The Exidy Sorcerer.  As seen in Tezza's classic computer collection.

The Exidy Sorcerer. As seen in Tezza's classic computer collection.



hi everyone and welcome to this video where we look at a member of my classic collection and today's video is a remake of an earlier video this one's and high-definition the other one was a low definition and it concerns a machine that came out in the late 1970s and was a contemporary of the Apple 2 trs-80 Mott 1 Commodore pet the Atari 800 Challenger series of computers came out around the same time as them it is the Exedy sorcerer so let's check it out his mentioned in my introduction the Exodus sorcerer was a child of the late 1970s it was released in 1978 which was a year after the famous mass-market microcomputer Trinity of the Apple 2 the commodore pet and the Radio Shack trs-80 model 1 appeared and around the same time as the Atari 800 400 series for the day this 2 megahertz 0 80 machine had competitive specifications it had a full straight keyboard lower case was standard it came in a single case so everything was neat and tidy had graphics capability with user definable graphics and had standard interfaces built in that in other machines tended to be optional extras Exedy was a US company but visibility wasn't high in that market where the machine really made its mark was in Australia where it was actively promoted by local entrepreneur and Ozzy icon dick Smith through his chain of electronic stores in fact according to Wikipedia in 1978 279 Dick Smith electronics may have been the only place in Australia you could buy a microcomputer over the counter and that would have been the Exedy sorcerer here you can see a Dick Smith advertisement for the sorcerer from Australian personal electronics in 1981 that prices an Australian dollars not exactly sure of the conversion rate between owls in the US at that time but I'm picking it would be about $900 u.s. or so also I would consider that price to be a clearance price as the sorcerer was coming to an end of its marketing life by 1981 dick Smith had the less expensive system 80 as the new flagship and the focus was going on there he's an ad showing some peripherals for the sorcerer note the East 100 expansion unit deal which gave it the capability to run disk drives and CPM and notice also these rom pinks particularly the one down the bottom of the air on the bottom right the EPROM pack this allowed people to burn their own air problems put them in a blanket pack essentially and then they could have their programs immediately on boot-up so here's the machine itself it's actually a lovely looking machine it just reeks of high quality you can see the traditional angular shape there that was customary of machines of the day is the Exedy logo the plastic is a high quality plastic it's quite it's quite hard it doesn't feel brittle and cheap like say the vic-20 plastic for example really nice keyboard it was it's full stroke keyboard very easy to type on you can see there it's got a numeric keypad and some arrow keys are hidden on there a couple of reset keys you've got to push those together if you want to reset the machine I guess it's the stop you're pushing one accidentally when you're typing and there you can see almost pets key like characters on top the machine does have graphic symbols and you can define a lot of your own graphic symbols too here at the back are a couple of Vince's just to keep the whole thing cool really nice looking unit I like it a lot so we'll move around the back and you can see the the expansion bus for an expansion box will which would allow you to attach describes and run a type of CPM next to that is a parallel interface and a serial interface and this will between them as a video out socket the parallel interface in the serial interface weren't standard with a lot of machines of the day or at least they weren't fitted they were there as an optional extra but the sorcerer has them already fitted so that's quite nice or now to the insides and as as usual with computers of the day there's a massive huge transformer and large capacitors there with a power supply just down from those are the RAM chips is 32 K of RAM and this machine so you can see it's fully populated risk the borders pretty standard logic chips out laid and neat rows and columns there's a daughter board sitting on top the I'm not sure what that's for and you can see the large ROM pack the air as its er as it's attached to the board so that's what it looks like inside oh one other thing that's preps worth noting or one other thing I found when I zoomed in here is I couldn't get this keyboard connector orphaned the reason why was that it had been glued there it is something he should be able to take off but somebody's put a lot of blank place that glue around it and it was totally unmovable okay so let's boot the Machine and see what happens the sorcerer is interesting in that unlike many of its contemporaries it doesn't have basic and ROM basics provided and a separate ROM pack what you have gotten ROM is a monitor program so this is a ROM based program that allows you to directly view and manipulate memory locations and ports it also has functions which allow segments of memory to be loaded and saved on cassette so let's load in a program note that once it finds the program as it has now it tells you the location the program's loading into and the entry address as the value at the end so to run a program you need to go to that address after it loads so I've now loaded the program type and that address and we'll be underway so as you can see it's not really an intuitive process it's easy once you know how for someone who knew nothing about computers in those days it would have seemed a very technical process this program I've loaded in is one of Scott Edom's adventure games it says food adventure I really enjoyed playing these games back in the day and the sorcerer is a computer that would be good to play these games on because it does have 64 columns and 30 rows of text so you get quite a bit of screen real estate for your adventure type descriptions but it does more than just display text and I'll just run through some of the programs that I found for this particular machine one program every computer of the day had was a space invaders clone and here's one Martian invaders comes on the set and I put it into my industrial-strength tape recorder that I got with the unit and we'll load the game in and this is what looks like so Plesac space invaders aliens there that you've got to dispose of as they scroll across the screen getting closer and closer to you and getting faster and faster this is arrows and alleyways where you've got to maneuver your ship around these blocks and fend off the approaching horde