AuthorTopic: Double Density Dreams  (Read 3066 times)

Offline government.agent

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Double Density Dreams

on: October 08, 2006, 01:08:39 am
I can't shake this wave of nostalgia I've been feeling lately, so I wrote down some memories from the days of the commodore 64 for the enjoyment of all.

You'll probably only relate to this if you were alive during that time and actually had a commodore 64, just a warning. I'll probably be doing some more writing over the next few days so if you like what you see, just reply and I'll post more in this thread. Of course, feel free to post up some of your own!


"What games do you have?" I asked Tom.

Tom's handle was "TinyT" on the BBS we were a member of. We had talked about meeting for weeks and had bumped into each other at a BBS party. His name was an inverse parody -- Tom was built like an extra-large eggplant and weighed at least 300 pounds.

He had a habit of wiping the thin red hairs on his chin and upper lip with his hand--a gold class ring stood out on his ring finger. His cheeks were as orange as the crusty film of cheetos powder on his fingertips.

He looked at the shelf above the commodore monitor. Side by side sat tan-white containers with smokey-gray plastic lids. In each were those five-and-a-quarter floppies of various colors. Tom grunted and wiped his mouth.

"What games... do you want?" he said in much the same way a Sultan might ask his son how much gold he wanted before venturing out on a particularly lengthy journey.

I stared at the rows of disks. In my hands were three blank Fuji disks--one red, one green, and one black. Each had a blank lapel on the front. My heart sank as I realized how unprepared I had come for this meeting. Tom reached for his bag of cheetos--the foil bag crackled as his fingers withdrew a few and tossed them into his maw.

"What are you playing lately?" I said.

"Ultima three, elite, and of course international karate two. Just got yie ar kung fu," he said.

"What's ultima three?" I said.

Tom smiled and winked. He pulled a black disk out of a box and popped it into his fifteen-forty-one. He entered the commands on the rich, blue screen.

"It's an adventure game. Takes a lot of patience. Not a shoot up or anything like that. Relaxing. Very relaxing," Tom said.

The screen came up a few minutes later and he brought up his party screen. I was instantly entranced. The music sang to me like an old friend.

"Can I have that?" I said.

"Sure. Anything else?" Tom said.

"I heard about spy versus spy and bruce lee. And uridium," I said.

"Uridium is AWESOME," Tom said with a sudden burst of energy as though he had played it for days without sleeping. I felt a kinship with him, having played paradroid for what seemed all night sometimes.

"I keep hearing about druid. You got it?" I said.

Tom smiled, his red-orange cheeks squeezing up against his eyes.

"Got it last night. I haven't tried to copy it yet," he said.

"Any good?" I said.

"Dude. You want druid. Trust me," he said.

"Shit. I only have three disks," I said.

He pulled out a small grey cube of plastic from a drawer.

"Check it--I'll notch those disks if they're double density. I can give you six disks worth then," Tom said.

"Did you crack all these games?" I said with a holy reverence.

"Nope. I just use fast hack'em. Or nibbler if that doesn't work. But hack'em usually works. So what you want?"

"God I don't know--your favorites I guess. Is that cool?" I said, not really knowing how to bargain with this red-haired god of games.

"Okay. Druid for sure. Bruce lee, international karate, karateka, ultima three, paradroid--"

"I got paradroid," I said, feeling pride that I knew of a game he spoke of.

"Good game. Spy versus spy is OK, but I'll give you hacker instead."

"Hacker? Dude I dont' want to get in trouble," I said.

"Don't sweat--it's a game," he said.

"What's it like?" I said.

"Can't tell you. You'll have to see. Trust me dude. You'll like. Gimme those disks," he said.

I handed them over and he worked the tiny notcher like a craftsman, the small rectangle of floppy flying off onto his dark brown carpeting as each one popped. I felt my eyebrow lift and felt a pang in my stomach.

"Hey, are you sure that's.. good for the disk? It won't screw up the programs?" I said.

"Hell no. I notch all of my dee-dee disks. Come on man, it's like getting a free disk," he said.

"This is awesome," I said, feeling light-headed at his expertise.

