- TI produces a little known 220 page catalog listing
virtually every piece of software available for the 99/4A to that date,
from both TI and other sources. The publication, which is authored by a
team of seven TI employees, gives excellent detailed descriptions of
each program and the required hardware. The first draft for this
monumental effort was submitted in June 1982 to TI executives. The very
same catalog was the source of information for the much valued and
excellently presented Unisource Encyclopedia Catalog, which was
considered almost an encyclopedia of TI-99 software. Many descriptions
from the TI catalog can be seen throughout the Unisource publication,
copied verbatim. The 220 page publication, dubbed the Software
Directory, does not actually become available until June 15, 1983.
It sells for $5.95 plus $2.00 shipping and handling, directly from
Texas Instruments. (Product
Support Review, Jun 1983, p.1)
- Texas Instruments is given the "BEST SUPPORT FOR A NEW
PRODUCT AWARD" by Creative Computing Magazine at the introduction of
the TI-99/2 BASIC COMPUTER during the January 1983 Winter Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Here is the text from page 38 of the
April 1983 issue of Creative Computing. "No fewer than 19 software
packages were announced for the 99/2 in three areas: entertainment,
education and information management. We are very impressed with the
99/2 in all respects except one. And for that one we give TI our
'RUBBER KEYBOUNCE AWARD'. It was probably because the units at the show
were prototypes, but it was quite impossible to type with at any speed
due to the keybounce. One would think that TI would have learned their
lesson about yucky keyboards after the debacle with the original 99/4
keyboard, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt on this one and
trust that production units will be better than the prototypes. Price
of the 99/2 is a delightful $100." (Creative
In case you were wondering what those 19 TI-99/2 software packages
were, that are referenced in the "BEST SUPPORT FOR A NEW PRODUCT AWARD"
mentioned above, here is the list, taken from TI Brochure CL-763.
- BIOPLOT— Plot your own biorhythms.
- LUNAR LANDING — Challenge your navigational skills.
- MIND GAMES I, II, III & IV — Mind-boggling games of intellectual
- THE MINOTAUR — Capture the beast in a labyrinth.
- TI TREK — Interstellar battle for the universe.
- MATH I & II — Basic and advanced math.
- PICOMATH-80 — Transform mathematical expressions, etc.
- STATISTICS I & II — Basic and advanced.
- SUNRISE TIME — Compute nautical, civil & astronomical time.
- INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
- CHECKBOOK MANAGER — Record checks, deposits, balance.
- PURCHASE DECISIONS — Determine principal & interest, etc.
- HOUSEHOLD FORMULAS — Estimate income, calculate gas mileage, etc.
- DATETIMER — Day & date calculation.
- GENERAL FINANCE — Interest, annuities, depreciation, etc.
- The first official meeting of the Central Ohio Ninety
Niners (C.O.N.N.I.) Users Group is held with Roger Wills as club
- TI announces the impending release of the CC-40 (Compact
Computer 40) computer on January 6, 1983.
- Curt Garcia, dba Dynamic Data and Devices, announces the
release of Quimbee, a new casino type game for the TI-99/4A.
The announcement, found on page 59 of the January 1983 issue of 99er
- Magazine, lists PO Box 912 Stafford, TX 77477 as the
DD&D, but gives no price for the software.
- Micro Peripherals Inc (MPI) 4426 S. Century Dr. Salt Lake
City, UT 84107 (801) 236-3081, announces a $100 price reduction for
their Printmate 99 printer. With the new price cut, buyers can
purchase the 100cps, 1K buffer, bi-directional, dot-matrix printer for
$695.00 (99er Magazine Jan83, p.59)
- Compute! magazine begins coverage of the TI-99/4A
with a single article that is written by C. Regena. It covers the
hardware, software and miscellaneous resources of our computer. Editor
Robert Lock also announces the Spring 1983 birth of The Commodore
- Parsec (PHM 3112) is released in England.
- Scott, Foresman and Company announces SPIN (School
Practices Information Network), a subscription service for schools and
universities that allows them to access over 11 million documents in 15
education-related databases by telephone, from almost any
- Street price for the TI-99/4A after the $100.00
rebate from Texas Instruments is $199.95.
- Apple's Lisa business computer debuts with much fanfare. At $10,000,
the Lisa would prove too expensive for most computer buyers.
- Street price for the Atari 800 is $499.95. The Atari 400
is $199.95 with 16K.
- Percom Data disk drives for the Atari 800 are priced at $799.00 for
the first drive, then $459.00 for each add-on disk drive.
- Founder Nolan Bushnell's latest company, Androbot, releases a $995
PC-controlled robot called Topo.
- Data Age releases the world's first (and only as far as I know) rock
'n' roll video game for the Atari 2600, starring the rock band
- Street price for the Colecovision game console is $199.95.
- Street price for the VIC-20 is $169.95.
- No street price exists for the Commodore 64 as yet. It is only 4
months old, and still demands full retail at $595.00.
- Wins the coveted back page of Compute! Magazine and starts the year
off with an advertisement for the C64.
- Announces that it has sold over a million VIC 20 computers.
- Data 20 Corporation of Laguna Hills, CA announces the Video Pak
Cartridge that plugs into the VIC-20 expansion port and immediately
gives the computer 40/80 column by 24 row display capability.
- Mattel Electronics announces the Aquarius Home Computer at the Winter
Consumer Electronics Show, but it will never make it to market. The
rights to the machine will ultimately be sold back to Radofin
Electronics, the actual creator of the computer. Tumbling profits on
home computers world wide are to blame.
- Street price for the Timex Sinclair 1000 is $89.00.
- On February 9, 1983, Texas Instruments reduces the price of
the TI-99/4A by $50 and leaves the existing $100 rebate program in
- The TI-99/2 computer is introduced to the world.
Photographs of it and it's peripherals can be found in the February and
March issues of 99er Home Computer Magazine.
- The Mid-South 99ers are formed in Memphis, TN with Howard
Watson as the User Group's first president. (Mid-South TIDBITS, Jun87, p.1)
- C.O.N.N.I. becomes an "official" TI-99 User Group when it
is recognized by Texas Instruments.
- TI announces a July release for the TI-99/2 in
- TI introduces a new compact cassette Program Recorder
(PHP 2700, includes PHA 2622 cassette cable) for the 99/4A. MSRP
$69.95. The device is a GE cassette tape recorder with the TI logo
(re-badged in other words, just like the TI Impact Printer is a
re-badged Epson MX-80).
- Shipments of the TI-99/4A are halted due to an
apparent defect in the power
transformers shipped with the computers. According to the March
1983 issue of TI’s Product Support Review newsletter, "A laboratory
test revealed that under very unusual conditions specific AC 9500
transformers may have a potential electrical shock hazard."
- An advertisement in COMPUTE! magazine from Datasoft Inc. of
Chatsworth, CA lists the TI-99/4A as a computer that will have Zaxxon
written for it by April. It never comes to be however. See Mar 1983 for
- A Datasoft advertisement in Compute! magazine on page 215
seeks programmers for the TI-99/4A to translate arcade games such as
- Compute! Books releases the PROGRAMMER'S REFERENCE
GUIDE TO THE TI-99/4A by Cheryl Whitelaw, also known as C. Regena.
The cost is $12.95 plus $2 for shipping and handling.
- 99er Magazine changes its name to 99er Home Computer
- The Southern California Computer Group is formed in San
Diego. TI reports that this brings the number of recognized Users
Groups up to 50. The group would last into the new millenium before
finally disbanding in June 2000.
- Business Week Magazine publshes an article in its February
14, 1983 issue entitled "Texas Instruments Comes Roaring Back". The
article reports that at the end of 1982 the TI-99/4A had captured 35%
of the under $1000 computer market, and that some 700,000 units had
been sold. It was currently selling 30,000 units per week.
- Thorn EMI announces the planned release of Submarine
Commander and River Rescue cartridges forthe TI-99/4A
sometime in the spring.
- Los Angeles-South Bay 99ers change the group's name to the
LA 99er Computer Group.
