GORF is Australian and our Keynotes focus on Australia’s home computing and video-gaming history.
The original microbee computer was designed in Australia by a team including Owen Hill and Matthew Starr.
Its most distinctive features are its:
- User configurable video display which can mimick the displays of other computers and devices including the TRS-80 and SOL20 with later colour and graphic models 40 and 80 column terminals, the ZX Spectrum and early arcade machines.
- Battery backed non-volatile RAM and small size allowing it to be powered off, transported, and powered back on and resume activities on the currently loaded program or document.
and was originally packaged as a two board unit with the lower “main board” containing all components except the system memory which was mounted on the upper “core board”.
Owen will be speaking about his experiences designing the Microbee and its subsequent history as a fixture in Australian schools. He will be joined by Ewan Wordsworth, a former original Microbee employee who later revived the brand and currently manages the modern-day Microbee Technology Pty. Ltd, which develops and sells new Microbee computers in kit form.
Australian technology historian Doctor Melanie Swalwell will be speaking about Australia’s home computing and video-gaming history.
Doctor Swalwell’s former projects include:
- “Creative Micro-computing in Australia, 1976-1992”. Watch the film here.
- Australasian Digital Heritage, which gathers together several local digital heritage research projects.
- “Play It Again: Creating a Playable History of Australasian Digital Games, for Industry, Community and Research Purposes”
She is currently finishing a book on 1980s Australian homebrew games. She has plenty to talk about, and it will be fascinating!