Archive for the ‘Retrocomputing party’ Category

Xzentrix 2010 Party report

February 4, 2011

Friday 2010-09-03

Another edition of the nice and cozy Xzentrix party was due this year. At the same time, the DAS in Dresden took place. But due to travel
considerations, I had decided early to attend Xzentrix although the party date was amidst my move into a new flat with my girlfriend aswell.

On Friday I left work a bit early to catch a train to Munich. As always the party is held in Seeshaupt in Bavaria, Germany. The trip was not really eventful except that I missed the train in Tutzing and was forced to wait about an hour at the station for a ride of 10 minutes to Seeshaupt.

Anyway I arrived around 20:30 at the party place to discover that this years`s edition was not as croweded as before. Maybe it would change on Saturday. I unpacked my lot. This year I packed my Atari STE with SatanDisk and a 7″ Mini LCD-TV.

505 had recommened me this particular TV. I didn`t pay too much, about 80EUR for the thingy and it works well as a party monitor. On the STE here it runs with Composite video but the Falcon worked well at home with the VGA input as well. It`s perfect to take a long by train. 🙂

I soon started chatting with all the other party people when CPC-Mike arrived. He unpacked quite a lot of gear including an STE aswell, a CPC Plus, a CPC6128, a Sega Saturn and hidden in a box, an Atari Jaguar too. I also had discovered that someone brought a Sam Coupe, a machine which I didn`t really expect to see because of it`s rareness.

We went to eat some pizza from the near pizza joint and the quality was pretty good. The pizza was large, even in the “small” category, fresh out of the oven and quite tasty.

CPC-Mike had problems with his UltraSatan so we simply tried my card. It worked and booted ok. CPC-Mike was quite please to find out his UltraSatan was actually working so we agreed to install his own card later during the party.

Thorn / TSCC arrived as well with an Amiga 1200 for playing another edition of the Bavarian KickOff Tournament. He also brought a slightly intersting 1990 vintage PC with a 80286 processor. “It`s the first PC of the family Butschke and I`ll try to sell it here.” was his comment.

CPC-Mike and me started digging into some old games. Playing “Sonic Boom” on the CPC Plus we wondered about games between different platforms. I booted the same title in the ST version. It disappointed ourselves as the display for 2 players turned out to be another lame “one player after another” mode instead of a good “2 players on screen” blast.

Shortly before midnight, Beetle arrived from a long trip and started to unpack. He showed me his CTPCI with Radeon graphics and discussed some of its features.

The CPC users gathered to try out the new game “Orion Prime” which turned out to be a point`n`click adventure. Games of that sort are generally not my taste but it’s great to see the effort live.

We soon ended up with a Swiss man to discuss Forth, RISC cpus and handheld calculators. Albeit being a very interesting discussion the day took a toll and I was starting to get really tired.

Beetle had brought an additional airbed for me (Thanks!) and we soon geared up for sleep. “It might collapse as it is not 100% tight anymore.” So being warned I simply jumped into my wormbag and decided to nap as long as possible. Even the regular party noise was getting lower in comparison to other party events.

Saturday 2010-09-04

The air bed started to collapse as promised so around 6:30 I decided to get up as one of the first party people. I took a quick cold water shave and started writing on this little report then.

Now more people seemed to be awake. I took a little walk to get up and at my return breakfast was ready. We had coofee, pretzels and rolls – and all incldued in the ratehr small party fee or 10€.

We played a bit on CPC-Mike`s Atari Jaguar and I discovered that Raiden is actually a quite good game. However he didn`t have all games with him so my first glimpse at Jaguar gaming was limited to Raiden and Wolfenstein 3D. Sadly the Jaguar had to be connected via RF to my TV and it run without sound. I don’t know why but we didn’t investigate any further.

Some sort of hardware modding had to be part of Xzentrix as every year. Last year I bought a couple of 7800 pads but those have problems with the IKBD (keyboard controlling mcu) on the Atari ST. The keys stop working and behave irratic as soon as a 7800 controller is plugged in. With a bit of rewiring and cutting traces the pad can be made compatible. And Beetle did the mod for one of my pads right here on the Xzentrix. As a special feature, he wired the now functionless second button to work as the up button. So now with this modded pad, NES style jumping and shooting is possible. I`m looking forward to try this pad with “The Great Giana
Sisters” someday.