- J&R Music World 23 Park Row New York, NY 10038 offers
the TI-99/4A for $299.95, the Commodore VIC-20 for $174.95 and the
Atari 800 w/48K RAM for $599.00. (Computers
& Electronics feb83.21)
- On February 8th TI lowers the price on the TI-99/4A by $48
to retailers, which makes the cost of the computer $152 after TI's
rebate. (Product Support Review, Mar83, p.2)
<>On February 11 the New
York Times reports
on page 4 that the General Instrument Corporation and the Milton
Bradley Company said they have developed the first computer chip that
can both recognize speech and synthesize words.
- <>A voice recognition system for the TI-99/4A is
Milton Bradley. It is scheduled to be released in April.
<><>- Computer Products Inc 9071 Metcalf Suite #124
Park, KS 66212
(913-648-7849) announces the Mega-Mate, a $695 companion for the
Apple II that uses a single conventional Apple disk drive in
concert with 40 conventional diskettes all supported within a frame. A
mechanical mechanism selects the desired diskette, opens the drive
door, inserts the diskette and closes the drive door. This allows up to
5M-bytes of stored data to be accessed. The resident firmware allows
accessing any desired diskette. The number of the diskette is displayed
on a front panel 7 segment readout. The unit can be locked. It will
soon be available for the TRS-80 Model I and III. MSRP $695. Additional
diskette magazines are $70. (Computers
& Electronics feb83p25)
- Sirius Software's Free Fall game is reviewed in
the Feb 1983 issue of Computers & Electronics magazine on page 70.
- Romox Inc. 501Vandell Way Campbell, CA 95008 (408-374-7200) runs colr
ads of Ant Eater and Fortune Hunter on pages 68 and 69 of the Feb 1983
issue of Computers & Electoncs magazine.
- Quick Brown Fox Software 548 Broadway Suite #F New York, NY 10012
releases a $65 VIC-20 cartridge version of their Quick Brown Fox word
processor. (Computers & Electronics feb83p36)
- The Franklin Ace 1200 debuts. It is an Apple II and CP/M compatible
that sports 128K RAM, a disk drive (with dual drive capability via
options), built in disk controller, a serial/parallel interface, a CP/M
Card, color graphics and a joystick/paddle connector. A dedicated card
can be purchased to expand the display to 80 columns by 24 lines. The
MSRP is $2495. (computers & electronics feb83p12)
- Microsoft Multiplan (PHM 3113), licensed for the TI-99/4A
from Microsoft, but written by TI programmers, is released for the
TI-99/4A after being announced in August 1982. MSRP $99.95.
- The March 4, 1983 issue of the Wall Street Journal
article entitled "Texas Instruments Is Trying To Keep Control of
Software". The article explains TI's efforts to lock out third-party
development except through their licensing program. It also states that
while Funware has signed an agreement to buy TO GROM chips for their
cartridges, and Milton Bradley, Scott, Foresman and Walt Disney have
agreed to develop programs that TI will produce, other companies such
as Activision, Imagic, Spinnaker and CBS Software do not plan to enter
the TI market because of the TI royalty and licensing plan. (Houston User Group Newsletter Apr83,
- Plans to produce Zaxxon for the 99/4A are cancelled
Datamost. The reason given to inquiring members of the LA 99ers User
Group is that the program could not be successfully ported to a
GROMpack (TI-99/4A 8K GROM port module) and Datamost did not believe
that there were enough owners with expansion systems (disk drive
systems) to successfully market the program in a disk version.
- Texas Instruments begins offering a free Dust Cover and
Holder (PHA 2661) to any current Computer Advantage Club student who
enrolls in a second class between March 1, 1983 and July 31, 1983. The
Dust Cover remains a mystery to me? It is not listed in any Consumer
Products Price Lists for the TI-99/4A that I own, so I don't know where
it came from, or who Texas Instruments purchased it from in order to
support this offer? In the April 1983 Product Support Review on page 2,
TI talks about the introduction of the (now really rare) storage albums
for cartridges, cassettes, disks and manuals, and even lists the 5-pack
blank diskettes and TI Impact Printer paper, but no Dust Cover?
- TI introduces a new 3-hour intro class to the Computer
curriculum. Cost of the course is $25 and any student completing it
becomes eligible for a free console dust cover and cartridge holder. (Product Support Review, Mar 1983, p.2)
- TI offers their new Disk Manager 2 (PHM 3089)
owners of the original Disk Manager (PHM 3019) as a $9.95
- A description of the never to be released Key To Spanish(library
#PHL 7012, cartridge #PHM 3126) language software, developed by
Westinghouse Learning Corporation for the TI-99, appears in 99er Home
Computer Magazine's New Products and Services section on page 69.
- In a March 31, 1983 letter to the Houston Users Group in
noted author and TI-99 supporter Cheryl Whitelaw (aka C. Regena)
announces the end of her affiliation with Gary Kaplan and 99er
Magazine, and the start of a new job as the monthly TI-99 columnist for
Robert Lock and Compute! Magazine. As a postscript to the letter, Mrs.
Whitelaw writes; "I have been trying for about a year now to get
Gary Kaplan to quit the 'big mystery' about Regena --but he just won't
print my address. He got upset when one of your members told him he
knew who Regena is. I told Gary I wouldn't reveal anything until
TI-Fest but it wasn't fair to suppress my efforts. Some of the other
national computer magazines have required addresses of authors (and I
like it that way too). As it was, he didn't announce my identity at
TI-Fest. I was actually happy you people knew me, and appreciate your
support." As an aside to Ms. Whitelaw's mention of 'TI-Fest', since
it took place in October 1982, it is difficult to understand the March
31, 1983 date of Cheryl's letter? (HUG
Newsletter, July 1983, provided by Richard Lumpkin)
- Cheryl Regena Whitelaw, better known as C. Regena to the TI
Community, reviews the Scott Foresman Mathematics Action Game
cartridges in Compute! Magazine on page 108. Each two-program module is
in a durable vinyl album with a Teacher's Guide and reproducable
worksheets and record sheets. MSRP is $75.95 per module.
30300-4 -- FROG JUMP /
PICTURE PARTS (Known as Module A --
Numbers and Basic Facts)
30303-9 -- PYRAMID PUZZLER / STAR MAZE (Known as Module
B -- Multiplication and Division)
30306-3 -- NUMBER BOWLING / SPACE JOURNEY (Known as Module C
-- Decimals, Fractions and Percents)
- Scholastic Inc. releases its WIZWARE line of
software, to include Electronic Party, Square Facts,
and Turtle Tracks for the TI-99/4A. MSRP $39.95. (IUG President's Club Newsletter,
- On March 29th it is announced that Texas Instruments has
agreement with Data East Company
of Japan to license their video games for the TI-99/4A Home Computer.
- Bill Bies, a 14-year old TMS 9900 assembly language wizard,
releases Arthropod and AsTIroids for the TI-99/4A. The
available on disk and require Editor/Assembler or Extended BASIC, 32K
Memory and Disk. Arthropod is a centipede-like application,
while AsTIroids is an Atari Asteroids look-alike. The games
retail for $24.95 each. (IUG
President's Club Newsletter, Mar83, p.3)
1000 -- Arthropod
(Editor/Assembler version) -- $24.95
NHC 1001 -- AsTIroids
(Editor/Assembler version) -- $24.95
NHC 1002 -- Arthropod (Extended BASIC
version) -- $24.95
NHC 1003-- AsTIroids (Extended BASIC
version) -- $24.95
- ATARI -- Broderbund releases David's Midnight
Magic pinball simulation by David Snider, and Stellar Shuttle
by Matt Rutter. Both programs are available only on the Atari
400/800 line of computers.
- TI drops the price of the 99/4A to $225.00 on April 16th. (Product Support Review, Apr 1983, p.1)
- On April 25, 1983 TI begins offering a free Peripheral
Expansion Box to anyone purchasing any three of the following; an RS232
card, a Disk Controller Card, a Disk Drive, a 32K Memory Expansion
Card, a p-Code Card, TI-WRITER, or MULTIPLAN. (Enthusiast 99 May84, p.9)
- Navarone Industries introduces the Select-A-Cart
module expander, more commonly know as the Widget and finally
named the Cartridge Expander.
- Bill Moseid, doing business as Model Masters of Fullerton,
California, introduces Joyprint, a low cost but ill-fated RS232
printer hookup that operated out of the joystick port.
