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This page last updated:
08 Jan 2016

      Why 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.

      I 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.

      Previously 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).

      Ah, 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...

      Anyway, 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.

I want TI stuff!
Not collecting at the moment.

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