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Paleotronic's 12 Years of Retro-Christmas Year One: 1980 (paleotronic.com)
104 points by empressplay on Dec 2, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

Me: That's a Sony Fricken Walkman and intellivision!

Son (9 years old): Blank stare wondering how long this 'conversation' will last and he can resume watching game videos on YouTube.

I've had more luck with the shock-effect of starting conversations like that with "you know, we didn't have Youtube back then" or similar.

The first time I did, my sons retort was to ask if we had electricity.

re: Big Trak: They compare it to a Logo turtle but it was never really as interesting as that. You could program Big Trak, but only with a straight series of commands. No loops or anything interesting like that. Also the damn thing wouldn't turn very accurately, e.g. you ask for 90 degrees, you might well get 120. So good luck getting it to actually go where you want. It did look really cool though.

>Also the damn thing wouldn't turn very accurately, e.g. you ask for 90 degrees, you might well get 120.

Prolly because the turns were programmed in minutes, not degrees. If you asked for 90, you would get one and a half full rotations :D

Mine was pretty precise. Probably depends upon the flooring :) It wasn't very interesting but I played with it a lot.

There was a repeat RPT command/button

Yep but it could only repeat the previous step, rather than a group of steps, iirc. So difficult to do anything interesting with it.

edit: I stand corrected. The repeat command could be told how many of the previous steps to loop. But it only looped once. I guess 8-year-old me should have read the manual.


I loved my Coleco Electronic Quarterback. It was amazing how just a few moving LEDs could be filled in by the imagination to be a full football game. I had more fun with that than I do with my son's Madden on PS4.

Modern football and soccer video games have gotten to the point where to me (as someone not interested in watching either) they feel more like interactive TV than games.

The simple game mechanics of those old games meant you didn't need to care about the subject matter of the game all that much. I even used to play some text based game about managing a football team quite a bit even though I had no interest in football and no interest in the teams back then, because it was a decent resource optimisation game, and the setting was secondary.

I can see how people who do care about the game and the teams can enjoy the modern ones, though, but they're just entirely different categories of games.

Ditto! Even though I learned the patterns (on my own pre GameFAQs!) so that I was pretty much unstoppable on either the run or the pass, I put a lot of time into that game. Pro tip: run by putting your thumb just over the bottom right corner of the button instead of just mashing the button in the middle. The button clicks easier and you can go faster.

And I had that robotic arm from Radio Shack as well! So cool!

I played one in the 2000s and loved it; odd that it aged as well as it did.

Wow! I’m drooling. Brings back memories, as at 9, I was the prime age for this stuff.

I bought the Big Track re-issue a few years ago. It is quite nice, but they did not make the trailer option. Also bought the re-issue Mattel football.

I also had an Armatron, and took it apart. All the gears dumped out, learned allot putting it back together.

I did have the Intellivision, and later decked it out with accessories when they were dirt cheap.

Had a Little Professor, but it was yellow. I don’t remember the Little Genius.

I remember the trailer for BigTrack used a 1/8 audio jack for both the circuit connection between the tank and the lift-bed and as the trailer's hitch.

You could use a paper clip and complete the circuit and make it dump the load

Off topic but in another thread I saw you did some work with SDR. I'm interested in getting started in that area. Can you point to some useful resources to get started in that, and antenna design?

Not them but since it's offtopic anyway, here's what I used: https://www.rtl-sdr.com/ bought the kit off Amazon and was able to set it up on Windows and Linux after following a few instructions.

There's tons of software and projects out there to expand it, and that website has links to a lot of them.



ARRL Antenna Compendium for the layman.

Antenna Theory and Design by Stutzman and Theile for a textbook. Books by Constantin Balanis or John Krauss are good too.

Modern Antenna Design by Milligan for a practicing engineer reference book.


Understating Digital Signal Processing by Richard Lyons is a excellent as it has theory and practicality.

Discrete-time Signal Processing by Oppenheim and Schafer for a textbook.

I don't know what would be a practicing reference book as I'm a hardware guy.

Comms theory: Digital Communications by Sklar for a textbook.

SDR: SDR covers such a broad area, you need a little of everything. RF hardware, DSP, FPGA/HDL, comms theory, python/C++ programming

This looks really good, but I have never read it: https://www.analog.com/en/education/education-library/softwa...

I keep notes here for when you want to build GR from source (though I have not used GR 3.8 yet): https://rfpoweramp.com/category/sdr/gnu-radio/

Much obliged, sir.

Heh, I've got an Armatron in its original box in a closet somewhere. It is the second of a pair as I attempted to convert one to computer control. The mechanical artistry inside is pretty amazing, there was no way to directly convert it as far as I could find, you would have to replace all the mechanics. So the second one sat untouched...

Yeah, they have only one motor, and a whole transmission system which the joysticks engage. The 8-bit guy has a video, I believe.

There's a chart where they compare "videogame systems", but "activision" is on the list. activision was software only, but it's compared to atari vcs, intellivision, odyssey 2 and the fairchild.

Bill Cosby on the cover, ah, the good times..

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