Realigning the Azimuth

The Forgotten Aspects of the Retro Experience

Something I’ve been thinking a little bit about (no doubt influenced by being in the midst of another week of hot weather) is some of the secondary aspects when it comes to indulging in a bit of retrocomputing.

Whilst there is plenty of talk about the primary aspects, the secondary aspects sometimes have just as powerful memories. One of those for me happens to be oddly enough audio distortion. Distortion caused from using an RF connection (which was by far the worst way to connecet old systems back in the day) on a rather terrible TV. I’m unsure if it was due to the tuning being ever so slightly off or just the general quality - but it was audible whenever the C64 was displaying a white screen (either the border or the background).

For most cases, it’s the type of thing you wouldn’t want - especially as it had the potential to drown out the sound of the SID chip, but in one case it was oddly reassuring. When I’d be loading games off cassette tape, the common fast loaders would flash the border through the C64’s colour palette, which resulted in various screeches played over the TV. To be truthful, it was another little sign of activity during the loading process, which makes it own sense of nostalgia.

Yet here I am, some 20 years after I stopped using my C64 full-time (as the march of technology necessitated) and whilst technology has simplified & improved a lot of aspects of using one, this one part of the experience has been lost. It makes me wonder what else can be lost from the retro experience, and if this part of the atmosphere was ever worth preserving in some way…