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Texas Instruments TI-99/4A -- This was the first computer I owned.  Therefore it has significant sentimental value for me.  The first game I remember seeing on the TI was Tombstone City, which was on display at a Luria's in Ft Lauderdale, where I spent my adolescence.  I (with significant help from my parents) then bought the 16K computer and the game from that store in 1982.  The 4A was released in 1981 and had BASIC as its OS.  It is actually the follow up of the 1978/79 TI-99/4, which is basically the same as the 4A but has a chicklet keyboard.

One of the gaming drawbacks to the TI-99/4A was its joysticks (currently, GOTCHA has two sets -- 1 new in the box).  The joysticks produced by TI are durable and come as a set of two, but they are uncomfortable, awkward to hold and barely serviceable for serious gaming.  Otherwise, the computer compares favorably in both sound and graphics to its contemporaries from Apple, Atari, Commodore and Tandy.  In later runs, the TI-99/4A was made with a beige plastic case.  This model featured lockout devices that caused certain unauthorized 3rd-party software and equipment not to run.  Otherwise the internals were functionally the same as the black and silver version.

My next major purchase for the computer was a speech synthesizer, which added voice to games like Alpiner  and Parsec.  Finally, I purchased a cassette drive and a game called Pirate Adventure by Scott Adams.  The concept of a text adventure captivated me and was one of biggest reasons I upgraded to a Commodore 64 and its more sophisticated tape and disk-based games in 1983.  GOTCHA has two TI-99/4A computers (black and silver, like my original) -- one in the box and one for playing games with.  The GOTCHA Museum also has a speech synthesizer to use with them.  Although there was a small monitor made for the unit (not generally available in '82/'83), the TI was more often used with a color TV via the included RF modulator.  There was also an expansion module made by TI,  which added a disk drive and more memory among other accessories.


Processor: TMS9900
RAM: 16K
ROM: 26K
Display: 24 lines of 32 characters. TMS9918A, 256x192x4 sprite based (although sprites weren't supported from BASIC, only Extended BASIC). Support for RGB, composite and TV (RF) . 
Sound: TMS9919, 3 voice 1 noise (3 channels, 5 octaves) Optional speech add-on.
Colors: 16
I/O Ports: Tape, RGB, Joystick (2), CPU Bus
Storage: External cassette and floppy drives available.
Operator Input: Full size QWERTY
Introduced: 1981

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Last modified: November 08, 2001
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