One of my favorite past times is tinkering with vintage computers. I have a couple of old Commodore 64 and Amiga 500. From time to time (probably arround once a year) we arrange a "Nostalgia Evening" or "Nostalgia Weekend". We invite other people that share our passion for old games and sit the entire night (or weekend) playing old games, reviving the feelings and sensations of an era long gone. If you share my passion for Commodore 64 games, take a look at my C64 Games Quiz.

One game I spend countless hours playing on the Commodore 64 was Montezuma's Revenge. I have finally managed to make a complete map of the game, and I am getting it printed in poster-size, for framing and hanging in my living room.

Since I am also interested in electronics, I have found a lot of amusement in looking at old service manuals and circuit diagrams. When reading through this, it becomes aparent what a difficult task it was to program these old machines, as the C64 - especially with the tools available on those platforms. I actually first started looking for circuit diagrams etc. for the Commodore 64 when I got an old C64 with a defective memory chip. Looking in service/repair manuals, and comparing the circuit board to the diagram helped me understand a lot about the architecture, and figure out what was wrong, so I was able to get this machine running again. I also bought a couple of defective C64s and 1541s (floppy drives) off eBay. I actually just wanted the 6581 SID chips for my SID doorbell-project, but I succedded in getting an extra C64 operational, as well as two 1541s (since I only had one floppy-drive before this, it was a nice addition for our "Nostalgia-events",described above). To try to figure out what was wrong with some of these C64s, I decided to build a cartridge, since I had found a ROM-image of a test-cartridge for C64. This sparked my interest in how these cartridges work, and another project was born, namely wanting to build my own cartridge, and burn a few PROMs for this. I have not yet gotten very far with this project, but I have decided to put some information on a page I call Cartridge Corner. I have also been dumping the different ROMs of my C64, comparing them to the ROM-images used in emulators, and making small modifications, involving JiffyDOS etc. This is described on my C64 ROM page.

With my passion for old computer games, along with my technical nature and wanting to build stuff, I found it very interresting to read about people who created full-size coin-op arcade machines with a PC running MAME (so-called MAME Cabinets). MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, and is a huge effort to emulate all the old coin-ops. The thing that makes MAME different from so many other emulators is the fact that there was very little standardization of the hardware in these machines. The structure of MAME is therefore a huge set of emulators for all the different chips used in these old machines (such as processors, sound interfaces, graphics chips etc). It is not uncommon for these old machines to have 3-5 processors, sometimes running at different speeds, each handling a particular part of the game. All this is tied together in MAME in the form of a driver for a particular game. The driver is actually a description of the different processors and chips that made up a particular game, and how these are interconnected. Apart from this you need the ROM for the game, which is in fact a dump of the data found in the ROM-chips on the game circuit board. If you have never seen the inner parts of a coin-op arcade machine, let me tell you one thing: The circuit board for ONE of these old games is HUGE. Take a look at an image of my Gyruss board, next to the service manual in A4 size.

At one point I decided that I wanted my own MAME Cabinet. I spend some time looking for an old machine, and found a guy selling one. I borrowed my parrents car and went for a 80km drive to pick it up. At this time I lived in a dorm, and had to have the machine in my tiny dorm room. As you can see from my SpiffMAME diary I spend a great deal of time fixing up the machine.

You can find more information about my SpiffMAME project on my Arcade page.

I also recently got into pinball machine repair. This started with a desire to build a Pinball Coffee Table, but took a turn when a friend of mine called me up and asked if I wanted a pinball machine. You can read more about this story on my Pinball Project Page.

Last updated: 2012.05.29