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Japanese Vintage Computer Collection


Just before the end of the year, I grabbed this lot of boxed PC-6001 items. There was considerably more than this, but I wanted to focus on the matching boxed system and peripherals. The system box was in pretty decent shape, but NEC was wont to use cheap cardstock boxes for the peripherals, so the end result is they don't look amazing after 40 years.

One item I've run into a few times before is the PC-6082, a data recorder with lots of buttons and switches. Unfortunately, the only button or switch that did anything of meaning was the eject button. Surely, the rubber belt had melted and it was eager to get all over my fingers and floor, but I wasn't going to give it the satisfaction this time. Were it to work, it does all the standard data recorder stuff, but also has some programmable stop features, which can be really handy if you are playing a tape with multiple titles on it, or juggling your own programming projects.

Next up is the PC-6052, the official PC-6001 joystick. It is not a stellar joystick but the aesthetic is nice, and the button has a satisfyingly clicky sound and feel to it.

Now the meaty stuff - let's move on to the actual computer. It was in pretty good cosmetic condition after I cleaned it up, it worked great, every key was responsive and the display was appropriately horrendous light green on dark green. Who could ask for anything more from a PC-6001?

And finally, the thing I was most interested in trying out - the PC-6011 slot expansion. This allows you to, God willing, attach multiple cartridges and have them work together. The VIC-1001 had an expansion with a similar concept but while that product expanded out the inconvenient back of the VIC-1001 and pushed your monitor further away from you, this one fits snugly into the right side and only adds about 10cm or so of side profile. Slick!

Of course, if you think you're going to put in Frogger and Tennis and get some mash-up game, that's not going to happen, but this could be a good use case for the ROM/RAM (PC-6006) and Voice Synth (PC-6053) cartridges. If you can find them. Oh, they weren't boxed, but this lot auction came with both of those cartridges!

Well, unfortunately, this is where things go a bit south. While everything probably looks hunky-dory in the photos below, it's a bit of smoke-and-mirrors. The ROM/RAM cart works fine but the voice synth cart does not. If it is plugged in when I turn it on, the computer just displays a blank white screen and doesn't accept any input. In the photo where it's shown operating, it's only the ROM/RAM cart inserted.


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