The Interact computer had a very short life in USA. It had only just got in production when the Interact Co. of Ann Arbor MI, went bankrupt. Several thousand machines were produced though. Some of them were sold by Protecto Enterprizes of Barrington, IL, the liquidator, but the main part was sold by MicroVideo, also of Ann Arbor. Protecto bought lots of back-of-the-magazine ads for years, always printed with "WE LOVE OUR CUSTOMERS".
The Interact shipped with 2 joysticks, a built-in tape recorder, a TV RF modulator and 2 KB of ROM. Everything, including BASIC, must be loaded from tape. A little trivia: The tape unit did include an erase head, but it was not connected! Tapes had to be erased on a regular cassette recorder before being reused. Another surprising feature is that the "1" key is after the "0" key at the far right of the keyboard. Thus the row is starting from 2 and finishing by 1... See explanation in the "Read more" page.
MicroVideo supported the machine for two years, 1979-80, making some hardware expansions (32K RAM card and stringy floppy drive), replacing the original minimalist EDU-BASIC language with a Microsoft 8K graphic version, and even publishing 3 issues of 'Interaction', a newsletter of the Detroit Interact Group.
The Interact computer finally vanished from the US market in late 1980. However, a French company bought the rights of the machine and started to sell the Interact under Victor Lambda name in French market. See the rest of the story here.
For five years, several improved sequels of the Interact, called Hector, were launched in France. The last version, the Hector MX, featured high resolution graphics and 4 built-in languages!
Special thanks to dan A. O'Dale who donated us this computer !
I worked for Newman Computer Exchange when our company brought in-house thousands of these in pieces and hired the interact employees to assemble and repair them. We sold a lot of these and each included an assortment of cassette tapes containing various topics. Most were games to compete with the Commodore Pet. That was 1980 and into 1981. We all wanted one but could not get any deal so we rummaged through the dumpster and built our own from marginal parts.FUN!
Wednesday 14th November 2012
Bill Dennis (Ann Arbor, MI)
I have one of these, gathering dust. The BASIC tape no longer loads, but I don''t feel it''s a hardware failure. If anyone has a good tape, or is willing to give mine a good home, let me know.