- Tom Wynne, creator of NOLIST for the XB programmer,
and a member of the PUNN Users Group in Seattle, Washington, makes it
into the 99er Hall of Fame with a score of 1,009,600 points on
- Navarone Industries moves to Amarillo, Texas.
- Charles LaFara and Bill Gronos of the IUG are the guest
speakers at the April meeting of the Houston, TX TI-99/4A Users Group.
LaFara demos the new Funware cartridges Henhouse (FW 1001) and Rabbit
Trail (FW 1004), DLM cartridges Alligator Mix (PHM 3114)
and Demolition Division (PHM 3116), several PLATO
applications and Arthropod and AsTIroids from Bill
Bies' North Hills Software comapny. US Air Force member Gronos, demoed
a number of hardware prototypes being considered for the TI-99/4A.
- The second half of the Houston User Group April meeting
consisted of a demo of the new TI-99/2 Basic Computer (PHC
002), the Compact Computer 40 (CC-40) and a sound demo on the
TI-99/4A. This was provided by John Yantis, Allen Acree and Ed Weist
from Texas Instruments. (Houston
User Group Newsletter May 1983, p.2)
- Control Data Corporation announces the release of nine
PLATO titles that are available for the Apple II, Atari and TI-99/4A
computers. The titles were sold only through mail order at $45
for a single lesson and $35 for additional lessons. (Creative Computing
Apr83,p282) The titles announced were:
- 15206000 - Basic Number Facts
- 15206010 - Fractions
- 15206020 - Decimals
- 15206030 - Whole Numbers
- 15206040 - French Vocabulary Builder
- 15206050 - Spanish Vocabulary Builder
- 15206060 - German Vocabulary Builder
- 15206070 - Computer Literacy: Introduction
- 15206080 - Physics: Elementary Mechanics
- TI-99/4A Home Computer, accessories and peripherals are
reported to be available at or through such major retailers as Curtis
Mathes, Sears, J.C. Penney, Target, K-Mart, Venture, Video Concepts,
Best Products, Service Merchandise and H.J. Wilson. (Product Support Review, Apr 1983, p.2)
- APPLE -- John Sculley joins Apple as president and
chief executive, signaling a new era in the Valley as T-shirt tycoons
give way to seasoned managers.
to produce the TI-99/2 Basic Computer, the low end, 4.2K Ram
competitor to the TIMEX-Sinclair computer, are cancelled after prices
for the TI-99/4A fall below the projected 99/2 sales price.
- The PR
Newswire reports on May 18th that Texas Instruments has issued a
statement which reaffirms its position discouraging 3rd Party software
development for the TI-99/4A Home Computer. TI has never actually
discouraged 3rd Party Software development, as long as it was done
through the TI Royalty Licensing Program.
- Plans to introduce several TI-99/4A educational programs
from the Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium (MECC) are cancelled
by Texas Instruments. The reason given by TI is the MECC programs
duplicate existing software already available for the TI-99/4A Home
Computer. The titles to these 11 products were actually listed in TI's "U.S.
Consumer Products Suggested Retail Price List June-December 1982"
for the TI-99/4A. All programs required Extended BASIC:
- PHD 5078 - METRIC and COUNTING
- PHD 5079 - ELEMENTARY ECONOMICS
- PHD 5080 - ELEMENTARY MATH and SCIENCE
- PHD 5081 - ASTRONOMY
- PHD 5082 - WORD BEGINNINGS
- PHD 5083 - EXPLORING
- PHD 5084 - MATH PRACTICE
- PHD 5085 - SCIENCE FACTS
- PHD 5086 - NATURAL SCIENCE
- PHD 5087 - SOCIAL SCIENCE
- PHD 5088 - TEACHER'S TOOL BOX
- TI announces to its Product Support Representatives the
upcoming releases of Equations (PHM 3100), Key To Spanish
(PHL 7012, PHM 3126), Laws of Arithmetic (PHM 3099), Measurement
Formulas (PHM 3101), Number Readiness (PHM 3098), Numeration
I (PHM 3050), Numeration II (PHM 3051) and the TI Count
accounting package consisting of: (Product
Support Review May 1983, p.1)
- PHD 5092 -- TI-COUNT GENERAL LEDGER
- PHD 5093 -- TI-COUNT ACCOUNTS PAYABLE
- PHD 5094 -- TI-COUNT ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE
- PHD 5095 -- TI-COUNT PAYROLL
- PHD 5096 -- TI-COUNT INVENTORY
- PHD 5097 -- TI-COUNT MAIL LIST
- Texas Instruments discontinues the toll-free hotline for
Product Support Representatives. (Product Support Review May 1983, p.1)
- Cheryl Whitelaw begins writing the "A Woman's View" column
for Enthusiast 99 magazine.
- Jerry Riley is elected as the first President of the Front
Range 99ers Computer Club in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with John
Pearce as VP, Bonnie Snyder as Secretary and John Williams as
- The last issue of TIHOME TIdings is issued.
- TI cancels plans to produce E.T. The Extraterrestrial (PHM
3125) cartridge for the TI-99/4A.
- Forty TI-99/4A computers are used to open the Computer
Discovery Center at Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
- Art Lillegraven, pioneer member of the LA 99ers, dies in
- TI drops the $100 rebate program when the TI-99/4A retail
price falls to $149.95. A new $50 rebate program begins May 15th,
scheduled to last until Jan 31, 1984. (Product Support Review, May 1983, p.2).
- TI begins shipping Disk Manager 2 (PHM 3089) with
all new disk controller cards sold.
- Enthusiast 99 magazine debuts from the International
99/4 Users Group Bethany, OK.
- Fred Gray authors an article on the TI-99/4A in Creative
Computing magazine on page 31.
- Robert Cashman authors an article on TEXNET in Creative
Computing magazine on page 33.
- Texas Instruments (TI) and Control Data Corporation (CDC)
sign an agreement on May 6, 1983 giving TI right to 108 of the over 400
PLATO courses created by Control Data Corp. (Enthusiasst 99, Jul83, p.29)
- MISC -- Tac-Scan, a space shoot 'em up game,
becomes the first 'Home Video Game' ever offered by arcade games
veteran SEGA Enterprises. It is programmed for the Atari 2600 and Sears
Video Arcade System (which of course is an Atari 2600 with the Sears
name on it). (Games magazine May83,p.26).
- Playboy Clubs in New York, Chicago, Miami and Los
video game leagues, with teams competing through the end of May on the
Atari 5200, Colecovision, Mattel's Intellivision and Odyssey2. (Games
- PC/MS-DOS -- Philippe Kahn launches Borland
International. He would become a database king before Borland started
to fizzle in 1993.
- Plans to introduce the TI-99/8, officially named the
99/8, a 64K upgrade computer for 99/4A owners, are shelved
indefinitely, but the decision is not made public. The beige colored
(what TI calls gray), plastic cased version of the TI-99/4A, with its
new proprietary GROM designed to defeat unlicensed third-party software
creation, is released however. William J. Turner, President of the
Consumer Products Group is quoted as saying, "After extensive research
into the color preferences of persons for both a home and office
environment, Texas Instruments has found a marked preference for
lighter colors in both its computers and calculators.. Therefore we
have decided to change to a light gray color for the 99/4A and future
home computers." (IUG
President's Newsletter, Jun83, p.3)
- Texas Instruments' stock plunges $50 in two days following
the company's announcement its second quarter losses will be
$100-million dollars. Company officials attribute the loss to unsold
inventory of its 99/4 home computer.
- Actor Alan Alda is named as the new Atari spokesperson. "Alan
Alda, certainly one of the best-liked and most-credible stars in the
entertainment world, has signed with Atari, Inc. to be spokesperson for
its computers for the next five years. He will represent Atari in TV
advertising and public relations capacities. The announcement was made
by Atari President Raymond Kassar and by Warner Chairman Steven Ross at
the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago in June, where several new
products in the XL line were unveiled. The arrangement with Alda is
expected to more than match the celebrity-spokesman impact achieved by
competing computer companies.Although not previously an ATARI owner,
Alda did have an unnamed computer he stopped using because it was too
difficult to understand, "like being at the wise man's knee and not
knowing his language,' Alda is quoted as saying. Atari has supplied him
with all its products, and he expects to find them easier to use." (By Robert DeWitt from the Aug '83
issue of Antic magazine, page 14)
- In a move signalling problems within the company, Texas
Instruments reorganizes the Consumer Products Division by ousting Don
Bynum as Division vice president and replacing him with Herb Shanzer.
