My Stories for VZ ALiVE

Where people share with us their fond memories and path into the world of Computers.

Share your Computer Experiences with the world.

Tell us about your fond memories and path into the world of Computers.

Name:Andrew Laird
Where are
you from:
Melbourne, Australia
My first ComputerVZ 200
Other computer Experiences/StoriesI first came into real contact with computers through a family friend who had worked for Tandy. He had a TRS-80 and one school holidays I spent every waking hour at his house running through a self-paced programming tutorial. I was hooked. At high school we had Microbees (didn't everyone?) and when I did the computer subject in Year 11 there were a few of us who knew more than the teacher.
My VZ Experience Eventually I saved up enough pocket money for a computer of my own - the VZ200. I think I purchased it in 1984. The reason I went for the VZ was simple enough: when my brother was doing work experience he worked in an office where everyone had a VZ and swapped tapes. So he copied all the tapes, which meant an instant software library. That was a big motivation to purchase one, as well as the price being pretty good.
As we didn't have a TV at home, I must have picked up an old black and white to use with it. I spent hours typing in the programs from computer magazines, the book (Bumper Book of Programs) and writing my own programs. At one stage I had a mailing list on there for my parents, with the data saved to tape. Of course, I also spent hours playing the pirated games. I purchased Zak's book on Z80 programming but never actually got around to writing any assembly.
Over time I accumulated various bits and pieces, such as the 64k expansion pack, possibly a floppy drive (my memory is a bit hazy on the details) and as second-hand gear became available, a spare computer or two. I had plans to do some mods - such as a proper keyboard - but never did put them into action.
I was also fanatical enough to attend the VZ user group in Newcastle. At the time I was living on Port Stephens, at a place called Tahlee, north of Karuah. On one visit to Brisbane I even hunted down a VZ user group contact up there. I can't remember too many details but I do remember the Hunter Valley VZ Journal and I do remember Joe Leon, as in the end I sold all my gear to him (of course, at a whole lot less than I had spent on it).
Tue, 3 May 2001 19:59:46 -0800 (PST)

Name:Uwe Koch
Where are
you from:
Hannover, Germany
Comments:Crazy these VZ fans. You make me over 10 years younger !
My first ComputerVZ 200
Other computer Experiences/StoriesIt started with a friend in the neighborhood at christmas - I think it was in 1986/87. He got a ZX81 and showed it to me connected to his TV. I said: 'Oh what's this?' - 'A Computer !' - 'And what can you do with it?' And he started a program and on the TV appeared: 'Please enter your name:' - He told me to enter my name and then press this special Button (RETURN). I entered it and the reaction was: 'Good morning, Mr. Koch !' Wow !! I was so upset. How did my friend do this ? So we started programming from his ZX81 book.
My VZ Experience [Now the VZ time starts.]
After the time of the VZ was over, I bought my first IBM compatible PC, did in OS/2. And at the time OS/2 was died I switched to Linux and now this is my hobby. The circle round the VZ is closed when I found MESS and a rom file for the VZ. Now the VZ is reactivated and connected via Video-In to my TV card or still living in my MESS emulation.
My VZ experience: A large selling company in Germany had the VZ 200 for 249 DM (125Euro/125 US $). My parents and me went in and while my mother was upstairs looking for clothes my father decided to buy the VZ. I asked: 'It's for me ?' - 'No. It's for my work. It's not for you !!' I ran to my mother and told her that my father wouldn't let me using the new VZ. And she told me: 'Oh no ! It's for you !!!' The deal was: I got 100DM from my parents and the rest was to be paid by my pocket money. I think it was about half a year or more with no pocket money ! Then I found the '1. VZ 200 Fan Club' in Germany. I entered and was a member until its end in 1988.
Mon, 8 Jan 2001 19:59:46 -0800 (PST)

