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Basement journey produces expansion box and CIB Moonbeam titles


VicViper
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So i posted here a few days ago looking for advice about starting to mess with my Fathers old TI994a. Got to digging today, found a dirty old computer (that is now shiny) tons and tons of paperwork and books, a few boring game carts. There is also an expansion box, that i believe has 32k, floppy, and something else... disk controller? should i try and mess with this beast, or just get the new sidecar 32K? from what i can tell these are pretty in demand? Also found two games on cassette by a company Moonbeam Software, both CIB; Strike Force 99 and Moon-Vasion. Couldn't find much at all about them online, are they worth trying to find a cassette drive?

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So i posted here a few days ago looking for advice about starting to mess with my Fathers old TI994a. Got to digging today, found a dirty old computer (that is now shiny) tons and tons of paperwork and books, a few boring game carts. There is also an expansion box, that i believe has 32k, floppy, and something else... disk controller? should i try and mess with this beast, or just get the new sidecar 32K? from what i can tell these are pretty in demand? Also found two games on cassette by a company Moonbeam Software, both CIB; Strike Force 99 and Moon-Vasion. Couldn't find much at all about them online, are they worth trying to find a cassette drive?

 

Nice find. If you like snap some photos of the PEB cards and we can surelly tellyou what you have. Most units came stock with a 32k, Disk Controller and Flex Cable Interface card. along with a Single-Sided / Single -Density disk drive. (90k).

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So i posted here a few days ago looking for advice about starting to mess with my Fathers old TI994a. Got to digging today, found a dirty old computer (that is now shiny) tons and tons of paperwork and books, a few boring game carts. There is also an expansion box, that i believe has 32k, floppy, and something else... disk controller? should i try and mess with this beast, or just get the new sidecar 32K? from what i can tell these are pretty in demand? Also found two games on cassette by a company Moonbeam Software, both CIB; Strike Force 99 and Moon-Vasion. Couldn't find much at all about them online, are they worth trying to find a cassette drive?

 

Well, if you thought the carts were boring then the Moonbeam Software games will at least not appear to be faster, but then it's all a matter of what you like.

 

Here's a few snapshots

 

moonbeam.gif

 

And the Moonbeam Software games are here.

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/171764-/?do=findComment&comment=2127035

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So i posted here a few days ago looking for advice about starting to mess with my Fathers old TI994a. Got to digging today, found a dirty old computer (that is now shiny) tons and tons of paperwork and books, a few boring game carts. There is also an expansion box, that i believe has 32k, floppy, and something else... disk controller? should i try and mess with this beast, or just get the new sidecar 32K? from what i can tell these are pretty in demand? Also found two games on cassette by a company Moonbeam Software, both CIB; Strike Force 99 and Moon-Vasion. Couldn't find much at all about them online, are they worth trying to find a cassette drive?

 

Hey Vic,

It's nice to hear about another old TI found and cleaned up. :thumbsup:

 

Yes, at a minimum the P-Box should have 3 cards:

 

1) Flex Card Interface (the one with the big black cable)

2) 32K Memory Expansion

3) Floppy Controller

 

It's decision time now. Do you plan on doing more than games with this TI? Do you have the space to DEVOTE to this peripheral expansion box. Are you willing to dump several hundred dollars and a lot of time into bringing the P-BOX up to a 'usable' condition? I say usable because it's almost impossible to get anything from the Internet into a P-Box without investing in one of the various methods...

 

One method is the << HDX >> interface which requires a modified TI RS-232 card. Unmodified TI RS-232 cards are not inexpensive, but then you'll have to get it modified too. Another method is the << HxC >> SD card route. The HxC is also a method that requires a substantial investment. Even with an HxC you might be disappointed with the amount of data you are able to store at one time unless you << modify the floppy controller >> as well. Also with the P-Box comes the << noise factor >>, and that takes a little effort to remedy as well.

 

The other expansion route you mentioned, the << sidecar 32K >>, is indeed one way to go, but the 32K in itself would be a waste of money unless you paired it with something that could use it, like the << FinalGROM 99 >>. The last two options appear to be the current favorite due to price, size and availability and what most people use their TI's for.

 

Now this is just me, but either way you go, if you decide to stick with the TI, I would strongly suggest obtaining an

<< F18A video upgrade >>.

 

Good luck & have fun.

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Hey Vic,

It's nice to hear about another old TI found and cleaned up. :thumbsup:

 

Yes, at a minimum the P-Box should have 3 cards:

 

1) Flex Card Interface (the one with the big black cable)

2) 32K Memory Expansion

3) Floppy Controller

 

It's decision time now. Do you plan on doing more than games with this TI? Do you have the space to DEVOTE to this peripheral expansion box. Are you willing to dump several hundred dollars and a lot of time into bringing the P-BOX up to a 'usable' condition? I say usable because it's almost impossible to get anything from the Internet into a P-Box without investing in one of the various methods...

 

One method is the << HDX >> interface which requires a modified TI RS-232 card. Unmodified TI RS-232 cards are not inexpensive, but then you'll have to get it modified too. Another method is the << HxC >> SD card route. The HxC is also a method that requires a substantial investment. Even with an HxC you might be disappointed with the amount of data you are able to store at one time unless you << modify the floppy controller >> as well. Also with the P-Box comes the << noise factor >>, and that takes a little effort to remedy as well.

 

The other expansion route you mentioned, the << sidecar 32K >>, is indeed one way to go, but the 32K in itself would be a waste of money unless you paired it with something that could use it, like the << FinalGROM 99 >>. The last two options appear to be the current favorite due to price, size and availability and what most people use their TI's for.

 

Now this is just me, but either way you go, if you decide to stick with the TI, I would strongly suggest obtaining an

<< F18A video upgrade >>.

