Classic Computing 2008

Those retro events seem to be always in place I’ve never heard of. Moers is in Northrhine Westfalia and not very far away from Duisburg. I went to see the Classic Computing 2008 held by the club for preserving old computers. A short bus trip to the industrial park and I arrived at the show. It’s apparently not big enough for the organizers to put some signs from the bus station to the location (the bus doesn’t stop in front of the hall).

The show consisted of two halls. One hall was largely dominated by heavily upgraded Amiga computers with three game consoles (SNES, Saturn, Genesis) and an Acorn 3000 (mainly popular in the UK) thrown in.

The Alice was an official clone of the TRS-80 MC-10 and sold in France.

The bigger of the two was much more exciting because there were more systems to try out. There was an old IBM-PC connected to a tape-recorder which I’ve seen for the first time. Popular machines such as the Amiga 500/1200, Atari XL, Spectrum 48K, Apple IIe, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and Atari ST were there. Commodore’s early business computer were lined up opposite the Atari computers.

The Commodore computers sold best before the introduction of the IBM-PC and were successors of the original PET 2001 computer. They are an impressive sight with their 70s futuristic design. Atari didn’t have an equivalent computer at that time, though the Atari 800 was also used for serious application.

Not every computer was connected to a TV set or monitor. Most of the MSX computers for instance were just there to look at. MSX was an attempt by Microsoft, many Japanese and a few non-Japanese companies to take over the home computer market with a common standard. Unfortunately the standard was already outdated when the first computers were released and they didn’t decide on a floppy disk standard creating an absurd situation where drives were available in common and not-so-common formats. In Tokyo you can find boxes full of MSX computers at retro stores but in other parts of the world they aren’t that common.

The QL had multitasking and network capabilities. Its failure led to the sold-out of Sinclair to Amstrad who shut down the QL and continued the Spectrum line for a while.

It wasn’t a trade show and selling items was prohibited. However, at least some people found a loophole: Just go outside for a cigarette break and then make the deal. Those dangerous computer games like “Mickey in the Great Outdoors” or “Cookie Monster Munch” can be really dangerous, you know 😉

It can’t get much more compact than this: A ZX81 with a 32K RAM extension connected to a dictation tape machine.
Before there was the iMac, Tandy had some great all-in-one computers.

Mia Jaap

Journalist, developer and passionate about Japanese and Korean language. Loves to travel in Japan, but is open to explore the major and lesser known sights of Germany.

2 thoughts on “Classic Computing 2008

  • 31. October 2008 at 01:09

    Did you cover the event for work or just for fun? What old computers did you have? I had an Atari 800 and Commodore 64. I had no programming skill, just played games mostly.

  • 31. October 2008 at 01:51

    No, I always wanted to attend a retro computing event, and the Classic Computing was held just at the right time. But I wrote an article about the event for MacGAMES, a special games issue of Mac Life. Since I’m the editor-in-chief of MacGAMES and there’s a retro part in the magazine anyway, it fit right in.

    I owned/still have a lot of computers, but the ones I actually used: Commodore 64 (programming and gaming), Atari 800XL (with a light gun), Atari 520STM, 1040STE, Atari Falcon, Portfolio (the PC that saved the world in Terminator 2). Later I bought a 128D because I had kept all my old C64 disks.

    When I was doing civil service, I had two Apple II (one IIe and one IIc) in my room. Since the school already switched to PCs, they didn’t have an actual use – well except occupying me in my free time with games such as Summer Games 😉


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