Unfortunately, making the popular Bynum the fall-guy for problems that
lie much farther up the corporate ladder, will ultimately fail to curb
the massive financial loses the Consumer Products Division is
incurring. (Enthusiast 99 Jul83,
- TI announces to its Product Support Reps that a color
change will be forthcoming for the 99/4A and its peripherals. The new
color is called grey, but future owners will call it the "Beige"
console. (Product Support
Review, Jun 1983, p.2)
- TI releases the following accessories for use with the
99/4A Home Computer. (Product
Support Review Apr 1983, p.2)
- PHA 2640 DATA CERTIFIED CASSETTE TAPE $3.99 (was
released at $3.95)
- PHA 2641 CASSETTE STORAGE ALBUM $9.95
- PHA 2650 BLANK FLOPPY DISKETTES (5 Diskettes)
- PHA 2651 DISKETTE STORAGE ALBUM $9.95
- PHA 2660 SOFTWARE MANUAL LIBRARY $4.95 (was released
- PHA 2661 CARTRIDGE STORAGE ALBUM $9.95
- PHA 2672 IMPACT PRINTER PAPER $19.95
- PHA #### SOLID STATE CARTRIDGE STORAGE CABINET
- Texas Instruments begins offering a free Solid State
Speech Synthesizer (PHP 1500) to anyone who purchases six
cartridges or an Entertainment Value Pack and three cartridges or two
Software Libraries between June 1, 1983 and January 31, 1984. (Product Support Review, May 1983, p.2)
- Effective June 1, 1983, the price of the Solid State
Speech Synthesizer (PHP 1500) is reduced from $149.95 to $99.95 and
the Editor/Assembler (PHM 3055) package goes from $99.95 to
$49.95. (Product Support Review,
May 1983, p.2)
- TI decides to stop shipping the Beginner's BASIC Manual
(PHA 2602) with the 99/4A, and begins offering it as a
$9.95 option. (Product Support
Review, June 1983, p.2)
- At the June 5-9, 1983 summer Consumer Electronics Show in
Chicago, Epyx announces the planned release of seven of their game
titles on cartridge for the TI-99/4A and six of their game titles on
cassette for the TI-99/4A. The information is taken from an article
written by Houston User Group member Jane McAshen, who
visited the CES and then reported on her experiences in the July 1983
issue of the HUG Newsletter. "Epyx Computer Software plans to
make several of their programs available for the 4A, seven on cartridge
and six on cassette. The cassette titles include; Seawolf, Spectar, Gun
Fight, Circus, Starfire
and Fire One. The
- Jumpman Jr.
- 12 screens featuring electrocution
traps, moving walls, hellstones, and other dangers.
- Pitstop - Fast
paced racing action, plus the
strategy of the pits.
- Gateway to
Apshai - 8 different screens with 50
chambers per screen. Explore the dark labrynth of rooms and caverns
which lead to the fabled Temple of Apshai. Glorious treasures and nasty
- Lunar Outpost - Alien invaders are preparing a
full scale invasion of Earth, and your Lunar Outposts are all that
stand between the invasion force and ultimate defeat. Strategy and 3-D
graphics are featured.
- Swat Rescue - Police action plus strategy and
planning are combined in this new high-resolution graphics game.
- Silicon Warrior
- 3-D graphics, characters that
disappear and reappear and real time competition for up to 4 players.
- Fun with Music
- Learn and play music on your
video screen, easy to use with its handy keyboard overlay, the perfect
blend of education and fun."
- Jim Peterson, 156 Collingwood Avenue Columbus, Ohio, issues
"TIPS FROM TIGERCUB" #1.
- 20th Century Fox runs a 2-page ad in Games Magazine on
pages 60 and 61 announcing a contest to "Design the best new M*A*S*H
video game". $25,000 in cash is guaranteed to the programmer who gets
the contract for the game. A whole list of other prizes are also
offered for other game ideas received, including: Four First Prize AMC
Jeeps; 400 Second Prize Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Home Computers, and
4000 free Fox Video Games.
- Newport Controls 15425 Los Gatos Blvd Los Gatos, CA 95030
releases the Prostick II joystick for $24.95.
- Milton Bradley announces that the MBX Voice Recognition
System originally planned for release in April, will be available
sometime in the fourth quarter 1983. The announcement is made at the
summer Consumer Electronics Show. In addition to the MBX system, Milton
Bradley shows off Championship Baseball, Space Bandit, Sewermania,
Big Foot, Meteor Belt, and Super Fly.
- TI releases the Microsurgeon (PHM 3220) and Super
Demon Attack (PHM 3219) game cartridges licensed from Imagic
- TI announces the impending release of TI Mini Writer
(PHT 6103), a Mini Memory based word processer written by James A.
Roberts. Availability is scheduled for the third quarter of 1983.
- TI announces the impending release of Entrapment
(PHT 6101), M*A*S*H (PHM 3158) Moonmine (PHM 3131) and Sneggit
(PHM 3145) at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show. IUG president
Charles LaFara, reporting in the June 1983
"President's Newsletter", would pan the offerings as being low
- "...After actually viewing each of the packages, we at
the Users-Group were less than impressed with these new releases and
feel that TI has neglected their duty to supply good quality software
to their consumers. While other manufacturers are dealing with outside
software houses for good quality arcade-style packages, TI seems to be
groping to release anything they can regardless of the quality."
- Impending release of Entrapment (PHT 6101), a Mini
Memory assembly game, is announced for the third quarter of 1983. The
program is authored by Tom Johnson of American Software and Design and
- Funware president Michael Brouthers promises the release of
eight new game modules for the TI-99/4A. He does so in direct defiance
of TI's warning about producing un-licensed software. Brouthers
promises that all Funware modules will run on ANY 99/4A computer
currently produced, as well as any future ones that Texas Instruments
modifies to keep un-licensed third-party software houses out of the
TI-99/4A market. Most of the titles are existing games that will be
ported to the TI-99/4A from Atari, VIC-20 or C64 formats. Several such
as Ant Colony, Astroblitz, Crisis Mountain, Pipes, Rat Hotel and
Trashman never make into TI-99/4A format. Cave Creatures will show up
in TI-99/4A disk format, coded but never released. Part of this is due
to the fact that Brouthers will sell Funware to Paul Zuzelo, dba
Creative Software, and the TI-99/4A projects may have gotten lost in
the shuffle of transferring assets? The modules that Brouthers promised
- ANT COLONY -- unknown game type
- ASTROBLITZ -- a variant of the arcade coin-op "Defender"
by Williams Electronics.
- CAVE CREATURES
- CRISIS MOUNTAIN
- DRIVING DEMON -- (FW 1008)
- PIPES -- a "concept home education program" involving
exercises in planning, economics and spatial relationships.
- RAT HOTEL
-- an original game theme, involving
climb-and-run and treasure collection.
- SAINT NICK -- (FW 1009)
- TRASHMAN -- a clone of the arcade coin-op classic
- Romox announces intentions to release the Hen Pecked,
Typo and Whiz Kid cartridges.
- Tenex Computer Marketing Systems PO Box 6578 South Bend, IN
46660 announces the TI/CEN centronics printer cable, which
allows TI-99/4A owners to print to Okidata and Smith-Corona TP-1
printers. The price is $37.95.
- Sears runs an ad in Games Magazine on page 1
offering the TI-99/4A Home Computer for $149.99.
- Atari forms Atari Publishing, a spinoff division of the
company that will write and sell game programs for competing computers.
In the announcement, Atari promises that Pac-Man, Dig Dug,
Defender, and Donkey Kong will be ported to
the TI-99/4A, and that Shamus, Protector, Picnic
Paranoia and Slime will be licensed from Synapse Software
so these titles can also be ported to the TI-99/4A in cartridge format.
