Todd Lamothe remembers:
I was just getting started with computers when I saw
this computer advertised in the back of BYTE magazine. I opted for this
machine over the TRS-80 Color Computer. It had very similar specs but was
a bit better price at the time (I want to say around $200).
My next door neighbor worked at Digital Equipment and was advising me on
what system to buy. He was an excellent mentor! He diplomatically said
"if you think that's what you want, go ahead.. at least you can
return it if it isn't acceptable". (I believe he felt the Color
Comptuer was a better machine).
I received it and somehow had a feeling that Radio Shack would be a better
company to do business with. I packed the computer up and shipped it back
the next day.
One week later, I received a refund check in the mail and that same day in
another letter was notified that Interact was going out of business and
would no longer be supporting the Interact!
I was actually able to cash my check and go get a Color Computer! I got a
tremendous amount of use out of the Color Computer and am glad I didn't
lose my cash on the Interact!
Mark Hadland reports to us:
I used to own an Interact Computer, and I was aware of
one more in Bayfield, WI in 1980. My Dad ordered it from Micro Video, I
still have to receipt! MV supported the system with quite a few games,
including a good PacMan clone. They also made a much improved keyboard for
the system, which I ordered. You could use Atari 2600 controllers on it, by
switching a few wires inside the joystick.
I made about a dozen games that I sold to other users across the USA that I
sent to them on tape. They were just made in basic, but they did sell, since
there was not alot of software available.
Mark's dad adds:
I was told about the interact by the Cheif of Police
who was also an electronics engineer and I owned the local Cable TV Co. I
bought the interact to keep books with, but it was too difficult so I hooked
it up to my special effects generator and to a CHannel 4 Jerrold modulater
and broadcast to almost everyone in the community My proposed HBO programs
etc. It had a slash through the 0 which was a problem sometimes - looked
like an 8 on TV.
When that venture ended I gave the machine to Mark and he took up a big
interest in the games and to this day he sells games on the internet, so I
think the lowly Interact had a BIG impact on our lives!
About the "1" key location, Abe specifies:
The convention of starting a keyboard`s number row
with 2 existed for many years with typewriters. The typical manual
(i.e. mechanical) typewriter had a typestyle whereby the lower-case letter
L would look almost exactly like a proper 1 (one), so the typewriter
designers simply didn`t bother putting a '1' key in the design of the
This computer almost certainly was designed by someone who
liked/loved/respected/whatever old typewriters. That only makes the
crappy Sinclair-style keypad all the more ironic!
Patrick Kushko's memories:
I was an proud owner of the Interact, had a lot of
pen pals and would trade software by mail. I finally updated the chicklet
keyboard, and bought an RS232 port for it... I must be one of the few that
had a two holer modem at 120 baud. (I was jealous of those 300 baud
modems). I collected 300+ software tapes and managed to hack it
quite a bit. Micro Video published a glossy magazine for at least a year
or two (I subscribed) and offered some machine language games that played
pretty fast (Donkey Kong, PacMan and some Space shootem-ups come to mind).
It came standard with 16kbs of memory but after you loaded the O/S you
we're lucky to have 4k left.
This was the first appearance of MS flight simulator written in MS Basic
(and you could see the code!) Langauges: Machine (hence the 0|1 keys),
Assembly, MS Basic, Forth, Tiny Basic, Edu-Basic along with some off the
wall which escape now. It had no character generator, formin it's
large letters from graphic routines.