TI 99/4A and Games

Since I now have a fairly complete working TI 99/4A, I wanted to play with it.  The strangest thing I found, was I didn’t have any memories of using this machine back in the 80’s.  I have four cartridges for it, which are Home Financial Decisions, Music Maker, Othello and Adventure.

I have no musical ability and Financial Decisions is not a game, which leaves the last two.

I fired up Othello and played that for a couple of hours while watching TV.  Playing on the easiest settings I managed to win both games, but it was no a walk away.  My Othello skills were quite rusty.

I few nights after I got my program recorders worked out, I started up the TI and put in the adventure cartridge.  After choosing 2 for Adventure I get a startup screen of:


Scott Adam's Adventure Splash Screen

Scott Adam’s Adventure Splash Screen

Once that was running, the game wanted me to load the data off the cassette tape, which I set up.  It tells you step by step to rewind the tape, stop and press play.

How did I not remember that when you load the data off the tape it sounds like a dialup connection?  It is also not very fast, taking a little over 2 minutes and 33 seconds.  That doesn’t seem bad until you listen to that noise for over 2 1/2 minutes

The resolution of the text on the TI is not nearly as fine as most modern users are familiar with.  “Forty characters per line using 24 lines” (40 characters in quotes) is not much to work with.  This can make the game a little less descriptive than more modern games of this type.

I made a video of loading this adventure to show what it was like.



PHP 2700 – Texas Instruments Program Recorder

My adventures with the Texas Instruments Program Recorder.

On September 4, I found a beautiful Texas Instruments Program Recorder on eBay and bought it from MAKBONE2012.  It was delivered on September 13 and the packaging was really well done.   I bought this one because the seller said it was tested and working.  I bought a new set of Duracell ‘C’ batteries, put them in along with a tape.  The simplest test I could think of was pushing the fast forward button, nothing.  I tried the rewind button and again nothing.

I contacted the seller and told them what happened, the response was very quick along the lines of; that’s weird, I’ll issue a refund.  I got the whole refund right away.  I asked what I should do with the recorder, toss it, was the reply.

I go back to eBay and find another one, which was also said to be tested and working.  I order on September 22, and it arrives very quickly in good shape.  I try my simple test with the new Duracell batteries.  Fast forward, click, nothing.  Rewind, click nothing.  Rats.

I go out and buy another set of ‘C’ batteries, this time Energizer.  Same test, same results.  I try them in the first recorder which I haven’t tossed yet and get the same results.

It seems unlikely that two tape machines that were tested and working before I got them would not work.  I’m looking them over, no visual signs of damage.  I do notice something I had not paid attention to.  On both machines, they had six buttons for controls, but they also had a slide switch on top.  One setting was Play/Record and the other was Pause.  Both were set to Pause.  I moved the switch to Play/Record and tested it.  The machine quietly starts to fast forward, I push stop and try a rewind, resulting in it quietly rewinding.

I grab the other set of batteries and put them in the first player, move that switch and away it goes.

Now for the hard part.  I had this first player from MAKBONE2012, that works.  I can’t keep it and the money, so I contact him through eBay, let him know what a dummy I am and issue a refund back to him.

Now I have two program recorders and in my searches, I found several people selling cables for using two recorders with the TI.  I ordered one, which came in right away and am now set up to use them both.

TI 99/4a: Cables and Tapes

At the end of August, I ordered a pack of cassettes and a cable for the tape player.  The cables and tapes came in the first week of September, looking good.

I pulled out my tape player and set up my TI.  When I got ready to hook up the tape player, I found the tape player I had does not have the correct speaker jack.

Rather than trying to find an adapter that may work, I will go online and find a TI Tape player designed for the TI 99/4A.


TI 99/4A and Video Cable

My second computer was a TI 99/4a that I bought new at a J. C. Penny for about $100 in the fall of 1983.

I had put it in storage, but could not seem to find it until about three weeks ago.  I was looking for a printer and found the TI instead.  Quite excited, I brought it home.  It turns out, I did not store two important cords with it; the video cord to hook it up to a display and the audio cord to save or load programs and data with a cassette player.

I quickly looked online for a source for these cables.  I found a video cable at 8 bit Classics (https://www.8bitclassics.com/) for a reasonable price and ordered it.  When it came in right away, I tried it out and the TI seems to work fine.  I wanted to make sure the TI worked, before I ordered the audio cable.

Since that proved to be true, I looked on eBay and found one for right around $10 with shipping.  Another $10 and a pack of c90 cassette tapes is on the way (also found on eBay).

So now the TI will have to wait another week or so, for the tapes and cable to come in.