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Remember when...

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I ripped this image out of the recent Chicago TI Computer Club newsletter and colorized it for a little nostalgia.  Time flies, so it's hard to believe it's been over 40 years since we saw images like this in stores all over these United States...


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I like to compare the TI to the other computer systems of the time because of all the time I spent in electronics stores as a kid after school.  I can remember noodling around on a TI display identical to the one above.  I remember being a bit cheesed-off that the screen was so high!  Not easy to see for a short kid.  Munch-man was the game I'd settle on from the demo and it was a lot of fun.  But also, it was pretty obvious that there was no "real" Pac-Man or any other licensed games.  Commodore had Gorf/Omega Race -- knowing how cheap Jack Tramiel was, how did they do that???  (This needs more research and would make an interesting topic on its own).

TI boxes were pretty boring, about the same as Commodore.  Atari had them both beat. 

But the display of the selection of games -- TI was great.  Commodore kiosks were tiny and you had to stoop low to see what they had. 

What would I do differently knowing the TI system so much better now?  They should have emphasized the voice module a lot more in the demos!  I think it would have blown people away to have the kiosk showing software that speaks! 


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Yeah they kinda blew the pooch on the marketing. I think they wanted this to be a more upscale system and not just a game system. I cringe when I read about some of the shortcuts they took to save a buck but might have made the TI into a true competitor of the C64. The PE Box alone was a huge mess and while I'm trying to remember that times were different and yes I saw the original daisy chain setup that went halfway across your room in expansion boxes, there just had to be a better way to both keep the cost down and that long ribbon cable that would disconnect when you bumped your desk... ACK!

They seemed like they designed a system NOT for the masses but rather those who could afford $1000+ along with another grand for the rest of the system. Now I'll be fair and say that the crash affected everyone and in the end we got some pretty good games from 3rd party sources once TI gave up. I only went with the TI over the Atari 400 because the TI have a real keyboard. I much preferred the Atari software. The Vic20 was ghastly (I hate the way the C64 looks but that was not a consideration when I bought my TI) Well I really cannot complain. I have so many fond memories of the TI and of the great people I met. I hope this will continue a little bit longer cause I'm having a blast rediscovering the TI. I've even started writing games again for the 12 people who still play them 🙂

P.S. The voice module was good but I wish they would have incorporated it into the actual machine so it was a standard feature.

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I can appreciate everyone that can look at these machines objectively.  All of them have their plusses and minuses.  But mostly, they all offer a ton of retro fun. 

I was thinking of putting together a quickie "Retro Gaming on TI for New Users" guide here.  Just a way for anyone that has interested know what they need to get started.  But boy, it sure does add up quickly.  Computer (but not a beige one), set of joysticks. 32k sidecar, a flashrom of some kind, voice module (and then do the 5V power fix)....it gets complicated fast.


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Yeah my issue is that I was given a used system from the club (much appreciated of course) but it's so huge that I do not have space for it. Back in the day when it was my only computer sure but now the TI is a secondary and I just do not have the room for that huge expansion box and an old tub TV. I ordered a cable online but they seem to be taking their sweet time sending it out. I already have a convertor box but I need that cable. Oh well I'll keep using Classic99 for now. What a great program that is.

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