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Old 2nd Feb 2019, 1:56 pm   #4
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Derby, UK.
Posts: 7,375
Default Re: Texas Ti99/4a out of hibernation.

I had a friend who had a TI-99/4A, and my experience of it was disappointing compared to the British computers of the day. The BASIC language was rather limiting, there seemed to be no way to use machine code, it did not have pixel-addressable graphics (certainly not accessible via BASIC, although maybe some of the cartridge games might have managed this -- my memory is unclear) and the character set was ugly (though could be redefined). It was almost as though the whole point of it was to get you to buy software cartridges, and the ability to program it yourself was just thrown in as an afterthought.

By contrast, the Spectrum (not the prettiest charset either, but we all came to love it anyway), BBC and Amstrad machines all had pixel-addressable graphics and came with comprehensive manuals that encouraged you to write your own programs, and it was easy to use machine code (especially on the BBC Micro, with its built-in assembler).

The Commodore 64 and Atari 800 also had less comprehensive BASIC languages than the British machines; on the C64, you had to POKE addresses directly to access the sound and graphics. The British machines had a BEEP or SOUND command that accepted parameters for pitch (directly in semitones above or below middle C) and duration, and PLOT and DRAW commands for creating graphics. (The Spectrum and Amstrad also had a CIRCLE command; the only shapes the BBC could draw were triangles -- and any other shape that could be made out of triangles!)
If I have seen further than others, it is because I was standing on a pile of failed experiments.
julie_m is offline