Did you do that on real hardware?

Did you do that on real hardware?

People are funny on the internet. We always seem to divide into tribes even when it's not necessary or advantageous to do so.

I wasn't surprised to see someone (there's always one isn't there?) comment that I might be using real hardware, but for only part of my retro setups.

"I'm disappointed that you're using an LCD monitor on your retro computers"

You're... disappointed? Kinda dramatic isn't it?

Do I get more pleasure out of doing retro on real hardware rather than emulators? I do. Do I think less of someone who only uses emulators? Absolutely not, it would be silly to. Besides, emulators like VICE are incredible feats. They work REALLY REALLY well and represent many thousands of hours of hard work over decades. I'm in awe of these kinds of projects, not ashamed of them.

In my own setup, I'm willing to accept a few modern conveniences as a compromise. I have limited desk space, and even more limited power plug space. My desk is primarily setup for my day job. I have one spot for all of my side projects, and they rotate through that spot often.  5 of them are computers from the 80s and there are various other modern machines that go there other times.  I use a modern monitor with 6 video inputs built in, including a VGA port which is very convenient for DOS machines, the Maximite (not even retro), as well as up scaling my Commodore 128 80 column display.

This all allows for quick switching, and that's very convenient. The added bonus is that one consistent place to add my video capture device in this setup so I can screen grab without having to take a picture of a screen.

I use other non vintage hardware too.  In my 486 laptop, the hard drive died, so I'm now using an IDE to CF card adapter circuit there. Despite CF cards now being largely obsolete, it was a quick drop in replacement that gives me a functional equivalent and is much more reliable than trying to find a 500 MB 30 year old hard drive that will work for longer than a pair of minutes.

On my Commodores, I use an SD2IEC device for all of them rather than real disks (most of the time, I do use my 1541 drive from time to time if I get software on floppies). This is very convenient as I can share the same card and software on any of my Commdores, my "The64", and in the Vice emulator on my laptop when I'm on the road and need my retro fix. It's "one ring to rule them all" and I don't feel weird about using them. SD cards are cheap and I don't feel like I'm giving anything up.

The other two modern items I use are the Easy Flash 3 and the Ultimate II+. The Ultimate is a do it all device and I mostly got it because finding a working REU is very difficult and expensive these days and much of what I want to program on my machines benefits from the REU expansion a lot. Both devices are modern equivalents to solutions that existed in the 80s, just all in one place.

For video connections I use a RetroTink with cables from 8 Bit Classics. My Commodore 128 80 Column display is up-scaled and converted to VGA via a device I got from some guy in the UK.

In the end, how you enjoy what you do is up to you. People like what they like, and you should too. If your thing is to have every emulator ever made on one laptop and never to own the hardware it emulates, then knock yourself out.

Happy computing!