Using computers and game systems that are no longer supported by commercial companies can be quite a challenge. Finding the software and hardware you need can be very difficult. Also, you will need to invest quite a bit of time just searching for places that still carry items for your computer.
If you are having trouble locating hardware or software, contact a BBS or information service. I have limited online experience, having only been using modems for a few months, but I have learned how important they are to classic-computer owners.
I advise anyone who can get hold of a modem, no matter which baud rate, to do so, and get themselves online. I have only used GEnie myself, and I recommend it. I have heard, however, that CompuServe is also good. (Plus, they have just had quite a rate decrease!)
In the next issue, I'll get together as much information that I can find about different computer systems. But until then, look into the subject, because going online helps form communities that give support for your system, which would otherwise never exist. The prices are probably much more reasonable then you have imagined. Give it a try.
BBS systems will usually help you find a private seller who has an item you need. Of course, this isn't the only way to find what you are looking for. There are still many companies that support many 8-bit computers, and also game systems. You just need to know where they are.
So what follows is a list of people, companies, newsletters and magazines that support orphans. This list is far from complete, and is lacking any information on some systems, like the Texas Instruments. Please send lists of companies that you are aware of, but which I have not listed.
Please note that places that carry game system cartridges have been lumped together under the heading of Atari. This includes software for the Intellivision, Colecovision and Vectrex. You will notice that I have not included any addresses for Apple merchandise. That is because I find that Apple II stuff is very easy to locate already.
2600 Connection (Newsletter, bi-monthly, 4 pgs, F&B) Covers many topics on the Atari 2600 game system, including interviews with game programmers, hints on games, letters, tips and various articles. March/April 1994 #21 reviewed. Cost: $1 for a sample issue/$6 for a year's subscription (6 issues). 2600 Connection Tim Duarte, Editor P.O. Box N664 Westport, MA 02790
American Techna-Vision (Distributor) This company still carries many items for the Atari 8-bits. They have reasonable prices and everything is new. They carry books, hardware, software and other items. American Techna-Vision 15338 Inverness St. San Leandro, CA 94579 (800) 551-9995
Atari Corp. (Direct Distributor) Atari still has software and hardware for the 2600 and 7800 game systems. They do not carry any material for the 8-bit computers or 5200 system, though. Everything is new, of course. Atari Corp. 1196 Borregas Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1302 (408) 745-2000
Atari User: (Magazine, bi-monthly, 14 pgs, F&B) The last issue of this magazine was October 1993. They still haven't released a new issue. I've just called them, and there is a message stating that due to the January earthquake, an already late issue will not be out until late February. But today is April 8, so who knows. This magazine has limited coverage of the Atari 8-bit. It is a good source of information, though. Atari User Magazine 249 North Brand Boulevard, #332 Glendale, CA 91203 (818) 246-6277
The Atari Zone ('Zine, 6 pgs, F&B) The November 1993 issue that I have contains reviews of games, a review of the Jaguar, letters and classifieds. This is a 'zine with spirit. For some odd reason, it reminds me of a punk 'zine. (Don't ask me why; it just does!) Cost: Nothing for current issues/$1.60 for back issues. Dan Ianovelli 1411 N. 26th Melrose Park, IL 60610-2726
B&C Computervisions (Distributor) This company has many items for the Atari 8-bits, including hardware, software (commercial and PD), manuals, books and other great stuff. They also carry items for the Lynx and ST. B&C Computervisions 2730 Scott Boulevard Santa Clara, CA 95050 (408) 986-9960
Best Electronics (Distributor) They have many Atari items that you will find nowhere else. This includes the 2600, 5200, 7800 and 8-bit computer systems. They have original manuals for many hardware items, too. At the moment, the Rev. 9 catalog is out of print while they ready a new one, but you can still call to see if they have any items that you are looking for. Best Electronics 2021 The Alameda, #290 San Jose, CA 95126 (408) 243-6950
Classic Systems & Games Monthly ('Zine, 9 pgs, F&B) This is a great little 'zine that covers most of the classic systems. It has reviews and classifieds. A good read. Cost: $2 for one issue/$16.50 for a ten-issue subscription. Adkins Publishing 6142 Hoover Road Ravenna, OH 44266 Phone (it states, "Need help with a game?") (716) 691-1519
Computer/Electronics Source (Catalogue, 6 pgs, F&B) This catalogue contains items for many of the classic systems, including the Adam, Atari, C64, VIC-20, 2600, 5200, 7800 and many others. They have fairly reasonable prices on some items. Computer/Electronics Source 4130 70th Street Woodside, NY 11377-3952 (718) 426-9614 (24 hours)