Name:mike paull
Where are
you from:
Comments:nice site, good to see some aussie computing history being kept alive.
My first ComputerDick Smith Wizzard
My VZ Experiencenone directly
Other computer Experiences/StoriesWelll, my dad was always into electronics so I guess he saw my first computer, the Dick Smith Wizzard, in one of the stores while buying stuff. Needless to say, come birthday time ( i guess i would have been 12, so make that around 1982?) i unpacked a brand new Wizzard with a couple of game cartridges. Later came the BASIC cartridge, cassette deck, more games cartridges, a chicklet type keyboard (similar to VZ) and tapes of games and education s/w. The disk drive never made it to OZ, and neither did some of the other hardware, i think the upcomming VZ may have taken priority and the Wizzard faded out. Around 1983 i got a C64 and tape deck, 1985 i got a disk drive from the PC85 show and got to know a friends brother who was doing an electrical engineering course and hooked up his homemade modem to the 64. This was to be my main computer experience until the early 90s when i moved into PCs and Amigas. Around that time i came to work for Dick Smith, in a couple of stores, and saw the last of the VZ300 hardware and software being sold off in "dump bins" for $5 and similar prices. Like most of you, i found the net (actually had my first logon around 87/88) and as time progressed started to hear about these emulators, finding the c64 and resparking an almost forgotten interest. Now i'm well and truely back into the 64 scene, and like to have a look at some of the other emu's, which is where i came across MESS, and to my disbelief found it emulated the VZ. Working for the company that once sold these machines, and being a computing child of the 80s, i just had to check this site out. Nice to see you guys really know the machine inside and out! Good work!
Tuesday, March 14, 2000 07:49 PM

Name:Scupott Puparupes
Where are
you from:
Your mama!
Comments:You the Man! and one of My bestest Buddies, like the page you've changed it heaps and the motherly reminder has helped me heaps!
My first ComputerVz200,after convincing my Mom that my schoolwork would improve because of it! Suckker!
My VZ Experienceco-crack? i think, or writing that really dumb snake game with waulok.
Other computer Experiences/StoriesI hadnt written an English essay about myself in year 7 at some dump of a school, so decide to talk about my experiences in the schools computer room, while holding a blank piece of paper,heheheh, this spurred some goose to to become the monster he is to day he's unstoppable, someone must destroy him, aargh here he comes now help me..................
Monday, January 10, 2000 16:36:23

Where are
you from:
Comments:Not the Mamma! Great Site oh WaulE one .. Proud of you :))
My first Computerhmmmm .. first pooter was a Commodore 64 with a gabillion games. Go Law of the West, Summer Games, Winter Games .. The list goes on - even the weird ones that we found on disk (including Public Domain), that we never did work out how to play!
My VZ Experienceerr .. none
Other computer Experiences/StoriesI want a Commodore 64 now that they're not as cool as they used to be!!
December 22, 99 04:14:02 (GMT Time)

