The High Voltage Graphics Collection

Cross posted from Chrome

The High Voltage SID Collection has been around for some time, collecting every known example of Commodore 64 music and audio regardless of how obscure or uncooperative the original file might be.

A new Facepalm Headesk page, the High Voltage Graphics Collection, has been created to collect some of the more unique and outstanding examples of Commodore 64 graphics – clever coding and design has gone far beyond the hardware limitations of the original system permitting new psuedo-graphics modes such as switching between low resolution colour bitmaps and high resolution on alternate frames, using software manipulation of the colour palette to alter the colour map each display line, theoretically permitting up to four unique colours for every 8 by 1 group of pixels and changing the bitmap pointers on the fly to allow high scrolling bitmaps far beyond what the machine should be able to display.

Technical jiggery-pokery and programming tricks aside, art should always be about the design, passion and creative skills of the artist.

A sore point for many artists and admirers in recent years has been the tendency to rely on the software of more modern systems to create the initial design and that convert the completed image to the C64 afterwards – it is no longer about the artists ability to create fine art in a restricted environment, but more about the technical wizardry that permits the artwork to be adapted. When someone has spent days, weeks and months creating an image pixel by pixel only to be beaten in a competition by someone who has submitted an image that is clearly a photograph or scanned image transferred from another system, one can forgive them for questioning why they continue in their field.

The same could be thought of someone spending ages developing a music player and editor that permits a composer and arranger to painstakingly recreate a complex and detailed melody utilising all the unique characteristics of the Commodore unique sound system only to be outclassed by someone who has simply sampled and looped an existing song.

So have a view of the art on display and support the artist, even if you don’t always like their work or understand what they have endeavoured to achieve.

The Nostalgia Box Museum

Cross posted from The Discerning Omnivore

The Nostalgia Box Museum
Shop 3, 16 Aberdeen Street
PERTH WA 6000
Telephone 08 9227 7377
Email info@thenostalgiabox.com.au
Website http://thenostalgiabox.com.au

For those of us who grew up in the Seventies and Early Eighties, the video games of the day hold a special place in our hearts. When Nekohime and I learned that a video game museum had opened up in Northbridge showcasing a range of first to sixth generation game consoles, we had to go along. So as an anniversary treat, we took ourselves off to the city to investigate and partake of a night on the town.

The Nostalgia Box is located next to the Central Institute of TAFE on Aberdeen Street, accessible between stops 6 and 7 on the Blue CAT line. Entry is $14 per adult or $10 per child although family and student discounts are available. The venue can be hired for special events and parties as well.

As you enter, the main museum is to your left with two long hallways lined with both consoles and packages sorted by age on display, with cards to explain some of the history behind the unit. Not all the information is absolute, some based on popular myth, but not all inaccuracies are widely known or understood.

Once you have meandered your way through the displays, an open area behind the main reception area has a number of classic consoles set up for play with the games of the day listed on a board. Older consoles don’t always work well with modern flat panel televisions, often highlighting the design limitations of the area – others whilst hooked up to older CRT televisions demonstrate that even the most carefully preserved console will still eventually expire. Some of the gaming museums in the UK have taken their original consoles off display and replaced them with emulated games hosted on a Raspberry Pi – though the games play well and display fine on a modern monitor, it feels like some of the rationale behind the museum has been lost.

On a Saturday afternoon, the the museum wasn’t packed but enough people were present that few of the demonstration consoles were accessible – a number of children and their parents made it clear that they had no intention of moving. The first system we tried was a ColecoVision running Donkey Kong. Nekohime recognised the game though she wasn’t familiar with the console. The console itself was quite advanced for its day and home computers with similar specifications continued to be made up until the Early Nineties. An upgrade cartridge known as Adam allowed owners to add Atari VCS (aka Atari 2600) compatibility to their system and expand their games library – Atari tried to sue Coleco Industries over this but lost their case since the VCS was largely assembled from off the shelf parts.

Whilst she courted Mario and his dungarees across the scaffolding in an attempt to bop Donky Kong with a hammer, in investigated a few more systems – a Vectrex, which I had not seen since primary school and was startled by the clarity and smoothness of its vector graphics, an original Telstar pong clone (with which I soundly defeated Nekohime 2 – 15 and then 0 – 15 but I’m not permitted to show that photo) and a number of third, fourth and fifth generation systems including the Sega Master System and Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64 and an Atari Lynx amongst many, many more.

If you or a member of your family have an interest in classic gaming, The Nostalia Box is well worth a visit. Classic consoles can also be purchased here, though they don’t buy or trade in consoles, games or accessories themselves. However, outside of eBay and Gumtree, systems and accessories can be purchased from stores at Malaga Markets and Wanneroo Markets as well as trading fairs as hosted by Collector Zone Toy and Hobby Fair.

Nekohime and Erky at the beginning of our generation
Nekohime and Erky at the beginning of our generation
No Commodore Amiga on display but they did have the Amiga CD32, the A1200's evil twin
No Commodore Amiga on display but they did have the Amiga CD32, the A1200’s evil twin
It appears they have raided my home
It appears they have raided my home
Donkey Kong on the ColecoVision
Donkey Kong on the ColecoVision
2 to 15 - The other photo I'm not permitted to show
2 to 15 – The other photo I’m not permitted to show