Once again, I decided to do an Atari exhibit at the
2004 Vintage Computer
Festival, which took place at the
Museum in Mountain View, California on November 6th
This time, along with my Atari 800Xl computer, I brought along
my Atari 2600 game system and two Atari Lynx handheld game
systems. They aren't exactly computers, but they're vintage,
and share a lot of architectural design with the Atari 8-bit
computers (as well as the Commodore Amiga).
Day 1 - Saturday
I was at a Kinkos until about 2:30am the night before, printing
some information to put up, and photcopying them into handouts.
I was then up until about 7am Saturday morning unhooking all of
the stuff I was going to bring (it was all set up in the 'office'
bedroom in our apartment), and making sure I had all the right bits.
I stole Melissa's Thinkpad laptop and made sure that it had all the
files I needed on it. (It has double duty as an emulated Atari
computer, and as a simulated disk drive to boot the real
The alarm went off at noon. Our cat Ebony was unphased.
Malcolm, on the other hand, decided to make a run for the
Much of my exhibit fit nicely in a storage box!
Not the TV and monitor, though.
I promised my friend Marianne that I'd wear the
"Choose Your Weapon" (Atari Paddle vs Joystick controller)
t-shirt she made.
Sorry Malcolm, no time to pet you! (So... tempting...)
The Computer History Museum is literally one exit down the
freeway from where we live now, so I made it there in no time.
Getting all my junk upstairs without help or a cart (and without
noticing the elevator) took a bit, though.
What the hell is this!? It appears to be made from an
erector set! It's apparently a "differential analyzer."
Once again, my neighbor is Wayne Smith. This year it's not old IBMs,
but the "Pippin," from Bandai. It's a settop web browser / video
game console based on Apple hardware and software.
(Very short-lived, from the mid-90s.)
Here's the right side of my booth. Left to right:
Melissa's laptop running Atari800 emulator with
"Space Harrier XE" running, lots of handouts, and my
two Lynx II systems and tons of games.
The rest of my booth. Left to right: Atari 2600 Jr running
Pitfall, lots of 2600 games, my Atari 800XL running a demo by
Hard Software, and again, Melissa's laptop.
My other neighbor is Philip Louie, who brought some Atari ST
systems and MIDI stuff. His booth plays lots of great music.
Directly in front of me, across the aisle is Eric Rothfus's
exhibit (on the left) and Vince Briel's (on the right).
Eric's showing the "Semi-Virtual Diskette," which simulates a
disk drive for a TRS-80 or Apple II. Vince is showing the
"Replica I", an Apple I clone.
A Commodore 64 and VIC-20 booth.
My new pal Robert Bernardo, carrying some C=64 stuff!
A Commodore showing 128 colors! Wow, that's almost as many as
The Commodore 64 DTV, a C=64 plus a bunch of games,
crammed into a joystick form-factor. Another amazing
piece by Jeri Ellsworth.
Jeri's infamouse Commodore One, a modern remake of the C=64
using FPGAs to replicate the CPU and other important chips.
My Atari Lynxes, just waiting for some head-to-head
"Championship Rally" racing!
But first, "Enduro" gets some action on the Atari 2600!
Another wide-shot of my booth: Atari 2600 "Battlezone" playing
itself on the left, "Drunktank" demo on the Atari 800XL in
the center, and the brand-new game "Beef Drop"
(an awesome clone of "Burger Time") running on the
emulator (but with a real joystick attached, via a Stelladaptor!)
My latest visitors hit the Lynxes. I think they found
my two copies of "Battlewheels" and decided to duke it out.
A kid playing "Defender" on the Atari 2600.
A cool 3D cube spinning around in a demo on the emulator.
(The streaking is from my camera.)
If only I had three more sets of paddles! On the left:
"Warlords" on the Atari 2600. On the right:
"Castle Crisis," another amazing game released very recently.
It's a clone of the original arcade "Warlords," for the
A 3D racing game gets some action on the Bandai Pippin next door.
Doug Neubauer's works of art. "Solaris" on the Atari 2600
and "Star Raiders" on the Atari 800XL.
While we're at it, let's compare 2600 and 8-bit "Pac-Man!"
And 2600 and 8-bit "Missile Command!"
How about 2600 and 8-bit "Space Invaders?"