(Compute! Aug83, p.36)
- ATARI -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, agrees to
allow his former company to sell new video games he developed through
his Pizza Time Theater Chain. Bushnell sold the game giant 7 years ago,
agreeing to stay out of the game business until this fall. The video
game giant, a Warner subsidiary, lost $45.6 million in this year's
first quarter. Atari spokesmen say the company is revamping its
distribution system and moving its manufacturing operations to the Far
- COLECO -- Connecticut Leather Company (COLECO)
announces the ADAM home computer at the summer Consumer Electronics
Show. The ADAM sports 80K of RAM, a Z80 CPU, a 500K tape drive, CP/M in
ROM and a daisy-wheel printer, all for about $600-dollars.
- EAGLE -- Dennis Barnhart, founder of Eagle Computer,
dies in an accident, forcing cancellation of public sale of the
fledgling company's stock.
Southwest 99ers Newsletter
- Texas Instruments reports that it lost $119.2 million in
second quarter of 1983, thanks to slow sales of the TI-99/4A home
- Romox releases the Anteater (ROM02025) game
cartridge for the TI-99/4A.
- Magic Software 3148 S. 14th St. Milwaukee, WI 53215
releases Bomber, Boxer, Maze and Maze Games.
All are 100% assembly language coded and require 32K memory, disk and
Extended BASIC to run. The games are favorably reviewed in the July
1983 issue of the Houston, TX Users Group newsletter. BOXER, will
ultimately appear as a DaTaBioTics cartridge game in 1988.
- SEGA's Star Trek (PHM 3225) prototype for the
TI-99/4A surfaces on the cover of the July 1983 issue of "Enthusiast
99" magazine. The manual shown on the cover is from a prototype e-prom
module that IUG president Charles LaFara received from Sega. LaFara
would later report that only 3 copies of the prototype were made. One
was sent to Texas Instruments, the second was sent to the IUG for their
evaluation and the third was sent to Jack Carroll who worked for the
IUG at that time. LaFara recalls that Jack Carrol may have re-burnt 4
other copies for other IUG employees, and once he broke the source
code, he added some "text-to-speech" features to his copy. According to
LaFara, the game was almost identical to the Atari 800 version except
it ran much faster on the 99/4 and had better sound qualities.
- Texas Instruments creates and releases a new
point-of-purchase software storage and display cabinet for distribution
to retailers. The glass-fronted display contains 36 slots, each capable
of holding 5-6 software packages. (Product
Support Review, Jul 1983, p.1)
- The first issue of TI*MES is published by Britain
Clive Scally in England.
- The TI Computer Advantage Club curriculum tops out at 10
- Children’s Computer Awareness -- $49.95
- Programming Discovery in TI LOGO -- $49.95
- Programming Discovery in TI BASIC -- $49.95
- Computers for Early Learners -- $35.00
- Adult Computer Awareness -- $49.95
- BASIC Programming for Adults -- $75.00
- TI Extended BASIC -- $75.00
- TI-Writer -- $49.95
- Microsoft Multiplan -- $95.00
- Computers in the Classroom
- TI releases a cartridge software comparison chart which
shows there are 104 modules available for the TI, 26 for the Atari 400,
26 for the VIC-20 and 57 for the Radio Shack Color Computer. (Product Support Review, Jul 1983, p.2)
- Texas Instruments' merchandising support issues a document
listing Software Sales Ranking by title for the 2nd Quarter 1983.
Household Budget Management
Teach Yourself BASIC
Early Learning Fun
Hunt the Wumpus
Personal Record Keeping
- APPLE -- INFOWORLD Magazine reports that the
"MacIntosh", an Apple computer due out in January, will sport a
$1200-$1500 price tag, 128K of RAM, come with a 9-inch screen and a 3
1/2" micro-floppy drive.
- APPLE -- In an effort to spur sales, of it's other
computers, Apple introduces the Apple Card, a credit card useable for
all Apple product purchases. Finance charges will be the going market
rate. Cards are available at all Apple dealers.
- ATARI -- Digital Research announces the impending
release of Visual CP/M, a home version of their CP/M operating system,
that will be offered for Atari, Colecovision, Epson, Mattel and
Sinclair computers. Although it is never released under that name, it
will appear in 1984 as the GEM (Graphical Environment Manager) product
which will become the basis for Jack Tramiel's Atari ST line of
computers as well as Commodore's Amiga line. (Enthusiast 99 Jul83, p.10)
- ATARI -- Raymond Kassar, under
investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for alledged
"insider" stock trading, resigns as Atari's chairman and chief
executive officer. Kassar's resignation also comes at a time when
Atari's profits have plummeted.
- COMMODORE -- Commodore and
Mitsumi of Japan start a new venture to jointly make floppy disk drives
in Japan. Their new company will be named Newtronics, will produce
drives at a new plant in Northern Japan.
- FAIRCHILD -- Reports surface
that Fairchild Camera and Equipment Company, the maker of the 1970s'
Channel F video game machine, may soon be unloaded by its parent
company, Schlumberger Corp. This despite investments over the last 4
years by Schlumberger of $250-million for research and development and
another $500-million for capital investments.
- MATTEL -- Mattel reports that
it expects a first half loss of more than $100 million in 1983, due to
severe slowdown in its electronics business. More layoffs put 260
employees out of work, which amounts to 15% of Mattel Electronics
operating and administrative staff. Mattel Electronics does most of its
work on its Intellivision entertainment and computer systems.
- MISC. -- Industry analysts
predict that video arcade profits will drop from $7 billion last year
to $5.3 billion by December 1983. Digital Research demos multi-tasking
Concurrent CP/M for the IBM PC. Industry analysts believe that the top
contenders for the 16/32 bit microcomputer operating system software
market are Bell Lab's Unix and Microsoft's MS-DOS.
Southwest 99ers Newsletter
- Effective August 1st, TI extends the warranty on the 99/4A
3-months to a full year.
- Retailers begin carrying the Entertainment Value Pak (PHV
1001) and the TI Variety Value Pack (PHV 1002) priced at $99.95
and $49.95 respectively. (Product
Support Review, Jun 1983, p.2)
- The TI-CARES hotline goes into effect on August 8th.
- TI announces to their Product Support Reps that the
following PLATO titles will be available in September: (Product Support Review, Aug 1983, p.1)
- PHD 5273 - BASIC NUMBER IDEAS 1
- PHD 5274 - BASIC NUMBER IDEAS 2
- PHD 5275 -
MATH SENTENCES IN ONE VARIABLE 1
- PHD 5276 -
MATH SENTENCES IN ONE VARIABLE 2
- PHD 5277 -
MATH SENTENCES IN TWO VARIABLES
- PHD 5278 - GEOMETRY
- PHD 5279 - MEASUREMENT
- PHD 5280 - SPECIAL TOPICS
- PHD 5281 - PRACTICAL READING 1
- PHD 5282 - PRACTICAL READING 2
- PHD 5283 - GENERAL READING 1
- PHD 5284 - GENERAL READING 2
- PHD 5285 - PROSE LITERATURE 1
- PHD 5286 - PROSE LITERATURE 2
- PHD 5287 - PROSE LITERATURE 3
- PHD 5288 - POETRY
- Morning Star Software of Beaverton, Oregon, offers a CP/M
card for the Peripheral Expansion Box.
- H/S Enterprises, Suffern, New York, offers a custom
designed carrying case for the 99/4A that let you take your computer on
the road with you. The product let you pack the console, RF modulator,
cassette recorder, speech synthesizer, power supply and several
cassette tapes in a high-impact carrying case. It retails for $59.95.
- Not-Polyoptics introduces the Texas Light Shooter
light pen in six gun shape.
- TI signs with Spinnaker Software to produce Facemaker
(PHM 3177) and Story Machine (PHM 3178) for theTI-99/4A. They
also reach an agreement with SEGA (an acronym for SErvice GAmes) to
produce Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (PHM
3225), Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom (PHM 3226), and Congo
Bongo (PHM 3227) for the TI-99/4A.
- The Chicago Users Group goes on line with the first Users
- Ralph Fowler's TIBBS (TI Bulletin Board System) goes
on-line in Kennesaw, Georgia.
