Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Pimp my 8Bit - #1

I have too many old computers - and I find it increasingly difficult to justify owning them. I can justify old synths on the grounds of uniqueness of sound that no plugin can ever quite replicate. I can draw parallels to Stradivarius (or, hell, even the original Stratocaster) and point out the premium people will put on machines that "aren't made like they used to be". But 80s computers are slow, primitive and frustrating. An evening trying to load 'Chuckie Egg' from tape will soon dampen even the strongest nostalgic urges.

So here's the challenge I've set myself. Is it possible to actually build a useful 8bit computer (we'll leave the definition of 'useful' fairly open for the moment). What if I went on eBay and bought all the expansion options I could never afford in the day? What if I tapped into those user communities that keep the flames burning even now - that build IDE adapators for ZX Spectrums and network cards for Apple IIs? Could I build an almighty Frankenstein's monster of a machine? Could I ... gulp ... even browse the web on it?

Well, watch this space.

(Thanks to Dave Dunfield for the picture of a fully pimped up TI99 /4a)