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New Goodies

A few new goodies have shown up over the past few weeks.

First up is a copy of Elementary Commodore 64. This book is very unique because the book is littered with some very trippy 80s artwork interpretations of computer language concepts. I may devote a future post to the artwork in this book since I didn't have time to take many photos today.

My 1541ultimate with Ethernet arrived last week. This is an amazing cartridge which offers full 1541 emulation while reading/writing to a SD card. It even has an audio out which sends audio that mimics the sound of a 1541. It also has a flashable cartridge ROM and many other very cool features. The current feature set can be found here. Apparently SuperCPU emulation is coming soon too, which is something I am very excited about.

Other notable recent items include a pleather dust cover for my main 1541 and JiffyDOS sets for 2 of my C64s, 1 1541, and 1 1541 II.

The Kindness of Strangers Near and Far

Last night I received a private message from a fellow lemoner who lives in the Toronto area that the Peggy Kelly Media Arts Studios had a Commodore 64, Commodore 1702 monitor, Commodore 1541 floppy drive, and a Star SL-10C printer that they were trying to find a home for. The manager of this arts center had posted to a mailing list that my internet acquaintance reads. Thankfully he remembered that I live in Saint Paul, MN.

I left a message with the arts center last night to let them know that I was interested. I received a call this morning that I could come and pick it up. Since I had the day off, I decided to make the drive across the metro area to save these retro goodies from ending up in a landfill. While I was there, I was shown around the the studio. The studio has a training area for electronic media production, a photography studio, a media conversion room (photos/VHS/Film to DVD, PAL to NTSC conversion, etc...), and a sound booth/audio recording facility. The art center that houses this studio also has an art gallery, coffee shop, and a shop with jewelry and other crafted items. The center is located in Edina and I recommend any readers in the area to check it out.

My thanks go out to both Golan and Phil for their kindness.

... and of course, the obligatory photos:

As you can see, both the printer and the drive appear to have never been used. The monitor is lightly used and in good condition. The tube appears to be in better shape than the 1702 that I've been using over the past year. The C64 is in good cosmetic condition, but unfortunately it boots to a blank screen. This is a very common issue with C64s that can be caused by several different failures that are usually easy to fix. I have a stack of dead C64s that I can use for parts, so I am pretty sure I can bring this one back to life with a chip swap or two.

The History of the Commodore 64 VH1/I Love the 80s Style

I stumbled across the following rather entertaining video via the following blog post:

Asheron's Call 100th Update Goes Live August 26th

As reported in June, August brings the 100th content update to the venerable MMO, Asheron's Call. The game servers will go down on August 26th at 7am Eastern time for the update. When they come back up at 2pm, users will be greeted with a slew of new content and functionality which is outlined in the update's release notes. In a recent video interview, AC Community Manager Andy Cataldo revealed that this update will be about the size of a retail expansion pack.

Highlights include:

  • Three lore-related player/creature factions (Good/Neutral/Evil)
  • PvP/Faction land control over two new PK Towns
  • New Loot Tier
  • Level 8 Spells
  • A new landmass called Freebooter Isle, a new area called the Moarsman City, and the expansion of the already existing Graveyard area.

    More information can be found at:
  • My Unfinished PC Game Wall of Shame

    My top three hobbies are currently the following:

    1. Playing Guitar
    2. Computer Programming/Software Development
    3. PC Gaming

    All three of these are time consuming hobbies, which unfortunately means that I don't have a whole lot of time to devote to gaming during the average work week. This became all too obvious to me after I beat Bioshock two days ago. I began playing Bioshock on 3/2/2008 and finished it on 7/23/2008. It took me nearly 5 months to make it through a 40 hour game. Oddly enough, I plowed through the 2nd 20 hours of the game over the span of three days this week. I'm currently on a two week staycation at the moment so I have a lot of extra time to burn on video games.

    Since I had finally finished Bioshock, I began looking for the game that I would tackle next. Finding a game to play from my current collection is not a difficult task. Apparently over the years I've become very good at buying games and either never playing them or never finishing them for various reasons.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I offer to you my unfinished PC game wall of shame:


    From left-to-right and row-by-row starting at the top:

    Oblivion/Shivering Isles/Knights of the Nine
    I began playing this but quit early on because my previous computer was not quite beefy enough.