Current Notes (Magazine, monthly, 64 pgs, F&B) This is the Atari magazine to have. Most coverage concerns the ST, but there is some coverage of the 8-bit in each issue. They have recently had articles on the Jaguar and other, newer items. This is full of useful information. I recommend it highly! Current Notes, Inc. 122 N. Johnson Rd. Sterling, VA 20164 (703) 450-4761
Dayton Discount (Catalogue, 6 pgs, F&B) This is a bit hard to read. The pages are not even all the same size, and mine arrived out of order and badly photocopied (quite bad on one page). They do, however, make up for this with the wide assortment of items that they supply. This includes software for the Atari 8-bit, 2600, 5200, 7800, Intellivision, Colecovision and newer popular systems. I think all the games are new, but I can't be sure. They don't get too specific about much of anything. Dayton Discount Highway 92 West Belleville, WI 53508 (608) 424-6111 (Saturdays only: 1-5 PM)
FMH I.S. Games (Catalogue, 5 pgs, F&B) Carries new and used 2600, 7800 and Adam/ColecoVision carts, as well as limited 5200 stuff. Has a good selection of Adam PD merchandise available on cassette or disk. FMH I.S. Games P.O. Box 493 Chesterfield, OH 44026 (216) 729-0761
G.A.G. (Newsletter & PD Catalog, 20 pgs, F&B) This is the newsletter of the Genesee Atari Group. It is quite long and informative. My issue is January 1, 1994. It was a monthly publication, but as of this issue, it is going to be bi-monthly. The PD catalogue is quite large, and each PD disk costs $3 for non-members. There are two catalogues: one for the 8-bit and the other for the ST. G.A.G. P.O. Box E Flint, MI 48507 (313) 736-4544 (Jerry Cross, President)
Game Force (Newsletter) This newsletter covers all systems, with primary focus upon the SNES and Sega Genesis (or so it seems). There are also comic reviews and arcade reviews. Cost: $1 for a sample issue. Game Force P.O. Box 1610 Belen, NM 87002-1610
Jeff Cooper (Catalogue, 6 pgs) Jeff has a moderate-sized list of Atari and Coleco carts for sale. He has very reasonable prices. I've dealt with him, and he sent my stuff quite promptly. He has several rare carts for sale, too. He sometimes will do trades. Jeff Cooper 6407 S. 28th W. Pl. Tulsa, OR 74132 (918) 445-1013
JerryG Visionaries (Catalogue, 4pgs, F&B) This catalogue has so many items that I've never seen or even heard of! It also has obscure systems for sale (most of them on bid). If you are looking for anything odd, let Jerry help you out. He has published the Video-Game Trader, but that is no longer in print. He sometimes will make trades for items that are on his very large want list. Cost: $1 and worth it. Jerry Greiner JerryG Visionaries14700 NW Bonneville Loop Beaverton, OR 97006 (503) 629-9064
L.A.P.D. (PD catalogue, floppy disk) Although this may seem to have something to do with the Los Angeles Police Department, it doesn't. This is a disk-based catalogue. It is fantastic. This is my favorite PD supplier. Cost: $1 for one disk. Get it, and get it now. The updated catalogue should be out by now. L.A.P.D. C/O Stefanee Hoffee 333 Peninsula Drive Lake Almanor, CA 96137 GEnie: S.Hoffee2
The Laser ('Zine, bi-monthly, 10 pgs, F&B) The look and feel of this is very professional, except for the comics, which are just way strange! My issue, December 1993, has little coverage of the classic systems, but covers general ideas that sweep over all systems. Cost: $1.75 for one issue. The Laser 2 Rock Ridge Dr. Norwalk, CT 06854 (203) 866-5946
M.W.P.D.S. (PD catalogue for Atari 8-bits) The catalogue has many disks, each containing programs on both sides. I have had good dealings with them. Cost: $2.50 for one disk. There are volume discounts for ten or more. M.W.P.D.S. 890 N. Huntington St. Medina, OH 44256
Mars Merchandising (Catalogue, 2 pgs, F&B) This has commercial software for the Atari 8-bit and Lynx. Most prices are about $20. (Lynx prices are higher -- about $35.) It says that all software except starred items are half off. (Why, then, didn't they just get marked with those prices?) The catalogue is dated 3-18-93. I received mine in the first week of February, so it is almost a year old. The catalogue states that software for other systems is available, among which include the Atari 2600, C64, IBM, ST, Amiga, NES and Sega. Mars Merchandising 1041 E. St. Charles RD.Lombard, IL 60158 (718) MARS INC
Matrix ('Zine, bi-monthly, 6 pgs, F&B) This 'zine is great! It is so funny...my favorite line is, "Now safe for trees! This fanzine printed on 100% baby seal pelts." It covers the new systems only, but is worth the read, if only to get a good laugh. Cost: $1.25 for one issue (I have #6). Jeremy Statz N6148 170th St. Elmwood, WL 54740 (715) 639-3205
More Than Games (Catalogue, 3 pgs, F&B) This place carries used software, hardware and books -- everything for the Atari 8-bit and ST. They can write software for small applications. They fix hardware, and can usually fix corrupted data. I've dealt with them; they were fast! Write them now! More Than Games 8207 Briarwood Lane Austin, TX 78757-7642
