Mikeegraphic Graphic System
Mikee Electronics advertisement from the February 1982 issue of 80 Microcomputing
The Mikeegraphic Graphics System was a high-resolution graphics add-on for the TRS-80 Model I and Model III. It was sold by Mikee Electronics Corporation for $340. Originally known as the Mikeeangelo when it was introduced in late 1981, the name was changed to Mikeegraphic just a few months later to avoid confusion with another product (probably the SCION MicroAngelo graphics board for the S-100 bus).
Unlike the 80-GRAFIX, which provided high-resolution using a programmable character generator, the Mikeegraphic used a true bitmapped graphics screen. The high-resolution screen was mapped in its entirety at the top of the TRS-80 memory.
The Mikeegraphic consisted of two circuit boards, one which was mounted in the TRS-80 case and another which was housed in a separate unit. The separate unit, which had its own power supply, was connected by a cable to the TRS-80. Showing that some ideas are a bit different today, the Mikeegraphic advertisements promised “easy installation” requiring “only 18 solder connections and one trace/pin cut.”
Mikee Electronics advertisement from the June/July 1982 issue of 80 Micro
Like other TRS-80 high resolution add-ons, the Mikeegraphic used the native resolution of the TRS-80 screen: 384 by 192 for the Model I and 512 by 192 for the Model III.
The Mikeegraphic came with 12K of its own video memory, so it didn’t steal any memory from the TRS-80. Static memory was expensive at the time, so that 12K probably accounted for the bulk of the $340 price. The extra memory allowed the Mikeegraphic to work on a 16K TRS-80 and not require an Expansion Interface on the Model I.
The Mikeegraphic was controlled by a single port and provided an simple option to mix the high-resolution and text screens. The high-resolution graphics were mapped to one contiguous memory space, which helped to simplify graphics programming.
The Mikeegraphic suffered from a problem common to many other TRS-80 peripherals: lack of software support. Other than the software supplied with it, the only Mikeegraphic-compatible program I know of was the High Resolution Command Module, usually known as RESCOM. Written by Bryan Mumford and sold through Mumford Micro Systems, RESCOM added high-resolution commands to BASIC.
Although the Mikeegraphic was a promising system, magazine advertisements for it disappeared by mid-1983. By that time, the Micro-Labs and Radio Shack boards had became the high-resolution standards.