Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

The PCjr: Wasn’t That a Time!

Posted by Trixter on March 6, 2013


2013 is the 30th anniversary of the IBM PCjr, and heck, I love that little machine too much to let an opportunity like this go by without educating the unwilling public about it.  So, I’ll be giving a presentation on the PCjr at NOTACON 10 in Cleveland OH in April, and again at the Vintage Computer Festival Midwest in September in Lombard, Illinois (more on VCFMW as the website becomes available).  The title is “Admiring one of IBM’s biggest mistakes: The IBM PCjr” and I will be covering what the PCjr was, its strengths and weaknesses, how it flopped so incredibly hard, and how it managed to change the home computer industry anyway.  Also, old hardware withstanding, I will have a PCjr with me to demonstrate a few things, so you can gawk at or admire it at your discretion.

What’s this pee-sea-june-your I speak of?  Well, I’ll let Ebeneezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchet explain:

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4 Responses to “The PCjr: Wasn’t That a Time!”

  1. VileR said

    When it comes to the PCjr and other products with similarly troubled histories, I enjoy reading contemporary perspectives – just for the sake of countering the bias of retrospect, and for the “you had to be there” factor.

    For example: http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v10n4/150_Amiga_Lorraine_finally_.php
    This guy, reporting on the Amiga prototype in early 1984 (when it was still the “Amiga Lorraine” rather than “Commodore Amiga”), writes: “I have tried to emphasize to Amiga, to the very best of my ability, how important it is that the basic Lorraine system be PCjr compatible” […] “the jr. is bound to become the home standard.”

    Wonder where things might have gone had his prediction turned out to be true…

    • Trixter said

      I had never heard that it was suggested the new Amiga should be PCjr-compatible. What an odd concern, and thanks very much for the link!

      I’m hoping my presentation will go over well — I not only look back with objective eyes, but also subjective, as I lived in that time and used PCjrs in the 1980s, and remember the ecosystem. Was the PCjr a horrible flop, the result of too many cooks in the kitchen and very poor design decisions? Yes, but I still love it anyway.

  2. Jay said

    Speaking of PCjr, the only download link to ‘Tantro’ on Pouet has gone dead (http://www.demoparty.us/2009/results/wild/03-tantro/2009-04-18_170358_TANTRO.ZIP) and it doesn’t seem to be hosted elsewhere on the web. Is there anywhere I can still grab a copy to enjoy? A capture on youtube or wherever would be cool too.

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