- COMPUTE! magazine reports that the TI-99/8 is close
- AMLIST Inc., 4542 Memorial Dr. #202 Atlanta, GA (404)
292-0576 releases Basic Tips book for the 99/4A by Terrance
- Doryt Systems releases a 32K Ram stand alone memory
expansion unit, as well as their new Paraprint interface device
for parallel printers.
- Vaughn Software (David Vaughn, owner), author of the Bitmac
drawing program, releases a new series of game programs on cassette.
- The first issue of TI USER, a British 99er
- Counterpoint Software of St. Louis (Mark Sumner and Ken
Dibble, owners), MO change the company name to Challenger Software
- Memory Devices of Lilburn, Georgia, makers of business
software for the TI-99/4A, changes its name to BizWare Inc.
- ATARI -- Milton Bradley files a $43 million lawsuit
against Atari for alledgedly failing to follow through on a deal to buy
nearly half a million voice synthesis recognition units for Atari's VCS
2600 and 5200 game consoles.
- COMMODORE -- Reports are that a recent shortage of
floppy disk drives is threatening the sales of Commodore 64's.
Apparently nobody at Commodore thought consumers would want the floppy
drives, but they were wrong! Over half a million units have been sold
since Commodore's 64 was introduced. Reports also surface that
Commodore is suing keyboard manufacturer AMP Inc. of Harrisburg, PA
claiming that 35,000 keyboards purchased from AMP were defective.
- COLECO -- Computer Industry press indicates that
analysts are skeptical about Coleco's claim that it will be shipping
half a million new "Adam" computers by the end of the year. The $600
price of the computer and printer may scare away home computer buyers.
Coleco calls rumors that its "Adam" computer release will be
significantly delayed, a "non-event'. The company originally scheduled
August 31 as the Adam release date.
- MATTEL -- Another 400 employees are laid-off
following a layoff of 260 in July at Mattel Inc. The company's
electronics division, which markets Intellivision home video games
expects to report a loss for more than $100-million so far this year.
- MISC. -- More than 200 computer related magazines
are available to consumers.
- VICTOR -- Chuck Peddle's Victor Technologies
surprises the industry by laying off 600 employees it had only recently
hired. Victor ranks third in domestic sales of small business computers
and has enjoyed a 6-fold increase in earnings over last year.
- TI announces the upcoming release of Word Invasion (PHM
3169) and Word Radar (PHM 3185) cartridges. (Home Computer Newsletter Sep83, p.3)
- Curt Garcia and Dynamic Data Devices release Compact
Plus, a utility for Extended BASIC programmers that comapcts the
code to save memory. MSRP is $29.95. (HUG Newsletter Sep83, p.2)
- TI announces the upcoming release of TI Mini Writer
(PHT 6103) and Entrapment (PHT 6101) applications for use with
the Mini Memory cartridge, both of which were announced at the summer
Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago on June 5-9, 1983. (Home Computer Newsletter Sep83, p.5)
- Challenger Software (Mark Sumner and Ken Dibble) release Pede,
Starprobe and Wallaby games. (HUG Newsletter Sep83, p.2)
- Consumer Reports Magazine publishes the following article
on the TI-99/4A with the headline reading, "The Also-Rans."
"TI-99/4A. This model, currently selling at a knockdown
price of $100, looks like a computer well worth considering-until you
consider it carefully. It has a true typewriter keyboard, and there is
an extensive library of good educational software available.
"But the low price on the TI-99/4A can be deceiving. A
good deal of the software available for the TI requires more than the
16K included in the basic price. To expand the memory, you must plug in
a peripheral expansion box ($250) and a 32K memory expansion card
($300). Thus, to gain access to many of the more attractive
applications programs, you need not a $100 TI-99/4A but a TI-99/4A
system that will cost about $750, by the time you add a tape player and
a couple of joysticks.
"The only word processing program we could find for
this model (the TI Word Processor, $100) is on a disk. To run it, you
need the aforementioned peripherals plus a disk drive ($400) and a disk
controller card ($250). That brings the price to almost $1400 before
you buy a printer.
"We regard the basic TI-99/4A as a loss-leader because
of all the high-priced TI peripherals required to make it a practical
computer system. It can be argued that the basic TI-99/4A without any
peripherals is still a cheap tool for learning BASIC. But we found the
ketboard unusually cumbersome to use, and the TI-99/4A ran BASIC
programs we devised rather slowly. The TI is sold exclusively in toy
stores and department stores, where salespeople may not be well
- Tracksmith PO Box 738 Cooper Station, NY 10276, release Horse
Racing Handicapper on cassette for $34.95. (Compute! Sep83, p.238)
- Amiga Corporation 3350 Scott Blvd Building 7 Santa Clara,
CA 95051 (408) 748-0222 releases the Power-Stick joystick for
the TI-99/4A. Price is $20. (Compute!
- Infocom Inc., 55 Wheeler St Cambridge, MA 02138 (617)
492-1031 announces the release of Enchanter for the TI-99/4A
and other computers. (Compute!
- The TI-99/4A system is shown at State Fairs in Puyallup,
WA, Albuquerque, NM, Pomona, CA, Oklahoma City, OK, and Tulsa, OK.
- A previously unheard of company in the TI-99/4A Community
named Valorum 441 Clyde Ave Mountain View, CA 94043 (415)
968-8500 runs an ad in Compute! magazine offering personal and business
productivity software for the Commodore and TI. (Compute! Sep83, p.304)
- APPLE -- Apple announces that 165 software companies
worldwide are developing application software for the Lisa computer.
- ATARI -- Walt Disney Telecommunications 500 South
Buena Vista St Burbank, CA 91521 (213) 840-1111 releases Mickey in
the Great Outdoors exclusively for the Atari computer, but at the
same time announces plans to produce as many as 50 titles for the
Atari, Radio Shack, TI, NEC and Panasonic computers. (Compute! Sep83, p.290)
- ATARI -- Former Phillip-Morris
marketing man Jim Morgan takes over as Atari CEO, filling the position
vacated by Raymond Kassar.
- MISC. -- Macy's Department
Store Chain decides to discontinue its sales of video game cartridges
because of lagging sales. Other retailers indicate that consumers are
opting for sale-priced or discontinued game cartridges because they're
- MISC. -- Texas Instruments
acquires 25% of LISP Machine, Inc., a company which makes computers for
artificial intelligence research.
- OSBORNE -- The company founded
by early PC pioneer Adam Osborne files for bankruptcy protection on
September 13th. On September 19th, down to 85 employees from 1,000
employees in August, the firm is allowed to borrow up to $600-thousand
dollars from three banks to keep payroll and operations afloat.
- VICTOR -- Company founder
Chuck Peddle, of Commodore PET fame, says his firm is consolidating
it's 8 distribution centers into 5, but denies that Victor will go the
way of Osborne and file for bankruptcy.
Southwest 99ers Newsletter
- Sierra On-line agrees to produce Jawbreaker (PHM
3194) for the TI-99/4A.
- 99'er Home Computer Magazine publisher announces a
corporate reorganization at Emerald Valley Publishing in Eugene, OR on
the editorial page of the October 1983 issue. "We've undergone a major
corporate reorganization to facilitate our rapid growth and increased
levels of both reader and advertiser service..."
- The TI-99/4A system is shown at State Fairs in Dallas, TX,
Raleigh, NC, Phoenix, AZ and Shreveport, LA.
- TI extends the $50 rebate program on the TI-99/4A Home
Computer and includes the cassette version of Teach Yourself BASIC (PHT
6007) with the purchase.
- TEXware Associates of Wellington, Illinois announces a
"Computerized Giveaway" valued at $1750 that is conducted under the
sponsorship of Doryt Systems Incorporated and Dhein's True Value
- Navarone releases the GROMBUSTER cartridge that is
designed to defeat the v2.0 operating system found in beige colored
consoles so that third-party cartridges that plug into the GROM port
can be run on the plastic computer.
- The Prostick 2002 joystick is released.
