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I > INTERACT > Home Computer System


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Interact Home Computer System computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Thursday 17th December 2020
Chuck Yount (United States)

I had an Interact in the late 70s/early 80s. I wrote a side-scrolling shooter game in assembly language (actually, directly in machine language) that I sold to MicroVideo, and it was sold in their catalogs maybe a year before they stopped supporting the Interact. The game was similar to a popular arcade game (maybe Defender?) but it had a fantasy-based theme instead of a space setting. I don''t remember the name of the game, though. Anyone have an old catalog from ancient history?

Monday 14th May 2018
Bruce Koldys

I have an operating Interact with many original documentations and software tapes. Always on the lookout for another functioning Interact
My very first computer back in the day

Tuesday 31st May 2016
Brenda Manix (Greenville Ohio )

I have one of the original Enteract home computer systems still in original box . would like to sale husband passed away..but kept it all these years..

Wednesday 14th November 2012
Bill Dennis (Ann Arbor, MI)

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 20th June 2012
Larry Cook (USA)
Woody''s page of Woodworking

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.

Friday 18th November 2011
Bill (NC / USA)

I used the Atari joysticks after the Interact joysticks wore out (on Boot Hill of all things) and instead of rewiring them, we used the Atari joysticks upside-down.

Tuesday 9th August 2011
Dennis Sunde (United States)

My story is just like many of yours. I got this when I was 15, upgraded the keyboard, and wired in the Atari 2600 controllers. Some games I wrote were published in the newsletter. Since I had the only word processor in college, I made a lot of friends. I guess you could say it changed my life, because I still work as a programmer.

Saturday 23rd July 2011
Cary Brandt (Usa)

This was my very first computer. I would have to honestly say, changed my life. An amazing little machine. I learned a lot from it. Wish I still had it on display in my home. Many memories of installing the rs-232 interphase and upgraded keyboard, adding a modem (old school phone coupler). Reconfiguring the pins on the cables. What an adventure for a 13 year old. Long live Protecto Enterprises! - Cary

Thursday 7th July 2011
Bob Clark (USA)

I got one of these from Protecto Enterprizes, with the raised black keys. I later bought the real keyboard from MicroVideo. I noticed that the plugs on the joysticks were the same as the ones on our Atari 2600 video game, but that it worked backward. I discovered that you could move around a few wires inside the Atari sticks and make them work on the Interact, which was much better than the Interact sticks. I wish I still had it.

Monday 30th May 2011
Chuck Yount (USA)

I owned an Interact in 1980 (I was 15). I actually wrote a video game similar to the Defender arcade game, and I sold it to Interact for a whopping $200 and some software. I developed a second game a year later and sent it to Interact for evaluation, but they returned it with a letter saying they were going out of business.

Sunday 14th January 2007
Cliff Chism (USA)

I bought an Interact Model R from Protecto Enterprises, I believe. It was so long ago. I added a few upgrades back then, including the Microsoft Basic and a chess program. I don't know if this memory is accurate or not... I had a problem with the tape loading on the Microsoft Basic program and called the company (at that time, an unknown). I believe I spoke with a guy named Bill. Could it have been Gates? I just don't know. I also got the RAM upgrade and installed it, myself. I had a lot of fun with my first computer. And, it seemed so much more advanced than the Altair... with it's RF modulator and all...

Friday 1st December 2006
Billy Radius (Canton, MI)

The Interact was my first computer, living down the road from Ann Arbor I visited the office several times to get another tape drive and software. I just got a MINT Interact on Ebay with many tapes. I am looking for a copy of MicroVideo Basic if anyone has one. Also do you archive your tapes, if so what is the best kind of cassettee to use?

thnks in advance

Saturday 18th November 2006
Roger Blake (USA)

Like many others here, the Interact was my first home computer. I purchased mine from a "Protecto Enterprizes" ad in the back of a Popular Science magazine around 1980, and used the machine to teach myself first BASIC and then Machine Language/Assembly Language programming.

In fact the first piece of software that I actually got paid for developing was written first on the Interact in BASIC, then ported over to an Apple II. My first experience in using online commerce was ordering stuff through Compuserve's store using my Interact and a 300-baud acoustic modem. 25+ years later I'm still working in the computer industry, so you can definitely say the Interact "changed my life!"

My original Interact still works, and has the keyboard upgrade, 32K RAM upgrade, and serial port from Micro Video. I have quite a few tapes. They are mostly games, but also some utilities and even the Forth programming language. I did manage to lose my Level II BASIC tape somewhere along the way.

