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D > DICK SMITH > VZ200


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Dick Smith VZ200 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

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Monday 16th September 2013
Dave (Aus)

Go the VZ''s.
Sep 2013: I''ve just managed to get the VZ''s to play WAV file samples through its internal piezo, as well as the start of a .MOD music module player - all done with assembly and easily compiled with the Z88 dev kit. I''d love it if more people were keen enough to come on board. Find me and various music programs over on the VZEMU Yahoogroups email list. Cheers to all whom read this.


Wednesday 26th September 2012
Axel (Germany)

This modell even was sold in Germany, it was my first computer. I bought it with 64 kb extrenseion, spend many nights with programmeing. The magazine Chip posted for TRS 80 an assembler and a debugger. With a friend we changed the adresses and used the extension. Most people used Commodore or Atari, because of grafics and music. But there was no MS-Basic, and we wanted to get experience in this standard language.


Monday 16th January 2012
Jeremy (Australia)

I still remember the different memory addresses, such as using "POKE 30744,1" to invert the colours in text mode.


Friday 7th October 2011
dianne johnson

The vz200 was the first computer that I bought for my children as a Christmas present. They''re still active with computers. Somewhere in storage I should still have it and its big brother the 300. I have 3 grand children and they are all owners of their own laptop. life goes on.


Wednesday 3rd November 2010
Kerris (Melbourne, Australia)

This was my First computer in 1983, it was where i learned data entry and coding, it was fun in its day, thinking back to the tapes and green screen its amazing how far its all come. 27 years on and i''m into my third year in I.T, still a passion. Thanks Dick smith.


Monday 23rd August 2010
Mark Baxter (New Zealand)

The "horrible keyboard" was greatly improved by varnishing the keys to make them firmer (it also has the side-effect of stopping the markings wearing off as happened to to many much loved rubber keyboard machines of the ''80s).


Friday 2nd November 2007
Andrew Laird (Melbourne, Australia)
VZ200 Wiki

Somehow I scraped together the cash necessary to purchase a VZ200 and then spent hours playing games and programming in BASIC. My favourite game was Defence Penetrator - after enough practice I was able to make it right through the game and back to the start. Eventually I bought a VZ300, floppy disk drive and other peripherals. Now I am collecting them again, and writing a wiki which aims at documenting the VZ.


Saturday 16th June 2007
Duncan Murray (Adelaide, South Australia)
Acute Software

The VZ200 was a fantastic little computer - for the first time you could get a computer with COLOUR and SOUND for under $200 Australian - awesome stuff

I learnt to program in BASIC on this, seeing that I couldn't afford to buy a lot of software at the time - if I wanted a game I had to write it (often typing in pages from magazines).

One of them got sold by mail order from LYSCo - it was called "The Lost Sword" - it was my first income from selling software, and pretty exciting.


Wednesday 1st March 2006
Mark Hill (Brisbane)

Well, an old piece of real computer history, the VZ-200. I bought one in 1983 and after my first halting steps with BASIC, actually wrote a few simple programs. The thing that turned the VZ-200 from just a little games machine to a real assest as far as I was concerned was the release of the tape based word processor. I used that machine and word-pro program for four years solid during my AAII studies and, for those years being able to have study notes printed (on a rattly Seikosha 9 pin printer) was "state of the art" for a home PC user. I mucked about with the word-pro program and wrote a new graphics (remember the hi-res option) front end to make it look like an Apple program. Well, it worked at the front end but still had the upper case only, 32 character display on screen (a Philips 14 inch colour set) but it did look pretty. Don't ask me to do that now because I would have a, "Senior's moment" and plead failing memory. Speaking of memory, I bought the 16kb expansion pack and what a difference that made. But, saving to tape, oh hell. "READ ERROR B" when trying to load again. I solved that by using metal tapes, very expensive back then but with a building library of study notes and law cases (all typed in by moi), certainty that loading would work.

The BASIC. At that time in my work the first IBM PC came out and having read the manual for the VZ-200 (programming) I realised that the Dartmouth BASIC version used by IBM was very close to the VZ-200 version. I did this for fun because there was no campatibility between the two machines.

Old games on the VZ-200. Yes, "Dracula" was a good one. Better I thought was the flight simulator (text only) which actually made you think about fuel loads.

As a machine, I hated the rubber keyboard but became adept with what we would now call shift changes.

The "guts" of the machine. Open the case and cut the wiring and then solder a shunt to a pin jack you have mounted in the case. Stops the "beep". Plug a pin jack in and the other end to an amplifier and presto, wall to wall mono sound. Tweak the colour potentiometer and change the green screen to blue (along with stuffing up the rest of the colour registers).

I still have a VZ-200. Complete with the original Dick Smith manuals (both of them), tapes, original Dick Smith, about a dozen or so, and the joysticks and the bit of paper with the routine to load to enable the sticks.

What did machines like the VZ-200 teach us. ?

How to have a go at writing programs in BASIC for a start. Using a little PC (yes, I call it a PC) for something else other than games. Understanding the actual works "guts" of a PC and wringing the best out of a simple 8 bit machine.

From the VZ-200 I moved to an Amstrad CPC464 and then to a 286, a 486, and many Pentium variations.

But, we become lazy with these all singing, all dancing machines. I had more fun making a GOSUB call work and doing a POKE / PEEK memory call and actually watching a program I wrote on the VZ-200 work.

Cheers.
Mark Hill


Monday 26th September 2005
Benjamin Kosta Pazolli (Perth, Australia)
The VZ200

It has been a while but I now can report that you can make tapes and they do work. I have created an article on my new website about it, and I suggest having a read of it. I was personally amazed at how powerful the VZ200 could be. VZINVADERS seems to be almost a perfect recreation of the original invaders. I also tried Missile Command but that was somewhat less impressive. I think I will try Asteriods next. I recommend it to everyone and have fun.


Monday 18th July 2005
Benjamin Kosta Pazolli (Perth, Australia)
Archaiccom

I inherited a vz200 from my late grandfather and was amazed by it. He had a lot of tapes but most of them were boring things like tax calculators or somthing. But I was intrested just earlier tonight to find a site that had some games and an emulator with the ability to converter the games that were compatible with it into wav format. I would imagine that you would attach the line out(headphones or speaker output) to the microphone or line in of a tape recorder and start recording and play the file. Make sure to turn the sound on and wait a while after pressing record. The site was http://homepage.powerup.com.au/~intertek/VZ200/. I also have two vz300 (one for parts). I will report back to see if it is successful. Also as an idea I could create a software archive if people created wav files of the program by doing the opposite of above. Send any questions, comments or other to bpazolli@gmail.com. Also check my website archaiccom.tripod.com.


Tuesday 19th April 2005
Scott B (Australia)

Wow this brings back memories as a 13yo playing with the family computer. I spent countless hours typing programs in, hoping to get them save to cassette before the power flickered!!! The machine was the envy of my friends until the C64, unfortunately I never got another computer until 2000. Thinking back it was great fun and great value, you could write your own programs, get free programs by borrowing books from the library and typing them in or simply copyiny you friends cassettes. I might just still have the machine in a cupboard somewhere, maybe I will hook it up and check if it still works. My kids would be amazed at just how much computers have evolved in the last 22 years.





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