Limitations spark creativity – this is a known fact in the demo scene and also applies to real life. While painting or “pixelating” graphics in low resolutions and with a very limited numbers of colors (like 2, 4 or 16) is complicated, there is another discipline to do retro graphics: using charset only (ASCII) or the Commodore- (and of course MEGA65-)specific PETSCII characters. This charset was designed by Leonard Tramiel, son of Commodore CEO Jack Tramiel. While there is a lot of PETSCII art, only few authors dared to make games that only use PETSCII. Tero Heikkinen, aka Dr. TerrorZ, is one of those daring coders and designers and created the wonderful and arty game DIGILOI in PETSCII. And even better: He licensed MEGA to bundle DIGILOI with every MEGA65 computer! While you can test-run it on an emulator, please be advised that only playing it with real latency-free hardware and a proper Joystick will give you the real thing!

MEGA65 DevKit

In the making for full 5 years now, the MEGA65 is finally ready for pre-orders in form of a Development Kit. While work on the consumer product continues, now is a chance to hop onboard and become part of retro computing history, enhance things here and there or start programming your own game, application or demo so it can be available (or even be bundled) when the final machines see the light of day! The DevKits look and feel fantastic, mechanical keyboards, powerful ARTIX A7 200T FPGA and many modern aswell as retro connection possibilites in a shiny acrylic glass case with laser engraved serial number and logo. But beware, production run is limited to 100 pieces and only one machine per person. Ready to be ordered from 11 AM CET on 18th of June 2020 at Trenz Electronic.

Tatort Tabletops

The “Tatort Dortmund” episode “Monster” was broadcast on 02.02.2020. Without knowing the subject of this episode, and yet with a vague foreboding, MEGA e.V. packed several boxes with over 30 exhibits, including tabletops, handhelds and consoles as props in February 2019.
This Tatort episode dares to tackle a difficult but everyday topic: sexual (child) abuse. The potential for reflection lies in the representation of stereotypes, here a single mid-40 year old internet seller of old (video) toys. It is indisputable to ask why the video game scene is stereotypically associated with pedophile social scenarios and cultural practices. There is widespread public consensus that mass media and technology use are questionable pastimes, pose a threat to young people, and promote instinctive, violent behavior, crime and immorality.
At this point, reference should be made to a current edition of the Widerscreen magazine, which is dedicated to the topic of sexuality and play in a special edition, which has so far been little reflected scientifically and socially.

MEGA roundup

It might look as if we are taking a time off as there has not been a post for several weeks. Just the opposite is true!
MEGA has a lot going on, some things are not to be told yet, others are: The MEGAphone prototype is taking shape, the MEGA65 is becoming very usable, pre-series models are about ready to be shipped and we have started producing open-source replacement ROMs for the legendary C64 which already can run a lot of original software.
Please feel invited to browse the roundup compilation of images and to visit MEGA member Paul’s blog every once in a while where you will find in-depth and technical information about all MEGA65 related activities!

Portable Classics

For “Digital Day for All” during the 1st Digital Week in Leer, we presented various portable computers and electronic devices from the past. By portable computers we do not mean what can be compared to today’s laptops, but classics like Kaypro II, Commodore SX64 or Macintosh Classic. However, we also showed really compact device classics, including a Motorola StarTac phone, various Game & Watch handheld games, the Vectrex 3D Imager, great calculators from Commodore and Texas Instruments, one of the first e-book readers and a Watchman from Sony.

Vintage Text Computing & Gameboy meets Lagerfeuer

At the DARIAH-DE Grand Tour 2018, we successfully proved that already more than 30 years ago computers not just allowed to write adventures, but more importantly to interactively experience them. We are of course talking about text adventures, one of the formative genres of computer game history.
In addition to the classic “Zork” (1977), visitors could also enjoy “The Hobbit” (1982) and the German graphic adventure “Magic Castle” (1984). Fittingly, the 8-bit duo Pornophonique from Darmstadt told musical stories with the help of a Gameboy and a guitar and brought the audience to dance with their own compositions as well as well-known cover hits.

Hit Me Baby One More Time!

MEGA65.org updated

The new MEGA65.org website is online! While there still (and always) is room for improvement and most renderings are pre-versions, we are pretty happy with the new fancy look of the page. Nevertheless, for less polished work-in-progress shots and news you can always visit Paul’s blog or come here.