Re: about the plus4

From: HÁRSFALVI Levente <>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 16:22:48 +0200
Message-ID: <>
Hi Didier,

On 2012-04-19 13:46, didier derny wrote:
> Hi,
> until recently I totally ignored the plus4 I was not even aware that it
> was really sold...
> so I bought one and found a strange machine.
> ...

As others have already pointed out, the machine evolved from the concept 
of something really small and cheap (to compete with Sinclair) to a 
"real machine" with decent keyboard and intended large user software 
base. They obviously failed, but that's why you can see a well 
integrated "core" inside, with lots of fluff on top (so to say), with 
the result of a neither especially cheap, nor an especially powerful 

> 1/ it's not running any other commodore software (c64/vic20)
> 2/ it's totally different...

Yeah. From the other hand, Basic 3.5 and Tedmon usually comes very 
handy. IMHO the Plus/4 has been way more friendly to beginners than 
Commodore's other "cheap" machines.

> 3/ the sound is so bad that its' not even thinkable to write a game for
> this machine...

Well, again, the TED's sound was intended to compete with the Spectrum. 
In 1984, Sinclairs machines have been all but musical geniuses, with 
their 1-bit beepers and the complete lack of timers in the machine. The 
TED, sure, isn't a musical genius either, but you should probably take a 
listen to, say, Brigitte Gertz's tunes first (look up Winter Events, 
Summer Events, and Bongo at, before making the 
conclusion. Also, the TED is well equipped with hw timers, which makes 
playing digital sound much easier than it's usually done on Sinclairs 
(or Amstrads...) machines.

> 4/ why a 6551 an the lack of a complete serial port (could be nice as a
> terminal for emulations)...

The reason, as a wild guess, could be complete confusion in the 

> 5/ why not 80 columns (I think it would be terrible with 80 col).

Again, this must be the original concept of the TED - ie. a cheap, low 
end machine that was intended to cooperate with TV sets in any case. The 
requirement of 80 columns would have meant a really huge difference 
(with the need of a complete re-design of the TED). Not even the VIC-IIe 
of the C128 is capable of 80 columns; the machine needs a dedicated 
videochip and a DRGBI monitor for that.

> 6/ more colors but no sprites, so almost useless for the games..

True, not very suitable for decent game graphics. With the lack of hw 
sprites, the cpu has to do all the heavy lifting. There is also a less 
obvious consequence. With the lack of hw sprites, the number of 
available colors gets pretty constrainted (because both the playfield 
and the sprites need to build up from the small number of independent 
colors... or use tricks to avoid collisions... or allow visible color 
clashes). Yet, you can find IMHO very interesting examples of a good 
game titles... :-)

Best regards,


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