Re: about the plus4

From: Gábor Lénárt <>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:35:55 +0200
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 05:17:54AM -0700, Steve Gray wrote:
> Hi,
> I think if the C64 did not exist the Plus/4 would be considered a pretty capable little machine. Unfortunately (for the TED series) the C64 DID exist and that was the reason for its failure.
> 1. It seems to be targed more to business so this wasn't a concern
> 2. It does share peripherals and the bitmap graphics modes are mostly the same
> 3. Sound is much like the VIC. Remember originally the TED series was a low-end machine to compete with the $99 Sinclair ZX-81.
> 4. Finally a real chip to handle the serial port. No so bad.
> 5. Agreed, for a "business" machine 80 col would be nice, but then you'd need some type of RGB output to be readable.
>    In stead of making the TED perhaps commodore should have updated the VIC to 80 columns....
> 6. I understand there are lots of games for the machine, and lack of sprites is not nesessarily a problem.
> Since most of the work is in the TED the machine is quite simple. With 60k+ free memory for BASIC it makes a nice system to learn programming on. I like the case and keyboard. The built-in software, although flawed, is an interesting idea.

I think, TED is not a bad chip at all. It has got more colors for example
compared to VIC-II. But the lack of sprites made it "worse" than C64, and if
game is considered topic, it was a problem. Not for a business computer too
much, that's true.

The other major problem is the sound (again: if we don't talk about business
now but more about games, home users etc): TED sounds abilities are poor
compared to SID. If we compared TED against VIC-II, it's not a problem as
VIC-II does not have any sound :) But in C64 there is SID. So, a plus/4
which has its SID would be better.

The key here is always the same: what was the REAL target of Plus/4?
Business computer? Then lack of sprites/good sound shouldn't be a big deal.
But if other users are targeted too: it's a major problem.

I agree that since C64 existed, Plus/4 can't have such a great success. C64
has got same amount of RAM, and about the same gfx capabilities (though less
colors) for "business", so why would someone buy a plus/4 if there is C64
with great amount of existing software already. If Plus/4 gives something
special for "business" (80 col. display, etc) then maybe it has more
success since it provides something over the C64 in the target users

Yes, plus/4 gives more free RAM even for BASIC, and in my opinion even
memory banking is a simplier case than with C64. It's fun to learn
programming more than on C64 for many users, but then we are at the same
problem again: it's not a business target, and then, other features are
excepted by that age, eg good sound, sprites, etc ........

For me, it's still unclear about the planne purpose of plus/4. It's ok to
have some kind of "official opinion" by CBM, but even just talking about it,
ideas like "fun for programming BASIC" etc appears which are not so
"business" categories, this clearly shows that machine is a bit
mis-targeted. At least this is my opinion, I like that machine anyway, don't
get me wrong! :)

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Received on 2012-04-19 13:00:22

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