- Texas Instruments announces publically (on the 28th) that
it will no longer be producing the TI-99/4A Home Computer. The $50
rebate program is cancelled on October 31st but TI decides to continue
the free Speech Synthesizer (with the purchase of six modules) offer
until January 31, 1984. Many questions arose after the TI announcement,
such as why the TI-99/8 was not brought out? Apparently the answer was
that Texas Instruments had filed or wanted to file bankruptcy on the
Consumer Product Division losses, but could not because one division
doesn't make a company, and companies or corporations file for
bankruptcy, not their divisions. With their staff of attorneys hard at
work, TI was apparently able to work out an agreement with the courts
that allowed them to take the tremendous write-off if they removed
themselves from the home computer segment of the market totally. This
was apparently why Texas Instruments would choose a "Fulfillment House"
in 1984 to handle all of their remaining TI-99/4A inventory. See Associated Press newsbyte.
- Andrew Pollack writes a multi-page article on the demise of
the TI-99/4A in the October 29, 1983 edition of the New York times.
- Romox Inc. announces the release of several cartridges for
the TI-99/4A with the following entry in 99'er Home Computer Magazine's
New Products and Services section on page 61.
ELECTRONIC DISTRIBUTION AND PROGRAMMABLE CARTRIDGES
"Romox Inc. has announced the forthcoming availability of
Edge Connector Programmable Cartridges. ECPCs can be erased and
reprogrammed, and are compatible with the new in-store Romox
Programming Terminals. A "personality module" will be available for
TI-99/4A formats. Romox's Programming Terminals will be leased by
retailers for their customers' use in selecting and "manufacturing"
their own game cartridges or reprogramming their ECPCs. In addition,
Romox has converted three of its game cartridges for use on the
TI-99/4A computer. Ant Eater is a two-player game of ant hill survival
with increasing levels of difficulty. Hen-Pecked is another
two-player game, with an emphasis on high resolution graphics. Princess
and Frog is based on the old fairy tale of transformation. All
three cartridges are immediately available for the TI-99/4AA with a
suggested retail price of $39.95 each. Also for the 99/4A Romox offers TYPO
for improving touch typing speed and Whiz Kid, an educational
game of words or mathematical equations with an ice-hockey scenario.
They each carry a suggested retail price of $39.95. For more
information contact Romox Inc. 501 Vandell Way Campbell, CA 95008 (408)
- The ROMOX ECPC is announced to more than just the
TI-99 Community in this newsbyte from Video Games Player magazine.
"CARTS CAN BE REPROGRAMMED! -- Even the best games
get boring, so Romox is marketing a cartridge that can be reprogrammed
with the new game of your choice. This is possible only with their
patent-pending "ECPC" (Edge Connector Programmable Cartridge). Regular
games use ROM cartridges that can't be reprogrammed. All you'll have to
do will be to visit the local shop, trade your old Romox cartridge for
a blank one and pop the cart into one of nine slots on the Romox
terminal. In less than a minute, you've got a new game, for only $10.
In addition to lower prices, Romox will be electronically transmitting
new games to the 1300 "Programming Terminals" around the country, so
you won't have to wait months for new games. Games for Atari VCS and
all Atari computers, Commodore's 64 and VIC-20, and the TI 99/4A will
be available in September. Plans are being made to provide cartridges
for Mattel, Oddysey [sic] and other formats upon agreements with game
publishers. Romox anticipates each terminal to eventually offer 500
games." (Video Games Player
- Moonbeam Software releases Robot Runner and Zero
Zone. (Compute! Oct83, p.39)
- COLECO -- After missing its scheduled August debut,
on October 2nd, the Coleco Adam finally receives FCC approval and is
expected on the shelves of retail outlets by mid-October. (Compute! Dec83, p.40)
- DIGITAL -- DEC introduces an upgrade to its Rainbow
100 system and a new plan to convince buyers of the computer's
- OSBORNE -- As an apparent result of Obborne's
9/13/1983 bankruptcy filing, a group of Osborne's debtors file a
lawsuit against the firm, charging the company lied to shareholders and
debtors by predicting last year it would earn 9-million dollars.
and introduction of the Computer 99/8 is cancelled completely as TI
decides to pull out of the Home Computer market. About 250 TI-99/8's
are actually produced.
- On November 16th, IUG president Charles LaFara mails a
letter to group members entitled "After the TI Pullout".
The full text of the letter may be found in The Cyc from CaDD
- The Associated Press reports that buyers are flocking to
TI-99/4A computer retailers to buy the computer, which is being sold at
fire sale prices
by Texas Instruments to reduce inventory.
- In an article entitled "A Home Computer Casualty",
Newsweek Magazine provides the following account of the demise of the
TI-99/4A in its November 7, 1983 issue on page 108.
"The announcement should have come as no surprise. Battered
by losses of $223 million during the first nine months of this year,
Texas Instruments is bowing out of the overcrowded home-computer
business. The Dallas-based electronics company said late last week that
it will stop production this month of its 99/4A. As a result, TI will
lay off an estimated 1,700 workers at its Lubbock, Texas, operation but
plans to continue production of its more expensive Professional
Computer. Competition in the $1 billion home-computer business has been
fierce. Other major players, such as Mattel and Atari, have also
suffered heavy losses this year. But TI was primarily the victim of its
own self-destructive strategy to bolster sagging sales. In a series of
price reductions and rebates over the past year, TI slashed the price
of its 99/4A in half. The gamble didn’t pay off. Even though sales
soared, the firm reportedly lost up to $50 for every machine it
shipped. By the end of September, its home-computer operations were
more than $500 million in the red. This isn’t the first time TI
president J. Fred Bucy has miscalculated. During the l970s the
company’s digital-watch division lost millions of dollars whenTl
followed the same deep-discount pricing strategy and then dragged its
feet in switching to the latest technology. TI abandoned digital
watches in 198 l. Texas Instruments also lingered too long in the
low-cost, handheld calculator business, well after it was apparent that
the Japanese would gobble up the largest slice ofthe market. • IBM is
expected to end months of speculation this week with the unveiling of
its new personal computer for the home and education markets. The PCjr
will be available in two versions. The basic model—expected to retail
for $800—will be a stripped-down computer without disc drives or a
computer screen; it will have 64 kilobytes of random access memory
(RAM) and slots for game cartridges. The enhanced version— featuring
128K of RAM, a single disc drive, video-display screen, printer, modem
(for telephone communication) and software—isexpected tosell for
$2,000. The operating system is designed so that some software programs
running on IBM’s best-selling Personal Computer will also run on
- D & M Software Publishers 1510 S. 97th
St Tacoma, WA 98444 (206) 537-8155 releases Volume 1, Number 1 of their
EASY COMPUTING magazine. The 40 page publication looks curiously like
99er Magazine in some ways, but contains no author names for the
articles and even lists the name of the editor only as Don. Aside from
the articles and type-in program listings, EASY COMPUTING's premier
issue contains New Product announcements for TI Mini Writer, the
HX-3100 modem for the Hex-Bus line of peripherals and Milton Bradley
- Armed with "some very strong financial backing from an
Oklahoma City bank" IUG president Chales LaFara approaches Texas
Instruments in an effort to purchase the entire remaining inventory of
hardware and software. While considering LaFara's offer he is given 1
each of the current command module inventory and 17 unreleased projects
from Texas Instruments and third party producers. LaFara would report
some years later (August 1999) that none of the 17 cartridges ever
reached the consumer level. According to LaFara all but one cartridge
was on e-prom. Several of the projects were from Milton-Bradley; some
from Creative Software and some from Sega. One was from Activision.
(source is Charles LaFara, in an August 1999 email to Cartridge
Collector Bryan Roppolo. See August 1999 Timeline page for the full
context of the email).
- Dr. Guy Steffen-Romono files a 1 million dollar suit
against the IUG (presumably over ownership of the software library
distributed by the IUG).
- IBM announces the PCjr on November 1st with a huge
press conference held at its Gallery of Science & Art in midtown
Manhattan. (Compute! Oct84, p.50)
- House of Software PO Box 2797 Tri-Cities, WA 99302 releases
(Compute! Nov83, p.332)
- General Systems Consulting 2312 Rolling Rock Dr. Conley, GA
30027 (404) 433-7143 announces Amortizations, Bar Charts,
Annuity Evaluation, File Manager, Bank
Statement Balancer, Depreciation, Home Budget, Home
Inventory, Home Equity Evaluation, Real Estate Investing,
Savings Investment Analysis, IRS 1040 Long Form,
IRS 1040A Short Form & 1040EZ, Income Tax
Projections, and IRA Analysis programs for the TI-99/4A in
TI BASIC or Extended BASIC. (Compute! Nov83, p.330)
- Don and Lucy Veith release the first issue of The National
Ninety Niner newsletter from Bakersfield, CA.
