The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-16 @ 21:40

Pharaoh's Tomb was also a good game. It's a platform game for +8088 PCs.
Apparently it was released in 1990, so I believe it fits the headline quite well. :-)
As a little kid I played this game a lot and it was one of these games that fascinated me.
Despite the blocky graphics and the klunky controls it had this special charme.
Don't know how describe it, but it was similar to playing one of these old LCD based tabletop games where the sun light
shines through a window on the top of the unit. I hope you know that I mean.
Another thing I realized even back in the days was that this games used an odd colour palette.
Some game description talked about CGA, but the colours were red/green not cyan/violet.
This confused me a lot, I never found an explanation why a CGA game can run in other colours on a VGA card
(I vaguely remember my 286 had an ATI VGA Wonder).


Link:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/pharaohs-tomb


oerk wrote:
Jo22 wrote:Hi, I'm no XT expert, but I've seen Gameports on a lot of Multi-I/O cards.
Perhaps they were in common use before the Sound Blaster cards.


There were seperate 8-bit cards with two Gameports on them, sold well into the 90s.

So it's definitely possible to have an XT with Joystick interface without a sound card.


Ah okay, thank you. I thought that it may was like this but I really wasn't sure.
Albeit my dad told me a bit of the older generations, I haven't operated a real PC/XT until recently
(but I had got an 8088 laptop a years ago if that counts). I was more of a 286 person and back in the 90s I wrote little programs in QB
and Visual Basic v1.0 to read the states of the joystick port's pins. Nothing serious, but it was fun. If you're into electronics and DIY,
this port is/was a nifty little interface. You can easily built an A/D converter with it, hook up several switches to it and much more.
Heck, you can even send data if you know how! ;-)
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby reenigne » 2016-8-16 @ 22:14

Jo22 wrote:Some game description talked about CGA, but the colours were red/green not cyan/violet.
This confused me a lot, I never found an explanation why a CGA game can run in other colours on a VGA card


CGA isn't just the cyan/violet palette. The CGA's low-res graphics mode (normally 320x200) actually has 4 palettes: green/red/brown, light green/light red/yellow, cyan/magenta/grey, light cyan/light magenta/white. On RGBI monitors it can also do cyan/red/grey and light cyan/light red/white. And within each of these, a fourth colour can be chosen freely from any of the 16 text colours.

Games using text mode can display all 16 colours on screen at once (sometimes used to create a 160x100x16 mode), and if your CGA is plugged into a composite monitor, lots more colours are possible.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-16 @ 23:44

reenigne wrote:
Jo22 wrote:Some game description talked about CGA, but the colours were red/green not cyan/violet.
This confused me a lot, I never found an explanation why a CGA game can run in other colours on a VGA card


CGA isn't just the cyan/violet palette. The CGA's low-res graphics mode (normally 320x200) actually has 4 palettes: green/red/brown, light green/light red/yellow, cyan/magenta/grey, light cyan/light magenta/white. On RGBI monitors it can also do cyan/red/grey and light cyan/light red/white. And within each of these, a fourth colour can be chosen freely from any of the 16 text colours.

Games using text mode can display all 16 colours on screen at once (sometimes used to create a 160x100x16 mode), and if your CGA is plugged into a composite monitor, lots more colours are possible.


True, true, I know that by now. :-)
But I thought that game was using the regular CGA mode with one of its alternate palette (red/green).

Back then I've read about a lot of old CGA games in several 80s magazines (my dad had bought some of them)..
Some games used this strange 16 colour mode, like Ultima II. Back then, I had not idea how this was even possbible.
Others, like Starquake, looked like they were in regular RGB but had alternate colours.

Now, I was an VGA user back then.. All my CGA experience was rougly based upon GW-BASIC and older public domain titles.
Plus, I had no idea about these cool mode-switching utilities which some VGA cards came with.
To me, CGA was always either cyan/magenta or black/white. Nothing else.
So I guess I was running all CGA games through VGA's normal CGA emulation.

Speaking of this, the only other CGA game that worked in a different colour scheme was Packman.
It was on my dads old backup floppies from the 80s. Maybe you never heard of it.
There also was an character based game with a similar name (Pcman). I think both were Public Domain (PD).

I've attached Packman for further analysis.

No idea if that's helpful, but Mobygames is down right now, so I can't verify.
Attachments
Jet01.png
GW-Basic: Jet Plane (Origami) - Title
Jet02.png
GW-Basic: Jet Plane (Origami) - Figure (CGA)
pcman.png
PC Man (text mode, 40cols)
packman.png
Packman (CGA)
packman.zip
Packman (PD)
(22.27 KiB) Downloaded 20 times
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jorpho » 2016-8-17 @ 04:12

Jo22 wrote:Now, I was an VGA user back then.. All my CGA experience was rougly based upon GW-BASIC and older public domain titles.
Plus, I had no idea about these cool mode-switching utilities which some VGA cards came with.
To me, CGA was always either cyan/magenta or black/white. Nothing else.
So I guess I was running all CGA games through VGA's normal CGA emulation.

