Hands-on demonstrations of historic computing are the heart of the Vintage Computer Festival series. You will find several dozen exhibits totaling more than a 100 vintage computer demonstrations all in one place! Please check back often for updates.
The following exhibits are registered so far for VCF East XII.
Note: This year, in addition to regular exhibits, there will be team exhibits to honor the 40th anniversary of computer launches in 1977. These exhibits will have 4-6 people per team and will each be several times larger than standard exhibits.
Team 1: AppleDappleDudes — Tony Bogan (captain), Brielle, New Jersey; Corey Cohen, Matawan, New Jersey; Mouse Kelly, Jersey City, New Jersey;Adam Michlin, Ledgewood, New Jersey; Joseph Oprysko, Hatboro, Pennsylvania.
Team 2: Commodorians — Anthony Becker, Ossining, New York; Chris Fala, Lansdale, Pennsylvania; Todd George (captain), Quakertown, Pennsylvania; Bill Winters, Tarrytown, New York.
Team 3: TRanSistors — Peter Cetinski; Chappaqua, New York; Kelly Leavitt, Wantage, New Jersey; Dean Notarnicola (captain), Long Valley, New Jersey; Drew Notarnicola, Long Valley, New Jersey; Jeffrey Jonas, Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Following are the standard exhibits. This list is frequently updated.
Battle Chess: Tournament of Micros — Peter Fletcher, Quakertown, Pennsylvania; Joe Decker, Perkasie, Pennsylvania — In 1988, Interplay Entertainment released Battle Chess for the Commodore Amiga. “Great, yet another computer chess game, how very exciting,” you are probably sarcastically thinking to yourself. But you would be wrong! Battle Chess is anything but ordinary. In Battle Chess, the pieces come alive and do animated combat right on the board. The pieces each have unique attacks and parries which vary depending upon opponent. The knight, for example, does his best Monty Python and the Holy Grail black knight impersonation whilst battling another knight. Each animation is distinct and quite humorous. Not convinced yet? Funny animations not your thing? Well cartoon combat is only half of it! Battle Chess was not just released on the Amiga, but was also available on a wide variety of other micros. It appeared for the Apple II, Apple IIGS, Atari ST, Macintosh, MS-DOS, Windows and many more. This variety came with an added bonus. Each of these micros could play against any of the other micros via modem. Though head to head modem play is pretty cool, by 1988 that was not particularly unique among chess programs. What is special is that Battle Chess can play these head-to-head matches autonomously. The micros will engage in combat without human intervention: a micro vs. micro tournament for platform supremacy! Which micro will claim the top spot in the Battle Chess Tournament?
Cold War computing: Relics of SAGE — Mike Loewen, State College, Pennsylvania — The heart of the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system was the IBM-built AN/FSQ-7 computer, the largest computer ever built. It used approximately 55,000 vacuum tubes and consumed 3MW of power. The SAGE network was in continuous operation from 1958-1983 and incorporated innovations such as core memory, video displays, keyboard and light gun input, duplexed systems, computer controlled marginal checking, and digital communications over telephone lines. This exhibit will feature hardware from SAGE including control panels, core memory, pluggable units, a Typotron digital display tube and other miscellaneous items, plus continuously running audio/visual materials.
A Serving of Apple Portables — Rick Karrer, Galloway, New Jersey — Come see a timeline of Apple portable computers including the Newton eMate, Macintosh Portable, and first-generation versions of the Powerbook and Macbook. This exhibit will show how far we’ve come in portable computing and what you can do to keep old machines chugging along today. Many of the systems on display are upgraded with solid state boot drives and other modifications while retaining their original appearance and function.
European Home Computers — Jeremie Marsin, Brockville, Canada, and Thierry Mazzoleni, Montclair, New Jersey — Following our French Computers exhibit from last year, we will expand to all Europe this year with microcomputers from the 1980s and 1990s. France, the U.K., Italy, and possibly even the U.S.S.R. will be represented with machines from Amstrad, Sinclair, Olivetti, Thomson, Exelvision, and more.
Pre-Raster Graphics — David Gesswein, Bethesda, Maryland — Multiple graphics technologies will be exhibited that were common before raster graphics won. See 4K graphics on a 1970s Tektronix 4014 vector storage terminal. Have your picture taken by a PDP-8 computer and printed on a 200 line-per-minute chain printer in glorious ASCII art. See a pen plotter operate.
Replicas with Modern Parts — Oscar Vermeulen, Walchwil, Switzerland — Working systems from the 1960s and 1970s are hard to find. Replicas can play a role in keeping their legacy alive. I will show faithful work-a-likes using modern parts inside. The PiDP-8 and 11 hide a Raspberry Pi behind their front panels. The KIM Uno is an Arduino-based KIM-1 using just $10 in parts. And the LittleGP-30 (Juergen Mueller, Germany) uses an FPGA for a cycle-exact replica of the 1956 LGP-30. All are open-source hardware projects you can easily make yourself from standard parts.