The problem with Amstrad games

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Celebaglar
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Post by Celebaglar » Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:38 pm

The Master wrote:I meant the disks in general, not the CPC specifically. Being able to flip them made them better value for money if you had a cheaper drive, and wasn't a standard DOS 3.5" 720K back then?
Only due to the formatting. The Mac would format them to 800K and an Amiga could cram up to 880K on the same disk.

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Post by Dudley » Thu Jul 19, 2007 1:19 pm

I believe the ST was 800k too.
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Post by woody.cool » Thu Jul 19, 2007 1:22 pm

Celebaglar wrote:
The Master wrote:I meant the disks in general, not the CPC specifically. Being able to flip them made them better value for money if you had a cheaper drive, and wasn't a standard DOS 3.5" 720K back then?
Only due to the formatting. The Mac would format them to 800K and an Amiga could cram up to 880K on the same disk.
... but if you had Kickstart 2.0 or above you could cram 970K on a disk with the aid of 3rd party disk format handlers like DiskSpare.

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Post by TMR » Thu Jul 19, 2007 6:37 pm

Opa-Opa wrote:I'm not saying that the 9-pin serial plug was non-standard, i'm saying that the dirty dog AMS re-wired it in the nasty amstrad spectrums meaning you had to buy certain (cheap, nasty) joysticks or they wouldn't work.
There were converters available that covered that issue that were either sold as short extenders, integrated into the joystick cable itself or via a switch (as with some of the later Quickshot sticks that could then also support the SMS) and, although they didn't adhere to the Atari "standard", the Amstrad Spectrums at least standardised the connection of a joystick to a Spectrum in a way that programmers could rely on, something that the Sinclair machines didn't have. Yes, the interfaces all used the Atari wiring but how they dealt with the data they received and passed it on to the machine was different for each interface so that "standard" didn't make much of a difference as regards compatibility; a joystick on a Kempston interface wouldn't work with some games and would with others, whilst the same joystick on a Fuller interface would work with different games.

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Post by paranoid marvin » Thu Jul 19, 2007 6:59 pm

TMR wrote:
Opa-Opa wrote:I'm not saying that the 9-pin serial plug was non-standard, i'm saying that the dirty dog AMS re-wired it in the nasty amstrad spectrums meaning you had to buy certain (cheap, nasty) joysticks or they wouldn't work.
There were converters available that covered that issue that were either sold as short extenders, integrated into the joystick cable itself or via a switch (as with some of the later Quickshot sticks that could then also support the SMS) and, although they didn't adhere to the Atari "standard", the Amstrad Spectrums at least standardised the connection of a joystick to a Spectrum in a way that programmers could rely on, something that the Sinclair machines didn't have. Yes, the interfaces all used the Atari wiring but how they dealt with the data they received and passed it on to the machine was different for each interface so that "standard" didn't make much of a difference as regards compatibility; a joystick on a Kempston interface wouldn't work with some games and would with others, whilst the same joystick on a Fuller interface would work with different games.

the problem is that many of these joystick interface companies were around at the same time - no one knew that Kempston would pretty much corner the market .And at least everyone could use the same joysticks. Amstrad were supposed to present an all-in-one-solution - don't need to buy a tapedeck , don't need an interface sticking out of the back of your machine - but they decide to censored about with the joystick interface , making everyone's favourute sticks redundant and forcing them to use their own shitty (and I really DO mean shitty) controllers .

Obviously you could still use an interface , or after a while , a 'dongle' from an enterprising third-party - but that's not the point - there was no need for Amstrad to do what they did . Oh , and the tape deck they fitted was pretty crap too - made it really difiicult to load some games (especially those on the C90s!) And I think I'm right in saying that there was no 'azimuth hole' , meaning you had to drill your own (usually with a srewdriver) and therefore invalidating your warranty

Sir Clive would never have allowed a machine like the +2 to be made
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Post by woody.cool » Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:49 am

paranoid marvin wrote:
TMR wrote:
Opa-Opa wrote:I'm not saying that the 9-pin serial plug was non-standard, i'm saying that the dirty dog AMS re-wired it in the nasty amstrad spectrums meaning you had to buy certain (cheap, nasty) joysticks or they wouldn't work.
There were converters available that covered that issue that were either sold as short extenders, integrated into the joystick cable itself or via a switch (as with some of the later Quickshot sticks that could then also support the SMS) and, although they didn't adhere to the Atari "standard", the Amstrad Spectrums at least standardised the connection of a joystick to a Spectrum in a way that programmers could rely on, something that the Sinclair machines didn't have. Yes, the interfaces all used the Atari wiring but how they dealt with the data they received and passed it on to the machine was different for each interface so that "standard" didn't make much of a difference as regards compatibility; a joystick on a Kempston interface wouldn't work with some games and would with others, whilst the same joystick on a Fuller interface would work with different games.

the problem is that many of these joystick interface companies were around at the same time - no one knew that Kempston would pretty much corner the market .And at least everyone could use the same joysticks. Amstrad were supposed to present an all-in-one-solution - don't need to buy a tapedeck , don't need an interface sticking out of the back of your machine - but they decide to censored about with the joystick interface , making everyone's favourute sticks redundant and forcing them to use their own shitty (and I really DO mean shitty) controllers .

Obviously you could still use an interface , or after a while , a 'dongle' from an enterprising third-party - but that's not the point - there was no need for Amstrad to do what they did . Oh , and the tape deck they fitted was pretty crap too - made it really difiicult to load some games (especially those on the C90s!) And I think I'm right in saying that there was no 'azimuth hole' , meaning you had to drill your own (usually with a srewdriver) and therefore invalidating your warranty

Sir Clive would never have allowed a machine like the +2 to be made
Couple of minor corrections there marv - the +2 did have a 'azimuth hole' for adjusting the tape deck's head alignment and I also found the +2 tape deck much more reliable than the external heap od junk method used on the Sinclair Speccys!