 

Good luck & have fun.

I dont think I intend to use it, but more interested in at least running it and seeing if it works? As far as the F18, does it only output in VGA? i dont have a monitor and i only use Flat screen tubes in my game room that i dont believe have VGA inputs.

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As far as the F18, does it only output in VGA?

 

Yes, the F18A only outputs VGA, although some use a << VGA to HDMI converter >>. Although I'm not sure if this solution would work for you.

 

There are VGA to Composite/RCA adapters like << this one >>, but I've never tried them and wonder about the video quality loss, or possible lag, so I don't know if that is a viable solution.

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Yes, the F18A only outputs VGA, although some use a << VGA to HDMI converter >>. Although I'm not sure if this solution would work for you.

 

There are VGA to Composite/RCA adapters like << this one >>, but I've never tried them and wonder about the video quality loss, or possible lag, so I don't know if that is a viable solution.

I know the Super Mario Bros requires the F18, is that the only one?

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When you posted the first time, you said that the TI games you remember were pretty uninspiring. (Not questioning your comments, just repeating them)

 

The Moonbeam Software games were all written in Extended Basic which, on the TI, IS pretty uninspiring (in regards to speed anyway...it's actually a pretty darned fine Basic otherwise) so I think Moonbeam stuff (which I personally love) will probably disappoint you if you're looking for 80's console quality gaming.

 

I figure a cassette drive is not going to add any entertainment value to your dad's old system since all games available on cassette are written in BASIC or XBASIC, I'm also assuming you're not going to write anything yourself for which the cassette could serve as a cheap storage medium.

 

Really, if you want to get excited about the 4A on-the-cheap, grab a FinalGrom99 (or find a cheap used FlashRom99 - the previous version) and a 32K card (the latter is usually readily available over at arcadeshopper.com)

 

That will open infinite possibilities, and give you access to nearly the entire 4A software library on an SD card or two.

 

And if you want to get rid of those Moonbeam games, please post them in the Marketplace or PM me. (I'm slowly building a Moonbeam collection, and am actually missing both of those)

Edited by PeBo
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When you posted the first time, you said that the TI games you remember were pretty uninspiring. (Not questioning your comments, just repeating them)

 

The Moonbeam Software games were all written in Extended Basic which, on the TI, IS pretty uninspiring (in regards to speed anyway...it's actually a pretty darned fine Basic otherwise) so I think Moonbeam stuff (which I personally love) will probably disappoint you if you're looking for 80's console quality gaming.

 

I figure a cassette drive is not going to add any entertainment value to your dad's old system since all games available on cassette are written in BASIC or XBASIC, I'm also assuming you're not going to write anything yourself for which the cassette could serve as a cheap storage medium.

 

Really, if you want to get excited about the 4A on-the-cheap, grab a FinalGrom99 (or find a cheap used FlashRom99 - the previous version) and a 32K card (the latter is usually readily available over at arcadeshopper.com)

 

That will open infinite possibilities, and give you access to nearly the entire 4A software library on an SD card or two.

 

And if you want to get rid of those Moonbeam games, let me know...I'd be HAPPY to take them off your hands (I'm slowly building a Moonbeam collection), so please post them in the Marketplace!!!

When i said the games i found where boring, it was just because all my father had was Minus Mission, Chess, and Parsec. Parsec is obviously awesome, but that was all. I did grab a bunch more carts from a local store, with varying results. The arcade ports i got (Pole Position, Qbert, Burgertime) where all exceptional ports, the TI first party stuff was a bit spotty. I've already ordered a FinalGrom99 from Ralph, but don't want to pull the trigger on the 32k on account of it being 70 bucks :_( I will probably sell the moonbeam games eventually, but have NO idea what a fair price is. couldnt find any comprable sales.

Edited by VicViper
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The problem is they come up for sale so infrequently, there's little frame of reference. When I used to do Ebay a lot, I listed a stack of them once and sold a couple boxed Moonbeam games quickly for $40-50. The rest went up multiple times, never got a bid. If you're looking for more hardware or to increase your cart collection, putting them up for trade here in the forum might net you a less stressful, more fruitful experience and "keep them in the family" so to speak.

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When i said the games i found where boring, it was just because all my father had was Minus Mission, Chess, and Parsec. Parsec is obviously awesome, but that was all. I did grab a bunch more carts from a local store, with varying results. The arcade ports i got (Pole Position, Qbert, Burgertime) where all exceptional ports, the TI first party stuff was a bit spotty. I've already ordered a FinalGrom99 from Ralph, but don't want to pull the trigger on the 32k on account of it being 70 bucks :_( I will probably sell the moonbeam games eventually, but have NO idea what a fair price is. couldnt find any comprable sales.

Sorry, mistook your original post.

 

I get the cost thing...any vintage computer hobby is going to be a money pit (at least to get started), but with the cool toys available for the TI, it can empty a wallet mighty quick! The 32K is a nice addition though, and having it on a sidecard board is so much more convenient than any of the options we had back in the day. I got a PEB (and a nanoPEB) shortly after I got back into the TI, but had the 32K side card been available then I probably would have snatched one up.

 

Sounds like you are building a good collection already though, and the FG99 will make it explode overnight (and save your cartridge port from wear and tear)!

 

Which of course means you will soon HAVE to consider is an F18A graphics upgrade. Nothing beats seeing your TI output pixel-perfect emulator-quality video through a standard VGA port (and the image quality is only the start!)

 

As far as the cost of the Moonbeam games, I had to concur with InfernalKeith. Cassette prices are all over the map...I got 2 of mine for about $30, but one of those (Garbage Belly) is often listed (NOS) at well over $100!

 

I'd say $40-$50 is fair for a collector, and $5 is way-overpriced to someone who just buys games to play them.

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