Want In On A New Magazine?
Chris Dewhurst, who has been a prolific contributor since EUG #45 and is already lamenting the demise of the magazine that this disc signals, has signalled that he is willing and able to publish a "labour of love" BBC and Electron computing magazine to replace EUG. However, and this is the crux, only if there is some interest in him doing so. Foremost, I for one would certainly contribute my fill if such a magazine was born (You may have noticed my reluctance to close down EUG). Don't let that put any of you off though and, if you are in any way interested in setting up, putting together or just receiving a new EUG-style magazine, please let Chris know by writing to him at Christopher.Dewhurst@essexcc.gov.uk.
Christmas - Season Of The Scam
A nasty surprise awaited your Electron-software-hunting Editor in early December when he purchased Flight Path 737 from the auction of an eBay trader who cashed the cheque but did not send it to him. Enquiries of the seller's feedback and userid then revealed that she was using no less than five userid's and only annoymous e-mail addresses like "Old8BitStuff", "RetroGames" and "Monkey_Choppers" all "@aol.com".
The wealth of negative feedback under each userid was evidence the Ed had kissed his three quid goodbye; all buyers had similar stories to his. Yet surprisingly all the auctions had been on 8 bit items which one would have not thought to be the most profitable subjects of an eBay scam.
Also at about this time, anyone doing a search on "Acorn Electron" on any of the popular search engines was informed of the brand new website www.retro-warehouse.co.uk which boasted all old retro machines new and in stock. Flashy introductions, full photographs, specifications and product reviews of everything from the ZX80 to the Amiga 4000 were there with phenomenally high prices (compared to eBay) alongside them, said to be "justifiable due to preservation costs". A "new" Acorn Electron would set you back £139.99, a BBC £199.99 and a Master £399.99.
Suspiciously though, the promising www.retro-warehouse.com disappeared without trace after two or three weeks and trying to go there now results in a "This page cannot be displayed" message. Another retroland Christmas scam it would seem. One wonders how much money they made.
Sadly then it seems that the Yuletide surge in sales of retro equipment isn't always characters making way for the new. Doubtless the cowboys will be back again next year...
Two More Official A&B Discs Unearthed
Archive software collectors found surprises added to the A&B Downloads section of www.8bs.com last month when two A&B discs thought lost forever turned up in an old pile of 5.25" disc software owned by one Janny Loogenya. One, Murder At The Abbey, had actually already been recreated by EUG from the original listings in the A&B magazine. The other though features the mammoth disc-based text adventure Amnesia (for a BBC B or 64K Electron) which was only ever available from A&B via mail order. Both text adventures in their official format are complete with loading screens and hint sheets.
On comparing the catalogue of the 'official' Murder At The Abbey disc with the typed-up version, another staggering find came to light. Also on the disc were all the files required for a second BBC/Electron text adventure, Dungeon Adventure, hitherto unmentioned, unknown and actually unreferenced by any entry on the 'official' disc's menu.
A quick reshuffle of files between the two has now resulted in two new adventures being made available (Xanadu was already available on AaB2_7, apart from the 'official' disc): AaB_03 (Dungeon Adventure) and AaB_04 (Amnesia and Xanadu). All apart from Amnesia work on all BBC and Electron machines with PAGE at &E00. The size of Amnesia means that, to play it on an Electron, a Slogger MRB is required.
An ELK Archive At Last!
Rather fittingly, as EUG bows out, Chris Richardson has just opened a section of his www.8bs.com website devoted to 100% Electron discs. This is really a boon for lovers of the beige beauty as it means that there will finally be segregation between the BBC and Electron sections of the 8BS archive. Although there are separate archives for A&B, EU and EUG discs in the Public Domain stating that each disc is compatible with all machines, up to now any other new PD discs for the Electron have been "tagged onto" the end of Chris' own TBI archive.
At present the new ELK archive contains three entries named the Kansas Collection on ADFS 1D00 and DFS discs. On the first disc, Kansas brings us the torment of Caveman, Snake, Moon Buggy and Loony Loco amongst other so-called 'arcade' games (In fact, it's feasible some hoped these would stay lost!) but disc two redeems the scene somewhat with some of the hitherto unavailable text adventures Kansas had on the market at one time. Disc three contains utilities.
Hopefully, the TBI library will be re-shuffled at some time in the future so that all Electron discs end up together.
No, It Will Not Change Your Life
Well, the surfers hummed and they hahed and they pondered and prevaricated, and even EUG readers were curious as to what the fabulous but top secret invention designed to revolutionise our lives was. What did it turn out to be?! Nothing more than a motorised bicycle that moves at just 21mph and needs recharging every two hours at considerable cost!