BUYERS’ GUIDE LIARS!!!! (PART 1)   Leave a comment


A-ZPersonalComputersNo1The cover of Issue No. 1 of “The A-Z of Personal Computers”, with a cover shot of the Commodore 64 setting the scene for the later issue which I bought

I’ve been working on this article for some time and have now decided to divide it into a few parts.

I can now reveal that the main reason I thought it was OK to buy a Commodore 64 back in 1984 was because of all the lies, half truths, or fairy stories told about it in the buyers’ guide “The A-Z of Personal Computers”! This magazine was published quarterly and I bought the second or third edition in early 1984. I lost or threw it away years ago, but recently I’ve managed to buy a copy of the first edition, which is mostly the same as I remember of the edition I bought, but is missing reviews of some computers, such as the amazing ancestors of the Amiga, namely the Atari 600XL and 800XL, although the older 400 and 800, whch are also Amiga ancestors, are reviewed and the XL models get a brief mention in a preview of the next issue. Here’s a link to a video comparing the Atari 8 bitters to the C64 . It doesn’t stop there, though. Here’s a video showing an Amiga slide show converted for the Atari 8 bit machines. The quality isn’t as good as the Amiga, but try doing this on the C64!!!!

AtariPL256_04A pic displayed on an Atari 8 bit computer, showing how much better than the C64 this system is!

This edition says that the market for computers was still in its early days and their reviews of some recently released computers say that, although they haven’t got much software available, this could change in the near future. In spite of this, the magazine said that the Texas Instruments TI99/4A only had 65 commercial programs available for it. Don’t forget that even though that computer was soon killed off by Commodore’s price war, its graphics chip was used in various other computers and consoles, including Memotech MTX, the Tatung Einstein, and MSX. In 1983 there was no standard for business computers, either. All the computers listed could be called PCs, standing for Personal Computers, instead of computers used by more than one person at a time, such as mainframes or minicomputers.

The IBM PC had been released and was tipped to capture only as much as 20% of the market! Other business computers often used Z80 processors and ran CP/M, while some had 8088 or 8086 processors and ran CP/M 86, their own custom DOS and/or MS-DOS, but weren’t hardware compatible with the IBM PC, although there were some which were hardware compatible with the IBM PC, but I’m not sure they’re listed in this magazine. There was also a system called UCSD-p which was a hardware independent OS for 8 or 16 bit computers, that ran on various computers as an alternative option to MS-DOS or CP/M.

I tried to get as much information as possible about different computers, including reading a book called “Micro Computers”, which may have been published by Penguin Books, one or two issues of the magazine INPUT, as well as visits to my local computer club, where at the time all the BASICs and/or other languages looked like total gibberish to me. I ended up standing by an Apple ][ watching games such as “Swashbuckler” on a mono green monitor, while waiting for an explanation of what was going on around me or with computers in general.

It seemed to me that the A-Z of Personal Computers had more information about computers than anyone else. They pointed out that their information was all available in a single edition, unlike other magazines, so I thought that was a good idea. The magazine “What Micro?” is mentioned in this magazine, but I don’t remember reading it before buying a Commodore 64. If I had, then it may only have had reviews of computers which had recently been sent to them for review, but I’ve recently bought a copy of their February 1983 issue a listing of every computer available for under £6,000! I think they probably had this in ALL their issues.

So, that tells you about how I came to buy, read, and believe in “The A-Z of Personal Computers”. Now you can look forward to reading how this magazine made me think that the Commodore 64 was an excellent computer, with amazing graphics and sound which was an suitable choice for me to learn how to program games and music on!!!!

P1230295A page from a later issue of “The A-Z of Personal Computers” which lulled me into a false sense of security about the Commodore 64

Posted May 15, 2014 by C64hater in Uncategorized

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