Friday, February 5, 2010

A RETRO KICK (part#1)

A couple of years back, we played a gig with STRAIGHTHATE and support was provided by Mantas' project VOIDHEAD. A friend of his helped him out on the guitars, Helm from LOCUST LEAVES, who's also a great comic artist. I had a short chat with the dude, we also talked about computers a little bit. I don't remember how/why I mentionned the AMIGA and he told me that I could grab one for a reasonable amount of money from the eBay. This totally rang a bell...

A little bit of a background. When i was a kid at the 80's I was constantly fantacizing about home computers, reading magazines and getting to use them a bit at friends' homes. The home budget was tight though and didn't allow the purchase of one. When I finally convinced my parents to buy me and my brothers one, my choices were either the Atari ST (512 or 1024) or the Amiga 500... BUT the colleagues of my father gave him the fucked up advice to better get us a PC compatible, which was a more "serious" machine. And this is what happened! So instead of the outstanding multimedia capabilities of the ST and the Amiga, we ended up with the COMMODORE COLT, a PC XT compatible with glorious CGA graphics (4 colors at a time!!!) and two 5.25", low-densitey (360kb) floppy drives. Oh well, I can't really complain, because using MS-DOS and trying to get the most of out of this piece of hardware (I was so proud when I discovered a secret/undocumented key combination which was one of the earlist forms of overclocking, making the machine run at 9.54 Mhz instead of the standard 4.77Mhz and turbo 7.16Mhz CPU frequencies!!!), made me realize that messing around with computers was what i wanted to do for a living.

To get back to this post, owning an Atari ST or an Amiga, was a repressed urge that has been awaken by the chat with Helm. So I ordered one from eBay for a cool price but without the original box and manuals. In order to save cash, I chose the lowest shipping option, so this made an eternity to arrive, the Amiga which I should have had almost 20 years ago as a teenager, sailing across the seven seas from Australia. When I mentionned this to komrade and fellow retro-maniak Tsamashi Toyo he was like "Why the fuck do you need an Amiga, where you can make old games/software work though an emulator?". I couldn't provide a reasonnable answer, except that "You know me man. I have a collector's soul". "Παλιατζής" would be the proper term in greek.

When it finally got in Athens, I made a research on how to connect to a modern TV set, I plugged to my LCD TV and then I realized that it had the most weird power plug. I tried to get an adaptor, but somehow regular australian-european power adaptors didn't work. I had to cut the power cable and connect the wires into a local "Suko" power plug. But I am a lazy motherfucker and I kept postponing that for maybe 2 years.

2 days ago I grabbed my tools and did it! I connected it through the A520 mod and a composite cable to my LCD monitor but the image is crap. So right now I am trying to figure out what needs to be done. I just ordered a VGA adaptor but I think that it will do it only for the Workbench and not for the games. Do I need a scandoubler/flickerfixer? My friend Dimitris X. just got me the number of an Amiga enthusiast and I will give him a call later this afternoon.