then there's this one this is Astro attacker type of space invaders game but or galaxy invasion game but a bit more sophisticated now you'll all recognize pac-man or at least the clone of pac-man this one's called Chomp so again no computer of the day could do without one of these programs and also this one here which is defender it's very similar to the Atari game quite playable galaxy invasion in another game that became popular on the Atari also available for the sorcerer it's been there's been lots of time playing that game when I was younger then you've got the games that aren't quite so frantic like kiss and games like backgammon you can see the graphics there aren't half-bad in the sorcerer people could use the sorcerer for serious things though this is a database easy file this is Midas which is another database program and this one's Spellbinder which is a word processing program you can actually get this one on a rom pack as well and speaking of ROM packs let's have a look at the basic rom pack and there it is you can see it's got a list of reserved words on there and right down the bottom there it says copyright Microsoft so it is a Microsoft basic it's 8k in size but I think those reserved words that list of reserved words was very useful because when you plug the pack in as you can see you couldn't actually read them so this is what the Machine looks like when it boots up into basic and there we have the standard ready which means we're all ready to type in a program now it's quite lucky with the sorcerer and that I got a lot of manuals with it in the purchase and there they make interesting reading so here's the is the main manual that introduces you to the sorcerer and it's themed in the guise of a journey so you've got this character who's dressed like a wizard he is the sorcerer and is essentially taking you through a journey a journey through the computer and through computing so you can see there the chapters are appropriately titled with a travel theme it's a good manual it's got quite a bit of technical information in it and the back but it's written in a very friendly style to allow people to progress through it fairly easily and in an entertaining way the accompanying manual is one on basic again it uses the same theme as a tour or a journey and you'll see from some of the chapter headings here we starting off for example it says passports and visas so it goes through the basic language the various commands and statements and some example exercises in there for people to type in it's a good tutorial book just flick through it you can see some of the chapter headings native phrases trading foreign expressions you see jobs and timetables quite clever really and a desire to make it a little less intimidating in a bit more friendly to new users and now we come to the heavy stuff the technical manual and this manual is everything that you could wish for for a technical manual it's well written it's neatly set out it looks professional it's divided into two sections for two sections the first section deals with the firmware and the second section deals with the hardware so it describes how the computer works and what you need to know if you're going to do any if you're going to repair the machine or do any dabbling with the hardware at the back you've got the good number of circuit diagrams I thought one of them out so it's a pretty useful book and it's one that I hate to use because when I got the machine the basic ROM pack wasn't working I had to repair that I had to burn an EEPROM and put it in there and I found this technical manual quite and useful as a reference source for how those ROM pegs worked now one thing about dick Smith is that he supported the computers that he was selling very well in particular the exodus saucer and system 80 which came next so he commissioned his own manuals and this one introduces people to the concept of computers and then the sorcerer itself but it spends a lot of time on the built-ins software in other words the monitor program including a full listing of the monitor program so there it is all typed out all disassembled and if you wanted to if your monitor program had failed inside the computer you can always type fall event hex code out and put the program and an EEPROM and plug it back into the computer it's always interesting to see these small programs disassembled like this you just realize that there's quite a lot to them so the last book is this introduction to the sorcery of basic written by John and Judy Dean and Dixon have used this couple to write a similar booklet for the system ating and it takes users through how to use basic it's essentially a tutorial but done in a very friendly non-threatening way a little like David Lean's books for the trs-80 model one for level two basic so it uses lots of whimsy diagrams just gradually takes people through the concept of programming which of course to new users back in the day for most of them programming was a completely new concept and could be a little intimidating now one final thing to show you one thing I was very pleased with is that I got the sorcerer in its original box so you can see it there and the box is actually modeled after a suitcase may it actually fits in with a travel theme of the manuals so there you can see it unit itself some chords of the back there and the ROM pack and that rectangular slot so one of my final thoughts about the Exodus sorcerer it's a great machine ephod stacked it up against the others that were around in 1978 I would have looked upon it very favorably it's got a great keyboard it's well engineered it's got a lot of things that are optional extras for other machines like lower case parallel serial ports why didn't it do better well it could have been the marketing price seemed to be reasonable of about nine hundred to a thousand us that was comparable with a lot of other machines at the time there may be that perhaps it fell a little bit between two markets it was not really feasible for business it didn't come with a disk drive or wasn't as capable and even if you were trying to run CPM you could only run a particular version of CPM because of the memory constraints and the sorcerer so it wasn't really suitable as a business machine and in some ways it was a little pricey for a hobby machine and with the release of the Ataris there was an emerging home market which like the use of color and sound the Soraa didn't have these so that may have gone against it as well but it's a machine that is certainly one of the treasures in my collection and I'm glad I've got it look at the sorcerer so until next time keep well and we'll see you in the next video

40 thoughts to “The Exidy Sorcerer. As seen in Tezza's classic computer collection.”