I also have a second Interact inherited from a friend who passed away years ago, that one is a stock 16K system with chicklet keyboard. (It unfortunately does not work, just displays garbage on the screen when powered up. Probably bad RAM chips.)

Wednesday 13rd September 2006
Rob Harrington (USA)

The Interact was my first computer and introduced me to programming. I remember writing programs in BASIC and machine language. While I'm sure i would still have got into the world of high tech eventually, I have to say after 22 years of working with computers, this is where it all started for me.

Sunday 12th February 2006
Bonefish Sam (USA)
Bonefish Sam and His Orchestra

This was my first computer. I got it secondhand with a bunch of tapes, and even then (probably 1982) is seemed ancient. I still think about the horrible keyboard I had to use while I learned BASIC, and how, when you'd load a program, it would play the audio from the tape out the TV speaker. What a horrible sound. And before it would load a program it would load a 'video banner', basically a splash screen that took three times longer to load than the program itself. I remember really liking the Star Trek game, and 'Music Maestro' music composition program, and programming the weird oscillators to make crazy sounds. This machine made the really respect the prowess of the Vic-20 I got later.

Wednesday 4th January 2006
Chris Quinn (USA)

The Interact was my first store-bought personal computer. At about age 12, I used it to learn BASIC, which I used to create my own primitive versions of then-popular video games like Missile Command and Space Invaders. Interact's documentation included schematic diagrams which permitted me to design my own controllers to replace the included joysticks. I still have it boxed up in my basement somewhere (complete with the 32K RAM and keyboard upgrades). Someday I'll plug it in and see if it still runs. It would be interesting to see what's on those old cassette tapes.

Friday 12th August 2005
Ed Anuff (Berkeley)

Protecto Enterprises advertised these as the model "R" 16K RAM computer in Popular Science starting in November of 1980 and continuing through till the end of 1981 until they ran out of inventory and started selling the APF Imagination Machine. The original price was $299 which dropped to $229 by the end of 1981. My father bought me one as my first computer and we used it for about six months before moving on to an Apple II.

Tuesday 21st June 2005
Terence Groening (USA)

My family had both an Interact and an Atari 800 (both apparently coming out in 1979). I noticed under the Atari 800 that there was a display list interrupt that you could use to display 128 colors at once. It turns out the Interact had a similar trick to display all 8 colors at once. It may not have been as useful, though, as the only program I saw implementing it could only seem to show 8 fat horizontal bands of color on screen, rather than a "fancy" graphic.

Tuesday 5th April 2005
James Tamer (Greater Pasadena, CA, USA)
James the Animal Tamer's Emulators

There's a partially working emulator on my website
The emulator zip file has a dozen or so of the software packages that were available in a bundle deal from Micronics. I have one of these computers myself, a 16K model.
The computer has no real text mode; it's all graphics.
There's no sound chip per se. There are several registers which turn on oscillators, and can feed one oscillator output through another. The emulator does not emulate sound.
There's actually 16 colors, not 8. Only four colors can be on the screen at once, and there're some restrictions on that.
Give the emulator a try, and write me!

Tuesday 29th March 2005
K.C. Budd (Atlanta, GA)

Oh wow. This was my first computer, in 1979. I was five. My dad bought it from someone at DuPont, where he worked.

I learned basic from that ugly orange book and started programming it. We also played several games on it - our family favorite was a space invaders clone.

We absolutely hated that chicklet keyboard, but I endured it because it was the only computer I had.

Thanks for the memories!

Wednesday 15th December 2004
Jerry Reno (USA)

You need to find one of the *original* Interacts; they had a even worse keyboard (flat grey chiklets, rather than the fancy raised black ones).

Take a look at the Micronique Victor Lambda screen shots; these are almost all MicroVideo games that were localized for French:

"Asteroides" - "Hot Rocks", the snapshot is the title sequence of the earth exploding into the radioactive asteroids for you to destroy...

"Le Donjon Hante" - "Mazes and Monsters", an excellent 3D dungeons-and-dragons sort of game

"Glouton" - "Packrat"

"Bombardement" - I don't remember the English name, but the goal was to drop the bomb so it got past the white "armor" on the building

"Les Envahisseurs" - "Alien Invaders"

"Grenouille" - "Wing It", the English version had a butterfly, rather than a frog, presumably for copyright reasons.

I think Concentration, Bombardement, and Hangman/Le Pendu were the original Interact games.

Tuesday 13rd April 2004
Robert N. Schaub (USA)

I purchased one of these machines in 1980 from MicroMart and used it for several years. Cost at that time was about $300. It was "upgraded" with true button keypad. Used mainly for game playing, although it could do some other things in BASIC.

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