Comment 1FV Retro


The Lure of Retro Computing


Retro (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-05-08 12:05 (#1FV)

The joy of retrocomputing is that the computers are straightforward, and it's easy to make new add-ons for them (low bus speeds mean you only need a breadboard and whatever kind of connector the computer uses), and while you can do that kind of thing with an Arduino, the nice thing about the old machine is the built in keyboard, BASIC interpreter, and it will drive a TV screen.

Also the classic games. I'm a member of a Spanish retrocomputing organization ( and we hold a couple of regular events each year, one in Bilbao (at Euskal Encounter), and the other in November at the University of Zaragoza as part of the week of engineering and architecture. The November one is particularly interesting since the local schools bring their classes for visits, and we have a room set aside for classic gaming with a couple of arcade cabinets and about 20 or so classic computers and consoles. The teachers have trouble dragging the kids away from the games - and these kids all grew up with the XBox 360, PS4, Wii, modern PC gaming etc. It really goes to prove the old adage that it's everything about playability and less about flashy graphics.

I also run a stand at Play Expo in Manchester (England) each October, mostly with Sinclair Spectrums, and it's great to see parents teaching kids to play Manic Miner and Chuckie Egg. Since it's a whole weekend event I often see the kids coming back for repeat visits and trying to beat their old high scores. The thing is these older computers are completely open, very tinkerable, and a lot of fun.

I've designed an ethernet card for the ZX Spectrum, and we've also run tournaments (with prizes!) at Euskal Encounter with a 4 player LAN game (a tank driving capture the flag team game) which was a lot of fun. Here's a video of the event:


Time Reason Points Voter
2014-05-08 16:34 Interesting +1

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