@vga256@dialup.cafe avatar



indigenous canadian, recovering academic → game dev & interactive media artist with a penchant for dial-up modems, the 4o3 bbs scene, 1-bit art, trackers/mods, classic macs, and 80s and 90s gaming. curator of internet, canadian & gaming obscura.

game development: tomodashi studio

current major project: tomo, a decentralized discussion group network that's better than reddit https://tomo.city

#nobot #nobots #noindex
(profile pic: a 1988 red fox 6¢ canada stamp)

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vga256, to edmonton
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city crews hard at work putting this year’s crop of aquatic plants into paul kane park pond 😻

vga256, to random
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three big licks still count as #caturday cleaning right

vga256, to edmonton
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furnace has been running this morning and thought the thermostat was going haywire. nooope
#yeg #yegwx

vga256, to baseball
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edmonton riverhawks home opener! what a great venue. my first visit to old john ducey park in the bleachers since i was 13 years old

#baseball #yeg

vga256, (edited ) to gaming
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i'm always surprised at how overlooked Inherit the Earth is by the adventure gaming crowd.

i can understand why: it doesn't fit cleanly into the sierra-lucasarts design dichotomy, all of the characters are animals/"morphs", and the game switches between isometric and theatrical perspectives constantly.

all of those reasons alone are enough to make me enjoy an adventure game. but what stands out to me today is just how unique it all feels. the gameplay freely moves between mystery, exploration, treasure hunt and social squabbles without falling too deeply into the genre traps that have plagued adventure games for decades

even after three decades i'm surprised every time at how fascinating this little world is. i wish the dreamer's guild and talin/david joiner had be given more time and money to make games like this.

edit: he's got some very touching blog posts about his days building ITE and Faery Tale Adventure which I linked to here:

vga256, (edited ) to random
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of particular interest to me is the upcoming Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo on june 22

the chilliwack retro computing club will be there, demoing TRS-80 and Nabu equipment, and there will be a talk about the history of computing in canada



vga256, to random
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@pheller how's life in the prodigy world? i wiped my discord account months ago, so i lost touch with you!

vga256, to retrogaming
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until now, i hadn't heard a thing about this great little retrogaming conference "summer school" happening in montreal next week.

some of the talks look fascinating.


vga256, (edited ) to IBM
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time for fairly obscure canadian retrocomputing history

IBM Home Computing seems to have been a canada-only chain of retail stores that sold IBM products. it didn't last long here - maybe 5-10 years - before it disappeared in the early 2000s. we had a single location in downtown Edmonton City Centre Mall in the mid-90s.

it wasn't the place to go for the best deals on hardware and software. everything was sold at retail prices, and i remember seeing very few sales. i remember buying my Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold at the downtown location as a first-year university student for the princely sum of $300.

as you can see in the last photo - buying an IBM in 1994 was a major investment. you could buy three used cars at the time for less than a pentium desktop. 😬

does anyone else remember these retail stores? did they exist in the US, or was it a canadian chain?

update: according to this page, there were 29 stores in canada

and it did indeed close chainwide in 2002-2003:

vga256, (edited )
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@csilverman just found this:

apparently there were 29 stores in canada! i had no idea. there was only one in edmonton.

vga256, (edited )
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@csilverman ahahaha i never saw the lab coat thing myself.
but i do remember employees wearing bright blue short sleeved dress shirts, pretty much like best buy

vga256, to random
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my gods, ultima viii: pagan has become even more visually enchanting with time. the colours are so vibrant and rich compared to any other game in the series

it's the little things that bring the world alive in this scene. the gargoyle on the corner of the house drips water out of its mouth into a puddle below it.
the wall sconces flicker yellow light on the sides of the buildings.
the stonework used throughout the game is heavy, moody and sullen.
the colour palette is composed of highly saturated colours that contrast strongly with one another.

despite the many isometric rpg's that came out, there is not a single game like it.

#ultima #dosgaming

vga256, (edited ) to retrogaming
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okay so this is badass

one of my most cherished and irreplaceable retrocomputing devices is my peerless Roland SC-55.

while the MT-32 has been emulated quite well, the SC-55 always lagged behind in emulation - most attempts at it sounded pretty terrible, even using good soundfonts.

(and hauling around my SC-55 + midi & 3.5mm & usb cables just to play games in dosbox was painful)

in comes Nuked-SC55: it is a chip-level emulation project that just nails it.

it took about 30 seconds to build with cmake. i'm now going to try integrating it with dosbox, so i can finally play 90s DOS general midi games! (ultima viii pagan, here i come)

demo songs with the LCD screen (which is also accurately emulated!)

nuked-sc55 source:

windows binaries:

fwiw to compile (requires cmake):
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

#RetroGaming #retrocomputing #midi #roland

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if anyone figures out how to run nuked-sc55 on a mac with dosbox (boxer), i'd love to know how you did it.

#dosbox #midi #macos

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happy to confirm that the SC-55 emulation with Nuked-SC55 is perfect. i don't mean "pretty close" or "99%" ... it is the same sound coming out of my physical hardware. 👏 incredible work by the author and their team

track: Ethereal Void, by neno vugrinec (Ultima VIII: Pagan)

#roland #synthesizer #ultima

The track "Ethereal Void" by composer Neno Vugrinec from the Ultima VIII: Pagan original soundtrack. It is playing back on an orange LCD emulating the Roland SC-55 display.

vga256, to amiga
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re: previously boosted live amiga mod video recording, link here to the file (Hallucinations):


vga256, to Alberta
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csilverman, (edited ) to random
@csilverman@mastodon.social avatar

There’s a site I’ve been trying to recall for a while now: a design-specific discussion forum I was using maybe ten or so years ago. One of its distinguishing characteristics was that users could draw their own avatars using an icon editor—16x16, I think. New users were limited to black and white pixels only, but the more you used the site, the more colors you had access to. (They offered additional colors as rewards for other things as well.)

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

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@csilverman i haven't, but i adore that user reward system

vga256, to conservative
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vga256, to Canada
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i grew up alongside one of the largest lakes in canada watching The Beachcombers, and never really knew where our driftwood came from until now. what an incredibly well-written article on the ecological significance of pacific ocean driftwood



vga256, to design
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nike and reebok kids forget who the king of 1991 shoe design was 😎

vga256, to animals
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once a week henry goes what is termed in the literature nutsyfurbuttsy

#CatsOfMastodon #catstodon

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vga256, to retrogaming
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i love visiting rural towns. went for a day trip with my mom just to get out of the city for a few hours.

inevitably, i found big box games at their thrift store 😅

and now i’m doing the most 12 year old thing possible: reading the seawolf manual on the ride home 😂

#BigBoxGames #retroGaming

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kiwa, to random
@kiwa@bitbang.social avatar

Beat up kiwa

@vga256@dialup.cafe avatar

@paulrickards @kiwa fwiw, this video covers very similar behaviour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMKxSl_NagQ

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@kiwa @paulrickards ah, gotcha. yeah, tantalums shouldn’t make a difference. hmm.

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