Did someone mention a CoCo dignitary?

Yes… I think they did! Tim Lindner posted a message on the CoCo mailing list a week or so ago about selling some of Marty Goodman’s CoCo items, and I was lucky enough to get one!

Almost headless CoC

 

The unit I got was tested inoperable, however, as you can see from the above pic, it works fine. It had a Disto 512k upgrade kit in it, and it was almost completely unseated. When I pushed it in and turned on the CoCo, I was greeted with the normal ECB screen. However, the Disto upgrade has some bad chips – after loading Donkey Kong, the the CoCo would lock up and the screen was garbled.

Remote keyboard

 

Marty made a lot of modifications to this unit. Virtually ALL chips are socketed; remote keyboard; side mounted RGB connector; and a few others I’ll be looking at. This is a great piece of CoCo history that I’ll treasure for a LONG time!!!

There is an unboxing video uploading to YouTube – that I should have ready some time tomorrow…

 

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Book Review: Vintage Game Consoles

VGC-book

 

Another book from Bill Loguidice has arrived, so that means it’s time for another book review. This time around, Bill partnered with Matt Barton to discuss vintage video game consoles in a book titled – not ironically – Vintage Game Consoles. While not particularly in tune with the overall theme of this website, I can justify doing a review here by saying the CoCo played video games too! That, and it’s my site and I can do what I want ;) .

It must be said I have no earthly idea how the authors set forth to decide which game consoles to include in this book. Whether there was an algorithm they created, picked them out of a hat, or if they based there decisions on total sales figures. Well, it can’t be total sales figues because the Dreamcast is included. Yes, that’s a hit, and I can say that since I still own a Dreamcast. And a Saturn. However, my prized possession, console wise, is a fully functional Sega Genesis with front loading CD and 32x. See, since Zaxxon was released upon the world, I’ve been an unabashed Sega fan, so I can make fun of them. A little… But I digress…

Vintage Game Consoles appears to be a (mostly) linear account of what the authors deem to be the most influential game systems in history. From an nonobjective point of view, I’d say they made really good choices. Nintendo NES? It’s in there. Atari 2600? It’s in there. Mattel Intellivision? Yep. Colecovision, Sega Genesis, Super NES, Game Cube and many more are present and accounted for. With over 400 color pictures, all of the included consoles , all are well represented.

Much of the history of the video gaming industry is covered. There’s even mention of the urban legend turned reality about the buried Atari 2600 E.T. games. Game consoles aren’t the only platform discussed, however. Several arcade games get their own section (you’ll have to read the book to find out which games are covered – not too many spoilers here), along with many of the vintage computer systems known for gaming that receive coverage as well. I was somewhat surprised that the computer coverage is fairly complete.

The only glaring omission is my beloved CoCo. However, Bill receives a pass on that one since he saw to it (along with Boisy Pitre) that the CoCo received a book of it’s own. :)

The information provided for each platform is pretty complete as well: including approximate sales figures for each console; some of the most popular games for each console; development information; and much more. While not necessarily included in complete coverage, some left out systems do get a special mention. The Sega Master System, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and several others receive a mention. While they also may get a mention, the complete coverage does not extend to the Xbox 360, PS3 and newer game systems. After all, the title does include the word VINTAGE.

Overall, Vintage Game Consoles is a very well written book. Since it doesn’t include all game consoles, I’m sure there will be disappointed people somewhere complaining that their favorite system was left out. To that I’d say, get a life. I’d image the authors set out to write a concise and informative book about the consoles they deemed to be the most influential ones in the history of the video game industry – not a complete, phone book sized video game system reference. Too that end, they have succeeded in a spectacular fashion.

Vintage Game Consoles is an easy to read, historical account of some pretty awesome game systems for their respective eras. If you are a die-hard video game junkie, or just a casual player; or if you just want to relive some fun childhood moments, this is a very good book to do that with. Regardless of your favorite platform, there should easily be something here for everyone.

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Another Repair

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No idea if this will show up well, but,  there’s a green wire where one ordinarily wouldn’t be. That repairs the solder pad I damaged when I removed the 6809.

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Getting ready to run Donkey Kong.

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Donkey Kong loaded from a DrivePak.

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It’s ALIVE!!!!

Well, my parts can in from Jameco yesterday. Naturally, this morning I set out to make the repairs to hopefully bring this Basket Case back to life.

The socketed 74LS245N - one problem fixed

The socketed 74LS245N – one problem fixed

First thing I did was solder the socket into place. This picture was taken after my first attempted test – which included forgetting to place a fresh 74LS245N INTO the socket… guess I was too excited…

Bottom of the board trace repair second problem fixed

Bottom of the board trace repair second problem fixed

Second thing I did was use a short piece of wire-wrap wire to repair the trace that got hosed while removing the 74LS245N. I’ve found it’s pretty easy to remove a small bit of insulation from the end of the wire on the spool and solder that to a point you’re trying to repair. Then, unspool a small amount of wire, to the point you need to make the next connection and use your soldering iron to melt a little of the insulation and solder that to the next point. Then snip the wire as close as possible. Doing the repair like that keeps you from having to try to work with tiny pieces of wire.

Using a PBJ 512k upgrade to test - Cloud9 will be receiving an order soon

Using a PBJ 512k upgrade to test – Cloud9 will be receiving an order soon

After putting it all together, I still had nothing but a green screen. When I first got this machine, I tried swapping out the RAM with a PBJ 512k kit from one of my other CoCo’s, which made no difference. So, I tried swapping again here. As you can see, I was still in a hurry, so I just left the keyboard out.

HDB-DOS screen!!!

HDB-DOS screen!!!

I haven’t actually gotten around to trying to connect to a DriveWire server yet, but, as you can see it’s had some life injected into it – which I am really happy about. Good news for Mark and Boisy – I need to place an order for a couple 512k upgrades now.

Speaks for itself - I think it's happy. ;)

Speaks for itself – I think it’s happy. ;)

And the CoCo appears happy as well… ;) I still have some cleaning to do. I’m going to try to very carefully use something like Corroseal to permanently fix the areas that are rusty. Then I have to try and do SOMETHING with the case. Also, I haven’t decided if I’m going to upgrade the 68B09 to a 63C09. If I do, I’ll use the piggy-back method. I don’t want to try to remove anything else from this board unless I HAVE to…

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The Basket Case’s Damage

Here’s the damage done to the ‘Basket Case’ when removing the 74LS245. This board had a good bit of corrosion; I’m hoping to be able to make the repairs necessary to bring her back to life:

Notice several missing solder pads.

Another missing solder pad (bottom row, 3rd from left). This one will require a trace repair/jumper wire.

Notice all of the rust. This poor CoCo 3 has seen many better days.

I’m in the process of cleaning as much of the rust and corrosion off as I can. Overall, it’s not as bad as I first thought, but, it’s not good either. Since I don’t have access to my parts, I have to order a 74LS245 and socket, so it’ll be a few days until I can start making that repair. Until then, the plan is to GENTLY remove as much rust and corrosion as I can.

A CLEAN GIME socket

Above, I used a SOFT brass wire brush to clean the contacts of the GIME socket. They were a pale white/green color – very badly corroded. I’m working on the 40 pin cartridge port connector now. Look below for a ‘before’ picture:

Cartridge port BC (Before Cleaning)

Work continues…

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