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Post by Opa-Opa » Fri Jul 20, 2007 6:07 am

woody.cool wrote:
Couple of minor corrections there marv - the +2 did have a 'azimuth hole' for adjusting the tape deck's head alignment and I also found the +2 tape deck much more reliable than the external heap od junk method used on the Sinclair Speccys!
Some early +2's didn't have a hole, I remember having to drill one out and the tape deck was the worse I had ever used.
The buttons were crap, the heads were crap and it failed more times than any other tape deck I owned.

As for the externals being poor, you just bought a cheap nasty one..
The one I had included 3 different slide adjusters each with their own set of LED's for perfect load levels every time all for £19.99 I seem to remember.

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Post by paranoid marvin » Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:15 pm

Opa-Opa wrote:
woody.cool wrote:
Couple of minor corrections there marv - the +2 did have a 'azimuth hole' for adjusting the tape deck's head alignment and I also found the +2 tape deck much more reliable than the external heap od junk method used on the Sinclair Speccys!
Some early +2's didn't have a hole, I remember having to drill one out and the tape deck was the worse I had ever used.
The buttons were crap, the heads were crap and it failed more times than any other tape deck I owned.

As for the externals being poor, you just bought a cheap nasty one..
The one I had included 3 different slide adjusters each with their own set of LED's for perfect load levels every time all for £19.99 I seem to remember.
Yeah , everyone I knew that had a +2 had at least one of the tape buttons break on them
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Post by Gryzor » Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:19 am

Dudley wrote:I believe the ST was 800k too.
Easily so, and then some. I remember an issue of STFormat that came with a 1MB+ disk mounted on its cover...

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Post by Ritchardo mkII » Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:57 pm

Going back to Amstrad users feelings towards Sugar:

I think I can speak for the majority of the CPC fanbase when I say that he was a tosser. The relative success of the CPC (for a Z80 based machine launched two years after the Spectrum had already got a foothold on the UK market) was in spite of Amstrad rather than because of them.

Never have I come across a company which seems to perversely go out of its way to censored off it's userbase - Most notably the short life of the 664 and the tough titty attitude that went with it.

No, the man is a male chicken as evidenced by his recent appearance on Jonathan Ross' chatshow where he described the CPC as a great little machine bought by morons.

He doesn't like us. We don't like him.

But then it could be worse... we could practically hero-worship someone who had a one-hit wonder that was so badly set-up to begin with that if the tables had been turned and he launched his machine two years after the direct competition then he'd have been blown away.

Still who am I to judge?
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Post by The Master » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:01 pm

Ritchardo mkII wrote:I think I can speak for the majority of the CPC fanbase when I say that he was a tosser.
.... sadly, I think you'll find the majority of Amstrad owners have a signed colour photograph of him in a gold frame adorning the wall above their bed (with Alan Sugar pillowcase and quilt set), and regularly obsessively bid on those awful, awful eBay auctions for "FRESH Alan Sugar's Beard Trimmings GENUINE AUTHENTIC L00K!!!!!!!! real alan smell"

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Post by Ritchardo mkII » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:21 pm

The Master wrote:
Ritchardo mkII wrote:I think I can speak for the majority of the CPC fanbase when I say that he was a tosser.
.... sadly, I think you'll find the majority of Amstrad owners have a signed colour photograph of him in a gold frame adorning the wall above their bed (with Alan Sugar pillowcase and quilt set), and regularly obsessively bid on those awful, awful eBay auctions for "FRESH Alan Sugar's Beard Trimmings GENUINE AUTHENTIC L00K!!!!!!!! real alan smell"
LMAO...

It's true!

I've tried hiding it all of these years but I too go home at night and put on my perm wig, fake beard, break out the soldering iron and start knocking together mongrel half-breed hi-fis...

I can't take the shame no mores! I tells ya!


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Post by SirClive » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:58 pm

Ritchardo mkII wrote:if the tables had been turned and he launched his machine two years after the direct competition then he'd have been blown away.

Still who am I to judge?
But isn't the point that one was a visionary and came up with the idea 2 years before the other, so obviously deserved the success more?
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Post by Ritchardo mkII » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:30 pm

SirClive wrote:
Ritchardo mkII wrote:if the tables had been turned and he launched his machine two years after the direct competition then he'd have been blown away.

Still who am I to judge?
But isn't the point that one was a visionary and came up with the idea 2 years before the other, so obviously deserved the success more?
He also had a vision of us all trundling about in little electric cars that blow over in a slight breeze...

My point is that while Sugar has been villified for showing business acumen and exploiting a gap in the market, Sinclair has been put on a pedastal as some kind of genius when all evidence to the contrary seems to point to him being a smart guy who stumbled across a good idea and got in over his head, fast.

I don't like the guy, Sugar - that is, but credit where it's due he took Amstrad from a standing start to third in the UK 8-bit market in a remarkably short period of time. He was never going to catch the Spectrum or the C64 and he probably realised that - he still made a shed load of cash and provided a reliable computer that is still held in high regard by a number of passionate supporters, myself included.

Does make you think about what could have been achieved by Amstrad if they'd got in on the act a little quicker.
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Post by Opa-Opa » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:46 pm

Ritchardo mkII wrote:
Does make you think about what could have been achieved by Amstrad if they'd got in on the act a little quicker.
Thats the trouble with only making nasty cheap knock off machines - You have to wait untill some else has done all the hard work such as inventing and building something before you can steal it....

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