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Atari machine or emulator?


JohnW
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Yes. For those of you using real hardware, emulation + tools both native to the classic machine and modern PC are perfect for manipulating, creating, and curating disk images. It's a toolset I wish I had back in the day. The amount of time saved would have been incalculable. But. Here we are, and I ain't complaining.

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This is not an either/or question for me. Quick tests, coding, and debugging I prefer emulation. But I also have (and have had since at least 1998) a real Atari 8-bit next to my PC. I have a Freezer I can do some great debugging on real hardware too. Nothing beats the experience of real hardware on a decent CRT screen.

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For me it is an either/or situation. It has to be. I want to reminisce about and experience many different machines. To do so with real hardware would make me into a hoarder. So I picked 2 platforms, Apple II and PC. Anything more and the stuff starts piling up uncontrollably.

 

I believe we all have 1 or 2, and only 1 or 2, favorite platforms. These are the ones we'll program on, do genuine development work on, and play with the most.

 

Take for example the Astrocade. I hadn't played real hardware since the 1990's. And I hadn't done emulation for it in about a year. It's pointless to go real hardware when I may play a couple of games now and then. Yet I like early 1970's ambiance its games exude.

 

So I don't see a need to choose between emulation and a real system or two. But when it gets to be more than that..?

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OK.... First off.... I started in emulation in the late 80s by emulating a PC and a Mac on an ST. I was amazed. Been hooked ever since. I have used Mame since it was known as the Multi Pac-Man emulator, before Nicola Salmoria renamed it to mame, and gave it a version .01 number.

 

Back in the day (Sorry Ferg), I owned an 400, 800, 800XL, C64C. 520ST, 520STfm and an Amiga 500. All bought new back in their day. Loved every one of them. Still have most of them. LOVE original hardware. However. I love emulation as well. Altirra all the way for Atari 8-bit for me. I have my 800, 800XL, 64C, A500 all in boxes right here in the living room. I bring them out on occasion, but usually use my i7 with way too much memory and hard drive space for emulation as it is just easier. I have an Ultimate 1MB in the 800XL. Ultimate Cart, SIO2PC (8 disk drives) for the 8-bit, The 1541 Ultimate II+ for the C64C, ad the Final Cart 3 for the Vic20. Also have Lotharaks floppy emulator for the Amiga, but have not had time to use it. I have a few CRT's (both monitors and TV's. as well as 2 rear projections big screens, and a 55" LED. As you can see, The possibilities are ENDLESS. I can not pick between emulation or real. I am not even going to touch the consoles. The answer, is yes, I have it, as well as some sort of multicart, be it UltiMulti (Bally Astrocade), HArmony (2600), EverDrives, AtariMax 5200 and Colecovision, LTO Flash (Intellivision), Sean Kelly Vectrex, O2 flash card, Portable USB hard drives, etc, etc, etc.... I am excessive compulsive. I love in a small condo, so most of the time it is emulation. When I have time, I will unbox real hardware. As far as Mame, I go to 2 local arcades, but I really like the rare, off the wall stuff you do not find at the arcades. Bootleg Pac-Man games where the mazes have been changed, Asto Fighter, Astro Invader, Carnival, Cosmic Guerilla Thief, Targ etc.... Thus emulation os the only way to play theses games. These are all games I played as a kid. Yes, I was an arcade WHORE. I never passed an arcade without going in it.

 

In 2018, I am not going to connect an Atari 8-bit, or C64 and several disk drives. Thanks to emulation (be it PC, or hardware emulators for real machines like Ultimate 1MB and 1541 Ultimate 2+, I can do this on real hardware. Pal and NTSC is not an issue with emulation, unlike with real hardware.

Edited by scotty
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I use some tools and Altirra emulator on PC to develope 8bit software because it is faster, but I prefer to play on my real Ataris (NTSC&PAL CRTs) with real joystick or a real paddle, except for the emulated drives, using SIO2PC when I'm developing and testing, SIO2SD with huge a games library or SIO2BT for portability. The problem is that I don't have time to play!

 

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