"Fair's fair. You gave me ultimate wizard when NO ONE else had it. Tell me about that guy again? Raistlin from the BBS, who got you that game?" he said.

"God, you wouldn't believe it. He's got stacks of paper T... I mean STACKS of printer paper as tall as I am and they're filled with numbers. Phone numbers and credit numbers and... well all kinds of shit," I said.

"Jesus. He's a real hacker," Tom said with a tone of awe.

"Ya. He uses something called a war dialer. No idea how that works or what the hell it is, but he gets into BBS's with it and gets games before a lot of people. But he won't give me them most of the time. Something to do with honor--eh. I dunno," I said.

Tom had put one of my Fuji's into his fifteen-forty-one and the multi-colored Fast Hack'em screen came up on the monitor. He jabbed the keyboard with his thick fingers, leaving half-moons of cheeto-orange on the keys.

"Think he could change my grades like on Ferris Bueller's Day off?" Tom said.

We laughed.

"I asked him that one time. He said he could but it would cost me. I told him I didn't have any money--no job and no allowance, and he said he didn't need money. He needed virgin credit cards," I said.

"Oh really?" Tom said.

"Ya but that was like a year ago. He doesn't play games any more," I said.

"You're kidding!"

"No. Dude he told me he's hacking into NORAD and the Pentagon," I said.

"Oh that's bullshit. Bull shit, dude. He's not that stupid. Gimme a break," he said.

We watched the screen for a few minutes.

"Jay keeps talking about his Amiga and how k-rad it is," I said.

Tom snorted. He reached into his bag for cheetos and found it empty. He crumpled it with a fat fist.

"Amigas are total shit. Commodore all the way."



Offline ptoing

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Re: Double Density Dreams

Reply #1 on: October 08, 2006, 01:39:37 am
Haha, man that was some ace shit, I had a C64 back then, sold it when i got my Amiga 500, but bought one again 1 year ago and finally got it over to London and all set up.

I got it set up with a Retro Replay and RR-Net which allows networking the sixty-four with a PC. It took some time to get it working because the stuff that comes with it only allows for web-server transfer of files and due to the stupid wifi connection set up i have here that would not work.

There is a alternate ROM one can flash to one of the 2 ROM banks of the Retro Replay called The Final Replay, which together with Warpcopy allows the transfer of diskimages from pc to C64 floppy at great speeds, both ways. But to get that working I needed the ROM, the flash utility and warpcopy on a floppy.

After asking some demosceners via the net a nice danish guy, going by the handle j0x sent me two doublesided disks, each side having the 3 things I needed, just to make sure I would get it in case something fucked up during the send. All arrived fine :)

Everything worked on the first go more or less and I was super happy.

Then today I wanted to watch some demos. Transfered them to my floppies, ran the first demo, it ran, but no sound. Neither via antenna cable on the TV nor via the monitor cinch cable via the stereo. It seemed my 8580 sid chip croaked. I wanted to be sure.

I went to IRC to the c64 channel and asked fellow sceners, which all were very helpful. They said I should open the C64 to check if it was maybe loose, which can happen due to temperature changes. And in case it was not loose I should check if it got hot once I ran something with music. So I did and it was extremely hot, a definite sign of death.

I took it out of it's socket, to prevent heating inside the case when i was running the sixtyfour to check gfx. Demos were a bit pointless now.

Luckily I am going to a C64 demoparty in a few days were I will get a working chip in exchange for graphics for an upcomming demo. I love the demoscene :)

The opened C64, it proved very hard to get to the chips with the aluminium covered sheet of cardboard blocking my view.

So I unscrewed the keyboard panel as well to be able to detach said cardboard.

Here the removed and dead chip

And here the vacant socket longing for a replacement

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline government.agent

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Re: Double Density Dreams

Reply #2 on: October 08, 2006, 02:00:18 am
That's awesome. I wish I had my old hardware, but I guess I'm too lazy to track down all that stuff and get ahold of it so I settle for emulation. Plus I don't want to go through any headaches like you have.

Eh.. what IRC server/channels are you on ptoing?