Speaking of this, the only other CGA game that worked in a different colour scheme was Packman.
It was on my dads old backup floppies from the 80s. Maybe you never heard of it.
There also was an character based game with a similar name (Pcman). I think both were Public Domain (PD).
Trixter has a lot to say about some of the crazier things people used to try to do with CGA over at http://www.oldskool.org/shrines/lbd .
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-18 @ 01:47

reenigne wrote: And within each of these, a fourth colour can be chosen freely from any of the 16 text colours.

Wait, that's new. Does this also work on EGA/VGA cards? I thought the last colour was the background (black).
Could explain why some games managed to "hid" their cyan/magenta-ish personality..

Afaik, someone said that in order to maintain compatibility with the original VGA, palette changing for CGA was not allowed for VGA cards
in their native mode (this could explain as to why I rarely saw something else than cyan/magenta (plus b/w) here in my childhood).
That was also the whole point why I was surprised that some games where in other colours nevertheless.
But if it was possible to add another colour to cyan/magenta (& white) without changing the palette at all,
it would explain a lot.

Jorpho wrote:Trixter has a lot to say about some of the crazier things people used to try to do with CGA over at http://www.oldskool.org/shrines/lbd .

I'm prette sure that's true. Thanks for the link! :-)
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby reenigne » 2016-8-18 @ 07:33

Jo22 wrote:Wait, that's new. Does this also work on EGA/VGA cards? I thought the last colour was the background (black).
Could explain why some games managed to "hid" their cyan/magenta-ish personality..


Colour 0 is black by default but can be changed by setting the low 4 bits of port 0x3d9. The register method doesn't work on EGA/VGA but there's a BIOS call (INT 10,0B,0) which does, I think. That is how Packman has green/magenta/white and how Mean 18 has blue/green/red/brown.

Jo22 wrote:Afaik, someone said that in order to maintain compatibility with the original VGA, palette changing for CGA was not allowed for VGA cards in their native mode (this could explain as to why I rarely saw something else than cyan/magenta (plus b/w) here in my childhood).


Again that is true for the register access but I think the cards are compatible at the BIOS level.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-18 @ 09:09

Thank you very much, things make sense now. :-)
This would also explain why Pharao's Tomb worked in alternate colours back then.
It either used the Video BIOS services to set-up black/green/red/brown (defaults for alternate CGA palette 0)
or its "FAST" engine was already made VGA-aware to set the graphics registers accordingly.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby FFXIhealer » 2016-8-18 @ 15:16

I'm playing Super Mario Bros, Mega Man, Zelda, and Castlevania. Because in 1990 we only had 2 systems: the NES and a Commodore 64. I also played Olympic games on the C64, as well as a bunch of others, like Donald Duck's Playground and Ghostbusters.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-19 @ 19:56

FFXIhealer wrote:I'm playing Super Mario Bros, Mega Man, Zelda, and Castlevania. Because in 1990 we only had 2 systems: the NES and a Commodore 64. I also played Olympic games on the C64, as well as a bunch of others, like Donald Duck's Playground and Ghostbusters.


I also played on the NES, albeit a bit later. I've got it second-hand together with a copy of Super Mario Bros (we still called cartridges "cassettes" back then).
Later my dad, my grandma and I traveld by car from town-to-town just to get a copy of SMB2 and 3. ;-)
I never forget how magical each moment was when I finally played those games at home.
The drive home before this was also something I've never forgot. It was a sunny day, I think, when I got SMB3 in a worn yellow box.
I looked at the pictures on the rear side of and my mind began to almost play the game on its own.
But I'm getting taken away again. Back to the topic.

Worth playing on the PC/XT are almost all AGI titles from Sierra, like Larry, Space Quest or Kings Quest.
Some NES games like Mario Bros and Mega Man were also ported, I think.
And let's don't forget the huge number of text adventure from Infocom and several individuals.
"Alice in Wonderland" comes to mind (the one with the CGA title screen).
Speaking of novels, "The Never Ending Story 2" was also on the PC.

And because you mentioned Donald Duck's Playground..:
The PC/XT originals of the games Donald Duck's Playground, Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood and Mickey's Space Adventure
can be found on Al Lowe's homepage. For those of you who don't recall his name: He was the humorous guy behind the
Leisury Suit Larry games. He worked at Sierra On-Line back in the 80's and also did development for early Sierra titles.
More can be read on his Humor Site (don't be afraid. Check it out. NOW!). :-D
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jorpho » 2016-8-19 @ 22:41

Jo22 wrote:Some NES games like Mario Bros and Mega Man were also ported, I think.
The MS-DOS version of Mega Man (it is most certainly not a "port") is widely acknowledged as completely and utterly appalling.