  1. Cool! Do you know anything about Exidy Sorcerer emulation on Windows? I want to setup and play the original 1979 Sorcerer version of The Wizard's Castle { https://www.mobygames.com/game/exidy-sorcerer/wizards-castle } on my Win10, 64x system. Can you help anything about that?

  2. Just did some reading about the Sorcerer. Great video as well Tezza. I remember drooling over this computer in the late 70's. I think you hit the nail on the head in relation to sound and colour, It was top of the hill in relation to interfaces and lower case set, but at the time it was well available colour and sound were the new kids on the block.

  3. My dad got me one of these in 1979. He made a custom case that held the entire thing in one pc like structure. The cassette tape was kind of a pain to load software and sometimes failed, but once loaded worked great.

  4. I have a Exidy Sorcerer computer on my basement and and still works…gives me the creeps cuz of SCP-079…I rarely use it but it’s really fun to use

  5. I had one of these. It had some hardware problems that I had to send it back to Exidy twice. After the second time it worked like a champ! I learned the Z80 on it, got good jobs writing code for years!! I eventually sold it to a friend of mine. Strange thing is he never paid me for it, but I could afford it anyway…

  6. Greetings from the Netherlands. Amazing to see one of these great machines still in working order; mint condition even.
    My parents used a Sorcerer until the early 90's, and I remember playing Chomp, Defender and Kilopede for hours as a kid.

  7. The Australian dollar before it was floated in 1983 was worth a lot more than the US dollar. Before then it was pegged to the US dollar with AUD1 = USD1.48

  8. The journey through computing book would sure have helped me as a kid learn to use a computer instead of getting frustrated and quitting like I actually did.

  9. Backthem were there were no gui software so only motivated knowledgable persons could use them.
    Nowaday's gui software becomes the standard, being so simple to use that even a 10 year old child could use it.
    Same thing with mobile phines.

  10. Love your video. Just a note about the prices. In the early 80's the Australian dollar still wasn't a floating currency, so it was actually worth more than a US dollar!

  11. Wow this brings back some memories. My dad was into early computers and I was about 7-8 when this came home as our first computer (followed by a DRS20 which got nicknamed Nellie as it was as big as an elephant). Remember playing most of the games you showed on there as well as a text based soccer game…..when I say game it was all just scripted and as the 'player' you did nothing but read the text as the fate of the game was decided for you – remember thinking how awesome we were at that age to get into the program and change say the 'No 7' player to read Stephens and similar changes for all the other kids who were huddled around the monitor….and then sat back and cheered as the game went on (one of the lines was 'Stephens rounds the keeper and shoots wide' – very frustrating!).

  12. Wow I cant believe Exidy Sorcerer is a real name for a computer. It sounds like a mythical character from a fantasy novel.

  13. 8:15 That's actually an Exidy game called Targ. I'm surprised it had to come out as a clone given that the game was an arcade game by Exidy themselves.
    The lack of color you mentioned is probably why they were able to display 64 x 30 characters. The Apple II did have an 80 column card available which really made the computer much more useful (along with decent ram expansion). I don't know if this machine works with a composite TV signal, but I would think it wouldn't be a problem to display 64×30 in B&W on a TV. The color resolution of NTSC is pretty poor compared to the B&W portion of the signal.

  14. Hi.  I really enjoyed your podcast on FloppyDays.  I had heard in that interview you had an Exidy, so I had to come here and do a search to see if you did a video on it.  My horde of vintage computers is getting rather large, but I don't have any of the  rare beasts like this Exidy or the Lisa's.

  15. I enjoy watching your videos this one was really interesting. I saw one in a book on computers when I was little and hadn't heard about it since.

  16. Tezza, I would kill to have that computer. How did you aquire it? I find almost no trace of it online except for $2,000 USD units on ebay.

  17. Terry, if the Dick Smith System 80 was your first computer, then (apart from your formal work) which was your second?

  18. That Exidy logo reminds me of a few video games I've played way back when.  Although I'm not sure if that's the same Exidy that made the Sorcerer computers.  Here's some info about the games you've shown, according to my knowledge:

    8:11 The original "Arrows and Alleyways" is "Targ", which was made by Exidy.  One of my favorite arcade games.  The player's "ship", or what looked like a car to me, is called a "whummel".

    8:20 The original "Astro Attacker" is "Astro Blaster" originally made by Sega.  Another one of my favorite arcade games.  I've also played "Megamania", which was an Atari 2600 game made by Activision.

    8:44 The original arcade version of "Defender" was made by Williams.  Maybe you were more familiar with the Atari 2600 version.

    8:55 "Galaxy Invasion" was a clone of "Galaxian" made by Midway, now own by Namco.

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