    Call of Cthulu: The Dark Corners of the Earth
    I made it about halfway through this. My save games were lost in a hard drive crash.

    Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
    I recently found this in the bargain bin for $10. However, I'm not really sure I want to play all the way through Diablo II again to get to the expansion material.

    The Orange Box (Half Life 2 + Episodes 1 & 2, Team Fortress 2, Portal)

    I have not played this yet except for taking a quick peak at Portal. I should note that I have not played Half Life 2 before either.

    The Witcher
    I made it through the first couple chapters of the game, but I immediately quit playing when I heard about the enhanced edition patch that is due out in September.

    Unreal Tournament III

    I'll be frank. I think the single player campaign is laughable. I quit after about 5 missions.

    Unreal II
    My PC was a little too weak when I originally tried this one.

    Neverwinter Knights
    The single player campaign was pretty bad. I quit about 20 hours into it.

    Fallout 1/2/Tactics
    I just bought this recently and I have not started it yet.

    Wheel of Time

    My PC was too wimpy when it came out.

    Deus Ex
    I don't remember why I never finished this one. I remember liking it quite a bit.

    Vampire the Masquerade
    I think I ran into a show stopper bug, but my memory is a little foggy here.

    Doom 3
    PC was too wimpy.

    PC was too wimpy.

    This came with a video card. I have never given it a fair shake.

    Baldur's Gate/Tales of the Sword Coast
    I never finished this game due to a really stupid blunder on my part. I spent roughly 200 hours playing Baldur's Gate. I purchased the expansion when I was in the last battle of the game. I installed the expansion without backing up my saves. Unfortunately, the expansion just adds some more material to the original story line and raises the difficulty of the last battle quite a bit because they expect that your party will be at a higher level due to the expansion. Unfortunately where my saves were, I could not exit the final battle to go get more experience. Therefore I was trapped in an impossible battle.

    I lost my save games in a hard drive crash.

    So the question becomes: what should I play next? I'm leaning towards Oblivion.

    Infocom Aquisitions Round 4

    I'm getting fairly close to having a complete collection of Infocom titles excluding the later years after the brand was purchased. I hope to have a more comprehensive post about this soon, but in the meantime here is what arrived since my last post on the subject:

    Round Three
    Round Two
    Round One

    Infocom Aquisitions Round 3

    It turns out that I am still collecting Infocom titles. Here are the recent arrivals.

    I managed to get my hands on another "big box" package like I did for Sorcerer.

    Unfortunately, like my copy of Stationfall, Planetfall turned out to be a bit of a dud as the box is in poor shape and it is missing some feelies.

    I'm pretty excited about this one because I never played it back in the day and I am a Sherlock Holmes fan. Also, as an added bonus, it is sealed.

    Random Acquisitions

    I've collected a few notable items over the past couple weeks, all of which are a lot of fun.

    I'm still working on building up a comprehensive C64 book library. Here is my latest addition:

    The second Commodore 64 related item this week is a game that is near and dear to my geek heart. This is the first game I ever played that attempted to translate the pen and paper experience to the computer screen.

    The third Commodore 64 related item that arrived is a HardSID4U device. This is a little usb device that houses four Commodore 64 sound chips which are known as the Sound Interface Device. This unit can be used to give you authentic sound when using an emulator, however it's primary design is to be a synth device that can be controlled by modern recording software and can be used in music production.

    Finally, here is something to help me ramp up for Fallout 3.

    Infocom Acquisitions Round 2

    Here's what I've accumulated via ebay and Amazon on the Infocom front since round 1.

    I am especially fond of this last one. I purchased it used on Amazon and had no idea it wasn't going to be the standard grey box edition. Heck, I didn't even know there was a folio version.

    Infocom Acquisitions Round 1

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    New In box 1541 II and Other Goodies Arrive

    What better to match my NIB C64C than a matching drive?

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