MP Games (Catalogue, 2 pgs, F&B) This is by the guy who does the Laser (uh, I think). Very reasonable prices on used 2600, 5200, 7800, Intellivision and ColecoVision games. Carries used hardware and some magazines. MP Games 2 Rock Ridge Dr. Norwalk, CT 06854 (203) 866-5946
New Atari User (Magazine) I've never seen this magazine, but have seen it advertised in several places, and have read about it in Current Notes. It is mostly an Atari 8-bit magazine with type-in programs, programming articles, reviews, hints, etc. It has various prices, depending on how you want it shipped, and if you want the disk as well. Page 6 Publishing P.O. Box 54Stafford, ST16 1DR England
Page 6 Publishing (Catalogue) This catalogue is great, but since the prices are in British pounds, I have no idea how much anything actually costs. They have a great selection of PD and commercial software. Be wary, though. You may want to ask if what you order only works in PAL mode. Be informed, however, that I sent them an S.A.S.E., and they sent it back to me. (See above address)
Scottith's Games (Catalogue, 2 pgs, F&B) Most games for 2600, with a limited selection for the 5200 and 7800. Some hard-to-find hardware and rare items, too. Reasonably priced. Scottith's Games Rd. #1 Box 177-A Harding, PA 18643 (717) 288-2824
Video 61 (Catalogue, 4 pgs, F&B) Contains new carts for the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800 and 8-bits. Prices range from twenty to thirty dollars apiece. He also carries used carts, which are more reasonably priced, and disk-based games for the 8-bit. Video 61 22735 Congo St. NE Stacey, MN 55079 (612) 462-2500
The Videogame Trader (Newsletter) Although Jerry Greiner stopped producing the New Video-Game Trader, someone named Fred Horvat has taken over the publication. I haven't seen an issue, as it isn't complete yet, but a letter I received said that it would be simplified and more concise. There is no single-issue price, but three issues will cost three dollars. It will be a monthly publication, with the first issue becoming available June 15. The Videogame Trader P.O. Box 493 Chesterfield, OH 44026
Video Magic ('Zine/catalogue, 10 pgs F&B) First off, although this 'zine has but ten 8 1/2" x 11" pages, it is a half-sized affair, and thus gives twice as much punch for the buck. They have stuff for just about every game system and classic computer, as well as reasonable prices and interesting articles. You need this; really, you do! The first issue is free, I think, and then you need to subscribe (something I need to do!). Video Magic C/O Frank M. Polosky P.O. Box 9542 PGH, PA 15233
Commodore World (Magazine) I've never seen this magazine, which is published by Creative Micro Designs -- just advertisements for it. I have heard that they are pretty slow in getting their magazine out to subscribers, though. Cost: $29.95 for a one-year subscription. Creative Micro Designs, Inc. P.O. Box 646 East Longmeadow, MA 01028 (800) 638-3263 (for credit-card subscriptions only)
Creative Micro Designs (Catalogue, 4 pgs, F&B) New commercial software, averaging about $25.00 per title. They have some interesting items for GEOS. They also carry hardware, like hard drives and RAMlink. (See above address)
Software Support (Catalogue, 104 pgs) This catalogue has many commercial software items for the C64. All are new, and many are bargains! They also have bundles, which contain about six games each -- for only $14.97! A steal! This is a thick catalogue. Software Support International 2700 NE Andersen Road, A-10 Vancouver, WA 98661 (800) 356-1397
Tenex (Color catalogue, 46 pgs) This catalogue carries mostly Amiga items, but it contains a section of commercial software and hardware, too. Cost: $3.50 at most newsstands, but they will send you one for the asking. Tenex Computer Express 56800 Magnetic Drive Mishawaka, IN 46545 (219) 259-7051
Adam's House (Catalogue, 6 pgs, F&B) I never knew that the Adam ever had much support until I saw this catalogue! They claim to have most every cartridge (new) that was ever made for the Adam and ColecoVision. They have commercial and PD software, as well as hardware. They have fairly reasonable prices, too. I never even knew that there was an Adam disk drive. They can also install and fix hardware. This is probably the last version, so order soon. Adam's House Route 2, Box 2756 1829 Country Road, #130 Pearland, TX 77581-9503 (713) 482-5040
FMH I.S. Games (Catalogue, 2 pgs, F&B) Carries PD Adam software. Did you know that many items that were once commercial are now PD for the Adam? All are available on disk or tape. They can also convert various computer-graphic formats to the Adam format. FMH I.S. Games P.O. Box 493 Chesterland, OH 44026 (216) 729-0761
Competition Computers (Catalogue, 3 pgs, F&B) This distributer carries new and used merchandise, including hardware and software. They have reasonable prices on most items. They also carry items that I have not been able to find anywhere else, like disk drives, modems, genuine TI monitors, and other interesting items. Cost: $2.00 for one catalogue. Competition Computer 2219 South Muskege Milwaukee, WI 53215 (800) 471-1600/(414) 672-1600