The first 16-bit home computer. It was introduced in '79. At the time, Intel's chips were still 4-bit. It had good graphics (for the time) and several upgrade options were available, including a "speech synthesis" chip which even by today's standards sounds good. It also included an early version of BASIC. Software came on cartridges like the Sega master system. Several software titles were available for it including: Microsoft Multiplan, Hunt The Wumpus, Parsec and Tombstone.

I have fond memories of this machine. it was my first computer...

Well, actually, the TMS 9900 processor had a 15 bit address bus and a 16 bit data bus -- You were required to read/write 2 bytes at a time to memory. The machine wasn't really that slow, even if it was a bit short on RAM... The BASIC interpreter, however, was painfully slow (and that includes "Extended Basic"). As mentioned above, it had a great graphics processor which supported hardware sprites. It's sound chip was the same as the one in the IBM PCjr, which supported up to 3 tones/noise at the same time, of varying volume and duration.

IMO, the best game available for it (rememeber, old home computers were console game systems too) was Parsec.

The TI-99/4A was a home computer introduced by Texas Instruments in 1979. The computer itself has a standard QWERTY keyboard, cartridge port, joystick plug, expansion port, and various other I/O stuff, all housed within a single black and metallic gray (or beige) console. As far as software, the '99 comes equipped with a BASIC interpreter (NOT TI's TI BASIC for calculators!) and not much else.

Visual output for the '99 is generally through a normal television to which the TI has been plugged, or to a monitor specially made for the system. Data input (and output) can come from any standard cassette player with stereo outputs. A floppy drive, Speech Synthesizer, Peripheral Expansion Box, modem, and many other add-ons can be attached through the expansion port.

Due to oversights in design, '99's generally become very warm after a few hours of usage, although not to the point of overheating. Because of this quirk, and a convenient empty space on the top of the computer above the processor, 99's are often affectionately referred to as coffee warmers. They are very durable, and most '99's that are still around today will work perfectly, some 20 years after initial production.

The '99 was marketed for Texas Instruments by comedian Bill Cosby. Because of the impending Video Game Crash, however, sales were low, so TI changed its marketing strategy: they sold the system for less than its production costs, hoping to recoup the losses in sales of cartridges, peripherals, and third party licensing deals. Unfortunately, this strategy failed, and TI orphaned the 99/4A in 1983. (thanks go to kamamer for explanation of the TI 99 loss leader strategy)

'99 users, however, did not give up on the computer. In the late 1980's, Myarc (a third party developer for the '99) introduced the Geneve 9640, a significant upgrade to the '99. This extended the market life of the system's software and peripherals for years. Even now, there are very active User Groups dedicated to the '99 - check out <> for the '99 online community's main mailing list. Many emulators also exist, and AFAIK are perfectly legal in this instance as a result of the aforementioned orphaning.

Short Cartridge List:

Emulator list:
Other '99 Nodes: Please /msg me with additions/error-fixes (thanx to Saige for doing so)!
Prehistoric computer created in the early 80's by Texas Instruments, used mainly as a game console. The system connected onto the back of a TV and consisted of a keyboard and a slot in which to place game cartridges. TI produced several generic games to go along with this system, such as Munchman and TI invaders, which were obviously based on popular arcade games. The TI ripoffs, though graphically inferior to their Namco and Atari counterparts, were more creative and often had more levels. Most games were impossible to beat, but could be "flipped" back to level 1. TI also created several great original games (Hunt the Wumpus, for example), and even some commercial games (Burger Time, e.g.) were made for TI use.

This "computer" was special in that you could program in your own video games. I only did this once, spending five hours punching in lines of code that dissapointingly resulted in this game where a stick figure bully chased a comma shaped victim through a row of periods. After that, I just stuck with the cartridges.

The TI Computer system showcased video games at their best. I recommend Parsec and Super Demon Attack as well as the games already mentioned. This was the only game console I owned for a great portion of my life.

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