had been a modest success too before making way for what became the BBC Micro, and the Electron wasn't compatible with that either. There were a few exceptions, such as Apple and Atari who tried to maintain compatibility, but Commodore were far from the only ones who didn't.

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

Post by Matt_B » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:27 pm

fredghostmaster wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:22 pm
The recent Vic 20 version of Manic Miner is incredible, hard to believe it is running on a Vic.
It's technically very impressive, but they've very obviously changed the layout of the levels in order to fit the screen layout of the VIC.

Then again, maybe people who've not yet committed the game to muscle memory might differ on that.

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

Post by Clockwork Hippo » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:06 pm

For me it would have to be the BBC micro purely because it had ELITE. Back in the day I used to work in a computer shop and I was paid to play ELITE all day. Basically I would demonstrate the game to customers. Then I'd teach them how to play and half the time they would leave the shop with a BBC and disk drive system costing several hundred pounds :) Those were the days hehe.

If i weren't for ELITE the obvious choice would be the Atari 8bit computers. I had a 130XE alongside my C64 and Speccy. There were some great games on the Atari 8bits.
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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by The Laird » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:27 am

I always think it would have been interesting if we had got to see the new Dragon computers that were developed before they went bust: http://www.dragondata.co.uk/hardware/Be ... 0Beta.html

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

Post by killbot » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:09 pm

I was only 4 when my dad decided we needed a home computer, so I didn't get much say in what we got (which ended up being an Acorn Electron). Fortunately there were plenty of games for it that I enjoyed so it never bothered me, especially as at that age I didn't really follow the scene and had no idea that things like the Speccy and C64 existed.

I imagine my Dad went for the Electron as I was starting school the next year and he wanted a machine that was similar to the BBC Micros that were the standard in schools at the time but without the hefty price tag. But yes, it was enjoyable to use, the games were fun and colourful and I got plenty of use out of it until we upgraded to an Amiga in 1991.
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Re: If not the "Big 3" 8-bits then who?

Post by GarryG » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:21 pm

Well, as well as a Spectrum+ and a VIC 20, I also had a ZX 81and an Atari 800XL back in the day. I also got to try a Dragon 32, and C16, back when they were still relevant and supported. A few years later I acquired a BBC from work, so I would have liked to have tryed an MXS.
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