indeed? This site came about after I suffered a sudden
attack of nostalgia at Christmas 2001. I was staying
with my parents at the time and had gone to visit an
old school friend I rarely see these days. He's into
computers too and, as usual, the talk turned to reminiscences
of our school days and the computers we had at the time.
He mentioned that he'd recently downloaded an emulator
from the net which could emulate just about every computer
you'd ever heard of, and quite a lot you probably haven't.
It was called M.E.S.S and he'd spent a few days playing
around with it before we got together just after Christmas.
He'd particularly been impressed with it's TI99/4A emulation.
It just so happened that the TI99/4A was the first computer
I'd ever owned and we'd spent loads of time together
programming it and playing games as kids.
was quite intrigued by this so when I got home I got
on-line and went looking for this emulator. It didn't
take long to find and after searching for some BIOS
and game ROMs to download it wasn't long before I was
wallowing in nostalgia playing some of my favourite
TI99/4A games. It really brought the memories back from
when I was about 14 or 15 years old. My recollection
is a little hazy after all this time so I'm not sure
of the exact dates. I think it was '81 or '82 when I
got my TI99 and I remember spending the entire first
night of owning it typing in programs from the manual
and learning how to program it (the games came later
as it didn't come supplied with any software at all).
This was the most expensive (£199 at the time)
and exciting piece of kit I'd ever owned and for a while
I was totally immersed in my own little programming
world. It shortly became apparent, however, that the
TI99 wasn't the world beating super-computer I thought
it was, despite it's sleek black and brushed aluminiun
styling and real keyboard.
to owning the TI99 my experience with other computers
was quite limited but the more I used it the more convinced
I became that it was actually quite slow. It wasn't
until I saw BASIC programs running on machines like
the BBC B and Atari 400's and 800's that I realised
just how slow. It was painfully slow compared with these
machines. Nevertheless, it was mine and I loved it so
I persevered and spent countless hours teaching myself
TI BASIC and writing and debugging (LOTS of debugging!)
programs. I mainly tried to write games but was always
frustrated by how slowly they ran. It was almost impossible
to write anything even remotely action based but I kept
trying anyway. I became quite proficient in TI BASIC
(all forgotten now, alas) and even had a couple of programs
published in magazines (see the 'fame!
section for more about this).
but the games! My faith was restored in the power of
the TI99 when I could afford to buy one or two ROM cartridges.
Parsec was a masterpiece, Munchman a brilliant take
on the PacMan theme, and Alpiner; well, it wasn't bad.
I never did own a lot of software as it cost several
limbs for just one cartridge, and most of the good cassette
stuff was Extended Basic only. Oh, how I dreamed of
owning Extended Basic! I could have written and sold
my own games. I would have been a software superstar
like that bloke who wrote Manic Miner for the Spectrum.
Yeah, right. Here I am now pining for my lost youth
and really, really wishing I'd never sold my trusty
old '99. But I had to have a Commodore 64 you see...
that's another story and I'm digressing. Nostalgia isn't
the only reason for creating this site. Using M.E.S.S
has given me the retro computing bug and I'm actively
trying to obtain TI99/4A hardware, software, books and
magazines for it now. I also wanted to contribute something
to the on-line TI99 community (I didn't realise how
big it was until I started looking on the 'net for TI
stuff) and also create a site that was a little bit
different from all the others.