Name:Juergen Buchmueller
Where are
you from:
Comments:I like your site, and I like the VZ computers. I once had a Laser 110 'machine', which is even one order of magnitude below the VZ200 - but it was fun, though. So you could say I stumbled across the VZ by accident ;)
My first ComputerUh, computer... My first personal computer (hehe, not PC, but the first machine I owned) was a EACA Video Genie 3003. It was a clone of the Tandy TRS-80 and I worked 6 weeks at a local factory where they produced PVC cans (for shampoo ect.), foils and things. It was a dirty and hard job - and the first and last time I had to work physically ;-p IIRC this was in the summer of 1979 and I earned about 1500 Deutschmarks (~800 US$) to buy that machine. It came with 16K RAM, monochrome 64x16 display and a integrated cassette recorder. I spent a lot of money buying illegally copied games from a guy. He even had a dual(!!) floppy disk drive and I was very envious.
My VZ ExperienceActually _none_ :) I never saw one, but I once had a Laser 110. This was the reason why I found your site and the information about the VZ machines. I was really searching for the BASIC ROM of a Laser 110 (and I still _am_ searching for it). Because the VZs are the successors of the Laser 110 and you all provided the information about memory layout etc., it was rather simple to add the driver for VZ200 and VZ300 to MESS.
Other computer Experiences/Stories About one or two years after I bought the Video Genie 3003 later, the company where I bought it (Trommeschlaeger Computer Studio) started selling an all new machine, no clone this time: the EACA Colour Genie EG2002. It was also produced by EACA Computers Ltd. Hongkong, and the company asked me if I would write some games for them. They offered to give me my own machine for doing it - and you can say they used me ;) I wrote around 20 - 30 games for the Colour Genie and they always paid me with something like a pair of joysticks, a RGB Monitor and finally a dual 360K disk drive. Well, I thought I'd try to write and sell a game on my own, just to see how it would sell. It was the HIT! I accidentially put an offer in a specialized magazine for computer dealers - I thought it was for the public end-users magazine... but the same publishing house (Markt & Technik Verlag) sold various magazines, and my phone order went the wrong way. I realized this when I received the bill for the advertisment: 350 DM (100$)..phew! But it paid back. I sold about 100 tape copies of my game, maybe between 10 and 15 DM each. I could hardly get enough good (short) tapes to fullfill the requests of the computer dealers all over Germany. BTW this game was CHOPPER, and all this was in 1983. I wrote my own load protection to avoid them making 'illegal' copies from it using the tools which were available for the Colour Genie ;-) Trommeschlaeger Computer wasn't too happy about my own steps, but they saw that I'd deserve a bit more than a handful of (used) hardware as payment for the work and time I invested. Well, this didn't go for too long. I finished school and had not much time for the new machines, because I started to study computer science. About 1984 the Colour Genie was no longer sold at any rates and neither were the games. They started with the next generation of clones: IBM PC compatibles (Genie 16 was the name of the EACA clone with built in CGA graphics). During my time at the university (actually not a university but more of a technical high school, 'Fachhochschule' in Germany) I had a Schneider (=Amstrad) CPC464. The things I learned at the school weren't really new to me - the profs were talking about languages like Algol, Fortran and Cobol. The machine we had to enter our programs on was a DEC PDP-11 (we could optionally use punch cards, woah). I met my first wife during that time too - and of course we shared interests. She had a 'real' IBM PC/XT machine and I was obsessed, not only by the girl (she was my first love, BTW... blush ;) but also by her hardware ;-) During the holidays I started working for a company in Frankfurt. They produced add-on cards for the EGA to allow video overlay of a laser disc (and other video source signals). I wrote a piece of code to access the serial port of the PC and allow steering the laser disc player from their software. They paid me with a HUGE 20MB NEC hard drive ;-) During the following years I worked a lot for them - as a subcontractor, and I got good jobs (read: good payment) in various companies and federal bureaus (I live in the former captial of Germany, Bonn, so I was close to those federal institutions). I could afford different machines (eg. an Archimedes ARM Risc machine, which I thought would be the hit) and I learned a lot more about programming techniques than I probably would ever have learned at the university. When I got my own PC AT/286 (12MHz at that time I think) I also wanted to play those games from the TRS-80 again, which I loved and really missed ;) So I wrote my first emulation for that machine. I did it in x86 assembly language and had a hard time to get it anywhere near the speed of a real TRS-80. This was before I heard about the internet, so the program never made it farther than a local mailbox (probably one or two people elsewhere in germany used it ;) At that time also heard about a european videotext system (CEPT) and started writing a decoder for the almost proprietary format they used. It's similiar to you may know from other countries - it was before the internet rush began. That's where I got my nickname frome too: pullmoll. I used this to login to one of the chat systems. I first gave my CEPT decoder program away for free (XBTX) and - dunno if lead by fortune or beelzebub ;) - included my address and phone number in the main screen. Late I created a better, shareware version and sold it for 50DM (25 US$), and it sold very well over years. The 'competitors' were companies who had to take a lot more money for their software, so my program was the first choice for everybody who wanted to give the system a first try. The rest of the story is pretty confusing. I used all variants of machines, played around with Linux since 0.9x something, learned to write programs for (and started to hate the dependecies of) Windows... In my spare time I'm still addicted to emulation and emulators, and I think preserving how it all began is worth the effort.
December 13, 99 22:51:17 (GMT Time)

