Mouse Cheese Commodore 64 | Nostalgia Nerd

Mouse Cheese Commodore 64 | Nostalgia Nerd


Mouse….. Cheese. Mouse….. Cheese. Mouseeee….. Chhheeese. Mouse cheese? Maus Chez. Ahhhh, Mouse Cheese. What on earth even is this? Mouse Cheese by NEOS for the Commodore 64
or 128. Full Color Graphic Software…. Hmmmmm, this feels like a trap. A mouse traaa…. Inside the box we have some styrofoam. I tried painting some styrofoam once with
aerosol paint, y’know to make a castle, but it melted the styrofoam. Inside that is a MOUSE and a tape. Now, I presume the cassette is portraying
the role of cheese here. In fact, it is, and the package is called
“Cheese”. It’s a paint program, naturally. On first inspection you might presume the
cassette is portraying the role of cheese here. But actually the software itself is called
“Mouse Cheese”, and it’s a paint program, naturally. The mouse itself resembles the Commodore 1350
mouse, or more closely, 1351 model which was primarily sold for the C128, but is also compatible
with the 64. It should be noted that although resembling
an Amiga mouse, they are in fact not interchangeable, due to different sensor types. Now, interestingly the 1350, although resembling
a mouse, is really a joystick in mouse clothing. It might have the right ball, sensors and
buttons, but the movement from that ball is being interpreted as single digital joystick
movements and fed to the joystick port. The 1351 has that functionality, but also
the option to use Proportional mode. This requires a specific mouse driver, but
relays actual analogue mouse movement. The current position is transferred every
512 micro seconds to a pair of registers, which make use of the SID chip’s analogue
to digital converter, allowing for detection of direction and speed. This NEOS mouse is in fact almost identical
to the 1351, although for some reason the drivers are not interchangeable. But, this allows the mouse to be compatible
with software written exclusively for joystick control, such as The Image System, bundled
with the 90s Terminator 2 pack. Let me tell you, this was an absolute pain
in the ass to use with the joystick. Having – even interpreted joystick movement
– is a massive step up. Now most people will probably associate this
software package with the Connoisseur Collection, released 1990. The sort of bundle your parents might get
you, with its combined entertainment and educational value. To be honest, I’d probably have chosen it
myself – it looks bloody immense. Although part of this bundle, the NEOS was
actually the first mouse for the 64 range, manufactured by Nihon Electronics Co. and
available from 1985 onwards, with the supplied driver itself, compatible with the popular
GEOS desktop environment. Commodore’s 1350 didn’t appear until 1986. There was also a version for the MSX, called
the NEOS MS-10, shipped by various manufacturers, and which also shipped with its own variation
of the Cheese software. But, I want to know more about the bundled
Mouse-Cheese software. So, let’s load her up. Now, whilst that tape is loading, let me share
some knowledge with you. The mouse currently attached to the C64 doesn’t
work. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time,
because I hadn’t tested it. I couldn’t see anything wrong with it, but
given it’s 30 odd years old, I can let it slide. Also, the software takes a long time to load
from tape. In fact, it consumes almost the entire side. But as you can see, all that waiting was pointless. At least we get a chance to look inside the
mouse now. It’s hard to pin point a problem, as there
isn’t much going on here, so I’ll just presume dead and move onto another candidate. SO, I found myself another Mouse Cheese. This one actually looks like it has never
been used. It’s even got the piece of foam inside to
stop the ball from moving, and to make things better, it’s the floppy disk version. Which not only means faster loading, but also,
that we can save our creations. Also, whilst we’re here, let’s have a look
at the manual. “The Neos mouse is an excellent input device” Hmmm, so we have to plug the mouse into port
2, AFTER the software has loaded interesting. Lots of information here, mainly about the
Cheese Paint Program. What’s this? “The Pint Command Didn’t Come Off”? PINT? Oh, it’s print, right onward. Now the reason we have to plug the mouse in
after loading is because of this. The NEOS Mouse actually causes interference
with the keyboard, leaving you unable to type – well, with the built in keyboard scanning
