Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Try me!

We can't afford models!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The other Body Count

Sweet laser of Brigitte Nelson!

And old comics sure so have great ads.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Second hand swordplay

Hark! To the Goodwill for armaments!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dataworld Microchip Magic!

Since I just can't find too much at thrift stores to brag about these days, I'm posting about the little joys. Quality, not quantity.

I present unto thee: Microchip Magic by Dataworld, Produced in association with British Telecom. Explore Our Hi-Tech World! (c)1986

How this awesome book made it from the UK to a Texas thrift store, I'll never know. 5 quid seems steep. Oi!

Go Speccy! I'm no electrical engineer, but I think that board could have been more efficiently designed.

If there was any doubt whether I should by this, it was erased circa page 11 with that Boxing Calculator Alarm Watch by Casio. I love that style of handheld game. It was the best excuse to bring a game to school circa 1985. And that Seiko calculator watch is pure terminator metal bliss.

Here is Casio again, interfacing with and dwarfed by an Epson printer. It's almost all portable!

Yes, you actually hang up the phone ON the keyboard. The future is incredibly efficient. I love how networks of the early 80s and before were all about dumb terminals. We'll get there again, with any luck!

The predecessor to the Steambox, an IBM PC 5150 on a TV cart. Looks like one of those Amdex Color monitors I had as a kid that I'm kind of after. Here's a good place for a pile of disks, right here on the shag carpet. 
Whoever thought curly phone cords were good for anything other than phone cords should have been kicked out of the ideas department. I've paid to have my Colecovision and Intellivision cords straightened and it was worth it.

Give credit where credit is due. The Casio combination boombox and keyboard. Rad. Setup anywhere, like your bedroom, and just jam out on excruciatingly small keys. And record your demo because you might be the next Elton John. Casio lets you find out.

Near and dear to my heart is the CT or 'CAT' scanner. More keys, more joysticks, more monitors, MORE FUN!

Japan always had the best toys! Here's George the Computer Robot from CGL. Looks like something that would be costly then and equally costly now. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Apple II Paddle Adapple

Being in lust with Apple ][ lately, I'm grabbing lots of the stuff wherever I can recently. I especially like items sold originally in baggies. 

One incomplete item I found was the manual and jumpers for a device called the Paddle-Adapple from 1981, which allowed you to extend and modify your Apple II or Apple II+ gameport. Fortunately I was able to find one of these devices on eBay and complete the set. I guess I still need a 16 pin extension cable, but at least I have the instructions that tell you how to use the jumpers. I figured I'd post a few pictures for anyone that needs the info on how to use this 1981 peripheral.

How to buy a laptop in 1989

From the Computerland laptop buyer's guide 1989. I'll agree that at that time, the perfect laptop had yet to be invented! That plasma screen was pretty amazing for it's time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

PC Gaming: Moving to the Dark Side

If you just want to view the thrifting pr0n, move on to the pictures. In the last few years, we moved to Austin, Texas, where the shopping is quite poor compared to Chicago. I miss the shopping there. Far fewer fun thrift scores to post about here in TX.

This is as good a place as any for me to yammer on about my current thoughts in gaming. I'm a collector and a gamer, and I have ideas about both aspects of the hobby.

Recently, I took a new direction in my gaming. I bought a gaming PC. Console gamers consider it going to the dark side. The implications as a gamer and collector are uncertain. What will I collect if I rely on digital downloads? I've already started keeping code cards for Xbox Live when I stumble upon them. There will be a market for those eventually. But most of my PC games will be digital downloads.  The preeminent source for digital PC games, Steam, is quite mature, and has been my inspiration to make this move. And (Good Old Games) has a brilliant selection of reasonably priced classic computer games available for download.

I specifically needed a PC that would fit in our diminutive entertainment center where the other consoles live while I await the build out of my game room. I would have been happy to build my own PC piecemeal, but I didn't find a case and hardware combination that looked nice and would fit in this small space. If I bought a different small system from a boutique builder or found a classy small format case to build my own, the price of assembly wasn't different enough to justify the bother. I settled on the Alienware X51, which looks more like a giant xbox than a typical high powered gaming PC. Small format PCs all have expansion limitations, and I'm willing to accept that. The goal was to create couch friendly system to hook up to my TV. I spend to much time sedentary at a desk for work to consider that approach.

Will I continue to collect console games? As long as I collect, I'll be interested in classic games. I collect for many systems I haven't logged huge hours on. Not to mention countless classic systems with bizzare power adapters I'll never even test. Play time on a system isn't a collecting criteria for me. But it certainly helps. I plan to go for a complete 360 collection at some point when prices reach their nadir. I'm already most of the way towards a complete original Xbox collection.

Will I continue to play console games? I hope so. Many of my friends are on Xbox Live and I have no interest in proselytizing the PC lifestyle. I don't plan to spend all of my time playing PC games anyway. The console experience will always be smoother and simpler. And my extensive backlog of games that don't look much better on PC will keep me coming back. I plan to write a few blog entries about my experience with Battlefield 3 on Xbox 360 and PC, a game I've already put hundreds of hours into on the console.

Will I be lost in the endless fruitful ecosystem of PC gaming, which goes far beyond the mast head companies into far more personal and unique true indie territory? I hope so. It is fantastic that the barriers to game creation are shrinking and taking us back to the early days of computer gaming, when one person could program one game and try to make a living from it. Inexpensive tools available allow for more personal expression. Gaming as an art form is evolving fastest on the PC, outside walled gardens of the consoles.

Are the current generation graphics and enhancements worth the expense? People talk about how cheaply one can assemble a gaming PC, but that has not been my experience. A current video card starts at $200. Future proofing your PC means spending a good few dollars. If you want 2 year old tech, why not just get a console? My graphics card should get me past this upcoming generation of console games, and I can always upgrade. It sure is fun to try out my favorite console games on 'Ultra' graphics mode. Things look a little better, but I can't see the emotional impact of Fallout 3 being too much greater, aside from installing the community created facial enhancement mods, which will be a complicated and time consuming process. Perhaps I'll be less distracted by the graphical limitations of consoles and occasionally awkward animations.

I am confused about where this will end up. Being a hardcore collector, I am torn. As a gamer, I need to follow my interests, rather than worry about what fits in with my self image or community of classic gamers. Perhaps I am over analyzing the evolution of my gaming hobby. This is probably me just getting with the times. Although the internets take these things very seriously, my initial impression is that PC vs console is a hair splitting argument. I simply can't resist the allure of experiencing all gaming has to offer.