Late in the afternoon, the Bavarian Kick Off Championship took place. As I’m personally not really a fan of Kick Off, I played some other games on my STE instead aswell as chatting with CPC-Mike and getting his UltraSatan to run properly. We installed ICD Pro like Jookie described and say what, it worked 🙂

Around 1:30am I went to my wormbag to catch a decent sleep.

Sunday 2010-09-05

After the usual morning routine, Thorn and me discussed the next LowRes release. (When you are reading this article, something has happened in that regard! 🙂 )

Around 11:00am Thorn offered me a ride to Memmingen and we left the party. We discussed LowRes and other stuffs and finally Thorn dropped me off in Memmingen so I could head for home by train.
All in all I really enjoyed attending Xzentrix again. This event has a certain something with its focus on old computers in general and not being limited to demos and coding. In many respects it is the perfect sort of party to attend.

Simon Sunnyboy / Paradize  <marndt@asmsoftware.de>
for LowRes magazine   https://lowresmag.wordpress.com/

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Xzentrix 2009 – party report

December 28, 2009

The Xzentrix party is a friendly multiplatform party with a focus on fun and using old machines. It is less demo oriented although demos can be seen ofcourse.

The party is held on a yearly base in Seeshaupt in Bavaria near Munich. Once it had a focus on Amstrad CPC and other Z80 machines but it is open to all platforms that are different from standard PCs. Actually this year there were more non-Z80 machines at the party than Z80 based ones.

ThorN / .tSCc. had suggested visiting the Xzentrix party to me in 2008. The party back then was so nice and different from other parties that I decided right away to visit the upcoming editions aswell.

This year the party run from September 11th to the 13th. The Friday I had a time off from work and did pack my gear and was in a good preparty mood. I took a train late in the afternoon to Ulm where ThorN and his Kick Off mate Frank were supposed to pick me up.

With only a slight glitch which directed ThorN into the local underground car-park at the main station, everything worked well. The car was pretty crowded as ThorN had plenty of gear himself and he already joked I might had to take a second Amiga monitor on my knees for the return trip.

We had quite some fun and decided to eat first. Along the motorway to Munich we gave Mc Donalds a go which turned out to be a good idea. Because we only arrived around 22:30 at Seeshaupt, there wasn’t any proper food to get anymore.

The party was already about 2/3 complete and we quickly occupied one of the free desks left. ThorN setup his Amiga 500 for the Bavarian Kick Off Tournament while I put my trusty STE together with my Satandisk into action. ThorN brought me a nice SC1224 monitor so I could spare myself the trouble to bring one myself. Soon we were playing with our machines, ThorN and Frank ofcourse headed straight into Kick Off 2 while I enjoyed Elite a bit.

Thorn and SSBs desk at Xzentrix 2009

Thorn and SSB's desk at Xzentrix 2009

Various people were already there. Shortly after us, CPC-Mike and Tolkin from the Amstrad CPC scene arrived. CPC-Mike took the desk right next to me which turned out to be a cool thing. Over the course of the party, I got good in touch with him although his Lower Bavarian dialect was hard to understand at times. We got along well and he showed me quite a few games on his CPC6128 and his 6128+. I never had played or worked with a CPC before so this was an interesting experience. I learned a bit about the CPC floppies and for the first time I saw a rather big lot of original 3inch floppy disks. CPC-Mike told me, they normally have a good rate of keeping data. However formatting them again after 20 years will only give a 50/50 success rate.

CPC-Mike and ??? playing on CPC

CPC-Mike and ??? playing on CPC

Ofcourse there were other systems around, including a C64 with an external CPU cartridge. In effect this used the original C64 only as an I/O module and it did run an impressive horizontal scrolling shooter game for two players.

Another C64 user had a YM emulator running on his C64 and we had a very nice chat about it. I introduced him to the SNDH format and into Atari ST bitplanes as he was interested about them. His software currently replays AY and YM files on the SID. However full SNDH support will be unlikely as it requires emulation of the Motorola 68000 aswell as the MFP. He was actually quite impressed by the YM music possible with Maxymiser and Musicmon 2.5.

Other interesting retro systems included both an AIM-65 and a KIM-1. However due to lack of time I didn’t really talk to its owner. Though both were nice to look at – and as I had read some documents on them in the past, I could make atleast some sense out of these interesting singleboard computers.

As always on the Xzentrix there was some Acorn action. E.q. RISC OS 5 running on an embedded ARM board, a RISC PC and a BBC Micro which I saw for the first time live. I think it is a pretty ugly machine but it showed at least some interesting software, including a colorful porn slideshow from the early 80s and various arcade games.

