Friday, July 23, 2010


First off, let's get one thing straight. This is NOT about the PC-FX, the Japan-only sequel to the TurboGrafx-16. This is about something ENTIRELY different.

When I was younger, my family only used Macs. I didn't mind it...the graceful Macintosh was a lot cooler looking than the Windows flavors available at the time, except with one minor difficulty.

Most games were available on PCs.

By the time I actually came to this sad truth, there was only one option other than getting a full PC. It was a product called Connectix Virtual PC with a promise to put a virtual PC in your Mac. It had previously made the Virtual Game Station (a commercial PlayStation emulator) that seemed to run OK, so why couldn't VPC open a world of games I never knew? Unfortunately, my family never bought it, and one of the reasons became painfully clear: it was much slower than an actual PC. Unless I really wanted to play Minesweeper or some early DOS game, let's face it...I was out of luck.

But I found out a far more awesome example...things called PC cards. Sadly, despite being faster than VPC, they were discontinued as expansion slot-less computers (like the iMac) took over (and more Mac ports of PC games became available). So I gave up. Years passed. Eventually OS 9 was completely obliterated and Boot Camp appeared, which although being a great solution, rendered OS 9 in a position of emulators. However, during that time, I found out that PC cards were not only super-expensive, but also not as fast a PC.

In late 1998/early 1999 Mac magazines (such as MacAddict) published ads for Orange Micro's "PCfx!", a card designed for game playing.

Pretty awesome, huh? And where'd those list of PC games come from? They stopped at F, but I'd like to see the whole list. If I was a bit older in 1998, that would've been the coolest-looking thing since sliced bread, and I would beg that Mom and Dad order it off a catalog (MacPowerhaus was one such catalog vendor, not the maker of the product) so we could install it in our Mac clone PowerWave tower right away. $650 for an awesome thing would run all the games we wanted, right? Wrong!

As you can see (click it to make it larger), the "PCfx!" would've been a disappointment in many aspects. You could play 1997-era games and 2D games, but it wasn't enough to run the latest games of 1998, and certainly not of 1999. At that rate, a little more could pay for a much faster actual PC. Given that the PCfx! was one of Orange Micro's last PC cards (the OrangePC 660 was faster, but more expensive), it was no surprise that PC cards fizzled by 1999 (the fruit-colored iMacs had no expansion of any kind). Orange Micro made other peripherals after the PC cards died, but it too perished in 2003. And that's the end of the story.

Anyway, since I'm back, it's full speed ahead for my other blogging and type pursuits. Webpages will be created, BATs will be produced. Blog posts will pick up. Already, in the schedule, there's two webpages, a little less than half a dozen Spirit of 2005 posts, and "Meijer vs. Walmart".

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