Tom's MZ-800 Software Projects Gallery

In 1983 or 1984 I got my first computer. It was a Sharp MZ-700. Computer games were fun, but this computer was not the best for gaming. Commodore had more interesting graphics and sound capabilities for games. But the MZ-700 was great for programming. I also started connecting my electronics projects to the system bus of this machine.

In 1985 Sharp came out with the MZ-800, which I upgraded to. It had better graphics and optionally a QuickDisk drive. It supported 80 characters per line or 640x200 graphics. This was too much for a normal TV set so I had to get a specific high resolution monitor.

The Sharp MZ-800 is in the middle of the picture. The ugly metal brain sticking out on the top of it is an expansion built by me. This allows two additional cards to be connected to the system bus. The two standard slots I had already filled with a RAM filesystem board (64kB) and the QuickDisk interface. The QuickDisk drive with the dark lid is mounted on the machine itself at the right. One of the additional cards (designed by me) connects an expansion system with 8 card slots. This system is at the top on the left in the picture. The bus format was my own and nonstandard. I designed card for digital I/O, AD and DA conversion (really expensive those days), a interface for an Amiga mouse, RS-232 serial ports and an interface to a cool 8x8 LED matrix + 16 LED bar graph display seen on the right in the picture. Later when the PC became popular, I built the system at the bottom to the left. It features three slots for PC compatible cards and connects to the last system bus slot of the MZ-800. It also had eight DIN connectors for connecting synchronous serial devices. The serial bus format was my own invention and allowed several devices on one bus, much like the USB today. The main PC card I used was the Roland MPU-401 MIDI interface. With this I could connect my synthesizers to the computer and do some sequencing (MIDI multitrack recording) by using programs I made.

Later I got a second MZ-800. Then I was able to build a network. These machines were not meant to be networked, and networking was a rare and expensive commodity those days. So, i had to build the hardware and software myself. It was great fun. I even made a great network game, which me and my brother played. In 1990 or 1991 I got a PC with an 80286 processor and I stopped developing on the MZ-800. I still have it though and starting it up brings back good memories.

Links to more on the MZ-800

Software I made on this machine

  • Text processing
  • Database
  • MIDI sequencer
  • Audio sampler
  • Sample loop playback
  • Graphical drawing program
  • Games
  • Digital oscilloscope & Spectrum analyzer
  • Home automation and remote control of TV's and VCR's
  • Local area network system
  • Network games
  • +++ lots more (Stay tuned for more details)

PS. These programs are not available - this is just a "museum" exhibiting my works