- Bill Cosby is dropped as the advertising personality for
- A photo and article on the Racal-Vadic modem appear in
Compute! magazine. This is one of the early third-party, TI-99/4A
- Excalibur Enterprises Box 4775 Riverside, CA 92514 (714)
359-8567, a previously unknown vendor in the TI-99 Community advertises
themselves as a supplier of Texas Instruments hardware and software. (Compute! Nov83, p.333)
- Control Data Corporation releases their PLATO
Courseware titles for the TI-99/4A.
- Compute! magazine reports that TI has signed agreements
with Broderbund to produce Choplifter and David's Midnight Magic
cartridges for the 99/4A. Similar agreements were also signed with Sega
to produce Congo Bongo and Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom for the 99/4A,
and Spinnaker, to produce Facemaker and Story Machine. (Compute! Nov83, p.314)
- Compute! Books announces the early 1984 release of a book
entitled "The Anything Machine: TI-99/4A". It never surfaces. (Compute! Nov83, p.48)
- Compute! magazine publishes a newsbyte stating that Texas
Instruments has changed its marketing strategy for TI-99/4A
peripherals. Prices for peripherals and some software has been cut and
TI has begun selling its disk storage peripherals as a package. The
Disk Drive Memory System consisting of the Peripheral Expansion Box,
Disk Drive Controller, a Disk Drive, and 32K Memory Expansion card now
sells for $550. Under TI's previous pricing strategy the combination
would have cost $1200. In other price cuts the p-Code Card went from
$250 to $100. The RS-232 Card went from $175 to $100. The Telephone
Coupler went from $200 to $100, and the TI Impact Printer went from
$750 to $500. Lastly, TI also cut the price of TI LOGO II from $129.95
to $99.95. (Compute! Nov83, p.314)
- Encore Video Software 354 Lancaster Ave #212 Haverford, PA
19041 advertises TI-99/4A software in Compute! magazine.(Compute! Nov83, p.332)
- Aardvark Action Software releases Pyramid for the
TI-99/4A. (Compute Nov83, p.91)
- TANDY -- At the fall Comdex, Tandy Corporation
announces the TRS-80 Model 2000, it's first IBM compatible PC, for a
sugguested retail price of $2999 for the basic system. (Byte, Mar84, p.306 and p.360).
layoffs continue. The real losers of TI’s decision to leave the home
computer market may well be the employees in Lubbock and Abilene,
Texas, who built the 99/4A. A week before Christmas some 500 workers
were furloughed at the Abilene plant and another 100 were told they
would be cut from the payroll at the Lubbock plant. Several hundred
other employees involved in the production of the 99/4A in Lubbock were
reassigned to other TI facilities in Texas, company officials report.(MICROpendium Feb84, p.23)
- 99er Magazine fails to appear with the December issue,
supposedly because of a problem with advertisers after the TI
announcement of October 28th stating that TI-99/4A production would
- Texas Instruments mails out a full color brochure to
registered TI-99/4A owners announcing cartridge software price
reductions and new cartridge titles for the home computer. A letter from
Executive Vice-President Jerry R. Junkins printed in the brochure
speaks about TI's decision to discontinue the Home Computer.
- New cartridge titles released by Texas Instruments,
- PHM 3131 MOON MINE $29.95
- PHM 3146 MUNCHMOBILE $29.95
- PHM 3158 M*A*S*H $29.95
- PHM 3168 TREASURE ISLAND $29.95
- PHM 3177 FACEMAKER $29.95
- PHM 3178 STORY MACHINE $29.95
- PHM 3189 RETURN TO PIRATE'S ISLE $29.95
- PHM 3194 JAWBREAKER II $29.95
- PHM 3197 SLYMOIDS $29.95
- PHM 3219 SUPER DEMON ATTACK $29.95
- PHM 3220 MICROSURGEON $29.95
- PHM 3225 STAR TREK
STRATEGIC OPERATIONS SIMULATOR $29.95
- PHM 3229 HOPPER $29.95
- PHM 3233 BURGER TIME $29.95
- ATMenterprises PO Box 1145 Millbrae, CA 94030 advertises
five new Extended BASIC games for the TI-99/4A on cassette tape in the
December 1983 issue of Compute! on page 197. :
- Lunar * TICS ($19.95),
- Jet * Chopper ($14.95),
- $$ * Slots ($8.95),
- Krazy * Keno ($8.95), and
- Black * Jack ($14.95)
- Aardvark Action Software releases Paranoids Anonymous.
(Compute! Dec83, p.195)
- A review of the game Millionaire for Apple, Atari and
Commodore computers, written by 99er Magazine's own Gary M. Kaplan,
appears in Compute! (Compute! Dec83, p.178)
- Data West Sales 3916 Swallow Salt Lake City, UT 84107 (801)
261-4744 offers a floppy disk drive upgrade kit for the TI-99/4A for
only $39.00, plus $9 extra to access a 3rd drive. The kit includes a
new power supply cable, a DSK2 ribbon cable, easy instructions to
install disk drives, and a template to show how to modify the
Peripheral Expansion Box to accept the upgrades. (Compute! Dec83,
- Emerald Valley Publishing announces an upcoming book, due
out in January 1984, entitled THE BEST OF 99ER.
- Pace Micro Software Centers 345 East Irving Park Rd Wood
Dale, IL 60191 (312) 595-3860 advertises dust covers for the TI-99/4A
in Compute! magazine. (Compute!
- Jim Robinson 1778 Hays Dr. Louisville, Colorado, attempts
to unite 99/4A users into an International 99/4A Users Group
similar to the original IUG in Bethany, Oklahoma.
- InfoWorld reports that CorComp of Laguna Hills, CA
is planning to produce a TI-99/4A compatible computer.
- Olympic Sales 216 S. Oxford Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90004
(213-739-1130) runs an ad in the December 1983 issue of Family
Computing on page 153 that still offers the TI-99/4A for $99.99.
- Sakata U.S.A. releases the SC-100 13-inch color monitor
that is compatible with the Apple ][ line , Atari 8-bit computers, the
Commodore 64 and VIC-20, IBM PC, Osbore and TI-99/4A computers. MSRP
for the monitor is $329.00. (Family
Computing Dec83, p.158)
- Penguin Products PO Box 7008 Roseville, MI 48305 (800)
732-0614 advertises the Kcover keyboard cover for $9.95 for the
TI-99/4A, Apple, Atari, Commodore and TRS-80 computers. (Compute! Dec83, p.387)
- APPLE -- On December 27th industry reporters are
treated to a preview (after signing a non-disclosure agreement with
Apple) of the MacIntosh computer, to be released Jan. 24, 1984.
- ATARI -- The Atari 1400XL is announced as being
available "sometime this winter". The new computer features a built-in
voice synthesizer, a direct-connect modem, 64K RAM (unexpandable),
66-keys on a full-stroke keyboard and built-in BASIC programming
language. (Family Computing
- ATARI -- On Dec 20th, Atari and Activision
announce a plan to broadcast software to home receivers. Customers must
have special receivers that plug into Atari video game consoles to
receive the software.
- COLECO -- Atari and Coleco raise the prices of their
computers following the introduction of the PCjr. Coleco, also
appraently unnerved by all the negative publicity about the numbers of
Adams shipped this year, has threatened ESPN's "Business Times",
claiming the magazine misprepresented its production rates. The
publication printed a retraction of the production estimates.
- MISC -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Sente
Technologies (a division of Pizza Time Theater) has announced his new
video arcade computer game machine is a smash hit. Pizza Time expects
to sell 24,000 Sente arcade machines in 1984.
- SINCLAIR -- Timex Computer announces the Timex
Sinclair 2000. It is said to support 8-color high-resolution graphics,
programmable sound, a 32 x 24 character screen display, mini-cartridges
and cassette tape storage and one-touch keyword commands. MSRP for the
24K unit is $149.00, while the 48K unit will sell for $199.99 (Family Computing Dec83, p.158)
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