Left: Atari 2600 "Kaboom!" (the original). Middle:
Atari 8-bit "Kaboom!" (from the same era). Right:
my Linux game "Mad Bomber" (from a few years ago).
That differential analyzer again.
Someone playing "Klax" on the Lynx.
A cool 3D rotating camera animation from a Hard Software
A close-up of "Battlezone" on the Atari 2600. It looks
nothing like the vector-based original, but it sure is pretty!
Jeri Ellsworth answering some questions at
Robert Bernardo's Commodore booth.
There was a vendor there with lots of random stuff. I was about
to delete this photo when I noticed the robot on the right...
It's "2XL!" My brother and I had one of those when we were kids!
(It was simply an 8-track audio cassette player which had trivia
tapes for 'learning.')
Another fairly cluttered collection of stuff.
Just as I was about to leave, I discovered a vendor booth with
dozens and dozens of Atari 2600 games! I bought a few I always
wanted, but never got around to. Total cost: 4 bucks!
I think this is the programming challenge setup, outside the main
exhibit floor. Apple II on the left, Atari 800 in the
middle and Commodore 64 on the right. (Someone get that
Atari a monitor, stat!)
After the show, a bunch of use went to the Tied House
restaurant for dinner. Here's Wayne Smith taking a photo.
A table full of exhibitors and such...
Another table of exhibitors and such...
Day 2 - Sunday
Sunday actually seemed to end up having more attendees than
Saturday, which was great. (Saturday was apparently a little slower
than it usually has been in previous years, and Sunday's typically
the slower day of the two.)
Eric Rothfus's Semi-Virtual Diskette, a floppy emulator for
TRS-80, Heathkit and Apple IIs. Similar to the SIO2PC cable
I have on my Atari, but since those systems' floppy drives weren't
"intelligent," the SVD actually has to simulate the timing of
a spinning floppy diskette!
A close-up of a Semi-Virtual Diskette.
Vince Briel's "Replica 1", an Apple 1 clone!
Pavl Zachary at his incredible PDP-11 exhibit.
Not Feed The Nerd" from the PDP-11
The XGameStation folks were there, showing off their new,
but retro-style, game system for hobbiests.
A collection of Intel chips.
Some visual next to the Intel chip display.
My friend Bill Ward (who I know from his Linux User Group
in Redwood Shores) was there at a Commodore booth.
Mmm... an Amiga.
Jeri Ellsworth has created a Commodore 64 joystick
(like those "10-in-1" Atari 2600 systems). It's amazing!
It contains dozens of games inside, too!
The start-up sequence of the Commodore joystick (C=64 DTV)
includes a C=64 BASIC screen. How retro!
Wow! "Impossible Mission" running in a joystick!
"Destroy him, my robots!"
The inside of a C=64 DTV.
When the floor open, some kids started finding my booth.
Here's someone enjoying my copy of "Star Wars: The Empire
Strikes Back" for the Atari 2600 which I bought from
a vendor at the show.
My next-door neighbor had some games running on his
Atari ST, too.
A giant MIDI... something... and a keyboard. (Hooked up
to an Atari ST, of course!)
A birds-eye view of the show. (You'll see it again, later.)
On the left, some kids playing "Enduro" on the 2600. On the
right, a kid checking "Dynablaster" on the Atari XL emulator.
(A little boring without two players!)
"Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" getting some action on the 2600.
(It's another game I found at the show, and just had to buy!)
In the middle, two brothers play 'pitch and catch' mode in
Kaboom! on my Atari 800XL.
A photo I took of the show (see above), converted to GIF and
loaded and displayed in "JView" on my Atari 800XL.
This is 160x192, 64 colors.
I thought I'd take a close-up shot of one of my Lynxes.
Here's one running "Championship Rally."
At one point, Lx Rudis himself wandered by my booth.
(He did work on lots of Lynx games.) I got him to sign my
copy of "Klax" and pose with me. (I guess I'm blinking...
either that, or I was about to faint.)
A shot of my Atari 800XL showing a photo from VCF.
It doesn't look so bad from a distance!
Here's the same photo in "JView," but in 80x192 4096 colors.
Another VCF comes to a close. Pavl and others start taking down
the PDF display.
More wrapping up.