There were in fact PC ports of Castlevania and Contra, but they are substantially less well-known. For that matter, there are also ports of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 and 2, but they are also pretty terrible.
http://www.scary-crayon.com/games/tmnt12pc/

As per Wikipedia, there was an Apple II and C64 version of Mario Bros., but I've never seen confirmation that there was an IBM version, unreleased or otherwise. (You'd expect it would be moderately well-known if it existed.) Mario Bros. VGA, by Dave Sharpless, was unofficial.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-19 @ 23:11

Sorry, you're right. I once read something about a PC "port" of SMB3 and mixed things up a bit.
Wait, here's my bowser's bookmark: John Romero Reveals Unofficial PC DOS Port Of ‘Super Mario Bros 3’
But the Mega Man thing was an official release at least, right ? I once saw a boxed copy of it on eBay while I was looking for Silpheed.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jorpho » 2016-8-20 @ 04:42

Jo22 wrote:But the Mega Man thing was an official release at least, right ? I once saw a boxed copy of it on eBay while I was looking for Silpheed.
Most definitely, along with "Mega Man 3" (which was a marginal improvement at best). It was officially, legally licensed from Capcom, but otherwise I doubt anyone from Capcom had anything to do with either of them.

Come to think of it, there was also a PC port of the original Metal Gear. I've heard that it is likewise buggy and completely unfinishable, though it could well be that the only copy of the game floating around on the Internet is corrupted or otherwise has some copy protection mechanism. Anyone with an actual desire to play these games on an XT back in the day would have had some very strange priorities.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-22 @ 01:04

Jorpho wrote:Come to think of it, there was also a PC port of the original Metal Gear. I've heard that it is likewise buggy and completely unfinishable, though it could well be that the only copy of the game floating around on the Internet is corrupted or otherwise has some copy protection mechanism. Anyone with an actual desire to play these games on an XT back in the day would have had some very strange priorities.

Thanks, Jorpho, didn't know that. Metal Gear's trivia is also interesting (see the part about its cover art).
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/metal-gear/trivia

Speaking of buggy games, the PC/XT release of Spider Man was said to be incompatible with DOS versions later than 2.10 (2.11 and up).
The reason for this, so people say, was the use of an ancient file opening function, which allowed wildcards (??) in file names.
I wonder why it had to be removed. Even +30 years later, history of DOS is still a mystery..
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/spider-man/trivia
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Scali » 2016-8-22 @ 09:22

I'm not sure what the question is exactly...
But 1990 was the year that I upgraded my XT-clone to a 386SX-16.
So in 1990 I still had an 'XT'. However, it was a turbo machine, 8088 at 9.54 MHz, and I had it upgraded with a Paradise VGA card, 20 MB HDD and a joystick card. So quite a bit more capable than an IBM 5160 PC/XT with CGA.
I played games like Prince of Persia, F29 Retaliator, Test Drive 1/2, LHX Attack Chopper, Commander Keen, Maniac Mansion and various other Lucasfilm/Sierra adventures, and probably others that I can't remember right now.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-8-27 @ 13:59

Nice, you had a really fine machine there!
Seemed like an ideal computer for adventures from MagneticScrolls.
The later ones supported 800x600 resolution for Paradise and V7 cards.
Hercules and EGA were supported, too. Only CGA was left behind - no graphics here.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Scali » 2016-8-27 @ 14:21

To elaborate, it was a Commodore PC10-III, which we got in 1988 I believe.
It came with a Paradise PVC4 onboard video chip, which was capable of both CGA/Plantronics and MDA/Hercules. Initially we got it with a 12" Hercules screen. Later got a Philips CM8833 to use CGA colour.
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jo22 » 2016-9-15 @ 18:27

Interesting, this model looks slightly similar to the Amiga 1500/2000 series!
I know, it isn't noticeable at first glance, but they do share some distinctive similarities.
If you look closely, they both have the drive bays in the same location, both cases have a similar
height/form factor, and both do have a gap for the keyboard. In know, it's nothing big, but still..
Could it be that the sidecar A1060 for the A1000 was also based on the PC10s ?
The first PC10 was released shortly before the A1000..

http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=78269
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Sidecar
http://www.amigamuseum.com/page/commodore-PC-10-III.php
http://www.zimmers.net/cbmpics/cpcs.html

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... emoved.jpg
http://bilgisayarlarim.com/Commodore/PC10III/15.jpg
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby clueless1 » 2016-9-15 @ 18:34

clueless1 wrote:I'd be playing:
Digger
Lode Runner
Karateka
Bruce Lee
Infocom text adventures
Ultima I through Ultima V
Wizardry I through Wizardry VI
Bard's Tale I through Bard's Tale III

Also, I recently realized that the SSI Gold Box series will run on 8086/8. I'd be spending all my time RPGing the Gold Box games. :)
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Jade Falcon » 2016-9-15 @ 18:46

I'm playing overtime at work to make money for a 486
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Re: The year is 1990 and you still have a PC/XT and can't upgrade. Which games are you playing?

Postby Scali » 2016-9-15 @ 19:23

Jo22 wrote:Interesting, this model looks slightly similar to the Amiga 1500/2000 series!


The 386SX-16 we got after that was a Commodore as well, it was similar to the Amiga 4000 styling:
Image

And yes, the PC10/20-III actually used a MOS chip for the floppy controller and mouse (it could use an Amiga mouse). It also used the Faraday FE2010 integrated chipset.
You'll find these on the Amiga bridgeboards as well.
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