routines at least. It’s like when you have a joystick plugged
in; moving the stick in a direction will create a character on the screen. The difference with a proportional mouse is
that it’s constantly sending data to the C64 on the select line, causing significant interference. You can circumvent this, but the original
C64 specifications weren’t designed for a mouse at all, and really when we use one,
we’re actually hijacking the paddle controller functionality instead. Anyway, loading up the disk, is like the tape,
but with a disk. Once the program is loaded, we then need to
run it, but not with your typical RUN command, oh no. Here we need to type SYS 4096, which runs
the machine code directly. They could have put a few lines of BASIC in
there so that your normal “RUN” command would work as well, but for whatever reason, they
didn’t. CHEESE. Here it is. It’s a basic looking affair, but the mouse
this time does indeed work, and it’s actually rather smooth. Right, let’s get stuck into this paint program
then. Now, despite appearances, it’s actually quite
a well equipped piece of software. Opposing everything I believe in, actions
are performed using the right mouse button rather than left. In fact, the left mouse button simply freezes
movement, but it does have another purpose, which we’ll get to shortly. So we’ve got 16 colours to choose from, and
various tools to apply them with. Naturally, the spray can is my go-to choice. For some reason I always tend to gauge how
good a paint program is, by how realistic the spray can is. You can imagine how blown away I was when
moving to Paint Shop Pro on the PC, with 16 bit colour. But here, limited to 16, we get a standard
speckled effect, which is pleasing enough. You can change the spray size, and mix colours. What else really matters? I won’t bore you by going through each and
every option, but the freedom on offer is really quite impressive. You can create shapes, fill those shapes using
different patterns, change the background colour and fill type, draw lines, you can
even move around entire blocks, which is something I didn’t expect at all. Right, lets see if I can do something useful,
and re-create my logo here. Yes. Yes, that’s it. Oh yes, looking amazing. Perfection. See, you can do ANYTHING if you put your mind
to it. So, what does the left mouse button do? WELL, if you turn off your 64, and then turn
it back on – WITH THE MOUSE INSERTED THIS TIME – but holding down the left mouse button,
then your mouse will start up in Joystick mode. Then you can use the paint program like this. Yes, it’s entirely useless. But that’s because this is the proportional
version of Cheese. If you were to use it with a joystick based
program, then you’d get something like this. Now anyone who had the T2 System Bundle should
recognise this as being “The Image System”. It bundled on the accompanying cartridge along
with Terminator 2 and Modern Music Maker, and good god… I used to use this program quite a lot but
its with the gift of hindsight that I realise how much it pained me, especially with joystick
control. Using mouse joystick emulation it’s a little
better, but its no-where near as usable as analogue operation. I mean, it’s usable. But there’s no inertia, no grace. It still very much feels like you’re using
a joystick, in mouse form, which of course, you are. So what I really wanted to do was test the
NEOS mouse with another program that it IS compatible with in proportional mode, and
one such program is the game: Arkanoid. Because if there is any game suited for it,
then it’s a Break-Out clone. Look there’s even a dedicated option for the
NEOS mouse on the title screen, fabulous. And actually, this is a really fluid experience. Playing Arkanoid with the joystick is a jerky
and often frustrating experience, but here, well, this is marvellous. The sensitivity is lower than we’re used to
do, and there’s no option to change the DPI, but you quickly get used to it, allowing for
unprecedented levels of control. I mean, I still lost, but I played it for
longer than I would without a mouse. SO, Let’s draw this little monologue to a
close. That was Mouse Cheese, containing the rather
nice NEOS mouse and, equally delightful cheese program. I picked both of these up for about £20 on
eBay. They don’t pop up constantly, but if you happen
to stumble across one, then I’d give it a whirl. Give your C64 the mouse action it both craves
and deserves. That’s all for now. Toodle-oo. There are some more things to click here,
in any case thanks for watching and have a great evening!

