The NEC PC-8281a and The Personal Application Kit - A cassette drive plus software for the NEC PC-8201a

Unlike many other computers of the day, the NEC 8201a was ready to go out of the box. Its ROM-based BASIC interpreter, text editor and comms program were all most people needed. However, it wasn't a closed system. Like its near-identical sibling the TRS-80 Model 100, it was capable of reading and writing files to cassette tape. To supplement its meager built-in library NEC brought out the "Personal Application Kit", a collection of tape-based programs which included simple business applications, utilities and games. A pretty pink booklet detailing their purpose was also provided.

I used to own an NEC PC-8201a back in 1986. It had come with The Personal Application Kit. Having reacquired the computer model a while back, I was thrilled recently to find the same program suite I had back in the day. As a bonus, the package came with the NEC PC-8281a, a tape drive specifically for the 8201a (Fig 1).

NEC PC-8281a with NEC 8201a

Figure 1. NEC PC-8201a plus accessories

The package came from a seller on the Vintage Computer Forums who acquired it in a job lot, and simply wanted to pass it to someone who would appreciate ownership (Thanks Curtis). It's a great nostalgic acquisition which cost very little. The tape drive works like a dream and all the programs load just fine.

NEC PC-8201a and Tanks!

Figure 2. Tanks! on the 8201a

Playing Snake and Tanks! (Figure 2) again was a real blast from the past. The two games are now permanent residents in the 8201a's memory banks!

26th September, 2011

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