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As per the title, we are obviously referring to machines that had cassette audio tape as their default medium even if other media was supported via expansion.

To be clear I mean what was "in the box" aside from the computer, manual, leads etc with regard to this. Not counting any retailer bundled extra bits please! I will give a few examples:

16K/48K ZX Spectrum had the "Horizons" introductory tape included. Later models had a different intro tape.

Oric Atmos had a welcome tape although its name currently escapes me.

BBC Micro and Acorn Electron had a "Welcome" tape included, obviously disk models had a disc instead but we are asking about tapes.

Amstrad CPC464 had a "Welcome to AMSoft" tape included. Other models were disc based.

I am unaware of what other machines had in particular the full CBM machines (seems likely they had something given they had a dedicated cassette unit) as well as say machines such as the Tandy and machines such as the early Atari and Apple.

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    The SAM Coupé had an intro disk, that came on tape instead if you hadn’t purchased a disk model. So strike that off your list. – Tommy Jan 12 at 19:57
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    When my father bought an Apple II, he bought it with two disk drivers. We never used casette to story anything. I don't remember having seen any "intro tape". But there was of cause a DOS 3.3 disk. (Not sure if that counts). – dirkt Jan 12 at 20:01
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    Thanks both. The B Micro I mentioned is a good case in point here and follows similar lines to both of your machines. By this I mean it -could- be purchased new with a floppy disc system in which case you would have a "introduction" type disc instead. Still curious about the CBM range though: PET / C16 / C+4 / VIC20 / C64 . Unless I missed it very little info appears about what was in the box with regard to an intro tape on these. – AndyF Jan 12 at 21:22
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    On the Commodore machines: I don't think they came with the dedicated tape unit (other than the PET, of course). With the Vic-20 it may not even have been clear at the time of launch whether most software would end up being on cartridge. So it's definitely possible that there was no cassette in the box. But I don't know. – Tommy Jan 12 at 22:06
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    The Apple II came with Lemonade Stand and other tapes. The II+ might've, too, but the IIe likely didn't. Later Apple IIs didn't support cassettes. – scruss Jan 13 at 1:36
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This feels like it'll end up being a list answer, so this is a community wiki answer. Please edit!

8-bit home computers that did not come with a welcome cassette include:

The ZX80 and ZX81

See the ZX80's user manual and the ZX81's; for the ZX80:

A twin cable with 3.5 mm jack plugs at both ends is provided to connect the ZX-80 to a cassette recorder. Don't worry about this for the moment.

...

Before you can store programs on tape you'll have to write a program. The rest of this book is all about writing programs, so the first thing to do is to read on until you've got a program to store...

i.e. the tape interface is introduced as the mechanism for user saving only, and the user is told to learn programming first, then worry about how to use tapes. if there were an introductory cassette, the manual would have introduced it as the first thing to do, or at least the first test of whether you've connected your tape player correctly.

For the ZX81:

Unpack the ZX81, you will have found:

  1. This manual.

  2. The computer. [...]

  3. A power supply. [...]

  4. An aerial lead [...]

  5. A pair of leads about a foot (30cm) long with 3.5mm jack plugs at both ends [...]

i.e. no introductory cassette.

The Exidy Sorcerer

Its excellent Software Manual (including assembler source for its 4k monitor!) makes no mention of an intro tape. And as an owner of the Sorcerer, I don't remember any tape which came with it.

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As far as I remember the Czechoslovak computers from the mid-80s, namely PMD-85 or IQ-151 had no introductory cassette tapes too. Just a printed manual with basic information and BASIC description.

4

TI-99/4A had no specific presentation cassette. The special cassette recorder cable had to be purchased separately anyway. TI were pushing for cartridges and didn't care much for cassettes, even if their handling of it within TI-BASIC was remarkably better than other home computers. EDIT: answer only for Europe as the markets were quite different.

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I had a Cosmac VIP - a bare board edition - it didn't even come with the case shown in the first picture on the linked website.

The on-board ROM provided only the very lowest-level of boot-up/code entry/tape reading but a "better" (and I use that in a very loose sense) interpreted language, "Chip-8", was available but was only provided in printed hexadecimal form in the supplied manual. You had to tediously type this in and then save it to tape yourself. It would have been so nice if a pre-recorded tape had also been included.




FWIW I ended up housing it in an "upcycled" case of a Tandys/RadioShack/Science Fair "Digital Computer Kit". (If ever there was a court case for misleading marketing, this would be a leading contender. The box mine came in showed someone playing chess. What a waste of pocket money)

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