Binary Dinosaurs Computer Museum
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Exidy, Inc
I remember Exidy as being an arcade machine manufacturer that made 2 of my favourite games from the late 1970s, 'crash' and 'bandido'. With the former you had to avoid the computer controlled car that drove at you in the opposing direction while you picked up the dots on the screen...hmm....remind you of pacman? The latter was a fantastic game with an 8-way firing joystick as well as an 8-way moving joystick where you played a sheriff and had to rescue your love from mexican bandits.
The original Sorcerer dates from 1978 and has novel features that lifted it up and away from the likes of the Tandy TRS80 Model 1 such as a user-defineable character set and a handy thing to have at the time - an S100 bus interface. It was also arguably the first home computer to feature language ROMs in cartridge cases, in the case of the Sorcerer these were 8-track cartridge cases that had been gutted and replaced with CBASIC ROMs on dedicated circuit boards. For the younger audience a quick google will tell you about 8-track carts :o)
Mono video as standard, but the screen memory was split between ROM and RAM allowing a user defined character set with a maximum resolution of 512x240, obviously this was a 'fake' resolution since the programmer could only redefine the 8x8 character cell for each letter, similar to the CBM PET and other machines of the day.
The S100 bus was important because it was one of the first attempts at an industry 'standard' for expansion cards for personal computers. Originally it came from the IMSAI and Altair home computers and was basically 100 electric connections for addressing, data and power that allowed you do expand your machine with memory cards, disk controllers, video controllers etc. What was bad about it was that various manufacturers had produced their own interpretations of the S100 bus so things weren't as compatible as they should have been.
The Sorcerer had a massive Australian push from it's primary electronics distributor, Dick Smith (who for once didn't appear to rebadge the machine as one of their own, see the VideoGenie and Texet TX8000) and a big push in Europe from Compudata in Holland who continued to make the machine under licence even after Exidy imploded in the early 1980s.
This machine, donated by Brendan Breen, has been tricked out quite impressively. As well as button-selective baud rates for saving to cassette there's expanded memory and a pair of colour circuits from Stuart Micrographics that I've yet to find information on. There's a stack of useful documentation as well as loads of ESCape magazines from the European Sorcerer Club. Best of all, it still works :o)
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All images and text © Adrian Graham 1999-2017 unless otherwise noted using words.