Name:Jason Oakley
Where are
you from:
Comments:Great Site!! Oh yea.. it's mine hahaha
My first ComputerI had been introduced to computers when I was in Year 7 at High School and was immediately fascinated. I spent most of my recess and lunch hours in the computer room, watching other people and learning how to use them. The school had around 8 Microbee's, 1 Apple IIe and 1 Sorcerer. I soon learnt Apple Basic and Microbee Basic and enough Sorcerer commands to be able to load one of my favourite games, a text adventure called "Orb of the Halucidon". If I could only remember enough of how the game went, I would make it for the VZ. When I got to Year 8, I took up Computer Studies. As I already knew most of the Basic commands for the Microbees and the Apple IIe, I used the Apple while everyone else shared the Microbees. This was really handy as it meant I didn't need to share a computer as the others did and I could just take the teacher's commands and translate them over to Apple IIe Basic - I had great fun. In the Year 8 computer class, I helped the other students with their programs when the teacher was too busy.
My VZ ExperienceAround 1983, I received a VZ200, which came with a tape player to play games with, for christmas. I had been looking for something in my parent's cupboard and found the computer hidden in dad's side. I was SO excited! My first games (from memory) were Ghost Hunter and Hoppy. I literally absorbed all the information in the manual and soon was working on writing my own Basic programs (when I could steal some time of the TV to hook it up to). My sister and I had a small black and white television we had co-bought together and I paid her the other half so I could use my VZ whenever I wanted to. As the years went by, I bought more and more games and upgraded my VZ with a memory pack I bought off a guy from school (16k RAM expansion!!) and, later, a Disk Drive I bought 2nd hand from an advert in the local newspaper. I was so excited about the prospect of having a Disk Drive that I had insomnia that night for the first time! That night I wrote a program called "Cliffhanger" which had a guy in LORES graphics who stood near the edge of a cliff. You were given two angles of a triangle and had to work out the third angle. If you didn't, the guy would take a step towards the cliff. After about five steps, he would fall off the edge. As time went by, I bought "Programming the Z80" by Rodnay Zaks. I read the whole thing through while on the school bus for 3/4hr every morning. Didn't understand a word in it! I learnt Assembly by reading other people's code. Then I went back to read my Rodnay Zaks book only to find it tattered and torn from all those months in my school bag. So, I bought it again. (I still have it with me to this day.. for some strange reason it has followed me every time I moved - lucky thing too, as I am finding it very helpful again with VZ EM). I have submitted a couple of articles for Joe Leon's Hunter Valley VZ Journal and I designed quite a few front covers for his magazine. He is still a good friend of mine and we chat from time to time. I made four DiskMag's for the VZ, which I editted myself and ended up writing all the articles for it (except one - I had one submission). Soon, though, I ran out of ideas and had to stop producing them. Now, I am back on the 'scene' after many years away from the VZ. I have an even greater challenge, that being trying to remember the control keys and graphic keys to use on the PC haha.
Other computer Experiences/StoriesWhile the VZ thing was still going, I bought a Commondore 64c computer. It was a tossup between that and an Amstrad CPC 464, but I knew more people with Commondore 64's and so could copy more games hehehe. For that one, I bought the Action Replay Cartridge, 1541 and various other bits and pieces, far too many disks and a printer. The poor 1541 was subjected to my soldering skills and being dropped in a gutter full of water (which, interestingly enough, made it spin Backwards). My local computer repair shop must have been sick of fixing that one. Fortunately, the owner was a friend of mine hehe. It even blew a power socket, which I fixed myself. Later, I started using my uncle's XT, then AT and my cousin's 286. I bought myself a 386 SX-25, upgraded to a 486SX-33, 486 DX/4-100 Overdrive, AMD K6-200 and finally, PII Celeron 433 which I am now typing on. I have done a few computer classes at TAFE (Spreadsheets, Office Practice and Desktop Publishing). I ended up helping the teachers teach the rest of the class. Mostly I could pick up the lessons faster than they could teach them, so while the teacher helped one student with a problem, I dealt with the rest of the class! (*Sigh*) Those were the days.
October 29, 99 00:42:12 (GMT Time)

Where are
you from:
Sydney, Australia
Comments:Cool site! Bring on the emus *smirk
My first ComputerMy first computer was an Amiga 500. It was the best machine! Do you all remember when a box of 3.5 inch floppies were really expensive?
My VZ Experience
Other computer Experiences/Stories
October 27, 99 00:18:36 (GMT Time)

Name:Guy Thomason
Where are
you from:
Brisbane Australia
Comments:Great looking site, as good as any emu site I've seen
My first ComputerThe trusty VZ200
My VZ ExperienceI saved up $99 for the VZ200 when I was 13 from my 5 bucks a week pocket money. My parents then bought me a green screen monitor for it so I wouldn't hog the tv! I vividly remember getting the thing home, unpacking it and plugging it all in. The very first program I tried to write was working out how to get input from the keyboard - took me a couple days to work out how to use inkey$ !
Other computer Experiences/StoriesAlso owned an Amiga 500, in the days before the PC had VGA & soundblaster. Excellent machine, truly ahead of its time. I never could get into it as much as I could the VZ though, probably because I was too busy playing the games!
October 26, 99 08:11:17 (GMT Time)

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