Site news (2023)

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Site news (2023)

Post by MADrigal » Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:07 am

30th January 2023

Happy New Year and time for a new update! And if you love emulation and playing new (and free!) homebrew games, this is the update you have been waiting for!

There is a small but active community of programmers of new games and programs for our CreatiVision and Laser 2001 systems. Most of these gentlemen meet and discuss via our Forum. Every now and then, a new demo or fully functional piece of software is released there! This time we have well eight new games released, and here they are - ready for free download for everyone to play! :-)

But there is much more!

Around 2008 I purchased an insanely rare cartridge containing a diagnostic program to test the CreatiVision 6502 CPU. This cartridge was definitely a VTech original: not a commercial product but "for internal use". It was found (one copy only) in the warehouse of the (now closed) official CreatiVision repair centre in Italy, owned by Zanussi Elettronica.
I believe VTech provided each repair centre with one copy of such cartridge. This would mean that just a handful of cartridges are in existence. The one in my possession is the only one I have ever seen or heard about.
The cartridge worked well when I first tested it, but then when the EPROM was unsoldered (so that it could be dumpet), it got slightly damaged. The dump is there, but it is partial. I then sent the EPROM to a MAME team member who was in charge to repair it - but he lost it.
Since 2010, no one knows where my one-of-a-kind EPROM is.

I have decided to release all my partial dumps of the EPROM, together with information and a Hex editor tool I created many years ago specifically to work on this ROM. I hope that one day, someone will be able to fix this rare file.

The below files are now available in the Emulation/ROM Programs section. They all work on emulators and real hardware:
- Cross Bomber (by Fabrizio Caruso)
- Cross Chase (by Fabrizio Caruso)
- Cross Horde (by Fabrizio Caruso)
- Cross Shoot (by Fabrizio Caruso, reduced 18K and full 32 versions)
- Cross Snake (by Fabrizio Caruso)
- Cross Verbix (by Fabrizio Caruso)
- Diagnostic "C" (CPU) (VTech, partial dump + Bit Editor tool)
- Match 3 (by Max Breedon)
- Tile Breaker/Breakthrough (CV version, conversion by Kym Greenshields)
- Tile Breaker/Breakthrough (Salora Manager version, conversion by Kym Greenshields)

As usual, I am also releasing scans and manuals of original games, which I received by generous friends - we are all trying to fill all the gaps in the Releases/Software section, one scanned document at a time:
- Astro Pinball (German CreatiVision) (scans of box)
- Locomotive (CreatiVision) (high-resolution re-scans of manual)
- Bowling (Wizzard, cassette (alternate box with customised title)

Credits go to Fabrizio Caruso, Max Breedon, Kym Greenshields, Christian Beslmuller and Darren Robertson (also author of the beautiful "Space Duel" game appearing on the Wizzard Second Book of Programs).

Enjoy the new files - and happy new year everyone! :-)
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Re: Site news (2023)

Post by MADrigal » Sun Sep 17, 2023 11:00 pm

18 September 2023

And once again, we have a very juicy update with the addition to very obscure and rare items to our archives. As time goes by, our archive of CreatiVision items gets complete a little piece of a time, and we discover new previously unknown items related to the Laser 2001 and Salora Manager computer variants.

This time we see the addition of scanned manuals of the rare Locomotive and Mouse Puzzle for Salora Manager (from our friend Jarkko Pitajamaki) and the holy grail Crazy Chewy for CreatiVision which I was able to source after more than 20 years of searching: it is an absolute must-read as it's very different from the manuals of its counterparts Crazy Pucker and Crazy Chewy, and it's quite hilarious, too!
All manuals are available for download from the usual Releases/Software/Cartridges section.

We also have the very first ever image files (or "dumps") of Salora Manager floppy disks. I have had those disks in my collection for many years and it took a lot of time and the combined effort of our little community of enthusiasts (mostly the tireless Thomas Gutmeier and Kym Greenshields) to have the disks finally ready correctly and preserved into digital files. Don't miss to grab the six new files from Releases/Software/Floppy Disks and try them via the excellent creatiVision Emulator.

And speaking of the creatiVision Emulator, Kym Greeenshields, the author, has released a new version just today: version 2023-09-18! You don't want to miss it as it is the only emulator capable of loading the floppy disk images.

But there is more! If you have access to any Laser 2001 or Salora Manager floppy disks but don't have a setup with computer and floppy disk drive, you will not want to miss the excellent tutorial (also written by Thomas and Kym) that explains how to obtain perfect "dumps" of your diskettes: Tutorials/Dumping Floppy Disks.

And speaking of Laser 2001, our Thomas also contributed by providing good scans of an article from the German magazine Chip dated August 1983. The article, titled Steigendes Angebot aus Fernost is a presentation of the Laser 2001 and Laser 3000 computers as "new entries from East Asia" in the already crowded computer market. The scanned article is now available for download from the Articles from the 80s page.

And last but not least, thanks to Jarkko and his friend Juha Suutala from Finland, we now have the complete Salora Manager technical manual: 128 pages containing the complete programmer's book and technical datasheets of every single internal circuit: a true must-have for every Salora Manager owner! Link: System/Datasheets.

Enjoy this massive update and long live our favourite retrocomputer! :-)