100 Comments

  1. I have a Neos mouse with ps/2 plug. It works on my computers.
    Can't find any information about it whatsoever. The model is MN44Plus (PS/2) and the name of the manufacturer? is Sigma7plus.

    If someone knows anything about it so so would I be greatfull.

  2. Oh, I had this! I remember getting it in a car boot sale in the early 90s. The paint program was cool. I remember the C64 version of Operation Wolf had proper support for it too.

  3. OMG I had one of these. I have not seen one for 30 years. You brought back some happy memories.
    (I even wrote my own version of "mac paint" for it .)

  4. Had exactly that mouse in the day. The softvare was crap but the mouse was wonderful to use in other programs. Such a difference compared to a joystick or keyboard.

  5. I still remember the day I got mine, my father bought it for me and I remember being in the car looking inside the box on the way home. I'd already gotten a printer before then so it was great to be able to print out pictures instead of text. I'd quite often draw and print out pictures for visitors. Was a damn sight better than a Koala pad anyway.

  6. Mainly uses right mouse button? And I though Blender was the only program with a weird right-mouse-centric operation!

  7. Hey,

    I used to have Mouse Cheese and the music maker keyboard overlay for my C64 back in the day, I used to have a cartridge piece of software which I seem to recall using which was like a collage maker based upon a wild west theme. I for the life of me cant recall what its called and Id love to know if you have any idea ? I have asked Kim Justice but it kinda slipped below the radar without an answer.

    Hope you can shed some light. Or anyone for that matter.

  8. Doesn't Britain have a version of the Epyx Fast Load cartridge? It would make disk loading so much better. If y'all have a Final Cartridge 3 there's a turbo tape load function IIRC.

  9. Wow I can remember this as a child in the 80's loved how you could create digital drawings. You could also save them with the tape version too.
    But mainly used it with Arkanoid having competitions with my dad who could get furthest.

    Anyway thanks for showing such a classic piece of equipment. Keep up the good work.

  10. Oh wow, I almost forgot about 'Mouse Cheese', at least in the sense I forgot its name. I had one of these with my Commodore C64c around Christmas 1988 or 89, I forget which. But What fond memories I have. Cheese was a pretty good little paint package too. The only game I remember using the Neos mouse for was Operation Wolf, as it was a heck of a lot easier than with the joystick!

  11. Can't say I ever cared about this mouse, nor do I find the branding anything but silly, but I think the VICE dev-team might actually be interested in this – friend of mine asked me about those neos mice a while ago. So feel free to contact them 🙂

  12. I had this as well. I didn't really explore the paint program much as i had the tape version, which took so long to load & didn't give you any visual feedback that it was loading so i just assumed it didn't work for the longest time.

    I'm pretty sure i was able to use the Neos mouse with Operation Wolf, though..

  13. Ive been saving the black build up from my mouse and keyboard at work since 2014. I want to make a sculpture out of it when I collect enough.

  14. Those mouses look a lot like the atari ST mouses which use optical sensors, which also seemingly just die like this. Usually a it's capacitor / chip failure which can be fixed easily enough.

  15. @ roughly 2:12, is it really 512 microseconds? So it's written to the register almost 2000 times a second? Dang, that's not shabby, considering the default USB polling rate is only 125 Hz. I know, writing to registers at nearly 2000 Hz vs. polling rate on USB aren't the same thing, but still.

  16. 0:48 The carrier in the spraycan melts the styrofoam, the paint itself is fine. Hold it like 20cm away and the solvent dissipates before the paint hits the foam. It's super tedious to paint like that though, you are better off just claiming that the castle is made of white marble… or salt.

  17. A spray? In a MOUSE? You Nuts boy? 🙂

    The buttons are sealed, you cannot fix them with a spray. The ball is operated by shining a light through those two wheels at either side and spraying will just.. well do nothing except move some dirt around. The usual problem with these mice is that the buttons corrode inside (where the spray cannot get to it) and the ball becomes slippery so the wheels have no grip on it anymore.

  18. There was someone offering a version of this for the Tatung Einstein. It was the same mouse but with an adapter and software written for the Einstein. I tried to get hold of it in the early 90s through B&H Computers but they couldn't get hold of the mice anymore 🙁

  19. Not sure if you mentioned it in the video, but would a 1351 work with that Cheese software? Seems the Neos mouse is nearly a 1351 in brown mousy clothing.

  20. I never knew the C64 could even support a mouse. fascinating.
    I don't think there was that much use for it though, not much software.. was there?

  21. The concept of this is bad because the C64 is not a true pc so its unfair to require hardware that uses up precious memory. Even if you had an early laptop ibm would not have tried integrating things like Microsoft network because it discriminates the demographic of customer and jumping the gun on hardware always results in embarrassing failure.

  22. My Mum and Dad bought me the C64c Counesiour Collection for Xmas from Dixons for £299 and with a handful of blank cassettes and friends the in pack games didn't last long, Cluedo and Monopoly were ok though. I knew I'd seen that Mouse and cheese box somewhere in the thumbnail, oh the memories this has brought back, as always thanks NN.

  23. i vehemently hate whoever captions your videos because they don't seem to understand that captions have to match what's being said in the video ;(

  24. I want a "pint" command for my computer. so that I can type it in any time I like and get a pint of lager. (kind of like a muffin button…)

  25. Well this brings back memories… actually it doesn't, by the time that I started to use computers you only had to plug the mouse on a ps2 port. All this looks like a hell of compatibility to me and I was an early user of palm computers, what is to say a lot.

  26. I remember using this and running it through a VHS and creating animation – the result was terrible because a)pausing and restarting on a VHS left a load of distortion and b)I can't draw for toffee! – still it was fun and kept me quiet for days!

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