A very special machine was also there, a Sharp X68000 which demonstrated games all the time. I never saw this machine before. I only heard about it. The computer is housed within a distinct black upright tower with vertical floppy slots. According to my knowledge the X68000 is pretty rare and was only sold in Japan for only a few years.

The party location itself was the Communal assembly hall in Seeshaupt. Only drawback was the lack of showers (that seems to be a standard party feature). Breakfast was plenty although rather simple in organisation. “Here are the rolls, there is jelly and Nutella. Serve yourself!” Sweets, drinks including good beer were for sale so there was no need to go shopping to the supermarket. The party pizza on Saturday was actually quite edible, it was both warm and tasted not as cardboard.

I slept quite well for those two nights. Being the second party only where I brought an air bed, it is definitly a good idea to bring one instead of just a skimpy isolating mat. My air bed didn’t loose air this time like it did at the Numerica 2009 in Montbeliard. Even the typical party noise didn’t make sleep much troublesome. I never assumed this to happen but this year at Xzentrix I had no problems with that. I assume it was mainly based upon the better bed.

As always on the Xzentrix party, there was a flea market again. I didn’t buy many items this year. Just a box of several Ocean titles for my STE and a Sega Megadrive pad with 6 buttons. The latter one did work ok in port 0 (mouse port) but not at all in port 1. Instead of modding it, I traded it for 2 other Sega pads at the time of this writing.

Very interesting stuffs at the flea market included a large collection of Laser disks and a Laser disk player. I never saw such before but it wasn’t hooked up so I could not see this technology in working order.

Another interesting item for sale was a Microprofessor Z80 singleboard computer. Sofar I only knew about this from early c’t magazien issues but I never saw one and I didn’t expect to see one.

Codewise the party was uninteresting. Except for me doing a few lines of code on a game project of mine, noone was really coding in large style. Xzentrix is fun oriented, and not for hurry-hurry-finish-that-demo coding. Actually half of the time, people were enjoying games on the different machines, from Amstrad CPC over C64 to Kick Off 2 on the Amiga for ThorN’s tournament, Xzentrix 2009 had a distinct gamer’s feast touch. I liked it this way because it adds a new feel to a party. It’s different to a demo oriented party like Outline but merely a class of its own. I enjoy both styles of parties afterall.

In the end, ThorN really bough that second Amiga monitor, a 1084 with no SCART input. But luckily I didn’t have to take it on my knees. Packing the car better than on the trip to the party, we had more space in the end than before.

After a crosscountry trip through the Bavarian countryside, ThorN dropped me off at Memmingen where I took a train back home to Lake Constance.

All in all, Xzentrix 2009 was a great party. I enjoyed it a lot and considering the low entrance fee of just 10€, it is a good bet to visit. The flea market and the very friendly multisystem atmosphere give it a very cozy and enjoyable feeling.

Xzentrix 2010, I’ll definitly be there!

Links


1. Xzentrix website

Upcoming parties

August 30, 2009

Some dates and infos about upcoming parties

JagFest UK [1]

This years event will be running from the 18th – 20th of September at the Chiltern hotel in Luton, England.

Features & Exclusives for JFUK ‘ 09:

* Exclusive 1st showing of Donkey Kong for the Atari Jaguar.
* 16/32 Systems will be in attendance if you need to pick up that piece of hardware or software you really want.
* Demo of the latest build of Atari Owls Jaguar game.
* Demo of prototype Playstation controller to Atari Jaguar interface
* Famous Worms tournament on the Atari Jaguar

e-jagfest [2]

This year the e-jagfest will take place in November it looks like. Again there will be the traditional Checkered Flag Championship and another Jaguar Championship. Also there will be the chance to play many of the new games released in the last time. The location will be once again in Kaarst / Germany.

OFAM [3]

At the 4th of September the OFAM – “Ober-Fraenkisches ATARI Meeting” will take place. The event will be in Muenchberg / Germany. Various ATARI systems will be present. And people are friendly even if you come without a Atari.

Xzentrix [4]

This multi platform party is already cult. It will take place at the 11th of September. Relax at the lake of Starnberg and enjoy talking with a lot of crazy people about their crazy machines. This time the 3rd Bavarian Kick Off Open will take place. Also a small flee market will take place.


Links

  1. JagFestUK
  2. e-jagfest
  3. Ober-Fränkisches Atari Meeting
  4. Xzentrix