Computers and Computer Games Museum, Wroclaw
Muzeum Gry i Komputery Minionej Ery (Museum of Games and computers of a bygone era) in Wroclaw offers visitors not only to see stationary video game devices , game set-top boxes and consoles, home computers of the 70s-80s of the last century, but also to play on most of them.
So, let's start with the chronology of the development of this industry. Abacus. Now few young people know what it is, and even more so, how to use it . However basic arithmetic operations could be performed on this simple device.
Mercedes mechanical counting machine. Both economic and engineering calculations were performed on them. Then came desktop electronic calculators.
Electronic calculators quickly took "pocket" sizes and got a lot of functions.
The first handheld gaming devices.
Then came more sophisticated devices - home video game consoles that used a regular TV as a monitor . The first devices were released in 1972, built on transistors and allowed you to play only one game, a little later in a fixed set of simple games.
Then there were remote manipulators and games not only for one, but also for two participants.
In 1976, there was a qualitative breakthrough - game devices with a microprocessor and replaceable software cartridges were developed. Users can use hundreds of games on a single console.
For fans of the most popular genre of "shooter" produced and produced a huge number of various "weapons".
Pocket electronic games also did not stand still and with the advent of cheap LCD became no less functional than fixed consoles.
The ancestor of the "home computer" class of devices was the Apple I, built literally "on the knee" by Steve Wozniak in 1976.
And already in 1977, Tandy Corporation started mass production of the TRS-80 computer, which was sold through the RadioShack store chain. Set of system unit with Zilog Z80 processor 4 kilobytes (not megabytes or gigabytes!!!) RAM, keyboard and monochrome video monitor cost 600 us dollars (in the modern price level about $2500). To save money, you could use a regular TV as a monitor. The computer had a built-in Basic interpreter and was able to connect an external drive on a flexible magnetic disk (floppy disk). In this form, you could use the TRSDOS operating system. I have not heard of using this device for entertainment purposes, but I know that it had a large library of software for engineering calculations.
Very soon, many companies began to produce a personal computer, prices went down, and in developed countries, this device became mass -produced. At the same time, the computer game industry was born, game manipulators appeared on sale.
The home computer had the ability to connect external memory devices on floppy disks, which greatly expanded its capabilities.
Socialistic countries, although lagging behind the West, also began to develop personal and home computers. East German Robotron KC-85 of 1984. U880 processor (GDR clone of Z80), 64 kilobytes of memory. "KC" meant "Klein computer". (German "small computer"). Thanks to the ability to use extension modules, the computer is widely used not only in everyday life and educational institutions, but also in production. Interestingly, I have never heard of this model, although I worked in the field of what is now called IT, and had extensive information about both Soviet products and computer technology of the socialist countries.
Robotron A5120, a full-fledged personal computer, as well as the U880, had 64 kilobytes of RAM. These machines worked with the CP-M operating system , which had a full Suite of office programs for working with text and tabular data. The computer only had a text display mode, but Tetris and some other games could be played on It . In the USSR, these devices were few, more mass was Robotron-1715, made not in the form of a bulky monoblock, like the A5120, but as a "normal" personal computer.
And here is the first Soviet household computer BK0010. This miracle of technology was sold in the second half of the 80s at a price of 700 rubles (~ $600). Inside was a "serious" 16-bit processor, the K1801, with a command system of PDP-11 minicomputers. With large computing capabilities, the device, however, did not find serious use not in games, not in studies, due to the lack of mass software and compatibility with the Z80 and IBM PC, which have become the world standard for household and office applications. In the foreground is a Philips VG8020 with Z80 and the same 64KB, a typical European home computer of the 80s.
Poland also produced home PCs, including the Mera-Elwro plant in Wroclaw, which produced large computers "Odra", and household electric musical instruments - elwirka synthesizers-as consumer goods. The designers of the company did not make a fuss over the appearance of the Elwro 800 Junior computer, but simply put it in the case of the synthesizer, even leaving a stand for notes.
A collection of processor VLSI chip (Very-large-scale integration circuit, if anyone didn't know). Not only Intel, Zilog, and AMD were used in gaming and home devices.
he socialist camp, to the best of its technological capabilities, also produced clones of Western processors, of course, without any royalties. However, some of them came up with their own ideas, such as the K1801 mentioned above. This processor had the command system of the "enemy" PDP-11, but the circuitry was completely developed by Soviet engineers.
80's magazines for video game lovers.
After viewing the "iron", and getting acquainted with its evolution, you can finally feel like a gamer in the real world 70-80's.
It offers visitors a dozen or three gaming places for a variety of tastes.
Among them, I found only one familiar to me from those years - Pacman.
Pacman in color.
Опробовал и эту "леталку", которая оказалась "стрелялкой".
If your eyes are tired of the unusually low resolution of old games and the flickering of cathode -ray monitors, you can spin a Rubik's cube , or play mechanical football and basketball. I must say that even now these games are popular.
Collection of mechanical toys and games of the "pre-electronic" era.
ELWRO 801AT is the Polish equivalent of the popular IBM PC/AT. In fact, only the motherboard was Polish, and everything else, including electronic components for the motherboard, was purchased in Taiwan.
In addition to computers on the shelves, you can see various electronic exotics. Like this portable "multimedia center" that includes a TV, radio, and cassette recorder.
Another "combine", more modern. In the popular in the eighties housing "dual-cassette" instead of one of the tape mechanisms installed a television screen.
The Museum is small, but I spent an hour and a half in it. After viewing the exhibits, I decided to try out one of them in action, then the other... and the time flew by.
The Museum is located at the end of the right span of the shopping center "Świebodzki", the entrance from the street, and is open from 11 to 18 hours on weekdays, from 10 to 20 on Saturday, from 11 to 18 on Sunday from 10 to 18. Ticket price 20 zlotys.