Maniac Mansion bootleg cartridge

November 29, 2013

Maniac Mansion bootleg cartridge

Here’s what I made as a 30 year birthday present for a friend of mine. Maniac Mansion cartridge for the Commodore 64!

Of course a cartridge like this never existed back in the day, as the original Manic Mansion released for the C64 was disk only game. It’s only thanks to the crackers, patchers and hardware developers of recent years who we can thank for the possibility to have this much acclaimed and loved game in a C64 cartridge format today.

You’ve probably guessed already that it’s an EasyFlash cartridge in a ‘custom’ Maniac Mansion themed cartridge case. And on the EasyFlash, there is written the excellent EasyFlash-patched Maniac Mansion Mercury by Onslaught.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The beauty of simplicity

February 4, 2012

You know the classic Suncom’s Totally Accurate Controller MK2, right? Better known simply as the TAC-2. The favourite Atari-standard joystick of countless people, with the reputation of being indestructible. Other than durable, it’s also a very good game controller. The design is simple, you can hold it in your hand very comfortably, no matter if you’re left or right-handed. And the feel and tactile response is top-notch.

While not completely fail-proof, at least TAC-2 withstood abuse much better than most other joysticks that were commonly used with Commodore 8-bits, Amigas and Atari computers.  Both the durability and usability are result of very, very simple yet functional design.

I mean, have you ever looked inside of that controller? It appears that there isn’t anything that could ever fail.

Here’s a picture of TAC-2 dismantled. You can completely take the stick apart and put it back together without using any other tools than a screwdriver, which is needed for the three screws that hold the case together.

The buttons and directional switches are nothing but robust construction where metal part presses against another when you press a button or the stick into some direction. In its simplicity it’s ingenious.

But in fact there are some common issues with TAC-2. The buttons tend to become unresponsive over time. As with any switch, metal oxidation is the main reason. Or plain dirt. Eventually this may happen with the directional stick too. But in fact, you could try to rub the contact surfaces clean to make better contact without even opening up the controller. Just wiggle the stick around or rotate the button with your thumb while pressing it. You know you used to do that! Read the rest of this entry »


Cultural act

August 10, 2010

Yesterday there was an unusual story in Finnish newspaper Kymen Sanomat and also few other cooperating subnational newspapers. It was about Commodore 64 and sports games. That’s right.

How this came to be?  A friend of mine, Juha Rika – who has found C64 again after years, is working in that newspaper. He got this idea together with his collegue – a sports editor – to arrange a gaming session with their C64-nostalgic workmates and to have a story written of it in the newspaper. Of course this counted as work time. Getting paid having fun playing C64 is quite unusual – I salute you guys! Read the rest of this entry »


Last of Commodore: Amiga CD32

October 18, 2009

Amiga CD32 system

Some time ago I got myself this piece of Commodore history. The Amiga CD32 is a CD-ROM based 32-bit game console from Commodore released in 1993. As it turned out, the CD32 ended up being the last machine from Commodore before the company went bankrupt.

Made in somewhat similar manner as the infamous Commodore 64 GS, the CD32 is basically an Amiga 1200 with CD-ROM drive dressed up as a game console. This made the CD32 quite powerful platform by the time of its release – at least compared to its 16-bit console rivals. According to various Internet sources, the CD32 sold well at first. After all, it was the first 32-bit console and the first CD-based games system in the Western countries. However, CD32 was doomed to failure even without Commodore going out of business only half a year after its release for various reasons. Read the rest of this entry »


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